Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Two little dickey birds

Started blog Tuesday 28.4.09
Continued Tuesday 5.5.09

The very day before we were due to go away, Purity at last joined Victory by managing to fly to the roof.

I had been out and come home to find Victory on the roof with Hope and some other doves. I checked Purity and found her sitting comfortably well into the nestbox, not peeking out and with obviously no intention of disturbing herself. I felt it was a good opportunity to get her out, so she could see the others and maybe join them. I was desperate for both babies to be fully independent before we went away - able to fly, and find food with the flock.

I put her gently on the ground and she pecked a few grains, then hopped up on the 'nursery' branch and looked around. Mustering her strength, she managed to get herself airbourne and flew in a scrambling way to the low adjacent roof.
Here, Purity, low right, walks up the roof to Hope and Victory.

After a short while, the doves took off to the island to feed and Victory went with them. He flew strongly and surely, thank goodness, as I didn't want him to tire and land in the river. Joking apart, the water flows very fast there and he wouldn't have a chance. Purity waited on the roof, and when they all returned, she joined in with them.

Victory and Purity on the roof with the others, far right. They are still smaller than the fully grown doves.
In the afternoon, I saw Hope feed them on the hedge.

Wed. 29th - the day we were going away. The babies had spent the night in the cote as usual and I was up in time to see them with Hope on the hedge, but I don't think she fed them.

Later, they both flew to the roof with her, and at some point after that, a dove - Hope? Pascoe? another dove? flew to the dovecote and blocked the entrance to the babies' nestbox. Victory tried to get back in, but the dove prevented him. I suppose this dove, whoever it is, has earmarked the nest box for itself. The minute they were fledged it was in there! I only hope it allows Victory and Purity to spend the night in another part of the cote, or that they go with Hope and are safe.

Later when this mystery dove had disappeared, I had a peep in the nestbox - nothing there, but Victory was in one of the other compartments, and, I think, alone. I must just resign myself to leaving my babies' fate to nature. Obviously I would like more eggs in the dovecote, but would've preferred Victory and Purity to carry on living there, and eventually rear their own babies there.

Tuesday 5.5.09

We came home late Sunday evening 3rd May 09. It was dark so no doves around on the roof of course. The new dove was in residence in the old nesting box, but I was pleased to see at least one baby was in one of the other compartments of the dovecote at the back. When I fed the doves early the next morning, I was pleased to see both babies flew to the island with the rest of the flock. They are tentative about feeding, and still only manage the smaller sized grains, but are coping well. They are smaller and more delicate than fully grown birds, and still are not fully feathered under their wings.

Later, on the roof, and sitting together as they still like to do, I captured an amusing picture of them.

The mystery dove who has taken over Victory and Purity's old nest box has proved to be a male, and he is the one with the crippled foot that I have seen all winter and spring. He doesn't appear to have a mate, but spends time on the top of the dovecote, bowing and scraping in male courting fashion. I hope, despite his foot, that he will find a mate so we can have more eggs. I haven't named him yet - he is an attractive dove, despite his foot, as he has a fan-tail. He may not be a full fantail white dove, but has definitely got the genes! I suppose one good thing about him is that I recognise him by his foot! Hope has now gone back to anonymity - the pink food colouring mark has faded away.
The end (you may have to scroll down a bit for the comments section)

Monday, 27 April 2009

Victory Flies!

Tuesday 28th April 09

If you want to read about the Dove Naming Competition it is in the blog below this one.

Hope didn't feed the squabs, Victory and Purity, for the first time on the evening of Wed. 22nd when they were 35 days old (I go on Victory's age, Purity is a day younger). She did feed them on the Thurs evening but not again since in the evenings. I have seen her feed them during the day, but ONLY if they come out onto the hedge. She won't feed them in the nestbox. Of course this is her way of getting them out and making them independent. When she didn't feed them in the evenings, I got them out of the nestbox when she'd gone away and put them on the ground with small grains - and they fed themselves! From approx. 39 days, they could put themselves to bed, by short flights from the ground, to the stump, to the hedge and then into the nestbox. I was relieved when they could do this as it made them so much safer.

I sneak up on the babies to see if they are actually feeding, and to take a photo.

In case you wonder why I note the dates and how many days old the babies are all the time, it is so I know what is roughly to be expected next time that I have any squabs, and can hopefully worry less about what is normal!

Not a very good photo, but shows the feeding tussle in the hedge. The babies try to get to Hope's beak - sometimes she refuses, sometimes she gives in.

