Thursday, 18 August 2016

Baby pigeons rescued!

9.8.16 – The pigeon I took in last night was alive this morning. I’m calling her Polly though I don’t know her sex of course. She took a drink from the little glass, and I hand fed her six peanuts to give her a boost, before putting her in the day part of the hospital, with a pot of grains, while I fed the flock. She didn’t attempt to eat, so after a while I hand fed her the same amount I feed Cloud – which is 30 grains/peas (the larger ones, not the tiny ones) twice a day.

The wound on her wing had dried and looked superficial, but she obviously has more wrong with her. I could take her to the wildlife aid, but in my experience all they do with yet another feral pigeon is put it down, so not worth my time. I will do my best for her myself. My 3 day rule applies – I have found that if a pigeon lives 3 days after I have picked them up with illness or injury they often survive.

In the hospital it is a bit dark and gloomy as the tree of paradise is so big, so I moved her to the rickety old hutch on the patio near the cottage to be in the morning sun.

 It’s a perfectly safe place for her to be, but by about 11.30am the sun had moved so I decided to see how she was by taking her out on to a towel on the lawn. She moved away from my lap by using her wings as feet.

 One of her feet is ok, but the toes are all curled up on the other. She isn’t in a very good way and I don’t think she will live, but I have to give her a chance. I moved her into the aviary – to one of the crates on the ground floor in the day room. It is light and airy and she will be able to see the others if they walk past, so she will know she’s with her own kind, But obviously I will put her back in the hospital at night.

When I first went into the aviary to see about Polly’s arrangements, Pascal was taking in a bath. I was so pleased because this is a private bath just for the aviary birds. After a while, Pan obviously thought he was taking too long, so he hurried him out of it, and I picked him up to go outside in the sun for a bit to dry.

10.8.16 – Day 2 for Polly but I don’t think she will make it as the other foot is curled up now. Her poops are rather runny too. All I can do is make her comfortable, and give her food and water.  She spent some time in the sunny afternoon sitting in an old cat basket on the lawn watching the other pigeons – of course while I was around to make sure she was safe.

11.8.16 – The start of Day 3 for Polly and she is still with us. When I had her for feeding today, she picked up a few grains that had spilt on my lap, and fed herself which I thought was a breakthrough and quite promising.  I don’t really know what to do with her, as a pigeon that can’t fly is one thing, but a pigeon that can’t walk – well what kind of life does it have? But it is still early days and I will see how things go.

Montgomery and Mariette are two weeks old today and Chino has laid the first of the new eggs. Luckily all the old babies have moved out or we would be running out of space! That is Bronte and Darcy, and Avery and Evageline have moved out, but the first babies, Pascal and Primrose are living in the area below the shelf, but above Cloud, in the aviary. In the last day or so I realised that they were taking turns on their ‘nest’ – how sweet I thought, playing mummies and daddies. But this morning, when neither were on it, I saw two eggs! I was very surprised as these two are only four and a half months old, so very young indeed. I have no hope whatsoever for these eggs - Pascal and Primrose are too young, they are siblings and Pascal is deformed. I have never even seen them mate! Certainly no sticks were gathered.  Whatever happens, I don’t mind, we are not a pigeon loft or racing, and we will just take what God gives us. The book says that pairing a parent to off-spring is ok and called line breeding, but pairing siblings is in-breeding and not recommended. I  totally get this but of course I didn’t actually put them together, they have always been close and have made these arrangements themselves – though I did put the nest pan there. Primrose can fly and could’ve left the aviary like Darcy and Bronte, and Avery and Evangeline, whenever she wanted to. I couldn’t take a photo of the nest as it is in such an awkward place.

 Above, Darcy on the roof, and below, Evangeline
 Below, Bronte (Darcy's sibling) on the grass
 Below, Charity (who is actually male) - a pigeon I picked up ages ago having been stunned by flying into a window, but recovered and it's probably a couple of years on now. He is currently courting.

