Monday, 18 July 2011

Omo's Egg

Doves and pigeons outside the cottage door

June/July 2011 - On the 27th June, Rusty, the rescued dove with the injured face in my last blog, wasn't there for the morning feed, and it was exactly two weeks since I had brought her home. My husband suggested she had flown back to Claremont, and I hoped it was so.

In the spell of hot weather we had a while back in May I had been giving Jose a bath once a week. The other doves enjoy bathing in the washing up bowl in the garden and I felt she ought to have one too, for general feather maintenance, including getting rid of parasites, though I don't think she's got any. She didn't object too much to a quick dunk and since I have put another bowl out with lower sides she has given herself a bath - only once but it's a start!

Me bathing Jose

A quick wrap in the towel
All fluffy and drying out on her brick

On Tuesday 5th July '11, nine days after I last saw Rusty, I went to Claremont and was delighted to find her there with her flock. It still amazes me how pigeons find their way back to somewhere, though Claremont is at most only five miles from here. I recognised her by the red ring I'd put on her of course, but also by her face and body still not being quite right, but so much better!

Below is Rusty the day after I brought her home

And then 23 days later, back at Claremont and being chased by an interested male
Back to Omo and Flash - Well, on the 23rd June I noticed an egg rolled to the entrance of the dovecote and my heart sank a little, but Omo was still sitting and although there were flies around I didn't want to disturb her. The next day, the Frday, the egg was still there and in the late afternoon I set the stepladder up at the side of the cote out of Omo's vision and put my hand up quickly to remove the egg. It was cold of course.
Out of interest I weighed it - approx 20 oz or 0.7g. My book says a Western European pigeon egg weighs approx 17g at laying so this was extremely underweight. Then I opened it - it contained yellow milky fluid with an unpleasant but not foul smell. Obviously Omo knew it was a dud.
After this the doves lives continued as usual, with Flash mating with Jose whenever he got the chance. I wondered when the solitary egg was due to hatch. Last time I had doves in the cote I discovered both egg shells in the garden - one had even been left on the path for me to fnd as a sort of 'birth announcement'! But this time I found no evidence of hatching at all.

Wednesday 6th July, Omo came off the nest at the morning feed but I saw her go back to it straight away, and on Saturday 9th in the late afternoon I suddenly realised there were absolutely no doves around at all in the garden, so rushed for my steps to look inside the cote, and got my first peek and pic of the new baby!

Squab about 7-9 days old

Although I was pretty sure there was a baby inside, it was still such a lovely sight and almost a surprise to see it, and so big! From the photo I'd judge this baby dove to be about 7-9 days old. Squabs don't fully open their eyes until they are 7 days old. Also it was 30 nights since Omo first stayed the night in the cote.

The following Saturday, 16th July, was the first night Omo didn't stay the night after hatching the squab, making the baby approx 14-16 days old

Approx 2 week old squab - see how much he's
feathered up in a week!

Of course, me being me, I started to worry about the lonely squab left on it's own all night. When Hope left Victory and Purity, I took them out of the cote and brought them into the kitchen at night, but part of the reason for that was because it was March and so cold. The other reason was predators, especially in the early morning before Hope got back, and that still concerns me. I don't understand why Flash and Omo can't spend the night in another part of the cote - there are 5 other empty 'rooms'! As I write, it's only been two nights so far, and at dark I have blocked the entrance where the baby is with a piece of crumpled chicken wire, and got up early to remove it before the doves come back to the garden. The first time I did this I had no idea what time that would be, so got up at 4am! The first birds I saw in the garden were robins at 4.45am, then a jackdaw five minutes later. Woodpigeons were flying over at five to five, and by five past there was a jay, woodpigeons and a thrush in the garden. It's the jay that I think just might enter the cote and attack the baby - remember, I'm pretty sure it killed the baby starling. Flash and Omo with a few other white doves and one grey pigeon turned up at 5.15am. Once I knew Flash and Omo were there I was relieved but didn't go back to bed as it was quite interesting watching the birds in the early morning. I put some food down - I don't normally go out to feed the doves until 6.45 - 7.15am - and Flash and Omo came down to eat, but Flash didn't feed the baby until 6.35am.

To be cont

Before you go - see an endearing video of Jane Grey's rescue pigeon LARRY - find Larry Loves a Tweak! on Youtube or, easier still, just click on Jane's photo in my followers list, and click on her Hope in Paris video link, which will take you to Youtube and all her videos.