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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Mainly about Solo - and what happened to Cloud

Thursday 9th April 15 -  6.35am – There was a male and female white dove in the garden and I wondered if it was Loretta and another male, but it wasn’t. Lucky didn’t turn up til nearly 7am and Loretta not til 8am. They were very slow in feeding Solo and he didn’t get fed til 8.45am, when they both fed him. Once I know he’s been fed, I can relax! I feel that I have to take some responsibility for him, and if the parents didn’t feed him, or didn’t come back for some reason, I would have to make other arrangements. Now he is nearly two weeks old, I know that I could cope hand-feeding him if I had to. But all is well at the moment.


Solo in an old hood of mine, with his cuddly toy!

Friday 10.4.15 - There was a hawk kill in the garden this morning. I surprised it and I think the victim was already dead as she picked it up and flew off with it. It was a pigeon – I hope an unknown one.
So a bad start to the morning, but a nice surprise in the afternoon. I was digging over the raised bed and a pair of sweet white doves, definitely a male and a female, sat on the wire above me. Somehow I felt that they were ‘new’ or different in some way to my most known white doves. When they came down to eat, I was amazed to see the female had a blue ring, and was eating in a funny sort of sideways motion .... Bianca! Truly, I could hardly believe it as the last time I saw her was in February and I thought she had PMV. I looked back over my blogs and found that it was on the 17th Feb that I last saw her .......caught and hand-fed her. I released her because I just can’t look after any more birds, and when I didn’t see her again I felt terrible, thinking she had perished. But here she definitely was, with a nice looking white male partner. Good news indeed! So for nearly two months she has managed to find enough to eat... I obviously worry too much. Bianca’s been around for at least a couple of years now – she used to be with a male I called Dirty Ricky, whether this is he or A.N Other I don’t know.


Male white dove, with the blue-ringed Bianca

I haven’t seen Loretta since the morning and don’t think she is feeding Solo, but I saw Lucky feed him 7.30am and twice during the afternoon. I think he needs a feed before bedtime and as I write this in real time it is 5.30pm so hope Lucky comes back and gives him one. It’s quite normal for the male birds to do the feeding at this stage. If he hasn’t fed him by 6.30pm then he’s probably not going to, so I will give him a top up. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing to do, but this baby does seem to be getting less feeds than is usual. The last feed Lucky gave him must’ve been before 3pm – so it will be a long long time til breakfast if I don’t. It’s always a worry to me to know what to do for the best.
Lucky didn’t return and I took Solo out for a little top up feed. Although the early evening was warm, I kept him covered while I did it. I offered him the shot glass with tepid water and he had a little drink – clever little thing. But I hope I did the right thing! I took the chance to weigh him – before I fed him - and he weighed approx 249g and according to my Feral Pigeons book (Richard E. Johnston and Marian Janiga) that is near spot on for his age (250g)  – so I was pleased! I put him back in the nestbox afterwards and will bring him in as usual, about 7.30-7.45pm. He’s such a cute funny little stripey thing and I think he is beginning to know me. I love him!

Sat. 11.4.15- I have a feeling that Loretta isn’t around. The bird that I always think is her, as it is so similar, is actually a male – and there might be more than one Loretta lookalikes. The male ‘Loretta’ could actually be a nest-sibling as he is so similar, but when I see the real one, I know her and she was not there at the morning feed. Lucky fed Solo at 7.30am and then 10 mins later I happened to notice that an adult was in the nestbox and I waited for it to emerge hoping it was Loretta, but it was Lucky feeding again. I do trust him to look after Solo, but it seems a shame if Loretta has already disappeared off the scene. Originally I got the impression that she came from a long way away, and maybe she has gone back there, leaving Lucky to bring up Solo. I last saw her on Thursday. Lucky is also doing a lot of flirting with other females, though the male birds do this anyway whether they have a female or not. I have also seen him mating with Chino and Cissie, but not Cloud (who is a grumpyguts anyway!). He doesn’t treat the homies badly, so I don’t mind.


