Happy and Cloud turned up in the garden together. They visited Happy's old lodgings in the cote, swung on the wire for a bit, sunned on the roof, and generally seemed content in each other's company. I am so relieved that Happy has moved on so quickly after Jose's death - I couldn't have borne to see him moping around the hutch where she used to live.
I have seen him 'driving' Cloud - which is the expression used when the male chases the female, occasionally pecking her. This either results in the female giving in, and becoming the male's mate, or the male giving up and trying to fix his interest elsewhere!
It would be a fantastic ending - or rather a continuing - of Happy and Cloud's stories if they were to get together properly as mates, but even if it is just an Autumn romance, this diversion is exactly what Happy needs - poor boy!
Here they are again - Happy with 'driving' on his mind....
16.10.12 - As Happy is pleasurably diverted, I have been using the hutch for my bedraggled little Faith when the weather is fine. Mostly she sits inside the blue part, but can wander outside into the wire box if she wants to. I liked to give Jose as much freedom as possible, but can't allow Faith to be unprotected as she can't defend herself in any way against the rough and tumble of the other doves and pigeons. She is very thin and vulnerable, but incredibly stays alive somehow or another.
I have trained a handsome pigeon to fly to my hand for grain and peanuts. I've named him Royal as he has a rich mantle of purple and green plumage. At Claremont, the white doves and pigeons readily eat from my hands, but my own flock here are much more reticent, so having Royal come to my hand is a feather in my cap, ha ha! I look dreadful in the photos hubbie took, so I cropped the pics down!
18th October 2012
Today would've been the second anniversary of the finding of Jose - if she had lived. I had planned to do an anniversary portrait of her. Instead here is a photo as a memorial of my lovely dove, pretty in the snow of 2010.
When I was tucking up the squabs this evening, I checked Happy's lodgings to make sure it was clean in there, and found one stick! Oh no! Surely Happy and Cloud will not start nesting at this time of year? Maybe it was just a stick to say 'This is my home, so stay out!'. I haven't seen Happy and Cloud all day, but I haven't been in all the time. I took the squabs out again today to check them for lice and louse flies.
|25 day old white dove squabs|
Last time they stayed cuddled up - this time they are much more grown-up and October started climbing up the back of the chair
September followed, and they managed to scramble up using their sharp toe-nails for leverage
I took some close ups as I love their fluffy yellow downie bits
Another week or so and these babies will be fledging. They get very excited now when the flock arrives, and are starting to take turns to look out of the window at the world outside. Soon they will be teetering on the edge..... and that's the time that squabs can get lost - if they fall off the edge, away from the nest, the parents probably won't feed them, they can't fly properly and are easy prey. Of course if Septie and Octie fall off, hopefully I will find them before too long and pop them back!
Fri 19.10.12 - I'd fed the birds and was eating my porridge, but still keeping an eye on the cote outside when I realised there was something going on at the back, so I went out to see. From the ground I could see two white doves scufflling in Happy's lodgings, and when they continued for a while, I got the steps up so I could peer in. I could see one bird had a single red ring and one a single blue ring so I could tell it was Happy and Sky. It seemed odd as since the initial fighting when Happy first came to the hutch they have lived in harmony, with Sky and Summer even tolerating Happy sitting in his lodgings at the back whenever he pleased. I didn't want my boys to hurt or even kill each other, so I decided best to remove one. I took Sky out as it's Happy's place and Sky knew that! and then took Sky into the shed kitchen for a quick look at him to check for lice etc. He struggled but let me examine him, and he seemed pest free - but I still gave his back and tail a little spray with my anti-mite stuff before releasing him. Then I worried he would be cross with me and wouldn't come back to the babies, but he's made of sterner stuff, and of course I have handled him before, when I initially ringed him - so all was well, and hopefully he will just let Happy be. Cloud wasn't with Happy, so I don't know what's happened to her.
There's been a lot of loose behaviour round the cote recently - the sort of thing Flash wouldnt have tolerated - comings and goings, ins and outs. After this morning's fight with Happy, Sky had trouble with another white dove wanting to get into the nestbox where the squabs are - he routed out this other one, and at first I didnt know what was going on, as this one also had a blue ring - but I think it's Bianca2 who I ringed ages ago - she's a female, so I can usually distinguish her from Sky but sometimes it's not easy. Why on earth does she want to go into the nest box? As I type, Sky is sitting blocking the entrance, and she is sitting on a lower ledge.