12.8.16 – Day 4 for Polly and it looks like she will survive. I have decided to let her feed herself, when the others are feeding, and just top her up afterwards with a few grains. She has also now started to preen herself – must keep up appearances she says!
Yesterday afternoon my son in law texted me. There were pigeons in the warehouse where he works and the powers that be wanted them out, full stop – but there was a nest and the other guys were intending to destroy the babies. My SIL (son in law) has a soft heart, and he thought I might take them, and of course I said I would. I told him to put them in a box and keep them warm til I could get over in the evening. I had to tell hubby a porky-pie as you know how he feels about me taking in even more pigeons, so I pretended I was visiting a friend. As I drove over to see my daughter and SIL, I was praying that the babies would be old enough to rear. I had taken all the stuff I would need with me having put it in the car before hubby came home from work! – box with hay, little shot glass for giving drink, grains, plus the baby food Kaytee mix, and equipment which I hoped I wouldn’t have to use, as it is not easy for me to feed little baby pigeons.
Thankfully the babies looked to me about two weeks old – pretty well fully feathered and alert. Poor little things, their parents will be chased away from the warehouse (or worse) and their lives have taken a dramatic change. But they WOULD have been destroyed – by the time SIL had texted me in his lunch break and come back, the other guys had, he said ‘put the babies outside’. Now I don’t know if that means in the nest, or just put them out loose ……but anyway SIL then took over and rescued them. I didn't want to know all the horrible details.The babies were nice and warm so I was able to give them a feed, and encourage them to drink from the shot glass. SIL had put them in a pet carrier sitting on an old fleecey top, and when I got home I snuck into the garden carrying it, intending to put them in the aviary. Hubby had already gone to bed, so no probs, and I left them there for the night.

 Above, muddled babies! - and below, the two rescues on the left, with Monty and Mariette
Baby pigeons rescued from warehouse - would've been destroyed

 Above, the babies in their new nest in the aviary - and below, their arrangements

This morning the babies were fine and I weighed them. The little white speckly one (reminding me of my lost Perelle) was only 155g with the bigger dark one being 222g. I weighed them so I could calculate how much food they need which is 5% of their weight, twice a day.- not sure where I got that info from, but I use it as a rough guide – I also use this site for reference about rescued babies or injured pigeons -

I realise of course that rescues like Polly and the babies should not really be put with my other birds in case they are carrying disease, but I  have only so much space, facilities, time etc. When I picked Cissie up (Pan’s mother, now dead)  it was obvious she had paramyxovirus so I isolated her for 6 weeks.

I am writing this in real time 9.00am and from the house I could hear babies squeaking – I didn’t know if it was Monty and Mariette or the new two. I went out and found it was the new babies – they could see Pan from their box and hoped he was daddy coming to feed them. I put some grain down and Pan started eating it, but when I opened their crate he did enter their box but just pecked at them and obviously wasn’t going to take over as a foster dad. It would be nice to think that Cloud would foster them, but she is not really capable of feeding babies – I don’t think. So there is no-one except Polly, who is injured and can’t be expected to do such a thing. Looks like I will be Grandma Dove again for a while!

Today Polly was in the wicker basket on the lawn under the buddleia, seeming pretty content, but when I checked her again, she wasn’t there!......... A quick look round and I found her near the flower bed next to the aviary.

Pretty Polly!

  I thought maybe she had been too hot in the basket so I left her where she was. Big mistake! Next time I looked she’d disappeared again, and this time was tucked away round  the back of the aviary from which I had to remove her PDQ! (because she moved further in and I couldnt reach her).So she can move about, but only by wing-walking.

 Below, Cloud sunbathing in what I call the 'vitamin walk'. I was going to plant flowers in the strip in front of the aviary, but decided against it, and now sprinkle grit, pigeon conditioner and the pink grit-like vitamins in it for the pigeons.
 Above, Darcy and below, Bronte in the aviary - they return sometimes to get grain. Well, we have the key of the door, they say! Another one who comes in is my former patient, Robin - he is now perfectly well- see his photo at the end of the blog.

 Sat. 13.8.16 – Polly came out of her basket again this afternoon (though I had blocked the narrow passage to the back of the aviary). A male saw her and thought she was crouching for mating, and other birds got interested in her food,  so I had to block her in her basket in the end. 

