Thursday, 15 November 2007

Lily died today

My bright, beautiful and beloved dove, Lily, died this morning.

I knew she was poorly as she had sat, hunched up, all day yesterday on the roof, hardly moving. John, her mate (named after my father) sat with her for most of the day, but as the sun started to go down, he went and ate and drank, and then went to bed in the normal place in the dovecote.

I watched Lily anxiously but there was nothing I could do. Eventually she edged slowly along the roof, until she was nearer the end of it, and nearer the dovecote, and the hedges where I put the food pans. I called her and put out food in front of her to see if I could encourage her down, but she stayed the night on the telegraph wire, near to the roof.

This morning I went out into the frosty garden at 7.00 am and she was just outside our gate, in the gravelled yard, on the ground. She couldnt fly, and made a feeble attempt to run away, but I netted her and put her in my 'hospital' box while I thought what to do. She wasnt showing any symptoms of paramyxo. Of course, I put food and water in the box, but she didnt appear to touch either.

My husband and I agreed that it seemed a good idea to put her back in the dovecote with food and water, and see what she did. I took her out of the hospital, having set up the steps, and put food and water in the dovecote. She seemed to change, but I put her in the dovecote anyway. Now I think she died then, in my hands, and maybe it wasn’t a good idea to move her from the hospital. But she has been handled many times before, and not died, and picking up a bird carefully doesn’t kill them, and I knew she was poorly anyway…..

I watched the dovecote on and off for two hours, but she didn’t move and very soon I noticed a fly or two around, so I went and put the steps up again and I could tell she was dead.

I am very sorry indeed to lose her, and concerned that John will fly away, as Pax did when Persephone was killed. I still see her Easter babies, Francis and Iona, with the feral flock, but they don’t home here.

Later on I gave poor Lily a lovely funeral with a little posy of small pink, white, blue and yellow flowers picked from the garden tucked into her feet, and sent her on her way down the river. She looked so white and beautiful that I took a photo of her first - some might think that macabre, but I don't.

John sat on the roof and another white dove kindly kept him company. I don’t think I could have borne it if he had to sit alone. He went to bed in the normal place in the dovecote at quarter to four. The other doves in the feral flock will come tomorrow and mostly at least some stay around all day. I hope he will find another mate out of them, but it is more likely, I suppose, that he will succumb to the virus. I presume Lily had paramyxo, although thankfully none of the distressing symptoms of head-twisting and turning round and round. And at least I didnt have to take her to the vet to be put down.

Lily's life: She was the squab (chick) of Pax and Persephone and hatched on 17.7.06 with her sibling, Columba. In December that year she was injured, presumed shot at, and I nursed her until she was better and able to fly again. Handling during nursing made her the tamest dove we had, and she was never scared to be near me. She mated with John, and became a mother at 8 months old, to Francis and Iona. She had more squabs right at the end of May but they died aged a few days old, and then more in July. They were the Ugly Dovelings who died aged 2 weeks. (More details on all of this in previous blogs) Lily died 15.11.07 aged 16 months. RIP my beautiful dovie angel.


Ivy said...

It is allways sad when a loved creature dies. Hope the rest of your animals are spared. Are you sure though that sending her down the river was such a good idea? doesn't that help to spread the virus?

Cowgirl said...

Poor you, and poor dear Lily. I'm sure you picking her up so gently would have not hurt at all, her time had come. She would have known you were trying to help her and comfort her. Take care, Faith, and I hope John stays, but our male Fantail Pigeon left after his mate disappeared - we still don't know what happened to her. I think they get lonely and go to find another mate. Understandable.

DJ Kirkby said...

*SOB* so beautiful even in death...