Sunday, 22 April 2012

Cloud Recovers - and my new doves

A jackdaw in Jose's crate in the conservatory - read why!
Cloud on Jose's table
The new doves are settling in nicely and more about them later, but first back to me and hubbie both going away, leaving Jose with my daughter, and poor damaged Cloud in Jose’s hutch for my neighbour to care for.
I hated leaving Cloud and hadn’t wanted to go on holiday at all for various reasons but it was all arranged and I had no choice. We went to Skye to stay with friends who were renting a holiday chalet there, and though the whole holiday was rather tedious some of the wildlife made up for it. We took a wonderful boat trip - Misty Isle Boat Trips   to Loch Coruisk and saw seals – I love seals and tales of selkies – and was lucky enough to see a golden eagle just for a moment, but didn’t manage to get a photo.
I refrained from texting about Cloud to my neighbour while I was away as I didn’t want to hassle her as her baby was imminently due. I’d also asked the teenage daughter of another neighbour to come in and check Cloud too, and was rather afraid that she might let her escape. Feral doves and pigeons hate being confined, even if ill, and are great escapologists so I would not have been surprised if Cloud had managed to get away while her food and water was being dealt with. When we got back, the first thing hubbie did was go over to the hutch to see Cloud – he pretends not to care, but he does really! She was still there, still making grumpy noises and unfortunately still limping. We got back mid afternoon, so I wasn’t going to release her at that time of day anyway.
Thursday `12th April ‘12 – I was going to be collecting Jose and bringing her back to her hutch, so I had to make the decision about what to do with Cloud – whether I would release her or put her in the hospital. I checked her over, and her tummy scab was near to coming off.

I didn't pull the scab off of course, but did put some cream underneath, and on top
I had looked on the internet and found something about limping ducks who have got mates (weird what comes up!) and the author said it was not right to keep a duck away from its mate just because it was limping. I felt the same.... that I shouldn’t and didn’t have the right to keep Cloud in, when she could fly, her tummy was healing, and she had her mate, Storm, hopefully waiting for her. So, first I put another ring on her ringed foot (pink over blue – so as I’d know her apart from Bianca2 who also has a blue ring) then I took her out into the garden, first thing when the other doves were around and left her in an open box - see above
She didn’t come out and fly straight off as I’d expected, and it occurred to me that it might be as well to wash her feet again – as she’d been in the hutch all week walking around in her own poo (if I’d been home I would’ve made sure the hutch was cleaned daily but I couldn’t ask a preggie friend to do that for me!) –  I didn’t want Cloud scratching the new skin on her tummy and perhaps infecting herself. So I took her in again, washed her feet, and carefully sprayed under her wings and on her back for mites. Then I carried her out to the lawn and released her from my hands,
She flew to the pigeons on the roof – I wasn’t sure if Storm was there or not – but the other males started paying her unwanted attention.
And then she later settled on the tv  ariel away from the males - not very comfortable looking!
Later again, she came down to eat and here she is with Rosie (pink ring) who has proved to be a male so really should be called Rossie! But I’ll still call him Rosie probably! Rosie used to be elusive, but is now very much in evidence in the garden with a voracious appetite. I think he may have a nest nearby – or just eats a lot!
Definitely Rosie (right) but now not sure if that is Cloud on the left or Bianca2!
Jose settled back into her old routine, with her male pigeon friend visiting. Here they are preening together after sharing food from her bowl. I’ve seen them mating a few times too.
Jose, right, and her gentleman friend
So Cloud was released Thursday, and stayed around that day, but I didn’t see her on the following day, and of course blamed myself thinking perhaps I should’ve kept her in and worrying about her. I felt slightly better knowing that she had been very well fed in her week’s confinement with plenty of nutritious peanuts to build up her strength. She arrived back on my patio on the Saturday morning, making her grumpy ‘feed me!’ noises. She is the only bird that arrives making noises! I wish you could hear her.

She drags her less strong wing sometimes

Jose jumped down from her table and joined her on the gravel path searching for grit or who knows what...
Jose left and Cloud right
And later when Cloud flew to the roof, a white male joined her. He didnt hassle her too much, and she accepted his company......But had Storm abandoned her?

It was a sunny spring day and the new doves mated on the hedge. They have brought quite a few sticks into the favoured nest box and spend all their days in the cote or on the roof opposite.

Sky and Summer - white doves - mating

They don’t leave in the evenings til 7pm, at least an hour after the other doves and pigeons have gone, and seem to like sitting in the late evening sun on the hospital which we have currently moved to underneath the cote while the grass recovers in the other section.

