This morning at 6.30 am both Spring and Autumn were in the dovecote, waiting for daddy Sky and mummy Summer to come and give them breakfast, but by 8am Autumn was missing, presumed fledged and nowhere to be seen! I was concerned as I had to be leaving by quarter to nine, and it was promising to be a miserable rainy day. I checked the other holes of the dovecote, and the flower bed, and left with a bit of a heavy heart as I didn't find him |(or her) but thankful that I had left Pearl, Jose and Happy locked up safely together in the hutch, and Spring was still in the cote.
|Parents and baby - but who's who?|
Spot the difference!
Can you tell which is which? Well that's Pearl at the front, Happy in the middle and Jose at the back!
I came back home in the rain at 3pm - all the birds were ravenous, and I fed the flock first, then released Happy and Jose, checked Faith, gave her a drink of water because I am never sure she drinks without me and then went to see what was happening with the twins. Well I could see Spring had fledged too, and was out standing on one of the two boxes I had put on the hedge to give shelter if needed.
But Autumn was still nowhere to be seen - until I had gone to the trouble of changing into jeans and wellies to have a good look in the wet flower-beds and everywhere, and then he popped up out of nowhere, but was in fact in the lower dovecote hole, facing the hutch. I was relieved the hunt was over before it had started and I could have a cup of tea!
Autumn stayed in there, but Spring stayed out in the rain with Summer....
and then Sky joined them....
But a while later when the parents fluttered to the roof, I trapped Spring in the net, and put him in the dovecote, out of the damp, with Autumn. Both in the same hole, and they stayed there for bedtime, thank goodness, so I didn't have to do any worrying or catching!
Thursday 30th Aug.12
Today started with Sky looking for sticks under Jose's table...
Now Spring and Autumn have moved to another compartment in the cote no doubt he thinks he will start making another nest. Oh no please Sky, can't you feel the nip in the air, we don't need a fourth set of babies!
Here's Pearl's portrait - four weeks old today!
Summer is in the favoured nest box, with Happy on the top of the cote - he was trying to coax Pearl to fly with him, but she is young yet, a few more days maybe - and you can see one of the twins in the the lower compartment (both were in there). The dove cote needs cleaning and painting desperately - I hope to take it down and do it this winter.
In the afternoon, Pearl joined her parents on the table outside - L to R Pearl, Happy, Jose
Careful Pearl! You'll get stuck!
|Dove family portrait - L to R Mother, Baby, Father|
Faith, still in the beans (if not full of them!)
At the end of the day, Lesa is often one of the last doves in the garden. I think he has a nest nearby as he is dirty down his front - which often happens when a parent is constantly going into a grubby nest area. He (or she) is a nervous bird, very elusive, hard to photograph. I have often recently tried to get a good photo of him, but he walks very quickly, eats rapidly and flies off before I can get a good shot. Here's the best I could do!
Happy on the other hand, is confident, calm, tame and very pleased to pose for me! He is always the very very last bird to leave the garden.
Here he is relaxing at the end of the day, sitting on the hospital (at present unoccupied). Can I have a close up, Happy? Of course! What a handsome fellow he is. Spring and Autumn were in the back of the dovecote at bedtime - they have fledged just to the back of the cote, and don't come out very much!
Friday 31st August - The last day of August, and chilly this morning. Sky continued to collect sticks, and one time when I saw a white dove in the raised bed I thought it was him, but it was Happy...so I watched him take a long stick through the entrance to the hutch and plonk it right on top of Pearl!!! Pearl is Daddy trying to tell you something? I wish I'd been able to film it, you had to see it to believe it! Pearl got up, but the stick didn't fall off immediately.
Below is Joseph in the middle of the photo. He's coping very well as he recovers from paramyxovirus, but I help him by always throwing peanuts right in front of him. The other pigeons swoop on them, and sometimes in every handful he only gets one or two, so I follow him around the lawn, trying to judge the throws so he gets enough.
Here's a rare picture of Bobbie 3 - it's not rare for me to see him as he's usually with the flock when feeding, but I don't usually have my camera then. I can't now remember what was wrong with him - but whatever it was, he recovered and is fine! You can just about see his identifying blue ring.
There were so so many pigeons here today - I really can't feed them all. The roof in this photo only shows some of them- I don't dare count them, there must be 150 or more!
They certainly make themselves at home
Relaxing and bathing
A lone white dove amongst them!
And this one - in the middle - can you see? She must've come straight from the nest as a hatched egg is still sticking to her. She came to the ground and the egg wobbling between her legs made it difficult to walk, but she flew to the roof, and seconds after I took the photo, the egg unstuck and tumbled down the tiles.
Later I am pretty sure there was a hawk attempt on the flock, as I heard a thud, and just saw some brown wings flying away. The pigeons scattered and didn't come back for ages... and when they did, there weren't so many, so maybe it was a good thing! But I hate the hawk being attracted to the garden as it puts my special doves at great risk.
