Sunday, 24 March 2013

Patience is released

Monday 18th March 2013

I decided last night that I would release Patience this morning, and so was up and opening the conservatory doors wide at 6.15am. I took this photo and wondered if it would be the last one I would take of her - whether she would fly out the doors and I'd never see her again.

There were two pigeons on the roof...... but soon joined by others, and then the whole hungry morning gang. I threw grain onto the little lawn in front of the conservatory and the pigeons came through the archway from the main lawn to get it - but Patience stayed inside on the rail.

When I left to go out at 9am Patience was still there, and Cloud had by that time been got up, fed and put in her crate - doors closed of course. I left the conservatory doors open as I can lock the inner door, and wondered if she would be there when I got back.

She was! Didn't look like she had even moved! I took some more photos...


It was 11.30am and quite bright and sunny, so I decided it would be best to try to shoo her out the doors or failing that, catch her in the net so I could release her. This was stressful for both of us but soon enough I had caught her, and was able to examine her.


The 'gluey' bit was, as I had thought, just the scab coming off and still attached to her feathers. I left it there as it will just disintegrate and disperse on its own. I ran my finger over her breast and it was totally healed, so I felt even more sure that it was best to release her now while the weather was reasonable. I hand-fed her some peanuts as I didnt know how much breakfast, if any, she had had, and they are very nutritious and would sustain her for a while if she decided to fly away from the garden and all the free meals. I managed to get about 12 into her before she struggled, then I carried out to the kitchen door, kissed the top of her head and gently threw her towards the roof where the other pidgies were sitting - God Speed Patience! It is 4 weeks less one day since I picked her up from the path, like this....

And this is now.....

Patience joined the pigeons on the roof - here she is on the right....

But she soon separated herself and sat at the end of the roof - far left .....

But she preened, and seemed content enough.....
But when the gang flew off, she went with them, and again I wondered if I would see her again.
Later in the day about 4pm when Summer had just done a feed and joined a few pidgies on the roof, I thought that maybe one of them was Patience!
And it was! So she'd had a good day and come back! I was so pleased!
She walked around the roof.....

And I thought, whatever happens now, she survived the vicious hawk attack and has had a lovely day of flying and freedom. Then a suitor turned up - and proved that Patience is indeed a female.

She wasn't very interested......
" I want to be alone" - (I should've called her Garbo!)

Oh well, ok then, you can join me, if you insist!

I was glad she had a companion as all the other birds had gone and I thought she would be safer with a male, and he would take her back to the roost. They both briefly came down to the lawn to eat but I was feeding Cloud and the next time I looked both had gone, and I assumed she had gone off with him. I was quite surprised when I opened the kitchen door and found her perched up inside the little porch roof. It was a good place to choose as totally hidden and protected....

But I wondered if she would like to come in and be in her box, so I placed it just inside the kitchen door and left it there for about ten minutes but she stayed put, so I phoned hubbie and requested he come in the garden gate, and then the kitchen door very gently so as not to disturb her.
And he did I was happy that my Patience had a safe roost for the night... but within minutes, he'd forgotten and went charging out to get something in the garden.... and she flew out and away up to the roof! I was seething inside - how could he be so stupid?!!! But I didn't say anything as no point in starting an argument! I hoped Patience wouldn't just stay on the open roof all night as she wouldn't be protected if we had heavy rain and might easily be picked out by a hawk in the early morning. Later, and by now it was about 6pm, I walked round the buildings at the back and spotted her.... can you see her? Top left window-sill

And as you can see from the bottom photo, this sill has been a night roost for plenty of other pigeons in the past! Well, it's not such a good place as her first choice, but the overhang from the roof will protect her from rain slightly, and no-one at all was likely to go round there at night, so she will be undisturbed. I was glad I knew where she was - Sleep well Patience.

