Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Let Me Introduce You

25th November 2009

I miss my large flock and mourned for them, but still have some white and coloured doves visiting every day. Here are most of what I call the After Doves.

In the beginning the birds seemed upset. It was heartbreaking to see a single dove sit on the roof waiting patiently for the others that never came, then fly round in circles to come back and wait again. Gradually the ones that were left either flew away entirely or reformed into little groups.
I had suspected that Peace, the dove that came down the chimney the day my mother died, lived in a different place to the main flock - or maybe she was tempted away by the green ringed (not by me) white male dove that I now call Harmony. They are still visiting, usually only in the mornings, and have been joined by a single white dove.
This is a beautiful multi-coloured pigeon that was my new Joseph. I often have a 'Joseph' (coat of many colours!). She was one of the survivors and turned out to be a Josephine but I havent seen her for quite a while. I think it's likely that the survivors have flown far and wide looking for new family groups to belong to.
Josephine in in the photo below, at the back, with a couple of white doves and a grey at the front. There are several greys and they look pretty similar. The two browny-pink ones are called Chocolate Brownie (new CB - I had one that died naturally) and Ruffle (at the front). They were always with the shot flock and I thought that they were related. Now Ruffle comes daily, but CB hasnt been seen for a while.

Here's a grey I recognise - a light grey with distinctive bands. I call him BlueBand. He doesn't come every day and I wonder where they go for food when they are not at mine!

This next one underneath was taken in the summer - is it CB and Ruffle? Hard to tell but I think so.At the most, just after the shooting, I saw a maximum of fourteen birds together, coloured and white. Now the most I might see is eight or nine, and usually just small groups of two, three, four or five...... or just a single bird. As I type, I caught the reflection of a bird in the computer screen and went to look out of the window and it was Blue Band on his own. You might wonder how I recognise them all, but it's quite easy with birds you see regularly. Many have distinctive markings or characteristics. I don't recognise any of the whites, except Peace, Harmony and Spartacus.
I thought Spartacus had been shot with the others, but he was so named as I suspected there was at least two Spartacus's (as in I'm Spartacus, No I'm Spartacus - from the film!) and it seems that one has survived. Certainly a big bold male is still arriving on my patio and waiting for me to bring him peanuts. Peanuts are a special treat and I feed them from my hand, and the ground very near my hand. Spartacus will eat the ones on the ground first, cautiously darting in and out, and then, usually, he will tentatively do a little rush, peck at my hand and grab a peanut, hopefully rolling a few more onto the ground for himself. I crouch patiently and uncomfortably cramped within seconds, almost holding my breath and keeping my palm open and very still, to encourage him. It's always a special moment in my day if Spartacus feeds from my hand. He seems to have a mate, or a friend, who hovers close by but is not brave enough to come for peanuts. Sometimes I put a few peanuts on the door step for both of them, and because I like having them come so close to the house - reminds me of Spirit.

I went up to another local farm - not where my flock were shot - to see if they still had doves roosting in their buildings. The lady who I'd met before, was nice and said no doves were roosting, but they did come down into the field to a particular spot. We went to look and there, sure enough, was Ruffle and a white dove. They must've flown there as I was driving as I'd left them on the roof at home! The lady said they always went to that certain place - maybe minerals in the soil? I don't know.

One day I spotted a dove on the roof that first I thought was Dalmation Dove (DD) but I wasn't sure so I took a photo.
When I uploaded and enlarged it, I could see that it definitely wasn't DD but another dove, and I was so delighted to see it and then within a day it had been joined by it's twin!
I wanted to call them John and Edward, but my husband can't stand Jedward and didn't like the idea so I didn't. I haven't seen them for a little while now, so the speckled twins are still un-named. I have seen them with DD and think they are closely related. Here's another photo, not so clear.
I also have a pair of white doves regularly visiting that I call the Lover Doves as they are always billing and cooing. My last pair of Lover Doves, right at the beginning of the year, set up home in my dovecote and were Hope and Glory, parents of my sweet little squabs, Victory and Purity (RIP) so I am hoping that these two might decide to live here too.

Here's a photo - looking exactly like any other pair of white doves!

And here they are again taking things a bit further!

So, thankfully, I still have doves in the garden and hope of new squabs in the spring.
The end