One baby, probably Victory, with Hope. There is not much size difference now - the baby is on the right. When you see them in reality, though, the babies are much more delicate and still have yellow down on their heads.This photo was taken at 40 days old.

I obviously had to make a decision not to keeping removing them from the nestbox at night and bringing them into the house. The first night I thought I might do it, I checked the temperature and it had dropped very low, so decided against it. The next night (39 days old) it was mild, so I left them and I didn't even worry about them, but was up at 6.30 am to see if they were ok. I just caught Hope on the hedge trying to entice them out. She has been a brilliant mother to these fatherless squabs. The info I've read says that many lone pigeon parents will chuck one squab out of the nest if the other parent dies when the babies are very small as they can only cope with feeding one baby on their own.

Monday 27th April and again I was up early, to feed the flock and check the babies. Hope had both babies out on the hedge with her. I pottered about in the garden changing the doves bath water and checking on the plants. Suddenly there was a flutter of wings and a small dove almost touched my head as he flew past - it was Victory! He'd found his wings and landed on the main roof of the house (not as high as some houses as our 'cottage' is a bungalow).
He seemed to look around in amazement! Wow, up so high! and proud of his achievement.

Then walked along the top of the roof to where the other doves were. Young birds are likely to get 'picked on' by older birds. There is definitely a pecking order in all flocks, large or small. But I hope if Victory and Purity stay close to the dovecote they will not interfere with any other dove's arrangements and therefore stay out of trouble. I often wonder what happened to poor little Smudge - (see previous blogs) She/he was only a squab really and probably couldn't cope with the new environment.

By 7.30 am that morning Victory had flown away with Hope and the others and I wondered if I would ever see him again. Poor little Purity was left on the ground on her own.

She soon put herself back in the nest box where she feels safe.

I felt a little bit sad, but later on when I got up on the steps to check if Purity was in the nestbox and ok, I found Victory cuddled up beside her! Ah, what a nice big brother he is! (I call Victory 'he' and Purity 'she', but no idea what sex they are. It is extremely difficult to sex pigeons until they are older and display male/female behaviour).

In the afternoon, Victory came out onto the lower roof adjacent to the dovecote with Hope and Pascoe.

Here he is, top right - you can just see the pink ring.

And again, with mummy Hope. Her pink food colouring mark has entirely gone now, and I only recognise her by her feathered legs and attention to the squabs.

Purity hasn't caught up yet, but of course she is a day behind in development. Today is Tuesday and we go away for one night tomorrow. Back again on Thursday, but for one night only before going away for three full days. I must leave the babies to Hope!

The end (you may have to scroll down a bit for the comments section).

Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Winner is......

Sunday 26th April '09

Thank you to everyone who entered my Name the Baby Dove competition. Just a little update before I discuss all the entries and announce the winner.

The babies are now 39 and 38 days old. Victory is the largest and therefore I assume the oldest. They are making slow but sure progress. On Friday I had to be out the whole day, much as I hate to leave them. I got them out of the nest box before I went for a while, and again when I came home at 6pm. I assume,the rest of the day they spent in the nest box. They are both capable of flying short distances and Victory has even got up onto the cardboard box and then flown to the nest box. so they could come out on their own, but they don't.

Hope still tries about twice a day to get them out and I did see one come out to the hedge with her for a short while, but then popped himself straight back in. I managed to get a quick photo - it's not very good but you can see the size difference between mother and offspring.

These show Hope fluttering on the hedge trying to encourage the babies out.

When I get them out they peck at the seeds I put on the ground and in little dishes for them and have sips of water, but they do not move far from the immediate area underneath the dovecote.

Hope has caught me with them out a couple of times but she doesn't seem to mind. She and Pascoe spend time on our roof or on the island and if they fly away them come back frequently to be near the babies. I'm hoping when these babies have grown-up that they will have another brood in the dovecote but that will be up to Pascoe as the male chooses the nesting site.

The baby on my hand is shown the nest box, then I retreat a few paces and let it fly.

It wheels round to the right place, but ends up too high and crash lands on the roof!
I'm still taking them in at night but that will have to stop soon as we go away next Wednesday. I weighed them yesterday morning and they have not put on any weight whatsoever since the last time which was a while ago. However, they are being fed, and feeding themselves a little now, and seem perfectly healthy so I am not worried about their weight.
Now to the contest.... Over 70 names were suggested - Wow! Honour was the most popular choice. Suggested first by Wizzard, and then by Puffin, spelt Honor. DJ Kirkby also gave it a mention, as did Jane Grey in three different forms - Honor, Honoree and Honory and Zoe suggested Timo which means Honour. It is a lovely name, but no, I didn't choose it this time.

