Friday, 9 September 2011

A rescued racing pigeon and an exciting find!

9th Sept '11 - The photo above shows cute Pixie, with her feathered feet, that I ringed a while ago - see last blog. She having a little doze on the lawn ...I don't see her now and fear she has died but hopefully just moved on. Other doves I am not currently seeing and wish I was are Peace (came down my chimney on the day my mother died and a very special bird) and Toffee Splodge (Jose's gentle friend from earlier this year). Remember Rusty with the awful bloodied face rescued from Claremont? I saw her this week when I went there to walk round the lake - forgot my camera though. I was very pleased to see her still doing well. The flock there is about 40 strong, and I do worry that come the winter, when people don't visit so much, the doves will go hungry, but I asked at the entrance kiosk and was reassured when the lady told me that the gardeners have a seed store and feed the doves and the birds on the lake morning and evening. Oh yes, said the lady, the flock of doves have been here at Claremont forever, they interbreed with the seagulls you know (ermm, no, I don't think so!, I thought, but I didn't say anything! - maybe she said the wrong word and meant 'pigeons'. Certainly the doves do breed with the pigeons as they are the same species but, having said that, birds, apparently, choose a mate that looks like their parents, and a white dove would, out of preference choose another white dove for it's mate)

While I wait for the eggs to hatch (hopefully this time!) I'll tell you about the beautiful grey ringed racer that I returned to her owner a few weeks ago.

A truly lovely bird, softly grey all over, and ringed, but limping and dragging her wing.

After a few days of throwing her extra peanuts to build up her strength, I managed to trap her in the net when she was eating them with her back to me! And I put her in my hospital box, made nice and comfortable, and placed it on top of Jose's hutch.

Flash checks out the newcomer, while she makes herself at home in the box

I noted down the number on her ring and filled in the online form from The Royal Pigeon Racing Association website - 'report stray' section - I've done this before, but that bird was dead. The website informed me that if it was a Friday they would not be contacting the owner until Monday and I might well have to keep the bird til Tuesday. Just my luck I thought to catch a bird on a Friday, but luckily an email pinged into my box giving the owner's full details including telehone number and I was able to ring him straight away. He was a very nice gentleman from Billingshurst, West Sussex (I am in Surrey), grateful for the call and said he would come the next morning for her. I must admit I had wondered if the owner would want to bother to come to collect an injured bird but when he came and told me how much these racing pigeons can cost then I wondered no more! He himself has paid £1,000 for a bird and told me of some (extremely wealthy) man who had paid £45,000 I think it was! Wow!

Calm in her owner's hands - I've got a lovely smiley pic of him, but I didn't mention my blog and it would hardly be fair to put his photo up for everyone to see without permission
The gentleman, having examined his bird (these pigeon fanciers don't name their birds like I do!) felt that she had suffered a hawk strike. He said this damage to her body is consistent with that. I was glad that he said he would very likely be able to help her fully recover - he'd take the weight off her legs by hanging her up in his pigeon loft in a stocking - suspended with her feet sticking out! - and the damaged one set with a little stick. No doubt he would be able to fix her wing too. Out of interest, he told me he had released her - with others - from Petersfield. She must have really lost her way to end up at mine! I also recently found a printed white wing feather - some owners stamp their address on the their birds' feathers, but I've never found one before. That bird came from Saxmundham - approx 80/90 miles away I guess.

And now the exciting news! Today was hatching day - 18 days from when I first noticed Omo and Flash 'swapping' places in the nestbox - and as the last eggs were duds - see previous blog - I was concerned that these eggs wouldnt hatch either. This afternoon when I came home from shopping, I checked under the cote to see if I could spot any 'signs' but nothing there.... no worries, I thought, it might be tomorrow, don't give up hope... and then as I walked up to my door, there on the path was the announcement egg shell!

Can you see the little white blog on the centre line - that's it! I photographed where I found it. Just exactly like when Hope & Glory had Victory & Purity and left an egg shell on the gravel path, Flash or Omo had left their new squab's egg shell for me to find! I am convinced of it! And I am so happy... though it's still early days of course. I will update you soon.

To be cont...


Lesa said...

Hello from a new reader! I hope you have wonderful luck with your new hatch. I'll be sure to check back. I have kept a hawk-injured white pigeon for years. She had no markings of any kind, so I wasn't able to return her to her previous owner. She has always been very tame. She can't fly, but what a delightful bird.

blackbird said...

Faith, you should keep the gentleman's name- it sounds as if he has many tricks up his sleeve to mending birds. She did look very comfortable in his hands.

Keep us posted.

Fennie said...

This is getting like Eastenders or the Archers - certainly it's page turning stuff. And a bird hung up in a stocking! Well, you learn something everyday! Can we all play at naming your squabs again? And why don't they race doves?

Faith said...

Lesa, a huge welcome! Thanks for reading. Your white pigeon sounds like my Jose - see previous blogs - she also is flightless and I've had her almost a year now. I'd be interested to her more about your bird - do you still have her?

Blackbird, I have kept his name. He's been keeping birds for more than 50 years so you're right, he does know a thing or two!

Fennie, I don't normally name babies until ringing day, but I confess these two (if there are two!) if they make it, will be given the same names that the last two (the dud eggs) would have been given, so no 'game' sorry.