Above, Lucky visits the homies - he's in front of Cloud in the hutch, with Chino standing on the run, and Cissie still inside it.

Loretta was back by 8.15am, ate sparingly like she always does, and then flew off when the others did. I get the impression she is done with Solo!
Lucky came back and fed Solo at 1.15pm, and surprisingly stayed in the nestbox with him for quite a while. This was nice to see as Solo spends many long hours on his own, without even a sibling to observe and snuggle with, so I was glad Daddy Lucky was giving him some attention. Maybe he’s saying ‘Mummy’s gone fly-about so it’s just you and me little buddy!’
He fed him again at about 3.30pm but after that I didn’t see him feed - I will probably top him up about 6.30pm but won’t bore you from now on with an endless feeding schedule!

When all the birds have left, even the last pigeon stragglers, the garden is very quiet and it starts to get chilly. Little Solo is then all alone, in a big dovecote, on his baby ownio, without mum, dad or sibling – so I go out with my straw-filled box and bring him in to spend the night in the spare room with my homies. He’s two weeks old now, so soon he will have to spend the night outside, but I will ‘tuck him in’ then and in the meantime I am happier with having him in.

Above, my Grace eats from my hand

12th April 15 - Solo, about 16 days old - he has pretty markings, don't you think?






Tuesday 14th April – Lucky is being a good dad and I am pleased with Solo’s progress. I thought Loretta might have remembered that she had a baby because she flew to the ledge on the nestbox this morning.... but didn’t go in, and I realised it was only because another male was hassling her. He continued to do so when she went to the ground again, and Lucky was watching but ‘Ho hum, I’m not bovvered’ he says ‘these females are such flibbertygibbets, but I’ve got MY BOY!’

At lunchtime, the only two birds around were Lucky and Mrs. Blackbird – both looking for food for their babies. Lucky stood on the patio for quite a while, and I crouched near him and spoke to him, telling him he’s a special bird. He is not tame like Grace is, flying to my hand, but he knows and accepts me.


Bianca and her mate are still around in the afternoons, and my Autumn has come back again. I am so so thankful she wasn't involved in the cull. Here she is......

 Autumn - my oldest surviving 'baby' hatched in my cote (that still visits) - 3 years old this summer
And below, Dolly, another special 'baby' - 2 years this spring
 Sometimes, I just have to get my camera as I think .....what if this was the last time I ever see this bird......

15.4.15 -  All baby doves and pigeons when they get to a certain age will rear up and ‘hiss’ at you if you approach the nest, in an effort to protect themselves from predators. Solo is the only baby I’ve ever had who doesn’t do this to me – instead he flaps his wings and says ‘Feed me, feed me!’ – and I say ‘No Solo, only a top up in the evenings after Daddy’s gone’, because I want him to get his main food from Lucky of course! – but a little snackette at 6.30pm after Daddy’s left the garden is ok!
Thursday 16th April 15 – I had such a lovely surprise this morning! I had Cloud in my hands as I had just fed her and the flock had flown off in a panic for some reason..... when something walked through the open garden gate....I couldn’t focus for a moment, then I saw it was Mrs. Mallard Duck with her brood of little babies. Amazing! I flew into the house, dumped Cloud into her crate, rushed to get the camera and outside again.....but couldn’t see them..... but yes there they were, crossing the flower bed and walking towards the gate to the island.





My photos are a bit fuzzy but it was just a case of taking some quick snaps!

 I kept my distance as didn’t want to frighten them, and at one point Mrs. Duck seemed to hesitate and turn back, but then she decided to carry on, with the tiny babies waddling behind her. I let them get through the gate then I followed. Mrs. Duck had done a sharp right and obviously just jumped into the water, and the babies were following......they looked so cute with their legs sticking out at funny angles, and with no fear whatsoever about the drop! - Mummy must know best!


As they hit the water one by one they were all obviously swept into the swirling water of the little weir, and my heart was in my mouth, but they all met up further downstream. My camera ran out of charge and the ones I got weren’t very good but I was so happy and privileged to see them.