Grace was suggested twice, by Camilla and Jane Grey. I do like this name very much. My mother had a very elegant friend called Grace, and my friend has a pretty daughter with this name. Pearl was also suggested twice, by Puffin and Pondside, and I think that's a very pretty and appropriate name for a dove, as is Peace, suggested by Puffin and Jude.

My online name, Faith, was suggested by Tiggywinkle and Jude. Very flattering but I didn't want to choose that.

Glory was suggested by Billie Jane who probably didn't realise that the squabs' daddy (killed by a hawk) had been Glory and Jane Grey suggested Gloria in honour of him - that was a lovely thought, Jane!

Some of the names suggested by children were sweet - Snowdrop, Pretty Dove (just Pretty in it's own is nice) and Fluffy - doves ARE fluffy when they have been bathing. See!

Fennie, much as we empathise with each other usually, surely you didn't expect me to call my delicate baby dove Vic Labour to go with Vic Tory? You are being too witty or off the wall for me! Coo is a cute little name and I liked your clever explanation. Puffin suggested Little Coo first though.

I did say that I wanted a name to 'go' with Victory and interesting attempts were made:

Nelson by ArtSparker (and my husband suggested that too).
Endeavour by Lee. I liked your connections with this one, Lee.
Victoria by Celtic Heart. I liked this as I had some doves from the feral flock last summer called Octavius and Octavia, and Victory and Victoria would've been similar.
Parade and March - suggested by Fennie and Billie Jane's husband. Well I agree they do go with Victory!
Names that I have already used for my doves were suggested. Pax by Pipany - Pax was the leader of my original flock and was so special that I couldn't possibly call another dove after him. Paz, suggested by Pondside, sounds too much like Pax. Columba was one of my Pax and Persephone's babies, but you didn't know that, Celtic Heart. It's a beautiful name and I have seen my Columba back for visits on several occasions. And I think I called one of my feral doves that died, Blanche - as suggested by Jane Grey.

Other names that weren't quite right were:

Majesty suggested by Crystal Jigsaw - too grand! Your own name Crystal would be lovely now I come to think about it.

Endurance suggested by Pondside - no, sorry, it's not a pretty enough word for a dove.

Abrax suggested by Zoe - I like the meaning, but not the word.

Yrotciv (reversal of Victory) suggested by Calico Kate - I'd never be able to say it!

Verity suggested by Jane Grey. It's lovely but my niece is called Verity, and Valory (spelt Valerie) is my sister's name!

Some names didn't appeal very much including Jaws, Captain Beaky, Defeat (I know it was a joke EJ!), Alba and Dorothy (the name of my first Mother in Law).

Names that very much appealed were:

Fortune by Arosebyanyothername - I was very taken with that one.
Serenity by Camilla - a very suitable name for a white dove.
Charity by Jane Grey - very good for Hope's baby
Lucia by ChrisH- I just love the way that name sounds and ditto to Excelsis suggested by Calico Kate.
Cailean by Calico Kate (pronounced Kaylin and Gaelic for dove) - I've never heard that word before, it's lovely CH.
Constance by Zoe - one of my favourite names of all time.

So what name did I eventually choose for Victory's brother or sister?

When I said I wanted a name to 'go' with Victory, I actually meant I wanted a name that went with the word Victory, rather than the meaning of victory, or the ship Victory.

The names for my doves tend to pop into my head. I chose Hope as I was hoping so much that the pair of feral white doves interested in my dove cote at the beginning of the year would set up home and the name Glory of course followed on naturally. It has been a victory for me to rear these babies. The last babies hatched in the dovecote were the Ugly Dovelings, born at the end of July 07 who died aged two weeks and before them the tiny babies who died aged a few days old at the end of May 07. I haven't had any babies successfully reared for two years - the last being Francis and Iona - March 07.

So Victory it was for my first new baby in two years, and I suppose a Triumph for me (as suggested by Pipany, but no I didn't choose that one).

Although I wanted to have the naming competition I couldn't help names coming into my head as to what I would call the other baby if I was to name it myself, and one particular word came into my mind.