 The state of her injuries now. 
Her feet get covered in poop and have to be washed or it sets like concrete

Pan’s babies have screamed all afternoon it seems, and poor Chino has to do it all – sit on the eggs most of the time AND feed the babies. Pan is being lazy! (and it’s not funny!) My own babies, Perseus and Andromeda, joined in the screaming too at one point, but I am feeding them three times a day – morning (usual feed), noon (light feed) and about 5pm (good bedtime feed with a few peanuts to see them through the night). They seem ok and I will weigh them on Monday maybe and see how their weight is, but Andi feels terribly light and little. They remind me of Tink and Pan last year – their daddy Sultan left when they were probably just a bit older than these babies and I took over the feeding, but Tink eventually didn’t survive and I am afraid the same might happen to sweet little Andi.
Pascal and Primrose seem to take fair turns on their eggs, but sometimes I see them both off together – but well, what can I do?

Sun 14.8.16 – This afternoon I was sitting on a rug sorting some toys in the sunshine with Polly sitting in her wicker basket near me. Hubby came out ‘She looks happy enough’ he commented. But, we didn’t know that Polly was plotting! Minutes after that, she moved out of the basket and flew to the roof! Goodness! – I truly didn’t think she would be able to fly only 6 days after her injury. She immediately attracted male attention – and I took a couple of photos, but then seemed to settle down on her own.

 After a while, when I checked, I couldn’t see her anymore and of course started worrying. This was about 2pm. As the afternoon drew into early evening, I went round the back of the old mill (now offices) near us, and thrashed through the flower beds, but no Polly.
Eventually at nearly 7pm I discovered her on the gutter of the roof of the cottage – I scrambled up on the coal bin, with the net, and knowing I had only one chance to get it right, I brought the net down on her and dragged her towards me. Hardly good for her injury, but better than staying on the roof all night to be spotted by the hawk in the morning. Silly Polly! As we descended from the coal bunker, I banged and turned my ankle but better that too, than a bad night for me worrying about Polly. I have got very fond of her! So she was given a drink and put in her crate in the conservatory with a pot of food, til I transferred her a bit later into the ‘hospital’ (old hutch) for the night. So that was todays little drama.

Montgomery (back) and Mariette

Mon 15.8.16 – Although Polly had the opportunity to fly again this afternoon, she didn’t – though she did try limping across the grass a bit. I was glad she didn’t fly as I don’t think she is well enough yet realy, but she is certainly a lot better than she was last Monday late afternoon/eve when I took her in, and wasn’t sure she would survive.
Evening -I have now had Perseus and Andromeda for four days, and I weighed them this morning. Andi weighed the same – 155g and Percy had lost weight – down from 222g to 217g. Not good, as both should’ve put on weight I would’ve thought but on the other hand both are still alive, eat their food, drink out of the shot glass, and do their poops – plus they squeak and walk about a bit, so seem to do what they should for their age.

Tuesday 16th Aug 16 – This afternoon, as the weather is so nice and sunny, I planned to take Perseus and Andromeda out on to a rug on the lawn for a little bit, to see the flock. I remember doing this last year with Pan and Tink. I was looking forward to it all morning, as I love to spend time with my little rescued ones. First I put Polly out in her wicker basket, and as always she seemed content. One of her feet has uncurled, and she can now stand on it – but she mostly sits. The babies sat in a makeshift towel nest or in my hat, and watched the grown-ups!

 Above, baby Andromeda - Below, the white dove is Lottie, Appoline's mum
 And here's Perseus looking doubtful

It wasn’t time for their feed, but I gave them water. They now drink very well out of the shot glass. They got excited when they saw the pigeons, and I let them walk out onto the grass. Poor little Andi ran after a pigeon, squeaking, hoping to be fed, but they all ignored the babies, despite the book saying that feral pigeons will often feed other squabs (other than their own) if they beg. I kept bringing the babies back to the rug, and soon they started to peck the nearby grains, and even ate one or two. Clever babies! While they were out, I also treated them for lice as I had noticed them on Andi’s white feathers yesterday. As they are still young, I only kept them out for 20 minutes before taking them back to their proper nest in the aviary. As I passed Polly’s basket I noticed she had gone, but soon found her under the slope (that Pascal uses to get to his nest) in the aviary – she must’ve limped there by herself. As she was ok, I left her there. Again today she had the opportunity to fly, but didn’t. Pan was on his nest, so couldn’t get upset – though females in the aviary don’t really bother him, it’s the males he doesn’t like (except Pascal).