Later - well I thought things were going well with Lucky and Solo, despite Loretta’s disinterest but the situation deteriorated today. I saw Lucky feed Solo first thing, but unless he fed him again in the morning when I was out I am pretty sure that was the only time. In the afternoon, when I was gardening I thought I’d wait til 3pm (bearing in mind little Solo had only been fed at 7am) but Lucky didn’t feed, so I gave a small one and some water, and hoped Lucky would come back – which he did at about 3.45pm. He came down to the lawn, ate a bit, then something startled the birds and off they all flew. Poor little Solo! So this time, I thought I’d wait and see if Lucky came back by 5pm – which he didn’t, so Solo got another little feed. I kept popping out, and looking out, and eventually was quite surprised to see Lucky about 6.00pm but.... the same happened as at 3.45 – he ate a bit himself, got startled and flew away. So it pretty well looked like Lucky only fed his baby once today. I gave Solo more of a proper feed at 6.30pm and put him back in the cote – though I will be collecting him to bring into the house about 7.30pm.  These happenings reminded me of another time, with other babies, when for some reason I did all the feeds one day because the parents couldn’t or didn’t – and then the next day things were back to normal. I very much hope that this will be the case with Lucky and Solo. Although I enjoy interacting with baby pigeons, and don’t mind feeding them, it is far better for them if the parents do it. Also I have a problem with knowing how much they should drink. You must NEVER squirt water into a bird’s beak or down their throat by the way – so I offer little sips of tepid water from a small shot glass and hope that the baby will take enough. I can’t find any info on how much they should drink.
So what’s the reason for Lucky’s neglect today? Of course, I just don’t know. Maybe he spends a lot of time flying to wherever he got Loretta from, thus taking him away from the garden..... maybe he’s not interested in Solo because Loretta has lost interest in him.....I really can’t think that it is because there is something wrong with  Solo – (and parents obviously neglect ill or deformed chicks) as he is an obviously healthy baby. Maybe Lucky’s feeling unwell or feeling his age – since his daughter Dolly is 2 this spring, Lucky must be at least 2 years 9 months and is probably 3 years old or more. I read somewhere that feral pigeons live 3-4 years, and somewhere else that they live 5-6 years – so if 5 to 6 is ‘old’ then Lucky must be middle aged! Of course, pigeons in captivity, well looked after – can live to 15 years or more.  In my 9 or so years of dove and pigeon keeping/observing I have not known a free bird be around here for longer than three years. It makes me feel anxious when the parents don’t look after the babies properly. Of course, I will do whatever I can for Solo, and it’s lovely having a tame baby, but it’s not so good for the baby – they need their parent/s – Oh come on Lucky, buck up! Solo needs you!
Thurs 16th April 2015 – I got up at 6.10am and brought Solo in his box through to the kitchen. Lucky arrived in the garden before 6.30am and as soon as I saw him I popped Solo back in the nestbox. Lucky had had a bit of food himself and left by 6.40am – not having fed Solo. I mentally dithered, not knowing what was best to do, and eventually fed Solo at 7.10am – but typically Lucky was back 5 minutes later, and eventually fed Solo at 7.30am, so I should’ve waited. I could see from the ground that Solo was totally forgiving and pleased to see his daddy again, and Lucky stayed in there with him for a good 4-5 minutes, making it a good feed – I hoped! He then stayed on the roof for 15 mins, but when he’d gone I went out to feel Solo’s crop so I would know how much is a good crop full! So, all is well for now – with Lucky eventually feeding his baby 24 hours after he last fed him (but luckily Solo has a dove-grandma!)
Friday 17.4.15 – Today was better – Lucky fed at 7.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm. I fed Solo at 6.30pm. Hopefully Thursday was just a blip. Loretta was here briefly on the patio in the afternoon – it seems she and Lucky are divorced already!!!! – he is definitely not lucky in love! I never see her with Lucky and she was being ‘driven’ by a white male. At about this time, when the baby, or more usually babies, are 2-3 weeks old, the pair are usually looking to have more eggs – but unless Lucky finds a new female – or Loretta comes back and is forgiven – then it doesn’t look like that  will be happening.

