Saturday, 21 January 2012

Sad news....

Sat 21st Jan.12 - Very bad news I’m afraid, but later on in the blog. I will continue where the last blog left off.... The photo above is Jose, my dove that can't fly.

Eric, the white dove in the hospital, has died – about 14 days after we first picked him up. He was in a very poor way at the end, as you can see from the photo below, twisting his neck in the manner typical of this horrible illness, and sometimes unable to raise his head.

I was bringing him into the house at night, as it was so cold and frosty, and during the day he was shut in the hutch part of the hospital with a covered hot water bottle. Every couple of hours I went out to offer him a drink, and one time he took a long gulp, and I wondered if he might be on the mend, but a short while later he was dead. Maybe it was for the best.

Since the cote came down, and was re-erected Shanti and Shelby have not returned to it at night. I suspect they roost on the old building nearby instead as they are always two of the first in the garden in the mornings. After a few days Shelby did fly to the top of the cote, but neither of them have been in any of the nestboxes.
11th Jan. ’12 - I had emailed Kootensaw Dovecotes as their website says that the cotes ‘last a lifetime’ and that the wood is treated. My post wood was rotten. I was very upset and annoyed about the whole thing, and my email probably reflected that. A very pleasant lady rang me up nearly a week after the cote came down, and apologised for the delay, saying they had been away. She said that she and her husband were upset by my email, and agreed that the wood looked rotten (I had sent photos). She said that the only thing they could think of was that the place where they get the posts from apparently, in 2006, had to change the way they treated the wood due to EU ruling (before it was later changed again) and she felt some of the wood may have suffered because of the change. She sounded sincere and concerned. As Shanti and Shelby (the doves in the cote at the time) hadn’t returned to the cote she offered to send me a pair of doves. I thanked her sincerely but declined as it would mean I would have to put up the homing net again and that would upset Flash. I also told her that I have a large feral flock here, and some use the cote sometimes. I was pleased she had phoned, taken the thing seriously, and am happy to leave it at that.

That morning when I went out to release Jose and check Eric, there were TWO doves in the cote (in Flash’s old nestbox and not the section Shanti and Shelby had been using) – whether they got here early this morning or spent the night here, I don’t know. I didn’t notice them last night. The first one out was Vim – one of Flash and Omo’s babies born in the summer, and then I had a long wait before the other emerged – and it was Flash! So maybe a bit of an incesty thing might have started there!
13th Jan Flash has spent night here for the last couple of nights, and this morning he is collecting sticks with a female – NOT Vim – and probably Omo. She has very pink feet like Omo anyway and if she stays she will be called Omo- even if she is actually Omo2! Another pair of doves are also collecting sticks for the opposite side of the cote. Now the cote is up slightly differently, it has two ‘eyes’ and a ‘mouth’ and both pairs are in the eyes. Whether Flash will tolerate the other pair remains to be seen. They are not Shanti and Shelby, the unlucky pair in the cote when it came down.
Jose too has a new lover – a pigeon! Flash also courts her, and so does Shelby. The pigeon doesn’t yet know that there is no hope of her flying away with him! She also has a female friend, Lesa – a white dove I ringed with a yellow ring, named after one of my blog readers! Lesa spends quite a lot of time just sitting with Jose or stealing her food so it was easy to catch and ring her. I'll try to capture a photo of her for the next blog.

Flash looking for sticks

Flash with leafy stick

The 13th of January was a good day for Flash, despite being Friday the 13th. It was a frosty bright day and he collected sticks and took some to the cote. I also saw him mate with both Omo and Jose, and he generally enjoyed himself. Happy with the newly erected cote, his females and himself. The next day he was dead.

My lovely daddy dove who recovered so well from paramyxovirus was caught and killed by the sparrowhawk on Sat 14th Jan. ’12. Saturdays are quiet around here, we live in a rural spot by the river, and although there are neighbours and an old building converted to offices nearby, no-one much is around at the weekends - a perfect opportunity for the sparrowhawk. I had gone out, and as soon as I came through my little garden gate and saw the white feathers surrounding the gory body, I knew it was Flash, even before I saw his blue ring. I was quite numb as I gathered him up. Don’t worry, there are no gory photos – he deserves more dignity than that.