When I saw this name suggested on my blog I was very surprised and pleased. The very name I would've chosen. The perfect name!


I love this name, and, for me, it works perfectly with Victory. Three syllables and both ending with 'y'.
So Purity is the name I have chosen for my 'little one' and thank you, Elizabethd, for reading my mind and choosing the very name that my heart had chosen already.

I will contact you through Purplecoo private messages to ask what prize you would prefer - a bouquet, some lovely chocolates or a surprise!

If Purity hadn't been suggested then I may well have chosen Fortune or Serenity.

Thank you very much everyone for reading my dove blogs and taking part in my little competition. Please come back soon as I want to add Jane Grey's YouTube photos (set to music)
of her lovely little woodpigeon squab - also called Hope - hatched among the geraniums in her windowbox - when I work out how to do it! If you can't wait then look up Hope in Paris on YouTube.

The end.
(you may have to scroll down a bit for the comments section)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Can fly, Won't fly!

Tuesday 21.4.09
My dove squabs, Victory and the little un-named one (see Naming Competition in blog below) are very reluctant indeed to come out of the nest. Hope has spent time on the hedge or on top of the dovecote encouraging them to join her. Even if she is on top of the cote and they can't see her, they can obviously sense her as they immediately start their high pitched 'peeping'. She is slackening off the feeds no doubt in an effort to force them out of the nest.

I have taken them out every day since the first time - see previous blog - and have ringed them. I have made them a box to go in if they tumble out of the nest when I'm not around, and put Spirit's branch for them to sit on too. (Spirit was my beautiful dove that couldn't fly - see last late summer blogs). The first time I took these babies out I was afraid they would scramble away from me and get under the hedge so I arranged all sorts of boxes and stuff around to make a pen.

The nursery box to hide in and Spirit's branch.

This is Victory, with his pink ring, he jumped into the water but jumped out again pretty quickly. You have to have shallow water trays for the young squabs or they could drown.

This is the little one, with the purple ring, looking around and assessing the situation.

They ignored the food, because they prefer Mummy to feed them, thank you very much!

The little one crouches and jumps up onto the low branch easy peasy!

Since I started taking them out of the nest three days ago, they have learnt to fly quite well. They just don't want to let on to Mummy Hope!

They quickly learn to fly up onto the step ladder from the ground. There was me worrying they would be scrambling into the bottom of the hedge, and they could actually almost fly onto it!

This is a close up of Spirit, an adult dove, so you can see the difference particularly in their beaks. It's the little one again in the photo, 33 days old.

More close ups of the little one. He seems slightly more tame than Victory, though I give them equal amounts of attention.

Here he is again on my finger. Bob Friar from Everlasting Doves told me to handle them as much as possible and I would love it if they were tame when they are adult, but I don't count on it.

Here you see how un-feathered they still are under their wings, and how delicate their wings are. Victory flew up to the wooden rung on his own from the ground. See the yellow down on his head blowing in the breeze.
Now I put the babies on my hand and raise it to the dovecote and they fly to the entrance and scramble in.
That's all for now. The Naming Competition close this coming Saturday 10pm, so please have a go naming my Little One if you haven't already, and you can choose up to 10 names each.
The End.
(You may have to scroll down for the comments section. I just can't master how to get everything just so on Blogger!)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Name the Babies Competition

Happy Step-Families! This is widowed Hope, with her new mate Pascoe, and her two babies inside the nest-box.

Saturday 18th April '09

Hope and Glory's squabs are now 30 and 29 days old and I think it's time to name them. If you want to skip my updating waffle then just scroll down to the Naming Competition part!

Hope has been leaving them since they were two weeks old and I have taken them into the house every night, partly to keep them warm and partly to keep them safe from predators in the very early morning. In the past my parent doves have slept in the dovecote and would have been 'on guard' but Hope is entirely feral and only here because Glory (now dead) chose it as a suitable nesting site, and as she now has a new mate, Pascoe, she has been leaving them and no doubt spending the night with him! I have no idea where the doves all go at night, but there are lots of barns on the farm and nearby farms.

In the beginning I kept the squabs in the kitchen near the aga to keep them warm, but the last few nights have been putting their nursery box in the conservatory to harden them off a little!

Hope has been spending some time each day on the hedge, looking up at the nestbox, maybe in an attempt to encourage them out. I believe pigeon (dove) squabs fledge at about 30-40 days so shouldn't be long. We are going away in 11 days time so I hope they hurry up and do it before we go! This is important as they will need help to get back up into the dovecote at night until they can fly.

