Saturday, 2 February 2013

Santa flies.....

Sun 27th January 2013

At the end of my last blog, it was after 4pm in the afternoon, only a few pidgies were around and little Santa was still up on the roof, having got there by my slightly careless 'flying lessons'!!!

He edged until he was standing on the nearest corner of the low slate roof to the back-door, so it occured to me prop it open and see what happened. Sure enough, after a few minutes, there was a little white 'person' on the door-step and Santa cautiously hopped up and walked in calm as a lamb - thank goodness! I slowly shut the door behind him, so as not to scare him out again, and then I picked him up to take him for a small hand-feed to top him up - then I left him in the conservatory box, with his bowls of water and grains. He seemed exhausted and sat down behind his brick on his little padded bed area.


He knocked over his little pot of tiny grains, but I didn't
want to disturb him by setting it right, as he seemed so exhausted

Mon 28th Jan - Today I am thinking - What now for Santa? Do I put him on the low roof so he can spend time out, like he did yesterday.... but what if the weather is not so good?..... Well, I took him out of his night box - fed him two or three moist green peas - then put him out on the lawn with the rest of the doves and pigeons to eat the rest of his breakfast, but I left the back door open just in case. While they were all out there, I went in to feed Cloud, watching the main flock through the glass. I could see Santa in the midst of them....... then they all flew off suddenly, and I could still see him.... all alone. When I'd finished Cloud and went back out through the kitchen, he wasn't in the house, and I couldn't see him anywhere in the garden at a glance. I looked up - and, amazingly, there he was up on the roof! There was no way he could've got up there any other way, so he must've got there under his own steam - he CAN fly up from the ground...... unless he flew to the stepladder or the table and then to the roof, maybe. So I had no decision to make - Santa was on the roof again and happy as larry.

At about 2pm when I was feeding the flock, I heard a crash through the leaves and bushes, which I recognised as it was exactly the same sound as when little Pip made an unsuccessful descent and landed in the fenced off area of the flower-bed where we keep the big oil tank. This time of course it was Santa falling down - luckily I'd heard him fall and could go straight to his rescue.  When I had stepped through the flower bed and looked round, I could see the ground was very boggy there, so I went back for my boots, and my camera. Took a quick snap, and here he is, stuck in the muck!


Santa's feet and underneaths were very mucky so I gave him a quick swish in the water bath, then brought him into the kitchen and wrapped him in a warm towel - poor little thing, he seemed a bit upset and chilled so I thought, well it's about 2.15,  it's not sunny, and that's enough adventures for one day for a little dovie. So he was given a hand feed of a few peanuts and grains, and was popped into his box in the conservatory.

Tue 29.1.13 - The day was a bit blustery and rainy, but the temperature was up. Exactly the same thing happened as yesterday, Santa must've flown to the roof while I was feeding Cloud. I really want to see him do this, so will have to wait and watch him tomorrow.

Sky spent the first part of the morning bringing sticks to the nest box and Summer fussed about inside, doing her housekeeping. Yesterday there had been a few scuffles with Bianca2 about who the nestbox belonged to - luckily Sky and Summer 'won' and if they lay eggs then it will be the first time ever that I have had a pair nest for two seasons. Mr. Sunshine and Miss Tina have already made their nest at the back, but Mr. S is still 'driving' Miss T (whereas Sky and Summer are a bonded pair) so we have neither potential mummy dove sitting on eggs yet. It'll be such fun if I have TWO nesting pairs!

Santa and I know the routine now - again he came in through the back door at 'home time', no problem!

Wed 30.1.13 - I was up early as I had to leave at 8am to go out. Cloud was fed and sorted, and Santa went out on the lawn as soon as the very first doves turned up. He pecked around, and I was looking forward to seeing him do his stuff and fly up to the roof, but he didn't! He did one little long low fly around the lawn, and then down to peck again. I really did have to go, and I didn't want to leave Santa on the ground, so I had to catch him and put him up on the roof. My last view of him was a little skinny squab just making the top of the roof with a hop and a jump while I drove out of the yard. I could, of course, have left him shut up in the hutch all day while I was out, but I don't think that is right. He is a bit vulnerable of course, but he can fly a bit, and it's his birth right to be free, and the rest of the flock were there to give him company and protection.

He was still there when I came home, but fluttered down with the rest of the hungry hordes for a feed. When he came inside, and was 'talking' to me, he sounded a bit squeaky. I am a little concerned that he might have got a bit of a chill up there on the windy roof, but he ate supper and settled down ok for the night. I'm glad he comes in and I can give him a warm, safe night. I can't sit down to a cup of tea til I know he is safe - He is still my baby! Tomorrow......this time....I really do hope to see him fly up to the roof!!!!

