Hoota, Hoota, Hoota!

That’s how bird books write it, but when I recently encountered Victor, a Victoria Crowned Pigeon, his call seemed more like “Buddha, Buddha, Buddha…”

And the more I consider his manner of living, the more appropriate it seems. Treading the forest floor, eating fallen fruit, Victor leads a gentle life of walking meditation.

He’s very fond of figs.

I’ll admit that, when he can’t kind fruit, he may munch a seed. Even, when gravely pressed, the odd invertebrate. 

But heavens, he can’t live on nothing.

At 31 inches long and 7.7 pounds, Victor is the largest pigeon remaining on the face of the earth. And somewhat endangered. You wouldn’t want him to go the way of the Passenger Pigeon, would you?

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon defends his territory, as birds do, but chiefly by charging and crying out “Whomp-ya, whomp-ya, whomp-ya!”

What could you do but run from that noise? Especially when facing his fanned-out crown and poky snoot?

One more thing. When making contact, the Victoria Crowned Pigeon utters a booming grunt that rather resembles John Cleese saying:


Beat that, Peacocks.

Eating fallen fruit as he treads the forest floor, Victor is an admirably inoffensive bird, very fond of figs.

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