We woke up to a sharp frost, with the garden table all white. It was so cold I worried all day about The Baby and where it would be best to keep her. Most of the time she was in the kitchen in an open box - she did fly or rather plummet out of that, and I found her in the pantry in the gap between the wall and the fridge - luckily she hadnt squeezed behind the fridge, as that would've been a mission to get her out. Her favoured place was hiding behind my furry boots near the back door. She perked up at moments, but mostly seemed to want to hide and was listless. I fed her several times and left food scattered about on the floor and in dishes wherever she was, but she had no interest in it, although would take a drink from a little shot glass. It gets dark so early, I fed her a last feed at 4.30pm and put her to bed in a covered box in the sitting room with me for the warmth. I only had a dim light on, and even kept the tv down low - what I do for these birds! I was going to my daughter's the next day to look after my grand-daughter so I made preparations for Baby to come too - grains, small peanuts etc in a little tupperware box and I even got her little brekkie all ready to give her first thing as I had to leave by 8am. But in the morning, I found poor fragile light little Baby dead in the box. It was no surprise really, though I was still very sad - I think she was already dying by the time I picked her off the roof - she had no energy to even have the will to live. It's so hard for me, when I love these little birds and do my very best for them. RIP Baby - you were so adorable, I wish you had been destined to live.
Later I came home to my ravenous flock, and all was much as normal. Do you remember me telling you about Royal, the pigeon that would eat from my hand? Well, I don't know what happened to him, but he stopped coming after a while, though another younger pigeon had copied him and was also eating from my hand - I call him Baby Royal and he's still there morning and afternoon. The birds are clever - another pigeon I call Bandy has copied Baby Royal, and today several of them caught on and flew to my hands, including a white dove. Sometimes they peck my fingers, and they have very sharp beaks!
There was another fight on the hedge at the back of the cote - this time it was Lesa (yellow ring and a male, despite being named after one of my blog readers) and a big white male I caught a while back and ringed with one blue and one purple ring,calling him Mr. Strong. Not sure what this fight was about - but they all seem to want some part of the cote. I flapped a hand, and they flew off.
There was one big white dove that had set itself slightly apart from the others and was hovering near the door of the cottage - I threw it feed which it ate hungrily, and I noticed it seemed to be limping. So I threw down another handful, all the birds clustered round and I literally was able to just bend down and pick up the one I wanted. I put him in the hutch with a dish of grain and he continued to eat enthusiastically. When I judged he'd had a fair bit, I brought him into the kitchen and ringed him with one pink and one red ring - and put him back in the hutch but this time with the doors open. He did fly out, and could fly though not strongly and just to the garden table where he stayed. By this time it was coming on for dovie bedtime - the juveniles, September and October, put themselves to bed in the cote anytime from 3-4pm depending on how grey the day is, and all birds seem to have left the garden now by not long after 4, so I though best just to put the limping one back into the hutch for the night, and close it up. I will give him a morning feed in the hutch - away from the scrum - and then when it quietens down a bit, open up the hutch and see what he wants to do. I'll call him Winter - as in 'limping Winter...' from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - and he is as white as snow!
Wed 7th Nov. - Winter was given the option of coming out, and did so, but he only ventured to the hedge, and after a while I re-captured him and put him back in the hutch.
Septie and Octie managed to scrounge a feed from Sky - but he gave it reluctantly.
Thurs 8th Nov - Today, for a change, it was a group of white doves who arrived first on the roof about 7am. Mostly its a select group of pigeons that I recognise and assume roost locally.
. In the photo below, Winter has come out onto the table, and was rather bemused by the riff-raff that immediately dived in to find food.
Then he had a little walk on the hedge....
But again I put him back in the hutch for the dayFriday 9th Nov'12 -
The birds had been fed, and I was sitting down having a bowl of porridge when I heard an unusual and fairly loud noise - the kind that needs investigating! Oh no, you fat pidgie lot - you've brought the electrictiy supply cable down!
Of course the birds swing on the wire, and hubbie must have had a premonition because only the other day, he shooed them off on a rainy day as he said they were so wet and heavy they'd being the cable down. This is the third time it's come down since I've been living here! To give Southern Electric their due I rang at 8am and it was all fixed up again by 10am - so a pat on the back to them! Now the pidgies can swing again - ha ha!
It was a mild bright day, so in the late morning I opened up the hutch for Winter and he came out and flew to the hedge again. I soon discovered he is a she, as a male grey pigeon started courting her! I watched to see how she would cope with the advances, but she soon brushed him off, flew to the roof, and started preening. There are always doves and pigeons here now so plenty of company for her. You can see how her wing drags in the photo below.