Thurs 31.1.13 - Today I fed Cloud before I even got Santa up! I was determined to see my baby fly - so after I'd put him on the lawn, I watched him every second - even when I went back to the grain bin to get more food for the others, I didn't turn my back on him.... and yes I saw him fly. It was no miracle really, just a little dove flying - but I was proud of him ... he made it to the middle of the high roof slope so he is getting stronger I think.  About an hour afterwards I went out to the shed kitchen to put the washing machine on, and there were only three white doves amongst the pigeons on the roof - two were obviously a courting couple and one was near enough for me to see that it had no rings..... so where was Santa baby? I went out into the yard to look up at the other roofs that adjoin the one that the pigeons like - and, fortunately, I could see him up there. Maybe he had decided to go adventuring....without flying.... just walking along over the roof tops. I went back to get my camera, and by then Santa had been joined by another little one dove.


And soon I saw why Santa and the other one had moved so far from the main roof..... they were being pursued by a grey male pidgie. I'm afraid that unwanted male attention is something we females of all species have to put up with from time to time! So I really will have to start calling Santa 'she'!

Santa's the middle one - with the sticky up tail

Santa and friend must've shaken off the advances, as they came back to the main roof, and as is now the pattern, Santa came in about 3.30pm for supper, a little hand 'top up' and a nice peaceful bedtime.

Santa is, of course, the tamest dove I have ever had and I'm enjoying every minute of having him - her I mean! I wonder how long she will consider the house her 'roost'? I wonder if there is anyone else who has a tame pigeon or dove who comes home to the doorstep at night?

The two couples - Sky and Summer and Mr. Sunshine and Miss Tina - all spent time in the cote together. Here's S and S together in their brand new nest at the front of the cote


While at the back of the cote, all we can see is one dove's tail and the other's face, but there are both in there!


Fri 1st Feb -  It was unpleasantly rainy, so I put Santa in the hutch today but left the door open, to give her a chance to decide whether she wanted to stay in or out. But after a short while she  chose to fly to the roof, and the weather improved anyway.


Doves in and on the cote, and Santa in the hutch
At the afternoon feed, Santa decided to walk through the archway to the conservatory....she fluttered to the window-sill. Quite clever, as that's where she now lives, but of course she couldn't get in through the window. I tried to catch her but she got away and flew to the conservatory roof. Eventually she flew back to the main roof, and came down, and in through the kitchen door as usual. I am wondering when she will realise that she doesn't have to come in..... I hope that day will be long delayed as she can't really cope on her own very well at all. She can't eat properly, and she can't fly properly. She is my responsibility as it is obvious she would not have survived if I hadn't intervened, and by the laws of nature, Sky and Summer knew what they were doing when they virtually abandoned these babies (Snow and Santa). But I will never be sorry I tried to help Snow, and reared Santa - Snow was such a little darling soldier...... I really miss him and still mourn for him.

Santa, and his tiny miniature little sibling, Snow, who didn't make it....
Saturday 2nd Feb 13 - A sunny day that started off in the normal way. Here Santa and a pigeon friend survey the yard from the far edge of the roof. But before 9am when I was just about to go out, there was not a single dove or pigeon on the roof....... so where was Santa? I had to assume she had flown off  with the others, but as I said, she can't really fly properly.....

The only doves I could see around were Summer (and maybe Sky in with her) in the front of the cote and Miss Tina at the back - maybe my mummies are laying!
Again, I finish the blog with a Santa cliff-hanger...... I grabbed my camera and the catching net, and went off to look for her, abandoning the reason I was going out - finding Santa is more important!
To be continued


Fennie said...

Oh you do need dramatic music on this blog. Another cliff (or roof?) hanger.
Where is Santa.
It does seem that there was something wrong with the babies which was why they were abandoned first of all and would have died but for your intervention (you thought they were dead). Santa certainly seems vulnerable - but probably makes up for it in other ways, perhaps by being highly intelligent. No good for peace missions though. Speaking of which it is about time that Fennie dove returned. Probably been down to Mali on a mission. No doubt will be a hungry dove when he turns up.

hopeinparis said...

I agree with Fennie, this blogs needs a dramatic music soundtrack!! I will be eagerly looking forward to your blog updates on Santa's progress, adventures and surprises. Thank you, Faith!

CAMILLA said...

Would be good with a dramatic soundtrack Faith to your post.! I so hope Santa comes back soon, did you see him on the roof anytime later in the day today?

He seems to be perhaps a little more nervous than the other birds but in time he hopefully will get stronger with all your care for him.

Lesa said...

I could hardly stand the suspense! I had to quickly roll to the bottom of your post to make sure Santa's doing well. And I will wait until next time to find out. So, don't make us wait too long, ok?