Monday 22nd Oct. 12 - September and October are now about 28/29 days old. Sky and Summer seemed to be encouraging them out today. Here Sky sits on the ledge, and one of the babies peeps out.
Summer arrives to give a feed
Then she sat on the top of the stepladder
Here's a close up below - Summer is a beautiful, intelligent bird - but a bit grubby at the moment from going in and out of the nestbox, which despite my efforts with the kitchen paper liner is very smeared round the edges! (I don't think this pair of babies could make any more mess if they tried!)
Sky and Summer's last two squabs - Spring and Autumn - who are now about 3 months old (hatched around 29th July) are thankfully still visiting the garden, and I try to make sure they get fed, plus extra peanuts.
I couldn't get a very good photo of Autumn....who wouldn't stand still....
And Spring kept rooting in the leaves.....she often goes there.....
But then posed nicely for me!
Wed 24th October 12
The doves get the main afternoon feed mid afternoon now the days are shorter. I noticed a pigeon under the garden table, seemingly very hungry but didn't rush/fly about with the others in the scrum for food. It stayed, still searching, when the others in the main had flown off, and I then could see what was wrong with it - the poor darling thing had virtually no feet at all!!!! My net (now not much used since Jose isn't around any more to jump down from her table and need catching) was employed and I put The Pobble as I called him into the hutch - first removing Faith to the conservatory. I gave him a dish of grain and peanuts in the outside part - but with the wire box up - and he ate voraciously.
But after resting a bit, but he was trying to get out. It was still an hour from darkness, so I thought maybe I shouldn't keep him if he wanted to go. First I wrapped him in a cloth and took him into the shed kitchen to check out. You can see his stumps more clearly in the photo below - and I also sprayed his back and wings with the anti-mite spray.
I put him on the floor, and he could get himself off the ground, but came crashing down again. Poor Pobble, you can't seem to fly so you must spend the night in the hutch! (if you don't know why I called him Pobble, then you need to look up Edward Lear's nonsense rhyme! - it's a bit long to reproduce here).
|A pigeon called The Pobble|
Cloud had been there for the afternoon feed, as she was yesterday, but Happy no longer seems to be with her. He's given up his lodgings in the back of the cote, and for the last two days has arrived very late. He'll always be welcome here, and I'll always try to feed him - my beautiful boy. Here he is, a single white dove, with the last of the pigeons, at dusk.
Thursday 25th Oct - The Pobble was quiet and seemingly content in the hutch this morning.
There was a lot of mess, so obviously he had had enough to eat! After I took the photo, he rudely pushed past me, and flew to the roof, without a thank you for the feed and night's lodging! He didn't come down to eat throughout the day, and I assume he has moved on. Bye Pobble, it was nice knowing you!
You've heard of therapy dogs/cats who go to visit people in hospital and care homes? Well today I got Faith ready to go and see my old neighbour who has had a stroke and is confined to home and wheelchair.
Here she is waiting in her little basket, on the hedge, for me to be ready
She looks cleaner in the photo than she does in real life - she is rather a bedraggled little creature though she preens and does her best to keep tidy.
|Pet dove visits elderly stroke victim|
My neighbour, E, was delighted to see Faith. In the old days, before his stroke, he used to willingly feed the doves for me if I was going to be out, or on holiday, and he still takes a great interest in them, especially news of the squabs.
Faith sat quietly in her basket in his wheelchair while we had a chat.... but when I left and had reached our yard outside the garden, she took a massive leap out of the basket and onto the ground - silly Faith, scrabbling about on the gravel and in the puddles, getting even more dirty!
I took the babies out of the cote again this afternoon. At this age they always look so bemused and perplexed by the world around them. They are about 32 days old, and I know Sky wants them to fledge. It will be in the next couple of days I should think, maybe tomorrow.... Here's Sky on the top of the cote, first thing this morning, encouraging September to come out.
and here's October.....
They'll be fledged by the next blog - wish them luck!
To be cont.....