When the doves were away this afternoon, I took each baby out of the dovecote and put it on the grass (for no longer than a minute) to let them see the world beyond their little dark and smelly space! After four weeks in the nest the nestbox is rather unpleasant - although I do do a bit of pooper-scooping, and as they spend the night in the nursery box that does help reduce the mess in the dovecote. The smallest one came out first and seemed quite at home, looking around calmly. The doves came back to the roof just after I'd taken photos of the largest one, so I quickly tried to catch him to put him back before Hope noticed but he fluttered and flapped about the grass so fast that I could hardly catch him!

Smallest one looks around and then hops up onto the stepladder - I am impressed!

This is the largest one - see the yellow down, punk style, still on his head.

Naming Competition

I have decided on a name for the largest, and I presume the oldest, of the two squabs. He (or she - it is extremely difficult to sex pigeons until they are old enough to display characteristic male or female behaviour) is going to be called Victory. He is the one with pink colouring on his tail, on the right in the photo.

So your task is to name the other one! You can choose a male or female name, or just a lovely or suitable word, but it has to go well with Victory.

These are the actual shells that these squabs hatched from.

This baby will be ringed with a purple ring (of course, as it is a Purplecoo baby) and Victory will have a pink one.

You can choose up to 10 names each, and the competition is open to anyone who reads my blog, including children.

No favouritism, I will just choose the name I like best.

The prize will be your choice of a bouquet of flowers, or some lovely chocolates, or a surprise! So you will have to be prepared to give me your address so that I can send it to you. You have a week to think about it as the Closing date is Saturday 25th April '09 at 10pm.

I am looking forward to seeing your suggestions, and thank you in advance.
The End
(You may have to scroll down a bit for the comments section)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Four Week Birthday - and weighed again

Thursday 16th April 09

Hope and Glory's babies (squabs) are four weeks old today. The oldest, and I assume that is the largest one, is 28 days and the smallest, 27. As you know, poor Glory died at the claws of a hawk when they were only days old, and Hope has done a magnificent job rearing them on her own. According to various studies, when one parent dies and the babies are very young, the remaining pigeon parent will chuck one baby out of the nest as it can usually only rear one. Hope has had unlimited access to food of course and that has made it easier for her. On Tuesday 14.4.09 the day's feeding schedule went like this - mind you this is just the feeds I saw, there may have been more: 7.30 am, 7.45 am, 8.20 am, 10.00 am, 4.15 pm and 6.50 pm. Some days there are less feeds and then I get worried that they might not be getting enough food. Mind you feeding does slacken off eventually so that hunger drives the babies out of the nest to fledge.

Hope goes in to feed. If you can click on this photo which should enlarge it, you will just see a squab's little beak lower right.

The babies are now very vocal. I've been able to hear their faint peeping since they were a week old, but now I can hear their high pitched squeaking for food when I am in the house with the doors and windows shut! Yes, it's that loud! And this is the reason that I am alerted to many of the feeds - I hear the squeaking, look out and see Hope's in the nest box. If you are ever in a town with old buildings and you hear noisy high squeaking then look up because there could well be a pigeon's nest tucked up in the nooks and crannies somewhere. Another giveaway is the mess on the buildings and the ground nearby of course. Squabs are sometimes called 'squeakers' for this reason.

They are also much more visible at the door of the nestbox, appearing and disappearing like little ghosts. If I see them and approach, then they shimmy down out of sight. They are still nervous and cautious, although don't seem to mind me handling them too much when I collect them at night to bring them into the kitchen and put them back in the morning.

A little face at the window

And sometimes two!

I weighed them again this morning to see if they had gained from when I weighed them on the 13th - see previous blog - and also because CalicoKate wanted to see a photo of one of them on the scales. So these are specially for you CK!

Big enough to peep out of the box, but not climb out!

Won't stand still on the scales!

Posing nicely now! - This is the smaller one of the two.

The largest one, tail marked with pink, was 9 and 3/4 ounces and is now approx. 10 ounces
The smaller one, was 7 and 3/8 ounces and is now approx. 8 and 1/2 ounces.

(This is their weight gain in 3 days, but difficult to be accurate as they kept getting off the scales!)