Mr. Mandarin Duck on the lawn

Saturday 18.4.15 – Another not so good day. It started well with Lucky feeding Solo at 7.30am and 1pm.... then.... nothing..... I was gardening all afternoon and was pretty sure Lucky was not even around.  I was on edge all the time. Eventually I gave in and gave Solo a little feed at 5pm, just so he could have something and I could give him a drink. Lucky eventually turned up at 5.50pm with some pigeons, and a white female he seemed to be interested in. I threw food down but none of the birds came to the lawn, and it is now 6.05pm and I am typing and watching the cote at the same time. I went out to look at the roof at 6.15pm – and they’d all gone! Solo was peeking out of the cote - If you saw that little face waiting at the window it would break your heart. 


I went out at 6.30pm, wrapped him in a warm fleecy blanket, and gave him a good feed. I am still bringing him in at night so will collect him in an hour.
Whatever happens, whether Lucky feeds Solo or not, on any particular day or time, I will keep to the routine for a squab of his age. So he will stay in the nestbox all day, and only taken out for feeds if I have to. After this weekend, I must bite the bullet and leave him outside at night, so he gets used to it. I’m hoping that Lucky will show enough interest to help him to fledge, but if not then I will have to do my best, like I did with Santa.
Sunday – 19th April 2015 – My routine for the last few days has been – get up on the alarm at 6am, put Solo back in the nestbox, go back to bed and get some more sleep til 7am when I get up and feed the flock. Lucky was there and later on when he went to the water bath and took some water I was pleased as that’s what he always does before feeding – he fed Solo at 7.35am, and shortly afterwards with Lucky still on the roof I went to feel Solo’s crop. Honestly, I couldn’t really feel anything, and I knew Lucky hadn't eaten that much himself. I waited til the birds flew away then took Solo out for a slap up breakfast! After 9 grains, I remembered that I had wanted to weigh him, so took him inside – 270g approx which means he has put on weight which is good. He’s about three weeks old now and I fed him about 25 grains total. I put this info down not so much for you, but for me if I was re-reading and needing to feed another bird – it’s all useful info.
I didn’t see Loretta at all at this morning feed. She was obviously bowled over by the attentions of a persuasive older man, allowing herself to be rushed into an hasty marriage and the laying of eggs. But as she whiled away the hours sitting on them, she had plenty of time to repent at leisure. This is jolly boring, she thought, and now a screaming brat to look after..... I think I’ll get a quickie divorce! Thank goodness, she can’t take half the dove-cote – ha ha!!  So I very much doubt if we will see any more babies from these two as a pair, and Solo may end up being Lucky’s last baby.
Lucky fed again about 1.30pm but that was it – he seems to think two feeds are day is enough.

Below, Cissie - wearing a fluffy feather has a hat!


Monday 20.4.15 – I noticed an adult white dove at the cote and knew straight away it wasn’t Lucky so went out to look. It peeked in the nestbox and I chased it away but it came back  few minutes later. I might have to block Solo in when I go out, as I have had a couple of experiences with aggressive doves in the past and can’t risk his safety. The bird went up a third time and I blocked the entrance even though I am here at the moment, so as to give Solo peace and the bird an indication that this is not a good nesting site! Mr. Strong was there too, and I gave the few birds around, including the pheasant! – some grain to distract them.
I was going out so decided to leave Solo blocked in til I got back. I would be an hour and a half – back at 1pm, and hoped to be back before the earliest time Lucky has fed Solo recently i.e. 1.30pm. The worst that could happen would be that Lucky would get back early and be bewildered by the block, but I knew he would forgive me, and better that than an aggressive dove entered the nestbox while I was out. When I got back there were no white doves around, and Solo had neatly pooped a few times on his nappy paper – which I changed! It’s good for me to see his poops as I know then he is getting enough food and water.