Thursday 18.8.16 -Monty and Mariette now often come out of their box onto the shelf, or into the box opposite. They are getting big now – even tall – but still babyish looking at 3 weeks old. I took them out of the aviary in a basket this morning and ringed them – Monty who has light brown plumage with Light Green Left leg and Dark Green Right (I don’t like using two rings as I think rings are a bit of a handicap but am running out of colours/combos) and Mariette who has light grey plumage with Blue Left leg. I weighed Monty and he is 350g – looking back at old weights I see he is nearly the biggest ever at his age, with only Bronte being bigger (though now Bronte doesn't seem particularly large)

Tonight I will have had Perseus and Andromeda for a week. Their weights on arrival were Percy 217g and Andi 155g. This morning they weighed – Percy 248g and Andi 193g. As far as I can judge they are about 3 weeks old, the same as Monty and Mariette, but may be a bit slow in fledging as they have no parents. I’m pleased they have put on weight though.

Polly now goes on top of the hospital hutch in her wicker basket in the afternoons - but when the other pigeons start hassling her I have to put her back in the aviary.

Below, Robin, my former patient, now fully recovered

 To be cont....

Monday, 8 August 2016

Cloud's drama - and a summer of babies!

Carrying on from the last blog...

Tuesday 19th July – I don’t normally enter the aviary after I have locked it up for the night but Cloud was flapping about and I was anxious – well it turned out she was having a funny five minutes but was actually fine – and seeing Pan with his babies looking so protective and loving, I nipped back for the camera.

Wednesday 20th July 16 – Today Appoline was missing for a while, but did come back in the late afternoon – but was gone again at bedtime. Perelle was left there alone. I do feel little ‘Apple’ (as my grand-daughter calls her) is a bit young, at only five and a half weeks, to be flying off with the flock, and can only hope that she will make it back in the morning.

Thursday 21st July – Appoline did come back, but this evening Perelle didn’t stay in the cote. I’m a bit sad that my sweet white and speckly-white babies have fully grown up. In the aviary, Avery and Evangeline have learnt in the last day or so to scramble up to the top of their nest box, and to pop through the little window and walk along the perch in the day room supervised by daddy, Pan.
A ringed racer joined the late feeders in the garden, and walked, uninvited into the kitchen. Of course, being the softie I am, I gave him his own dish of grain …….

but when he then walked into the sitting room, it was taking a liberty so I collected him up and put him into the hutch, in case he needed a refuge for the night, and though he stayed a while eventually he up and left.

Friday 22nd July – The racer was there in the morning, and Appoline, amongst many others, but no Perelle. Poor little thing, I wonder if he will find his way back by tomorrow. The aviary babies are full of beans, and flutter about inside their home, but haven’t tried to venture out yet.

Saturday 23rd July - Evangeline left the aviary today, and Avery the day after - they are four weeks old. They just wandered out and joined the other pigeons.

 Evangeline above, blue ring, and Avery below, red ring

Monday 25th July 16 – Cloud created a little drama. At her morning hand-feed, about 6.30am, I normally let her just jump off my lamp. Sometimes she does a little fluttering flight but always towards the ground, not up! But this time, somehow, she flew up and landed on the aviary roof. Oh no! Of course, as you know, the other side of the aviary is the river. I watched her on the roof, and took a photo, but although I put the steps up I couldn’t reach her because she was enjoying the new view and didn’t want to come anywhere near me.

She stayed there for a while, but when the flock flew off in a real or imagined panic, suddenly she wasn’t there anymore. I had visions of her ending up in the river, like Cissie did that time, but when I looked over the fence, there she was on a pile of grass, leaves etc. I quickly got the net and put it over her so she couldn’t move....

and then had to get the steps and scramble over the fence – not really what I wanted to be doing first thing in the morning! She was ok of course, just a few ruffled feathers.