Tuesday 19.3.13 - I did feel a bit mean last night about Patience, but I had no reason to keep her as she was healed, could fly and feed herself. I was pleased to see her on the roof with the others this morning, but she didnt come down with them to feed. She now sits in amongst the others, which is a good sign, as poorly or injured ones do tend to separate themselves. Here she is, first thing -

When the flock flew away, she came again and hid in the kitchen porch, but when I had to open the door, she flew out and settled herself here......

Eventually she came down to eat, with a few other pidgies, at about 8.30am and I saw her take a drink from her bowl which I put on the patio (with her box) just in case. I doubt if she will ever go in her box again - I don't really want her to, it was just there in case she needed it, and little birds like the bluetits and the nuthatch have been stealing peanut granules out of it all morning!
Mid morning I cleaned out the nestbox, as with the babies getting bigger each day and messier, there won't be any room soon! I also caught Sky and Summer mating this morning - and didn't want them to lay eggs now, with the babies still in the box. Now, they will have to make a new nest - hopefully in a different compartment if they want to have another brood.
So, I pulled out all the fouled sticks and mess, and relined the nestbox with clean newspaper. Then I sorted out a good bunch of cleanish sticks and relaid them on the floor of the nestbox. While I was doing this the babies were sitting in their temporary nest in the sweet tin in the kitchen!
I weighed them again - Valentine now weighs about 325g and Grace something between 319-322 - she just won't stay still on the scales! (5 days ago Valentine weighed 313g and Grace 290g and were 20 days old - at 22 days I see from a previous blog Santa was 331g and Snow only 179g - he died 4 days later. I am keeping a separate record of weights now, for my own interest/info)
These babies are as gorgeous as all the other babies I've had - The first two photos are Valentine, who is the oldest and slightly more 'feathered up', and the third is Grace.

White dove squab - exactly 25 days old


And here they are together, before they went back into their nice clean home.

Patience came down to eat at 2.30 and 4.30pm - she looks ever so scruffy next to the other sleek pigeons, but she is coping, which is the main thing. She came back to the porch roost again and I text hubbie, doing a deal -  a foot massage for him to come in the conservatory door and leave her un-disturbed tonight! (and he agreed).
Wed. 20.3.13 - I was out til early afternoon but Patience came down with the others to eat and I made sure I threw her lots of peanuts and peanut granules. When the flock left, she left with them and didnt spend the night in the porch - I was feeling poorly or I would've gone round to see if she was round the back, but I certainly hoped I would see her again in the morning.
Thurs 21st March - Patience wasn't with the early birds at 6.30am but she was there and feeding an hour later. She's more confident about joining in with the scrum now! Here she is preening on the roof - takes her less time than the others, as she has fewer feathers to clean!

In the afternoon, I caught Sky and Summer snuggling up again.....

 And then I realised that there was quite a badly injured pigeon on the roof - I couldn't see properly but it had a bad leg and was using it's wings to help it get about. It's a very pretty bird - brown with pale wings with brown bands.
It did come down to feed but I had my two young grandchildren for the day and I could do little more than make sure it got some peanuts. 
Here it is again in the middle - sitting on the roof. The white pair - who might have been Sky and Summer - were chasing each other along the roof - or rather the male was chasing the female, who came up against the injured one and promptly jumped over it. It was quite amusing....except it's not funny about the poorly one.
It did come down again later to eat, and although unbalanced and obviously injured (I still couldnt see to what extent) it could fly well enough and flew away with the rest of the flock. Later, I walked around to see if it was sheltering anywhere, but I didnt see it.
I was thinking today that I hadn't seen Mr. Sunshine for a while, but he was there in the garden this afternoon, still chasing his lady love - whether she is the original 'Miss Tina' I have no idea. Mr. Sunshine's nest at the back of the cote - that he made in January I think - is still there, but I havent seen him go in there.
Friday 22nd March 13 - Neither Patience nor the injured one arrived any time in the morning. I was a bit sad about Patience, but hadn't really expected the injured bird to make it. I went shopping and got to the town, realised I'd forgot my handbag and had to come back again. I always wonder if things happen for a reason.... and there was my reason waiting on the roof - my Patience had arrived! So she got peanuts and I got my bag and went off again!
Sky and Summer appeared to be scrapping, but I put it down to a lover's tiff and let them get on with it. Later they were joined at the cote by another white dove, so they stopped arguing to defend their home!

