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.
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.
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