Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Doves This Summer - May to early Sept '10

So, so long since I've written about the doves, and now.... how to put the whole summer in a nutshell? It was the end of April, in my last blog, and I was only seeing 4-8 doves in the mornings, and 4-5 in the afternoons. Yet, by 5th Sept 2010 there were 40 doves and pigeons on the roof! And I love the coloured ones as much as the white ones! The numbers have crept up and up On the 9th June I noted in my log that I saw 13 white doves, including Peace and Harmony. Peace is my dove that came down the chimney the day my mother died, and then I ringed her, and Harmony was a ringed dove (not by me) that was often with her, but didn't seem to be her mate. I haven't now seen him for a while.
By the middle of July, due to the new young doves (squabs) coming with their parents, the number was up to about 25, and by the middle of August, 31. Not all young ones of course, many are just nomad doves 'joining in', I guess.
My most wonderful surprise flew into my garden on the 19th June. Victory, my own dove, hatched in my dovecote in Spring '09 had come back! She - and I know she's a she now - hadn't been seen since August '09! I was sorry when she'd gone, but by going off she missed the mass cull in Oct. '09, thank heavens. Victory came back two days before my darling little Yorkshire Terrier died, giving me some comfort in my loss. She didn't seem to be around much in July, and I suspected she had gone off with Grey Joseph, as I'd seen him courting her, but she came back in August with him in tow! I'm not sure if they are mates, though. Grey Joseph formely courted Peace, but nothing seemed to come of it, and has also been seen with a white female.

Grey Joseph courting Victory (3 pics above)

Victory - she is 18 months old now
Grey Joseph with a white female
My special and distinctive pair, Chocolate Brownie (m) and Dalmation Dove (f) are here every day, and very tame. They know if they hang around, after the others have gone, I will start dishing out the peanuts! They've been busy this summer, having babies! Here's some of the courtship ritual in photos.Hen-pecked CB! - sorry this pic got elongated somehow!

And here's their babies, what sweet little birds, and what a mix of mum and dad! Here they are with Peace. Sadly, after this photo I never saw the second one again.
I call the remaining baby, Chocolate DD
and here he is with his father

No sooner was Chocolate DD raised than CB and DD were mating again, and one day another young one appeared with them. Dark grey speckled, instead of brown speckled this time!
In between Mother and Father on the roof
Soon after, the baby's twin appeared and I gave my husband the naming of the them - so now we have light head Inca and dark head Inca. These two look incredibly similar to the speckled pair in the my Nov. '09 blog.... I assume those two didn't last the winter or flew away as I haven't seen them since. They may have been raised too late in the year. I found a dove/pigeon egg in the water bath at the end of August. Sometimes the eggshell attaches to the underneath of one of the parents, and gets washed off in the bath! Pigeons can breed at any time of the year, if food is plentiful, but squabs hatched at the end of August won't be fledging til mid Oct and that's not the best start in life!
Another easily recognised bird in the very dark Noir. When I first saw him on the roof my heart skipped a beat and I thought it was my beloved Nero come back, but it wasn't. Still Noir has stuck around and is my darkest pigeon. From zero pigeons, I now have maybe up to 10 regulars.
Noir, with white dove, making himself heard!
To be cont.....