This morning my little family all squashed in together - Happy's maybe sorry he plonked a stick on Pearl!
And Spring and Summer abandoned nest building to relax in the greens
I'm not sure if Faith is eating much - I fed her a few peanuts by hand today, but there is not much point in that if she is at the end of her life, and choosing not to eat... well, we will see how she gets on. She seems content enough...sitting on the garden table in the photo below
I took Pearl out of the hutch to take her photo today, and when I gently released her she flew the short distance back to the open hutch. I don't really want her to fledge properly, and leave the hutch - my precious baby!
1st September 2012 - September already! But often a lovely month, let's hope we get an Indian Summer - I hope that every year!
Spring came down on the ground, I think for the first time today. He seems to now be more advanced than Autumn, though I was convinced it was the other way round at first. Here he is swamped by the pigeons. Then I gently shooed them away, and he is too young to worry about shooing, so he stayed
and fed himself - though Sky and Summer still feed him too.
I was worried that Autumn is staying in the back of the cote, and maybe not attracting attention from Sky and Summer, so I took her out despite much squeaking to feel her crop - but she appeared to have that grainy feel, and so I put her back and am hoping for the best. I just don't want her to get left behind like poor little Pip did. His death was just so sad and he was a sweet little bird. Lizzy2, Spring and Autumn's older sibling, is still here every day to feed, and like all my ringed birds gets peanuts thrown to her specially.
Pearl doesn't like being taken out of the hutch, but here she is, looking beautiful as always. Her plumage is so soft and thick. She's gorgeous! I let her fly back to the hutch as it's good practice!
And guess what? her daddy, Happy, didnt fly away tonight, but stayed in the hutch, so you know what that means, don't you? I suspect there might be an egg in the morning!
2.9.12 - I was totally mistaken! Happy wasn't in the hutch when I opened up this morning - he must've snuck away when I wasn't looking. So, as we were....
I went out early again this Sunday, off to my car boot, but was surprised to see a collared dove with spread wings on the ground in the narrow exit from our yard to the outer world! I didnt realise it was dead at first.... the poor pretty little thing, it only had the most minor damage to one eye - I wonder what happened? What a shame....
Later, when I drove home, another collared dove was fluttering around the same place.... probably it's mate. This sort of thing really saddens me....
The squirrels are back in the garden - here one helps himself, while Jose and Happy stand well back..
Sky and Summer spent a lot of time together cosying up in the cote today. I have noticed that there is quite a respectable stick nest in there now.
Spring and Autumn peeped out of their new chosen sleeping places - Autumn top back and Spring at the side
And later on Pearl did something naughty and had to be chastised by mummy and daddy
At least that what it looks like to me in this photo!
But he soon bounced back to his normal self
Mon 3.9.12 - Spring and Autumn are fully fledged. They can feed themselves although still squeak for food from Sky, and get it! They are more independant and less needy than the previous pair, Lizzy2 and the poor little Pip. Never once have they used the day boxes I put on the hedge, and there's been no worrying and catching them at night. Every evening they've put themselves to bed in the cote, and Sky hasn't blocked the entrances or stopped them doing so, like he did Lizzy2 & Pip, and before them, Lizzy and Lympy.
Pearl shows no sign of fledging - it's much too comfortable here with Mummy and Daddy during the day, and just Mummy at night. She wanders around the table....
But then wonders how to get back in????
Oh well, I think it's this way - best foot forward!
Are you tired, Mummy?
Autumn decided to visit the old nestbox, just for old times sake.....
But mummy Summer soon saw her off....
Tue.4th Sept - I was at Birdworld today so was taking photos of other birds - like this budgie
But I didn't forget to take my daily picture of Pearl
Wed. 5th Sept 12 - As soon as Happy arrived at Jose's table this morning about 6.30am I could see that he had one purpose in mind - to get Pearl to fledge! and within minutes Pearl followed Daddy to the roof for the first time. Well she (or he) IS about 34 days old, and that's a couple of days over the latest normal fledging time.
I was surprised to see, in the late afternoon, Spring still demanding to be fed... and Sky did give in and feed her. She's approximately 38 days old now. Really Spring you are too old for Daddy to feed you now, though my book does say that squabs may not be fully independant until 7 weeks old.
A beautiful stranger, with racing rings, turned up in the garden when I'd already decided that it was the end of the feeding day - and I am really trying to economise with grain as it is so expensive.
But I couldn't let such a gorgeous bird, white with soft brown marking, go hungry, could I?
And guess who's spending the night? - Summer!
And that's another dovie week done! Now Pearl's fledged I won't be taking daily photos - she's gone from this - her first picture
To this... in 34 days!
To be cont....