Flash's feathers

I arranged his damaged body on a little wicker tray that I use as a bier for special doves, and covered him up to the neck.

Then I brought him the only flowers that the garden offered, yellow winter flowering jasmine (I think it is) a frosted white rose, and one little yellow crocus

I couldn’t bear to dispose of his body then, and kept him for 24 hours before he had the river funeral that all the dead doves have. I spotted a little frosted pink rose bud in the garden, and added it to his flowers. It followed his body down the river. Rest in peace, my bright and beautiful bird. I will remember you always.

I have kept a few of his feathers, including the tail feather with the black flash – which was why I named him so. I will miss him terribly but he died as he lived, a vibrant part of nature. I’m not sorry I had nursed him through his illness – after his release, he had 20 days of glorious freedom.

Below is one of the last photos I took of him - I'll remember him that way

Since Flash and Eric have died, the garden is a little quieter. No doves have been near the cote, except the day after Flash died, Omo went into the nestbox. I hope she finds another mate soon, but I don’t really recognise her as she is pure white. Today, a week since Flash died, a white dove sat on the ledge of his nest box for a while. Maybe Omo again, I don’t know. The too long stick he brought is still sticking out of it, and I haven’t had the heart to remove it. I hope next blog is more cheerful. The dovecote is 'to let' once more.....

To be cont...


Norma Murray said...

I never realised how close you are to your doves, Faith. I am so sorry to hear of your recent loss.

arosebyanyothername said...

So sad, Faith but we can't have 'the ups' without 'the downs', can we?
You treat your doves as pets and it is always a bad time when we lose our beloved pets.
I hope that you have more good news next time you blog which I shall look forward to.
Big hug.

CAMILLA said...

Oh Faith, such terribly sad news poor little Flash. I know how much he meant to you, loved him just like you love all your other Doves.

Those horrid Sparrow Hawks, I love all birds, know it is nature but nature can be so terribly cruel at times.

Big Hugs for you dear Faith.

RIP dear darling Flash.


Faith said...

The following lovely message to me was cut and pasted from Purplecoo -

Belated message,

But heartfelt sorrow for your loss.

Dove's are so beautiful--and I must admit I Hate Hawks.

Some one once said it is natual for them to kill other creatures,but I don't agree.

Hoping some one of Flash's off spring will produce another with his black marking .

A little gift to ease your pain a bit.

Thinking of you-

When we have lost one of our pups it is always like losing a family member .


Linda Percival said...

So sorry,
so sad :-(
thinking of you,
missing him xx

Lesa said...

I'm so sorry to read of your losses, Flash and Eric. I know a bit of how you feel because we lost our Bertie (a white fan-tail, parrot beak near as we could figure) after 21 years or so. Needless to say, we were all very attached to him and he's buried outside our bedroom with a little dove statue marking the location. It's so difficult to lose a member of the family, even our animal family.

On a happy note, I can't tell you how honored I am that you would name a bird for me! Nothing is named for me, much less a precious bird. We all know you're a very kind person and I so appreciate your sweet gesture. Thank you so much!

Faith said...

The lovely message below is copied from my email from Jane Grey -

I'm so sorry about the dovecot and poor Flash.
He was a beautiful bird and he will always be missed. It's incredible
how much we can love birds, but we do and when they die it's a
tremendous loss. Thank you for sharing your story with him. I send my
heartfelt sympathy to you.

With love

Fennie said...

Life can be so sad. But we all move on. Poor flash. Perhaps even now one of his females is laying an egg with a flash of life in it and new white feathers. Let's hope so. The Doves have been a constant back curtain to your life, Faith, and we, your friends, are reminded of them constantly. They have flown into our hearts as well. For all its woes, thank you so much for bringing this beautiful saga to us.

Yan21 said...

Faith I've only just caught up with this! I am so so sorry. Wanted to cry!! As you know I know that awful feeling when you first spot the feathers & realise. It upset me for weeks. So glad that you had all those lovely pictures & memories. God bless Flash (&Eric).
Gone but never forgotten!