 In the photo above, it's Summer on the front window and you can see the shadowy shapes of Valentine and Grace in the top right nestbox.
At about 2pm the injured bird arrived. She had made it through the night. She - I call her Sally-Anne - can fly quite well as I said before, but when she alights on the lawn, she has to sit, so I make sure I throw peanuts within her reach so she gets quite a few without having to move. The birds flew away in a fright quite quickly and I still didnt get to see the injury properly. That was a shame as there was no reason for their fright, and Sally-Anne didnt come back.
Sat. 23rd March - Patience and Sally-Anne both arrived together about 10am which pleased me as I was going out - a mini blizzard of snowy rain was happening - and it was great to know that both my special birds of the moment were going to get their peanuts. I could see that Sally-Anne's leg is really mangled - poor love - and possibly part of her body is also damaged but the cold weather will have prevented her getting 'fly strike' (where flies lay their eggs on injured or young not totally feathered birds) - if you need more info read this (but don't read if you are squeamish and don't really need the info!!!) - it's not a pleasant story, but does have a happy ending. Anyway, back to Sally-Anne - she seems to be coping and because she can fly and is generally alert I will have little chance of catching and helping her. Hubbie wanted to know why I called her Sally-Anne, so this is my train of thought - she's doing so well, little soldier.....soldier/army/Salvation Army - must take some stuff to the local Sally Army charity shop that they call Sally Anne's!
Patience decided to stay the night in the kitchen porch tonight - maybe she didnt fancy flying to the roost in the miserable weather - so I warned hubbie, he came in the conservatory door and Patience was left undisturbed.
Sunday 24th March - wispy snow first thing this morning, but Sally-Anne was there first thing, and Patience of course had spent the night at ours so she was there - and Sky and Summer (but mostly Summer) were feeding the babies. Nothing much to report, but by the afternoon Sally-Anne seemed to be getting about a little easier, though she still can't put her foot down. I don't think it's quite as bad as I originally thought, and pigeons are very resilient, as Patience has shown, and can get over bad injuries, as long as they can find food.
Valentine and Grace are four weeks old this weekend - and could fledge in the next few days. They are old enough to fledge now as 28-32 days is quite usual, but I hope they won't fledge until at least 35 days. It's so cold out of the nestie, babies, so you stay in the warm a bit longer and let Mummy bring you food! I do put some little grains in with them to peck at, and they do eat them.
It's now getting gloomy, but Patience has not chosen to spend the night here tonight. Tomorrow, it will be a week since her release.
To be cont.....

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Patience + Babies Ringed and Named

Sat. 9th March '13

The hawk struck at midday today, right where I was scattering grain on the lawn. The pigeon got away, but the hawk was in fast pursuit, and obviously I don't know the outcome. My birds were jumpy and nervous after that, and I didn't see my parents, Summer or Sky, all afternoon. By about 4pm I was getting concerned, but Summer turned up, and I thought 'thank goodness, now she will feed the babies' but something made them all fly off again, and I don't think she came back. I felt the babies' crops and they did feel like they had grain in them, and the babies were warm and seemed ok, so as it got darker I just put the feather-filled cashmere glove 'mummy' substitute in with them, and half blocked the entrance of the nest box, praying they will alright til morning. I am hoping that tomorrow Summer will be there feeding them by 7.15am as she was this morning. Sky just doesnt seem to bother - he is a hopeless father, it seems - sperm donor, nothing else! I need to read back on previous blogs to see what happened at this stage with Santa and Snow..... and snow is forecast for tomorrow night, But we struggle on....

Patience was very nervous today - when she was given the freedom of the conservatory, she just hid in various hidey-holes, and in the end I blocked her in with the wire cage again, to be safe.