Meet Sky and Summer, close up, my beautiful new pair! I don’t recognise them as individuals yet – they are both pure white. This is going to be difficult! I’m still missing Flash and Omo. Tears still come to my eyes when I think how my feisty Flash died... and Shanti and Shelby who were both ringed – and they would’ve been laying by now if the cote hadn’t come down. - if you remember they flew away and who could blame them? But please don’t think I am not very pleased and happy to have Sky (Male) and Summer, I am delighted of course. I wonder why only the white doves choose the cote? In general, the white doves seem tamer and more domesticated than the grey pigeons.
I was out Thursday night so not sure if Summer stayed the night then, but she definitely stayed Friday 20th April '12 night, and every night since then, so I am pretty sure she has laid eggs. Sky, like Flash before him, doesn't stay. I wish he would as there are all the empty compartments in the cote, but instinct obviously takes him back to wherever the doves roost. I hope it’s not too far away and he has a safe passage there and back every time.
I’ve seen Cloud every day now, except the day after I released her - and she's been released 10 days as of today. Faithful Storm had not abandoned her but is her very close companion. They often arrive later than the other doves and pidgies – 9am ish – which is actually a good thing as it means I can feed them separately and Cloud can take her time without fighting for food. They get the usual food, but with a high proportion of peanuts, to help Cloud stay strong. She’s a funny little thing making her noises for her food, and quite tame, she’ll come close, but not close enough for me to catch her. Not that I need or want to. Her tummy seems to be healing. It was lucky this didn't happen in the summer when she might have attracted flies to lay eggs on her - that happened to one poor dove that died last summer. Cloud and Storm often go to Jose’s hutch – maybe Cloud remembers she had plenty of food there.
Storm waits on Jose's brick while Cloud eats

A male arrives to bow and coo at Cloud

Jose pops out of the hutch to shoo Cloud up the side while the male gives up and eats!

Talking about food, the birds are currently eating me out of house and home. While I was away my neighbours managed to get through two 25kg sacks of grain in one week and currently at £18.50 a sack this is not funny! Hubbie and I through various circumstances are on a reduced income, so I have had to economise. I ordered new feed – my pet shop delivers which is great as these sacks are heavy! I can actually lift a 25kg sack, and have to heave them into my metal bins. Anyway, if I have to budget so do the doves so I carefully measured out how many scoops in a sack – 50 – so as I want the sack to last a week, the birds will get 7 scoops a day – 3 in the morning, when they are waiting on the roof from about 6am til I get up at 7am, very hungrily! Then 1 at lunchtime, with bread. And 3 in the afternoon. If  I’m home I only put down what will be eaten immediately, and save the rest for a bit later on. If you have any good economical ideas for feeding the birds, ;lease let me know. But I suppose the more they feed, the more they breed, and soon I'd be feeding thousands!
 I have many jackdaws coming in too, and although I like all birds, I just can’t feed them too. The cheeky beggars grab a bit here and there, but if I’m standing in the garden they won’t come too close. Friday 20th April, I caught a jackdaw in Jose’s hutch – it had risked it for a biscuit! And ventured in.... big mistake, as it seemed unable to get out. When I saw it, I closed Jose’s little door. A friend was just due round  so I thought I’d have help to take it out and ring it – just so I could know it if it came back.I called him Dodger, but haven’t seen him since. He probably thought it was a close call and will avoid the garden now.
The very next day, I saw a big cock pheasant in the hutch! I’d noticed it wandering around the garden and next time I looked it was in the hutch, taking up practically all the space and also unable to find it’s way out. Jose, upset and flustered, dived between it’s legs and came out to sit calmly on her brick. I had no intention of trying to ring a pheasant! He was bashing himself against the wire netting of the hutch -  I took the photos and released him immediately.

Pheasant in the dove's home!
Before I sign off, I must ask you to pop over to Laura B's blog and see her wonderful illustrations of bird ladies. Laura is the lovely daughter of a dear friend of mine and a very talented artist. She knows I think her pigeon lady is creepy though! The link should take you to her Blackbird - scroll down her other blogs to find pigeon, dove, parakeet and other birds.
I'll be continuing this blog very shortly I hope, as lots more to say...and more photos of Cloud and the others.