Solo - about 3 weeks old - in the nestbox with some little grains to experiment with

Afternoon – As you know, I let the homies out in the afternoons when I am around. Sometimes I garden, but other times I am in and around the house, constantly checking that they are ok. Today I had been inside for some minutes and when I checked – oh God no! .... there was the hawk on top of a white dove, which I knew instantly was probably Cloud. I had been lax and now the hawk had got my special girl! And Cissie was running round the lawn in circles like a mad thing! I rushed out and the hawk flew away. Cloud was wounded but alive, and tried to escape from me, but I soon picked her up, shooed Cissie into the shed kitchen, and shut the door on her. I knew that Chino would be under the counter in there, where she always hides – and with the door shut they would be totally safe. I took Cloud into the kitchen, and wrapped her in a towel, so I could calm and examine her.



 Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad – I reckon the hawk had had her for no more than five minutes – though that’s a long time when a hawk’s got you! I am SO sorry, so sorry, Cloud, I kept apologising to her. I washed the wounds with warm water, then applied the Veterinus Derma Gel I bought for this sort of purpose (I also have a spray). I am pretty sure she won’t die, the wounds are only fairly superficial. When she had been anointed, I took her into the conservatory so she could be in her safe crate. The conservatory gets warm in the afternoons and I felt that would be good for shock! Then I removed the other homies from the shed kitchen, putting Chino in the run and Cissie in Cloud’s hutch. Then I checked Solo! – even though I knew he would be ok! There were feathers over the path.......



and blood all down my T shirt. What a mess! But Cloud has survived and that’s the main thing, and a lesson to me to be more careful.


Of course the hawk strike meant that the flock scattered, and daddy Lucky left without feeding Solo. He’d fed at 7.30am, I had fed at 9.15am and 2pm. I hoped he would come back but knew if he didn’t then I would give Solo a nice big supper. Usually I do this about 6.30pm but was a bit earlier tonight at 6.10pm – which proved to be fortunate – as an hour later, when all the garden was pretty quiet and I was watching tv inside, I noticed a flurry in the cote, and went out to look. Was that just Solo flapping about or what? But it was Lucky in there with him, having come back so late to feed his baby. I reckon Solo must be absolutely stuffed!
Tuesday 21.4.15 – My usual routine with the homies first thing is to put Chino in the conservatory – as she is nervous – and then take Cissie and Cloud into the garden to feed the flock and give them their hand-feed breakfast. But today I took them out separately as I needed to treat Cloud gently. She is ok, but she had diarrahoea which is unusual for her, and no doubt due to the trauma, and later on when I put her in the hutch, she stayed in the hidey-part most of the day – poor little thing.
Lucky is now not in my good books AT ALL! He fed Solo first thing and again a while later, which was not usual for his routine at the moment but I was pleased..... then he disappeared and was not seen all day. Of course I fed Solo at appropriate times, and hoped Lucky would come back to feed him in the evening, like last night. I popped out after we’d had supper, and yes, Lucky was there, with another white dove and one pigeon..... it was well after dovie-feeding time, about 7.15pm – and Lucky gobbled down a lot of grains, which of course I threw him because I thought he was going to feed Solo – but he didn’t! He just ate and left! I had fed Solo at 6pm-ish and felt I’d probably given him enough, so I left him in the cote til just after 7.30pm in case Lucky came back – and then brought him in for the night. I feel I am pampering him a bit but haven’t left him in the cote as we have had a couple of light frosts. Tomorrow night I do plan to leave him outside – I can tell he doesn’t want to come in as he digs his feet into the nesting material and clings on. Below - Solo today - he still retains his 'baby' yellow down on his head.