During the day, I noticed the juveniles, September and October, begging for food from Sky, but he ignores them now, and in fact spends quite a lot of time with Summer in the dovecote. I can't believe they are thinking of starting another nest now, at this season,.... but I think they are!
By 3.30pm Winter had put herself to bed on the porch above the cottage door. I had hoped she would go back to the hutch and I could shut her in, but she was quite safe where she was. I'm still able to block the babies in at night - though they are not really babies anymore, especially as Daddy has stopped feeding them. They still have a few wisps of baby down on their heads and I feed them in the cote before the other birds arrive in the mornings, to make sure they get enough. It's October here.
Sat. 10th Nov 12 - 7am, and here's Winter where she slept the night, above the door. It looks darker than it was!
I had hoped that she would come down, alone, to eat the grain and peanuts I threw for her, before the hungry hordes arrived, but she didnt. I fed the babies in the cote - I keep thinking of them as the babies but really this weekend they will be 7 weeks old! - and they always eat before they come out of the pigeon holes and fly to the roof, but Winter didnt come down til 8am. I hope she got enough amongst the scrum. She spent the day on the roof, but flew off with the rest of the flock around 3.45pm - so God Speed Winter - and I hope she's back with them all tomorrow. She's had five days rest here with me, and good food, so hopefully she'll be alright, bless her.
I noticed when I shut the babies in tonight that one of the them, September I think, had some lice on him (or her) so as they might not be staying in the cote much longer, I intend to take them out one by one first thing in the morning and spray them with the anti-mite spray. I will also have to bath Faith again - she gets in such a mess underneath. I noticed that there was what looked like a few blood stains on the paper underneath her after the night, and she can't curl her feet round properly now. Poor little thing, I can't see her lasting long now.But she's contented enough... well, I hope so.
Another thing I noticed this evening - there are sticks in Sky and Summer's nest box! They HAVE started building a nest!
Remembrance Sunday - 11.11.12 - Septie and Octie didn't like it, but I took them out one at a time and sprayed them against mites. They struggled and complained a bit, but they are quite tame actually. I bathed Faith, and you can see in the photos below how painfully her breastbone sticks out.
Winter didn't come back all day - but instead I got the most wonderful surprise. Pearl came to see me! After several weeks away, and me thinking the worst, there she (or he) was! On Remembrance Sunday too....
Pearl, Jose and Happy's baby, looking sparkling white and fit for anything!
Monday 12th Nov - The weather is quite mild and as you can see the doves are enjoying the cote. Sky and Summer haven't added to their nest-building, maybe they have realised the days are ending about 3.30pm.... but I have heard of plenty of instances of pigeons breeding at this time of year. September and October have done very well, better than I thought, and Spring and Autumn are also around looking very healthy (I wish I could line them up together so you could see all these siblings together!) but if eggs were laid now the babies would be fledging at Christmas!!!!
And you can see how filthy the cote is - I wanted to take it down to paint it!
Right at the end of the day - or rather the daylight day - I was in the conservatory when I saw two white doves walking nearby. This is a fairly unusual place for the doves to be, as they don't normal come under the archway into that part of the garden - so they attracted my attention, and I saw it was Winter, with her drooping wing and ring and pink rings! And maybe this was her mate - I ran out to feed them with peanuts. She stayed around and was one of the last doves in the garden, maybe not relishing a long flight back to wherever it is! But she is so much better now than she was a week ago.
The last few pidgies on the roof at the end of the day - with one white dove to the far right - Winter, and Cloud at the front - she's such a poser!
Here she is again, on the dovecote, the other day
Thursday 15th Dec - A few days have gone by since I last wrote. Yesterday at bedtime the young birds, September and October, were not in the cote and I wondered if they had flown to roost with the other birds.... but I looked up into the sky and there were two white doves circling round, and I thought There you are! Just having a last fly before bedtime! That is one of the lovely things about the doves, they fly just for the sheer joy of it!
September and October are approx 8 weeks old this coming Sunday - or 56 days. Autumn left the cote at 45 days and Pearl the hutch at 44 days - I know as I checked back in my blog - so Septie and Octie are the oldest young ones ever to stay so long....and I hope they stay always! (even though I wanted the cote empty so I can paint it!)
The weather's been mild so Faith's been out in the hutch - sometimes she waddles off her hotwater bottle to sit in the outside part
I sometimes put her out on the lawn or the raised to have a little wander and a peck around, but she has to be supervised, I can't just leave her - she is too vulnerable. One good thing, there is no more blood on the paper in the mornings - maybe it was nothing much.....
Fri 16th Dec - So many little things happen with the doves, I haven't time to tell you everything. The other day I caught three pidgies with paramyxo and gave them all a hand-feed of peanuts, one by one.
And this evening the sweetest little thing turned up - hungry? of course! She was all white with a black tail, but I didn't get a very good photo.
To be cont....