According to 'the book'*at 28 days feral pigeon squabs should be between 300 - 350g (i.e. 10 - 12 ounces) so my biggest one is just hitting the target and the other is underweight.
Notice the claws - they are extremely sharp!
I will be having a Naming Competition for them soon, with a prize, so watch this space!
* The book is 'Feral Pigeons' by Richard F. Johnson & Marian Janiga and costs over £70. It is on order for my birthday!
The End
PS You may have to scroll down a bit for the comments section

Monday, 13 April 2009

Weighing the Babies


Easter Monday, and I weighed the squabs in the kitchen this morning before I put them back in the nest. I marked the largest one by dabbing pink colouring onto it's tail, then I popped it on the scales. Luckily I have a flat scale and it stood still. I measured them in ounces as I know where I am with ounces! The big one weighed nine and three-quarter ounces and the smaller one, seven and three-eighths ounces.
Although I know Hope is feeding them, as I see her doing so, and I can feel the grain in their crops when I pick them up, I thought it would be useful to take their weights and see how much they are gaining.

I've had difficulty in the past finding information about pigeons/doves on the internet but I have recently found a brilliant (but expensive at over £70)book - some of which can be viewed online - with detailed info about feral pigeons. Apparently squabs at this age should be about ten ounces - so my biggest one is not too far behind. It also said that in the case of one parent dying when the squabs are less than 4 days old (as in this case with Glory dying when the babies were only 3 and 2 days old) the remaining parent usually chucks one of the squabs out of the nest as it can only rear one, so I am extremely lucky that Hope didn't do this. One reason for this could be that there is always food available from 6am to dark, and Hope doesn't have to forage to feed her babies.

I also found a blog from a few years ago with photos of the development of a pair of pigeon squabs - nice photos, have a look here www.blogd.com/pigeons.html

I took the squabs in about 9pm, half an hour later than normal. They were warm, but didn't seem as warm as the other nights. I think they would lose a lot of heat over the night, with no parent dove in the dovecote with them and might die. I can't risk it, even though I can sense they don't really want to be removed from the nest.

The other doves? I haven't said much about the general flock recently being so pre-occupied with the babies. The flock is small - I'm not seeing more than 30 birds together (remember the huge summer flock of 100 or more!). Nero, my black dove, is still around and the dove I ringed in the summer with two green rings, Sweetie but other doves I ringed like Octavius and Octavia and Rose have not been seen for some time. There is a nest in the barn on the farm, see photo above, but after spotting it and taking the photo I havent been back to look just in case there had been a disaster.

I often drive under a railway bridge at a traffic lights, one of the old fashioned types with plenty of roosts for pigeons. I always hope the lights are red so I can observe. There are many nests, but I wonder how many of these squabs survive. When they tumble out of the nest at 4-5 weeks old they are going to land straight onto a main road poor little things. According to the informative book, it seems that only 25% of squabs would survive from egg to total independance at around 7 weeks anyway.
If my babies do survive, and I'm not taking this for granted, I will have a naming competition for one of them - I've thought of a name for the other.

The end

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

9th April - Three weeks old today!

Thurs. 9th April '09

Hope's squabs are three weeks old today - well there are 21 and 20 days old precisely. Hope seems to have settled into the pattern of leaving them at night and flying off with her new mate. The last night she stayed with them was Sunday. I take them into the kitchen and keep them overnight in a box to keep them warm if she is not with them. So far she hasn't neglected to come back and feed them in the mornings, thank goodness, but it is a constant worry.

I took their 3 week old birthday photo early this morning before I put them back in the nest.

They are much bigger than when I first took them into the kitchen overnight, last Thursday. I need to find them a bigger box to sit in, and a taller box to contain that in. This morning one of them tried to scramble out in an ungainly but determined fashion!

Their heads still retain a little yellow fluffiness, but all in all they look much more like an adult dove, with strong, quite big wings.

As you can see from the above photo, they foul the overnight box considerably. I am pleased to see this because obviously it means they are getting enough food. It also means that the nest in the dovecote is rather less dirty than it would normally be - and that is VERY dirty and disgusting indeed by the time they leave the nest at about four weeks old.I think this one is looking quite intelligent now!

I have named Hope's new mate Pascoe. I believe this is the Cornish version of Pascal, which is a name given to those born at or around Easter. It means 'suffering' though (i.e. the suffering of Christ) so I hope that's not a bad omen.

Another parent dove was feeding with Hope this morning. I could tell as it had a dirty breast - this often happens when they go in and out of the nest area. There is a white dove on a nest in the big barn on the farm so maybe it's that one.

The end.