Wed. 22.4.15 -  Lucky fed Solo in the morning, and I managed to get back with my granddaughter at 1pm to give him a feed, then I was out again til 5. I very much doubted that Lucky had fed him at all, so I gave him another one – and water of course which is very important (and in fact now he sups from a little glass very well!). I hoped Lucky would come, but in vain. So I took Solo out of the cote at 7.10pm which was the latest I thought I could leave it, and gave him a good supper. Lucky didn’t come back at all, and obviously, if it was not for me also feeding this baby he would’ve withered away and died – or if not died been very very little and peaky. I feel this must be because Loretta went away – although in a reverse situation, like when Glory, the male, was killed by the hawk when his babies were only a few days old, his mate, Hope, brought up two babies entirely on her own – with me making sure she had plenty of food of course. I think it must be a male thing. I am not really cross with Lucky – this is his third breeding season in the cote, and his third mate – and he is an interesting bird. He obviously doesn’t understand, and probably just remembers Solo when he is here himself in the mornings. Well, we progress.....Solo is doing quite well and that is the most important thing. Tonight I stuck to the plan – Solo was put back after the late feed and went to the back of the nestbox. I tucked him in with a bit of extra hay, a cashmere glove stuffed with feathers (pheasant) for a ‘duvet’, and a small rolled up bit of fleecy fabric at the entrance – which I then blocked with the little grille that hubby made, and the half brick so it stays in position – whew! I am pretty sure he will be warm enough, and that enough air is getting in – but I do worry. I will get up and unblock him about 6.10am before the birds are back in the garden.
Solo is getting far more interested in the world outside the cote. He is about 26 days old and technically could fledge in a couple of days, but it would be more usual for him not to fledge until he is 32-35 days. In the normal way, there is a period of under-feeding by the parent/s that promotes fledging – well, Lucky could hardly underfeed as he is hardly feeding anyway – and I have no idea how much is underfeeding. I would prefer Solo not to fledge yet, as he will have more of a chance of survival the longer he is in the nestbox and the bigger he is – but I just have to see how it goes. Usually I ring the babies well before Solo’s age but as he has distinctive colouring and is the only baby I haven’t yet done so – but I will because if he grows up and survives I would always want to know him. The trouble is I don’t like my new rings much – they are too chunky and I can’t find the smaller ones I used to have.

Thurs 23.4.15 – Cloud’s wounds are healing but the effect on her psychologically has been terrible. She is now too scared to wander about the garden, and is only happy when she is hiding or in my arms or in the conservatory crate, as below.  It will take a long time before she forgets what happened, and the other homies aren’t as happy as they were either.


Lucky fed Solo first thing and tried to encourage him out onto the hedge – though he is young yet. I fed him at about 11am as we were out for lunch and some of the afternoon. We got back just before 3pm and as the car drew up I noticed a dark pigeon sitting on one of the cote ledges. I hoped it hadn’t been interfering with Solo! But then I saw Lucky in the back nestbox....... until I looked closer and realised it was a Lucky-a-like! A white dove with a black smudge or two. But Lucky was there – on the roof and Solo was fine. It looks like maybe we will have new birds in the cote, unless Lucky won’t allow them to stay.


I don’t mind who comes, pigeon or dove, as long as they don’t hurt Solo. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and the birds stayed around. Lucky fed Solo at 3pm, 5pm and 6pm! Goodness!  He is in Good Daddy mode! Solo spent much time hovering on the ledge or sitting peacefully watching the pigeon world go by under his window.
Sat.25.4.15 – Amazing! Lucky arrived this afternoon bringing Loretta with him! I can now tell her apart from the Loretta-a-like who has very similar markings indeed, but Loretta has dark eyes (what they call ‘bull eyes’) while the other has amber eyes with dark pupils (Lucky, funnily enough, has odd eyes – one of each!)
The other birds interested in the cote haven’t been around for a while. I forgot to say that it is now some weeks since Claro and Tommy who were fighting for a place in the cote both flew away. I have no reason to think either of these young males – both hatched in the cote last summer – are dead. I just think they’ve gone looking for adventures and mates! I hope to see them both again one day.
Sun 26th April 15 – Today I took the opportunity to ring and weigh Solo. He weighs 265g which I think is slightly less than the last time, but he seems ok and I have picked up adult birds that weigh less. I wanted to ring him so I would always know him, but as he is quite distinctive anyway I didn’t need an outstanding ring – and I am always worried that the brighter colour rings will attract the hawk’s attention – like a red rag to a bull! – so I ringed him in pale blue.




Our adopted cat, Loopy, appeared at the gate - the pigeons seemed unconcerned. She's a funny cat - she'll sit and listen to me speaking to her, but I haven't touched her for about two years (so she's pretty feral and probably has fleas).





