Thursday, 25 September 2008

Update on Spirit and Sooty

Me holding Spirit (sorry about the boob shot!) and Spirit, lefthand corner, watches men at work!

Thursday 25.9.08

Spirit has now been with me for four weeks. She still can't fly and I wonder now if she will ever be able to.

Spirit fans her feathers and stretches, but still can't fly.

I had a fright the other day as I came out into the garden one morning first thing and she was nowhere to be seen. I even put my hand into the dovecote to make sure she wasnt hiding right at the back. I then walked out of the gate into the gravelled yard beyond, but no sign of her. I was a bit upset thinking that maybe she had tumbled out of the dovecote, as she does, but landed on her back and then some vicious visitor, like a cat or mink, had discovered her and carried her off. There was no sign of scuffle though, and no large quantities of feathers in one place. I then hoped that maybe somehow she had discovered she could fly and flown off with the rest of the flock, but I doubted it.

I kept looking out at the garden, and about half an hour later I saw a dove on the wrong side of the gate trying to get into the garden. It kept ducking its head, and looking like it wanted to squeeze in, but we have wire at the bottom of the gate to keep the dog in the garden. I went out, and of course it was Spirit. I held the gate open, and in she walked! She must have falled out of the dovecote, onto the hedge, and then walked along and dropped down into the yard side, rather than the garden side. I was relieved to have her back as she has become a special pet.

We have been treating her for mites. I had thought the infestation had cleared on its own, but of course it hadn't. I don't know much about pigeon mites but they look like grass seeds, long shape rather than round, and they were on her breast and her wings. Sometimes they were visible and sometimes not. I suppose they burrow into the feathers seeking the skin and the blood. Yuck! I bought some Johnson's Anti-Mite and Insect Spray from the pet shop, which contains natural biodegradable Pyrethrum. The most effective way of treating the bird is for two people (wearing gloves) to do the job together: one holds the bird, covering its eyes while the other parts the feathers and applies the spray. The pigeon house or dovecote must also be treated. It seems to have worked, but I will be keeping an eye out.

Spirit has taken to sitting just inside the open back-door, or on the branch near the door that I have put there for her. It doesn't bother her as I go in and out. One day my Yorkie snapped at her as she sat in the doorway and was severely reprimanded. Normally he's good with the doves, but he probably thought it was a bit much if they start almost coming into the house!

Saviour, Spirit's mate, doesn't seem to be with her any more - he may be with the main flock of course, but doesnt seem to come and sit with her during the day which is a bit sad.
Sooty, the dove who fell down the chimney, has been seen every day, but is not much cleaner. I'm pretty sure she is a young female. I am also seeing Columba (one of the first babies reared in the dovecote) every day. So I have three ringed doves at the moment - Spirit (orange), Sooty (purple) and Columba (white).
The end


Cait O'Connor said...

Spirit is so beautiful.
I really enjoyed this Faith, the words and the photos.

Lee said...

Have been reading the blog for some time now, my dovecote and two pairs of doves are installed in two weeks. Would love to make contact and ask you 100 stupid questions. Email if possible on


Faith said...

Very happy to do so, Lee and look forward to hearing about your doves.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Faith,

Lovely to hear that Spirit is still with you, pretty photo's too.

Good idea about placing a branch near house I thought, at least Spirit can perch on that if she can't fly.