Wednesday 27th July 16 – Well I have written my notes for a while but so far Perelle has not come back. He or she was a sweet young bird and it is a shame that I will probably never see him again. Of course, not seeing a bird doesn’t mean it is dead, but Perelle went off in the heat-wave and may not have been strong enough to get back here from wherever the flock go at night.  I see Appoline every day though thankfully. This is why the aviary birds have such an advantage – they can fly to the roof and round about, but don’t have far to go home. Avery (right in the photo) and Evangeline are now fully fledged, but still spend much time in the aviary.....

though they also enjoy being out on the roof with the flock – unlike Pascal and Primrose who mainly stay in the aviary…. Pascal because he has to, not being able to fly, and Primrose because she wants to, though she does come out for short periods. When I cleaned out the aviary yesterday I made a new arrangement for Pascal, with a ‘nest’ like Cloud has got (a proper pigeon nesting bowl). He and Primrose act like mates, rather than the siblings they are. I am not sure if siblings do mate, though I don’t think this is a great idea, especially because of Pascal’s disability, but if they do start nesting for real I won’t stop them. They are a bit young yet being only four months old.  I think the box I put there is a bit small, but the space is limited. 

I went into the aviary at lunch-time to be greeted with an unexpected but pleasant surprise – Chino was out of the nest box, she had obviously just done her ‘hen poo’ (very big poop excreted by sitting pigeon females, saved up over the night!) and next to it was an egg-shell. Wow! A baby already! I wasn’t expecting hatching til Friday. This means the baby hatched only xx days after the first egg was laid. Pan was obviously itching to get hold of the shell – the second I released it after taking the photo, he picked it up…… and went to the little doorway…….flew to the roof, and chucked it away!

I removed Chino and held her against my body, so I could take this photo, she made a dreadful fuss of course, but I wanted to see our new arrival – the cutest weeniest just hatched little orange bubba! Later Pan celebrated by mating with Cloud! I have never seen her allow this before!

The horrible eye infection seen in so many last Autumn  is back in a big male pigeon that I have been unable to catch. One time I did manage to get my hands on him but he struggled away, and now of course is even warier of me! One eye is fine, the other is gunked up though he can still see out of it. I know that if I could only catch him, I could remove the stuff and treat his eye with the wonderful drops I discovered last year from Healing Sun on ebay. All I can do is make sure he gets an extra ration of peanuts to keep his strength up but if the other eye got infected too, unless I could get him, he is doomed to either be caught by a predator or starve to death.

Thursday 28.7.16 – Pan is one year old today! Happy Birthday to my clever boy! His short eventful life so far – He was hatched to my flightless bird Cissie who was disabled due to being a paramyxovirus recoverer and Sultan, a racing pigeon, who stayed for a while. Sultan left when Pan and his sibling Tink were only about 17 days so I hand reared them, as Cissie was unable to feed them. Tink died but I nurtured Pan all through last winter, and in February put him with Chino, and they made a match of it. Pan is now father to eight! (all thriving) Pascal and Primrose, Bronte and Darcy, Avery and Evangeline, and two new babies – the other egg hatched today! Here’s Chino and you can just see one of the tiny babies – probably only as big as my thumb now but amazingly will probably be fledging in four weeks time!

Friday 29.7.16 – Just after the young birds (now the old babies!) Avery and Evangeline had gone back into the aviary at about 8.30am, and I had gone back into the house, I heard a thump, thump and went straight back out to see a sparrowhawk flying away from the grain bin area. There were feathers on the lawn, but I think whatever bird it was had got away. Haven’t seen the SH for ages, and not wanted to! – but I MUST take care, and remember it could be there at any time. Cloud and Pascal particularly need to be protected.
I made a new arrangement, particularly for Pascal’s benefit today, in the aviary. I made a slope so that he could possibly get up higher – and into the box that Primrose mostly uses at night. Pascal and Primrose seem determined to be together, so I will humour them, against my better judgement. It aint right n proper, but they don’t know that! Within a very short time, Pascal had learnt to scoot up his slope!

