Friday, 5 June 2009

Where do you go to my lovelies?

6th June '09
The doves all fly away at night, or rather they come and go during the day and I didn't really know where they spent their nights and time away from here. Now I've found out!

The very night that Victory and Purity celebrated their 9 week old birthday they didn't come back to sleep in the dovecote. Big doves now! They decided to be in with the in crowd and go off with the rest of the flock, leaving a sad me and an empty dovecote. They are now over 11 weeks old, and I see them at feeding times, or when they choose to spend time in the garden.

Purity, left, and Victory searching for grains on the lawn

Purity and Victory often stay together when they are eating

Playing hide and seek round the pots!

And Victory looks up at the pot thinking 'I wonder if there is something yummy in there?' I have already had to move a pink as the doves kept pecking off the buds.

We went to a BBQ at a local farm recently. My husband had often mentioned that the farmer had a lot of doves in his barn and that maybe they were mine, but I didn't really think about it as I assumed my doves spent their nights on a much nearer farm. At the BBQ, as the sun started to go down, the farmer pointed to the sky and said 'They're coming in now' and I could see a flock of white doves flying over the fields. It's a beautiful sight on a warm tranquil evening. Of course I hadn't got my camera with me! I asked the farmer to take me to see where the doves were roosting, and whilst we walked round he told me that, initially, he had tried to prevent the doves getting in the barn by putting up wire, shutting doors etc but they always got in and now he doesn't bother. 'They make a mess' he said cheerfully 'But so do the horses!' He also said that despite the mess, he likes them, so it looks like they have a home for life!
As soon as we got to the barn - which is actually a metal building erected to use as an indoor schooling area for ponies, with sand on the ground, I saw Nero sitting outside. There is no way that I could mistake him as he has such distinctive dark colouring and orange and green rings. 'That's my Nero!' I gasped. I hadn't really believed til then that the doves would fly so far, though actually it's only about 10 minutes in the car down lanes, and probably quicker cross country as the doves fly. 'No, he's my Nero!' joked the farmer. 'You don't feed him' I teased 'He's mine!' ... 'Ah,' said the farmer 'But I give him lodging, and all his mates too!'
This is Nero - on my lawn. He really is MY Nero, as Bob Friar gave him to me!

Initally, when he was trying to keep the doves out of the barn, the farmer had kindly made them a wall dovecote and stuck in on the outside. Of course they don't use it! They much prefer the sheltered warm accomodation inside, with lots of roosting space and a soft landing for their babies when they fledge.

I took a camera up another day, and took some photos, but couldn't see Nero or any other of my ringed doves.

The barn in the distance, doves in the field, and close up with doves on the roof.

The wall cote that the farmer put up and the doves ignore, and inside, a dove searching for sticks on the sandy floor. I watched it collecting little twigs, and flying up to give them to the female in the nest.

Doves in the rafters, and one on her messy nest - sorry I couldn't get a better photo of this.

Two friends visit a nest, and another two, cosy together - this was the one where the male was collecting the sticks. I counted five nests in the barn.

Enlarge this photo by clicking on it and see how many doves you can see - there are more than you think! The second photo is a dove in my garden.
So, I'm happy that my lovely dovies have a safe home and that, at last, I know where they really do go at night.The end (you may have to scroll down for the comments section).




Faith, I too love to keep track of your lovlies, and the clarity of your photos. Isn't it lovely how your babies still stick together. You must be so proud of them.

Fennie said...

Well how astonishing. I would never imagine birds flying away from where they are fed. Still you know know what you have to do - build a barn!
Wonderful pictures!

How's your Mum?

Calico Kate said...

How lovely! You sound just like my mum - pleased at knowing where her babies nest. She was always happier once she had visited any new house/flat I moved to, it was because she can picture where I am and what I might be doing. Possib;y not so much now we live so close but when I was at college she always found a reason to travel from the Midlands to Scotland if I had moved!

blackbird said...

Oh, it's good to know that they have found another safe haven when they aren't at home with you. I'm glad that the farmer has learned to love them.

(If you put the cursor down at the bottom of the post box as if you were going to type, and then backspace up to the end of your typing or photo- you won't have such a large blank area. You can do this before you post or as an edit.)

Faith said...

Thanks for the comments everyone, and Blackbird thanks for the hint I will try it!

fillbrookdoves said...

hi faith
i like your black one i want him
my flock also flys of at night i wonder if it is the same flock that visit you where abouts are you?