Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Baby Grows Up

July 2011

Read on to find out what happened here!

July 2011

Before I carry on with the new baby dove's story, I just want to say that I caught and ringed one of the 'peanut eaters' and named him Shanti (peace) just for you, my friend Linda! (and in memory of your lovely dog of that name)

The singleton baby dove was getting big, visible and vocal! Omo and Flash weren't staying the night with him, and I was blocking the dove cote entrace at night with a ball of crumpled wire to keep out predators and getting up early in the morning to take it away when the doves arrived back in the garden.

Omo with her baby

On Sunday 17th all through the morning and early afternoon Flash started bringing more sticks to the nestbox.

Even though it was full up!

Omo and baby inside

But Omo, as a dutiful wife, still tried to drag them in!

The next day Flash changed tactics and spent much of the day bringing sticks and busily making a nest in another section of the dovecote. He carried on doing this all week - on and off - stopping if the weather was gloomy. But Omo had other plans and by Friday 22nd she had spent most of the day in the cote with her big baby and I wondered if she was laying again.

She stayed in the cote that night - the first time for a week - and that was great for me as I felt she would protect the baby and I didnt have to block him in for safety or get up early.

The next day, Sat 23rd, in the afternoon, Omo came off the nest and Flash was not about either, so I rushed to get the steps and got the baby carefully out of the nest to take his 3 weeks old photo!

So big and beautiful - approx 21-23 days old

Alert and very interested in life outside the dovecote!

I didn't dare keep him out for long and when I popped him back, I noticed one egg in the nest - toasty warm!

From then on there was no chance to look at the baby or get him out. Flash and Omo took turns sitting, and though on Monday Omo did come out briefly, leaving the nest unattended, she just greeted Flash on the roof and went back to the nest within a minute. Big baby was there to keep his little siblings in eggs warm anyway!

Tuesday 26th - At lunchtime Flash was on duty but he did fly out at one point for three minutes maximum. He first flew to the roof, then to Jose's table where he greeted her, then ate some of her food and drank from her bowl, and then back to the roof for a quick flirt with a likely young female!While he was playing jack the lad, I went to have a peek - two eggs definitely! I've never experienced this before - the parent birds laying new eggs before their baby is fledged. But I've never had only one baby before either.

In the next few days the baby spent more time at the entrance window of the cote, even wobbling about on the small ledge before ducking back in to mum or dad again. I worried about the eggs getting trampled! Then early on Sat 30th on his 4 week old 'birthday', my husband came in to say that the baby was out of the cote and on the hedge below. I rushed out straight away and took my camera but before I could turn it on the baby flapped its wings and attempted its maiden flight to the roof, where Daddy Flash was waiting. It ran out of oomph just below the gutter and landed in the climbing rose! (see photo at top of blog). I took the photo and then got the steps out to rescue it, getting scratched in the process. I wonder how many birds get into difficulties on the first day of fledging and don't make it. So sad after all that feeding and care from the parents. My book says mortality for post-fledging pigeons in the first year is between 43 and 56 per cent.

Having caught the baby who could already fly so well I realised I might not get another chance to ring her, so I took her in to my husband for some help, even though he moaned grumpily that he didn't like doing things like that before breakfast! The rings are awkward but durable. Ringing time is naming time, and so my big beautiful baby is FAIRY! Dad is Flash, Mum is Omo and I'm sure housewives over a certain age will see the connection!

Fairy with her new rings

I'd already planned to spend most of the day out so I was glad the baby could fly so well, but still a bit apprehensive about leaving her (or him) all day. When I got back in the mid afternoon, Fairy was in Jose's hutch - the perfect place! She'd obviously chosen this safe haven and was sitting on Jose's branch very contentedly in the main section of the hutch.

Later on, when Flash was off nest duty, Fairy joined her daddy on the top of the dovecote and roof.

My daddy loves me!

Even though I am nearly as big as he is!

Flash preens Fairy

A 28-30 day old squab still gets fed

Below, Fairy goes down on the ground for the first time and seems bemused
She watches another dove pecking at the food....

And thinks she'll have a try herself...

To be cont asap....


arosebyanyothername said...

Great story, Faith. I have enjoyed this. I look forward to the next instalment.

Fennie said...

Ditto - you could make a book about this, Faith.

Linda Percival said...

Wonderful story, you continuously inspire me with your dedication. I saved a fledgeling bird from a cat recently when I heard mummy bird squawking on the drive and saw her fluffy baby sitting by garage door in the corner whilst cat walked towards it. I frightened the cat, ran outside and managed to pick it up on second attempt and take through house to back garden (all whilst I should have been leading a yoga relaxation session for my pregnant mums! they were very understanding)
Good news is, it has grown over past 2 weeks and is a fluffy blackbird :-) mummy was feeding it in the garden couple of mornings ago. So pleased I saved its life! Thought you would like this little story
Linda x

Linda Percival said...

Many thanks dear old (as in known me for many, many years) friend for naming a bird Shanti - this has brought a tear to my eye ...we all need Peace in our lives ... I also just remembered my first King Charles Cavalier then too, named him Shanti as this was given to me in meditation just before Dane and I went to collect him :-)
Om Shanti xxx