Thursday 4.8.16 – Oh dear I haven’t written up my notes for a while, and things move on so quickly with the birds! Well the new babies are beginning to sit up and take notice. They look very similar at the moment. It seems amazing that Avery, their big brother (or sister) is still less than 6 weeks old, and still has a few of the wispy yellow baby down feathers on his head, and they are a week old – BUT daddy Pan is ‘driving’ (chasing) mummy Chino because he wants to start ANOTHER nest!
Bronte is less than 14 weeks, and his sibling, Darcy, left the family home (the aviary!) quite a while ago – but he has stayed and from an early age has strutted his stuff and made things awkward by courting his own mother, and annoying Pan. Last evening, when Bronte arrived back in the aviary, they started fighting, so I shut him in a box that I had put on the top of the box that the new babies are currently in. I had put the box there for his benefit and hoped that Pan would just let him in it without fuss. But of course Pan is the alpha male and likes a good tussle – and this new box looked pretty good to him – being nice and high. And he saw no reason why he and Chino shouldn’t have THREE nestboxes! I thought Bronte might not come back tonight - either because he didn’t like being shut in the box or because he doesn’t like Pan’s attitude! Again, I had to shut Bronte away – mainly to keep him out of Pan’s way but also because he (Bronte) was ‘getting at’ poor little Evangeline!
In fact, tonight, Avery didn’t come home – which is a shame because he is still young to be out all night! I hope to see him again in the morning.
Pan doesn’t appear to have a problem with Pascal, who is also male. This is no doubt because Pascal is an ‘under-dog’ sort of bird. He keeps himself to himself and his quarters (with Primrose) are all underneath the shelf upon which Pan’s nest-boxes stand. Pascal and Primrose (siblings) are approximately four and a half months old

Friday 5.8.16 – Avery was there in the morning. He is probably the most distinctive of Pan and Chino’s offspring, with his one white-tipped wing feather. There is another bird, probably about the same age, that comes with the flock, very similar – also with the one white tip. I call him Avon. Although I said I wouldn’t name and/or ring new birds, of course sometimes I do!

Evangeline didn’t come back to the aviary this evening either, so it looks like the two of them have moved out – despite being less than 6 weeks old, and still practically babies themselves! Bronte did come back, and I had the same performance with Pan, , who I had to chuck outside for a minute or two, while I caught Bronte and locked him into the box (with a little pot of food and some water).

A few photos taken around this time....

Cloud sunbathing in the porch of the aviary. I like it here! she says. The aviary gives her far more freedom than she had before. For a start, she doesn't have to wait for me before she gets up in the mornings!

Primrose, left and Pascal - I put him there, he can't get up by himself
 Below, Mariette and Montgomery - the new babies 
And Chino, feeding them

Monday 8th August 16 - The situation with Bronte in the evenings hasn't improved, but Pan has decided that the upper box is ideal for his new nest and has started putting sticks in it! He is busy, busy, busy - there is no time to fly to me and mess about on my head, shoulder or in the feeding bowl - he has too much to do! Pan of course and as always must have his way, and so I lock Bronte in the lower box that is unoccupied by the new babies - who aren't so new now as they will be 2 weeks old on Wed/Thurs! So far they appear to both be grey, with Monty the lighter one.

Lucky and Lottie have not attempted to start a new nest and the dovecote stands empty. It needs painting so desperately that maybe I ought to start thinking about doing it.

5.30pm - was going to sign off and finish this blog when I found an injured pigeon in the garden. She had a wound on her wing, which I sprayed with the Veterinus spray (I also have the gel as you know) and seems unable to fly, though otherwise alert.

 She wouldn't take a drink, but I made her as comfortable as I could in the old hutch which is now the hospital! She wanted to go in that corner, but I will move her to the night part a bit later on, as I think she will feel safer there.

Later - the injured one accepted a drink, which I was pleased about and I settled her in the darker night part of the 'hospital'. Bronte didn't come back to the aviary tonight - he obviously can't face Pan's aggression.

Here are the birds tonight....

 Pan comes rushing towards me as I try to take his and Chino's photo
 Chino in the new nest
 And in the box below the new nest, the babies in the old one!
 Pascal snuggles up for the night in his box

And Primrose sleeps in her 'nest' above Cloud on the ground floor

To be cont...