This Bank Holiday weekend has been warm, and I have seen John and Lily mating a few times..... well, we will see if anything comes of it.....
In the mornings after the big flock has eaten, they will fly away, but John and Lily soon return to the roof and usually several others come back and spend the day with them. No particular doves or number of doves, but some are usually around. If there are no doves at all in the garden, it seems lifeless and dull, and I scan the sky and usually within minutes some are flying round.
The big flock start gathering again in the late afternoon and by 4 to 5pm they are ready to feed and come down again, all together, and then again fly away. There are so many of them now that when they fly away it causes quite a breeze with their wings if you are standing underneath and its quite breathtaking watching dozens of white birds swoop overhead. As I said before there can be up to 43 now and as I don't want to be feeding the 5000 I only fill the same number of pans of food. I've increased the pans to five, over a period of time, but that's it now - it's survival of the fittest and a fight for the food. Mind you, they often leave some so I assume they get enough, and of course they are free to obtain food anywhere they can find it.
Most of the doves are just pure white and can't be distinguished from the others, but there are some I always look out for.
Of course, firstly I look for my Easter babies - Francis with the green ring and Iona with the yellow. I am pleased to report that they have been seen several times this weekend, and look in very good health. Another I notice I call Pinkie as she has a bright pink ring on and obviously belongs to someone else! She is the only other ringed dove that is currently visiting.
One exceptionally beautiful pigeon/dove is called Joseph because of his amazing coloured coat! He is reasonably tame and I have managed to get several nice photos of him. He has a funny little flick up of feather at the back of his head, and the feather colours round his neck are gorgeous purple and green. He also has crazy feet, with big feathers sticking out from the sides. I'm very fond of him.
We have several brown and white pigeons coming and call them, collectively, 'The Brown Gentlemen'. I managed to get a photo of one near the dovecote but don't know if you can see the colours very well. They appear brown on the roof, but are actually almost plummy pink. We don't know how many of these there are - 3 or 4 probably. These could be, or related to, what are known as 'Tumblers'.
Another beautiful one is 'Speckles' but he is shy and I havent managed to get a photo yet. He is white but is speckled with black, lightly, all over.
One white dove arrived on the roof about a week ago and I was distressed to see it was all bloodied down its breast. Maybe it got caught by a trap or a predator, or got ripped by a sharp spike on something. It fed with the rest, so I hope it would be ok. I managed to get a pic of it the other day, and as you can see the wound is healing well - he's called 'The Wounded Soldier'.
Juvenile doves can be distinguished from the adult because they are slightly smaller and their beaks are longer and more pointed, and they won't be very dominant. Female doves just look more feminine; smaller than males with a more delicate neck. The only way really to tell the difference between the sexes is to observe their behaviour over a period of time, especially when courting.
During the summer the doves moult and I am always picking up their beautiful white feathers from the lawn. If they are not dirty, wet or bedraggled I usually keep them. If I write to people I often pop a few feathers inside, or enclose them with birthday cards, or sometimes I take them out and about with me and leave one somewhere - on a park bench or the middle of a path! Some people believe if they find a white feather then angels are about, so it might make them happy!
The photos show, from the top: John and Lily walking on the roof after mating, one of the Brown Gentlemen, Approx 29 doves gather for feeding, Wounded Soldier and friend, John and Lily sitting close together (Lily is crouching), Doves lining up on the roof, two photos of Joseph, John and Lily loved up on the dovecote roof. I think if you click on them they enlarge and you can see them more clearly.
So it is now the 27th August 2007 and I will only write in this blog again when I have something particular to say about my doves. Thank you for reading and showing an interest in my doves.
This blog is dedicated to my darling doves:
Pax - Please come home.
Persephone - RIP.
Irene - Missing, assumed dead.
Columba - Missing, assumed dead.
Tiny babies - RIP
Dovelings - RIP
and my beautiful living doves: John, Lily, Iona and Frances and the visitors, who add beauty to our garden and enhance our lives.