18th August 2009
Although less doves are visiting en masse I have calculated that there are probably approx. 40-50 visiting. The most pure whites I have seen together at any one time is 22 (browns 6 and greys 9). Nero is still definitely missing - he is so distinctive that I can pick him out anywhere, His mate, Messalina, is still missing too - hopefully they are together and haven't been destroyed. The town I live in is quite hot on culling pigeons. There used to be a large flock on Sainsbury's roof that one day just vanished; as did the pigeons on the roofs in the town. A little flock of 10 has crept back to Sainsbury's and already are making their presence felt with feathers and mess on the ground near the trollies, so I reckon their days are numbered, poor things. I was watching them as there was one very dark one and I wondered if it was Nero, but of course it wasn't. He's much too refined to live on Sainsbury's roof!
So, no Nero but I have seen Victory again - thank goodness - and it is definitely him/her as his pink and green rings are on the correct legs. He only seems to come in the afternoons though, yet I see Purity at all times of the day .... strange! Peace only comes in the afternoons too.
I went up to Pig Farm to see the nests again. There now seems to be a group of 'teenager' type squabs all hanging up the roof. They got very excited when a parent bird flew in to give food and were all tumbling over each. One of my books does say that if a squab is orphaned it will try to get food from another parent bird and often succeeds and I did wonder if that was what was happening here. I suppose it is in the interests of the flock as a whole if a parent bird was to feed orphaned babies.
My husband and I had reason to go to another local farm recently, and I noticed a dead - long dead actually and in 'pieces' - pigeon on the ground. It was ringed so I noted the number and contacted the Royal Pigeon Racing Association to report it as the number prefix was GB. If the number prefix had been NPA I would have known to report it to the National Pigeon Association. There are other prefixes - all of which can be found here - http://www.rpra.org/Home/tabid/53/Default.aspx By the way, if you find a 'lost' racing pigeon, it may hang around for a few days to rest but will then usually get on its way. Only contain it if it is injured or at risk from a predator. If you do find one that needs looking after, then give it food and water and the owner will be pleased to be contacted so he can arrange collection. What food to give it? - pigeons eat grain so wild bird seed if you have it or failing that bread I suppose. Small quantities of pigeon food can be purchased at most pet shops. I buy whole sacks of it @ the current cost of £15.99 for a 25kg sack. My preferred brand is made by De Scheemaecker Bros. which I find much the best of those I've tried. But back to the ringed pigeon, I reported it using the special form on the webpage and giving my email address and I was soon contacted back with thanks and the info that the bird had originally come from Deptford (about 20 miles away). A few days later the original owner rang me to thank me too. He said he had lost quite a few birds at that time as it was a very hot spell.
(My favourite grain, and the dovecote at The Jenny Wren Farm, Birdworld, Nr. Farnham)
I've been to Birdworld in Hampshire several times this summer (I'm a member) http://www.birdworld.co.uk/ It's a lovely bird park, very well kept with neat gardens and a super little farm, with a dovecote. The doves of course fly wherever they please all over the park and turn up in unexpected places!
And I've adopted a bird for the year! It has the most beautiful plumage and is a Rufous Crowned Roller or Purple Roller from South Africa. He now has my name on his cage - I hate that word 'cage' for birds but Birdworld do release birds back to the wild if possible.
Pigeons love peanuts so I thought I'd try to get some feeding out of my hand. I miss Eagle Eye from last summer who always flew up to my hand on the island. I've managed to tame a big male whom I call Spartacus and he now comes up to where I'm sitting on the grass and eats his treats.