Nervous pigeon finds a hidey-hole

Sunday 10th March 13 - I am writing this just before noon, and have had a stressy morning. Some pigeons and doves were up before I 'unblocked' the babies at 6.45am but none of the doves were Sky or Summer, and I have not seen them all morning. What birds were there were still nervous, flying off at the slightest movement, and there were not nearly as many of them as there usually are. I kept an eye on the cote all morning, but no sign of the parents. A few brave or desperate pigeons have been down, including my Charlie, but I have hardly seen any white doves today. The one spark of happiness in the gloom was that I saw my Autumn - Sky and Summer's baby from last July so now about 8 months old.  As you know I felt the babies (2 weeks old this weekend) had not been fed since yesterday morning, and I was getting very upset and worried, wondering when Summer at least would come back to them. I felt that at some point I would have to intervene though Hubbie felt they would be alright without feeding for a couple of days even.......I don't know about that! He was going out at 10.30am so I decided, without telling him, that if they had not been fed by 11am then I would do so. I made preparations using some of the stuff I had from the last time, but adapting them. I put some kitchen roll down an empty vitamin C tablet tube (to make it shorter) then I lined it with the cut off finger of a clean washing up glove, ready to fill with Kaytee mix (in a thick ketchup consistency). I defrosted peas and kept them in warm water - as per instructions on pigeon rescue - which says babies from 2 weeks old can have these. At 11am no parents, so I brought the first baby in. I've got no photos of all this because obviously it was difficult enough doing it, without trying to take pics! The baby didn't take to the filled tube, even though I put its beak down a few times - it got the mix all down its front - and so I decided to try a small pea, rolled in the mix - very messy! This went well, and so I fed it like that. I forgot to count how many peas! I felt its crop as you musn't over-feed them, and I didn't really know how much to feed, but when I thought it had had enough, and I could feel the crop squishy with peas, I stopped, and wiped its front and beak carefully so the mix wouldn't harden on it, especially round the mouth. Then I took it back to the nestbox, and got the other one. I wouldn't take both together in case the parents came back while I was doing it. I didn't even try the tube method with the second one, and just did the peas in Kaytee, so it was marginally less messy. I counted the peas this time and gave 16 - hope that's about right. Another reason I wouldn't want to over-feed them would be that if the parents came, I would want the babies to be clamouring to them for food, as usual. Poor little things, they have been squeaking all morning, trying to attract attention from parents that just don't come. My poor doves and pigeons - scared from the feeding ground and nesting site by the hawk! This neglect of the babies looks like it is maybe going to take on the same pattern as what happened to Santa and Snow though I do hope not. I feel sick with worry, and wish I hadn't got the cote at times like this. Thank goodness Mr. Sunshine abandoned his nest building - imagine if I had two lots of babies to worry about! I am going to a big Comic Relief fundraising event this afternoon and may not get back til 5.30pm or so...... I will just have to hope the babies get fed, and assess things again when I come home.
Later - Various doves and pigeons arrived - flew away - arrived.....flew away....and eventually at quarter to two, fifteen minutes before I had to leave, a good number came down, Sky and Summer with them, and Summer went in to feed. Thank God! Thank God! I watched and she stayed in there a long time, and after she'd fed them, I could see her eating from the small pot of food I tuck into the corner of the nest box. Just a minute or two before I had to go, she left the cote, and I nipped up the steps to feel the babies' crops. I knew they had been fed of course, but I wanted to see how full a full crop is, so I know in case I have to feed again. I waltzed out of the gate relieved, I can tell you, and enjoyed the afternoon, as I hadn't been able to enjoy the morning due to all the worry! I wasn't back til 5.30pm but Hubbie said that the doves had been in the cote at least twice that he saw. Maybe my worry was unfounded, and maybe I shouldn't have fed the babies, but it is impossible to know when or even IF the parents would come back - they might have been killed by the hawk, or abandon the nest, and how long do you wait? I am not sorry I fed them anyway, but hopefully I won't have to do it again. I made up a fairly stiff mix of the Kaytee and made it into little pills or grain sized balls. I then dried them out on the aga, and can keep in an air-tight box for if I need to feed again. I would dip them in water before I fed them, and also feed defrosted peas - note to self: buy petit pois, they suit the babies better for size!
Monday 11.3.13 - Very cold with wispy snow blowing around, but a far far better dovie day. The birds acted as normal, coming down to feed, and Summer was in feeding the babies at 7.10am. Today both parents fed the babies and both spent time in the cote,feeding and comforting them, giving them lots of 'mummy or daddy time'. Sky is now back in my good books! Here's the babies today...getting very well feathered up now.
Tuesday 12th March - again very cold, bitter, but the babies had several feedings from both parents. Despite rain and the passage of time, the lost feathers from Patience and other 'hawked' pigeons still blow round haunting the garden. Touch wood, but I haven't seen evidence of the hawk since Saturday. By noon, the sun was shining brightly and the conservatory was retaining the heat so I thought well it's three weeks today since Patience was attacked, and I will give her a bath! So I brought a tub of water into the conservatory and gave her a bit of a splash about. She struggled but possibly enjoyed it, who knows? Here she is afterwards, drying out, but looking very scruffy.


