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).


Arosebyanyothername said...

Thank you, Faith for this last episode of the Dove Saga. Enthralling, as usual, and it is so heart-warming to have, as yet, a happy outcome. I hope they continue to thrive.
'My' pair of collar doves have stopped perching together on the pergola outside my window - I guess they have more important things to do. I still see them at the bird table occasionally.

DJ Kirkby said...

Lovely choice of name. Thank you for sharing all these photos and i look forward to the video too.