Green pigeons glide over Kanagawa sea

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japanese green pigeons fly away from a reef on Terugasaki coast in Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Japanese green pigeons are gliding over Terugasaki coast in the town of Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture. Swooping down on the reefs, they dip their beaks into the sea for a drink, then fly away together, avoiding the splash of the waves.

About 30 centimeters long with bright yellow-green bodies, Japanese green pigeons arrive at the coast in flocks from May to October every year. They come from the Tanzawa mountain range about 30 kilometers away.

Green pigeons are believed to drink seawater partly to consume sodium, which is in short supply in their staple diet of fruit during breeding season.

According to the local bird-watching group Komatan, the first flight this season was confirmed on April 26.

At their peak in August, the number of pigeons at Terugasaki coast can exceed 3,000 per day. The coast was designated as a natural monument by the prefecture in 1996, as it is a rare place where the birds appear in such large groups.

Komatan plans to resume its observation events on June 26, following a suspension due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.