And here's a close up of her healing injury - I can never really examine at closely as well as I would like to, and there seems to be a horrible 'gluey' bit, but as hubbie cheerfully says 'It's better than it was before!'

Pigeon's healing injury 3 weeks after hawk attack

And here's Cloud relaxing and enjoying the warmth

She is so pretty, Cloud, and it is such a shame she is not recovering from her illness. The trouble is, I have a deadline of mid April when I go on holiday with my daughter and the kids for a few days and any 'home' birds will be in the care of hubbie who is staying home. I intend for Patience to have been released long before then as it is not for 5 weeks, but it looks like Cloud will be unreleasable - certainly unreleasable by then. I considered the options - and yes I did consider taking her to be euthanized but I quickly unconsidered it as it would only be an option if she was in pain or had no quality of life, and neither is true. You had only to see her sun-bathing today to know that she does enjoy life - and I am as sure as I can be that she is not in pain. You may be thinking 'Surely hubbie can look after a dove for a few days - even one that needs feeding?' and yes of course he can, but I am thinking long term for Cloud too. The only thing she can really do for herself is drink - as long as she has a fairly tall container to drink out of - but that's great that she can do that anyway. Her living arrangements get incredibly messy due to the large loose greenish poops she does - and I know mucking out doves would not be on hubbie's to do list, but she would survive a mess for a few days. So it looks like I will be keeping her and we will see what happens in the months ahead. In the summer, I would be able to put her crate out in the garden - or she could go in the hutch if I didn't need it - and get some sun and fresh air. I have now had Cloud inside for about 11 weeks with no improvement but according to this site recovery can take up to 12 weeks or more. So we are nearly on to 'or more'!
Mid afternoon Patience came back down into her box, so I shut her in and took her off to see my elderly neighbour who is confined to a wheelchair after a stroke. He used to feed the doves and pidgies for me in the past when I was away, and is always interested in them. So two new things for Patience today - a bath and a trip out!
When we got back to the conservatory again, I removed the grille from the front of the box and again she flew up to the rail. Before dark, I removed Cloud to her night box in the spare room, but Patience didn't come down from the rail and I didn't fancy upsetting her by chasing her around the room with a net, so I decided to just let her be. Presumably she will come down tomorrow to eat! and her box is there if she wants it. The conservatory gets very cold..... that's my only worry. But that's three new things now - bath, trip out and night on the rail.
Patience would ideally be released when she has totally healed, with feathers grown back, the weather settled and a bit warmer AND no more threat of the hawk - I have no idea how long all that would take and I will obviously have to compromise as her feathers may not grow back til the next moult time, or never. The important thing is the weather - I will see how it is next week. It is important not to release a pigeon until the weather forecast is reasonable for three days ahead, to give them a chance.
Patience and Cloud both are given pink (powder) vitamins and stuff called Magic which is supposed to 'keep birds in peak condition' - neither P or C is anyway near peak condition but maybe it helps!