PS Blogger has a new format - it took me ages to do this blog as I'm not very good with new things - I hope you can read it ok and leave comments.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Bobbie3 is released and Cloud arrives needing help

16.4.12 -
I was away 12-16th March and my husband was looking after Jose and Bobby3. I went to Butlins, Bognor with my daughter and two little grandchildren– we had a great time. There was even a few white doves around – the photo above shows them on the top of the Skyline Pavilion.
Another bird there that had my grandson in giggles was the seagull pulling at the bushes – I couldn’t work out why it wanted to! Was it eating it, or looking for nesting material, or what?
Below are a couple of photos of Ollie – my oily rescue pigeon. They turned out to be some
of the last photos, as I haven’t seen him since. Actually I think he was an Olivia, and hope she’s gone off with a male to nest somewhere else.

Hubbie and I were both going away in early April, so I decided that I would release Bobbie3 a few days before we went and hope for the best. Though he wasn’t totally better, he was much improved and I ringed him with a blue ring. Fri the 30th was a good sunny day for a release. Here he is wrapped in a towel in my arms just before I let him go.

He flew straight to the roof, and the next time I saw him was on the Sunday. He was managing - thank goodness for that!
Sun 1st April and I came home late afternoon to find a white dove on the patio with a dark pigeon hovering near her. I recognised them as being a sweet pair that I had seen together on a
number of occasions recently, thinking of them as Cloud and Storm. Cloud didn’t fly off as I approached and when I threw a few peanuts down, she dragged herself over to them to eat. Storm fluttered to the roof, and I dropped a soft cloth over Cloud and picked her up – sighing inwardly as I really didn’t need another bird patient two days before we were off on holiday! The same thing had happened last year just before I went away – I had a baby bird to look after and it
ended with the little thing being killed by a jay leaving me feeling dreadfully guilty for the first two days of the hols. Anyway, this dove, Cloud had possibly a damaged wing, was limping and had all her underneath feathers scraped off. What on earth had happened to her? Husband suggested she mighthave had a sparrowhawk encounter, and it’d got as far as him plucking off all
her feathers, but she had managed to escape. I couldn't think of any other explanation. I took her in for the night of course and anointed her tummy with the skin cream I bought for Olly. I also washed her feet!!!

The next day Monday 2nd April - I ringed Cloud with a blue ring on her good foot (realising after I’d done it that it was the same colour and leg as Bianca2) and set her down on the garden table.
After a short while, she flew to the roof and was joined almost immediately by Storm. I was thankful she could fly, and relieved that Storm was with her and mostly grateful I wouldn’t need to make arrangements for her while I was away.

Storm and Cloud flew off together, and I hoped he wouldn’t take her far, as I still felt she was weak. Later on when I went to visit my neighbour I could see them both on the roof opposite her house– I went back to get my camera and when I came back Storm was gone, and Cloud was alone, looking a bit hunched up and poorly.

At about 3pm they came back together to the garden, to eat, but soon, from the window, I saw unhappy Cloud on the ground with a rampant white male dove trying to mate with her, while she tried to drag herself away, and Storm hovering near, doing nothing to help! I shooed the male off and picked Cloud up, putting her in Jose’s vacant hutch (Jose had already gone to my daughter’s home to be looked after while we were away). My neighbour had kindly agreed to feed the doves for me (despite being just about to have a baby!) and I had to ask her to do what she could for Cloud too, as I felt I just couldn’t release her again. She just wasn’t fit enough – to join in the scrum for food, find water, and fly to and from wherever the pigeons roost.

Storm visiting Cloud in the hutch. I felt dreadful keeping them apart, but at least he knew where she was.
And I’ve saved the best news til last, we have new doves interested in the cote. Two pairs! A while ago I got the steps and emptied out the sticks in the most favoured nest box. I had seen Flash put one in but I hadn’t realised there were so many. It broke my heart to see all his lovely neatly arranged sticks in there and know he would’ve been nesting in my garden this summer for the second year if it hadn’t been for the hawk. It was hard to remove them, - not physically, but mentally -but I thought it might put other doves off if there was more or less a nest inside. Hubbie thought they might think ‘Good, a furnished flat!’ but I thought it would be better to remove them and let any newbies make their own.
And I’ve saved the best news til last, we have new doves interested in the cote.
Two pairs! A while ago I got the steps and emptied out the sticks in the most
favoured nest box. I had seen Flash put one in but I hadn’t realised there were
so many. It broke my heart to see all his lovely neatly arranged sticks in
there and know he would’ve been nesting in my garden this summer for the second
year if it hadn’t been for the hawk. It was hard to remove them, - not
physically, but mentally -but I thought it might put other doves off if there
was more or less a nest inside. Hubbie thought they might think ‘Good a
furnished flat!’ but I thought it would be better to remove them and let any
newbies make their own.
And I’m hoping this pair will settle – I have names for them, but let’s just wait and see if they stay first!

Lots more still to tell - so hopefully I will continue the blog in the next few days.....