Late aft – despite gloomy weather and only a few pigeons around, Solo was still on the ledge of the cote, looking to me like he was waiting for supper! I never know whether to feed him or not – and when.  I did feed him about 6pm and if Lucky comes back later, then so be it. It’s not an ideal situation at all, the whole thing has been a little tricky, but it is most important that Solo gets a good supper to see him through the night in the cote. After I’d fed him and given him water, he went and settled down, so I think he was waiting, poor little thing. I do put little grains on his ledge and I see him pecking at them, but even if he was managing to pick them up, it wouldn’t be enough to sustain him. My current routine with him is to let Lucky feed or not feed until the time when Lucky flies away with the others in the morning- which is usually a while after the morning feed, and then I take him out to feed him, knowing that Lucky won’t be back til 1pm ish at the earliest (usually) – and then I don’t feed him again until supper. I saw Lucky feed him a couple of times today, but he doesn’t seem to feed him much – in quantity I mean. Lucky didn’t return, though a white dove was circling at 7pm but I soon saw it hadn’t got Lucky’s black streak in it’s tail, and it was, in fact, Mr. Strong – so fortunate I did feed Solo or he wouldn’t have had any supper.

Mon 27.4.15 -  Solo fledged today........ I didn't see him fly out of the cote, but there he was, in the raised bed....




As soon as I realised he was out and about, I stayed outside to keep guard of him, and after a while of pecking, he tried to fly up to the nestbox but landed - plomp! - into the pampas grass - from where I rescued him and put him up in the cote.

Below, Lucky - Solo's daddy - looking a bit startled


In the afternoon, I saw Lucky and another male, chasing a female I took at first long distance glance  to be Loretta - but I soon saw she was a very pretty white and brown ringed pigeon.


Lucky tried to jump on top of her - not the actions of an officer and a gentleman, Lucky! - and I could tell she was poorly or exhausted, though was trying to eat. I let them get on with it, and a few minutes later when the flock flew off, I found her still there on the path, and easily netted her. I couldn't find any injury, but she seemed thin and I got the impression she was tired. When I examined her I found pink staining under her wings, which I had never seen before - I mean like something painted on.

As well as her ring number, she had a phone number, so I rang. The gentleman who answered did not speak English as his first language, but we managed reasonably well. He lives in Streatham which is South London - and about 25 miles from here. I agreed to keep the bird and see how she was tomorrow. I put her in the hutch for the rest of the afternoon, with food and water - as Cloud was out in the garden anyway. 

 Safe, she was able to have a little doze


Then later, I put Chino to bed early, and brought the racer into the conservatory for the night. She seemed to have runny green poops - which can mean the bird hasn't had enough to eat and also probably signifies some illness. 

Tue 28.4.15 - But she was reasonably ok in the morning, and went back to the hutch, and after I'd done feeding the flock and sorting my birds, I opened it up and she flew to the roof - so far, so good.By that time, Solo had also flown to the roof - so the racer's at the bottom, Solo's in a diagonal line up to the left - and Lucky's one of the two on the top right.

 It didn't take Lucky long to find the pretty racer - but ignored eager little Solo
 Poor Solo - daddy's only interested in chasing girls!

It's a week since the hawk attack on Cloud, and now I have stopped putting on the gel. Her wounds are healing well, and she is far happier in herself and will wander around the lawn again.

 Solo gave himself his first bath!
 Sometimes it seems that little Solo doesnt have a friend in the world, except me. Lucky is paying him scant attention, and certainly doesnt snuggle or preen him, like I have seen other daddy birds do to their babies. But he is still giving him some food - either on the ground or in the nestbox, and Solo is starting to pick up little grains himself. I watched extremely closely and he is getting them and eating them - clever boy! Though I did see him struggling with a small stone - you can't eat that Solo!  I am also giving him a small morning feed, after Lucky has left, and then a good supper in the evening after Lucky has gone.
 Henry, the pheasant, now comes running to get his peanuts

To be cont........