Wed. 13th March - Through spying on Patience, I have seen her eating and there are poops on the paper under her favoured positions on the rail, so I am happy enough. I can't of course apply any more of the cream on her wound but it's a scab now and I don't think it's really necessary. I certainly won't upset by chasing her round to catch her, and it would be virtually impossible anyway - when I decide to release her, I will just open the conservatory doors wide to allow her to go.

5pm and a late-ish feed for a few pigeons because Summer was with them - and then suddenly the hawk was amongst us again! I heard crashing down on the other side of the hedge, practically in the river. I ran round to see and found the hawk on a pigeon but both flew off on my arrival. Of course the whole flock had disappeared, Summer with them, so I decided to pop the babies out of the nestbox and give them the feed that Summer wasn't able to! I just gave them small peas from the grain mix, and they ate quickly and happily - cute little things! What a scary world they will be entering.....when will this hawk nightmare can I release Patience?.....

Thurs 14.3.13 - The day was sunny but the weather forecast for the next few days is rain, so even without the hawk it wouldnt be a good time to release Patience yet. She makes a mess in the conservatory - how can one bird do so many poops? But I do put paper down under her favourite perches. The poops mean she is eating well on her own, so that's good.

Friday 15th March - The squabs previously have been ringed at about 18 days, and in fact this pair are today 20 days - well the eldest is - so after they had been fed by mummy and daddy and the doves had gone away, I took them out of the nest box together, and in to the kitchen to ring and name.


The largest one weighs about 313g - its sibling wouldnt keep still on the scale but is approx 290g - so they are good weights as the book says 300g for squabs of this age. The big one was ringed with a green ring on each leg and named Valentine (pronounced Val n teen - just my whim!) and the other with a blue ring on its left leg and pink on its right, and named Grace.  Valentine and Grace, are, at 20 days, the same age as poor tragic little Snow was when I first realised something was wrong with him (other than being very small and underweight) - they are both looking very well and normal and are far larger than Santa was at the same age so I am much more confident that they will be ok. Often I clean out the nestbox at this stage, pulling out all the sticks, but due to me putting down the 'nappy papers' and replacing them three times a day it is staying relatively clean, and also as the flies aren't about yet, I don't have to worry about m*ggots (yuck! I have a phobia about them). I will probably still have to do it in a few days or a week as there will be a lack of space, but I don't want to deprive them of their nest until I have to. They need the sticks for their feet to grip and develop properly, so I would never pull out the whole thing anyway.


I took them back to the garden - took a quick photo in natural light - then back to the nestbox so they didn't get chilled.

Sat 16th March - the weather is forecast very rainy and windy for the next few days. Not ideal for the release of a healing bird with a lack of feathers - so Patience will have to be patient and wait til mid week. I am keen to release her as she flies into the windows sometimes and I think she wants to go!

I can't get near her to see how the injury is healing - this photo is taken with me standing in the conservatory and the camera zooming up to her on the rail above. It looks like the 'gluey' stuff is coming off - hopefully all is healing underneath. I wish I could hold her and see it properly.


I found this poem by Louise M Alcott, the author of 'Little Women'  named the same as my blog- it's a bit twee I suppose but here it is anyway:

My Doves
    OPPOSITE my chamber window,
    On the sunny roof, at play,
    High above the city's tumult,
    Flocks of doves sit day by day.
    Shining necks and snowy bosoms,
    Little rosy, tripping feet,
    Twinkling eyes and fluttering wings,
    Cooing voices, low and sweet,--

    Graceful games and friendly meetings,
    Do I daily watch and see.
    For these happy little neighbors
    Always seem at peace to be.
    On my window-ledge, to lure them,
    Crumbs of bread I often strew,
    And, behind the curtain hiding,
    Watch them flutter to and fro.

    Soon they cease to fear the giver,
    Quick are they to feel my love,
    And my alms are freely taken
    By the shyest little dove.
    In soft flight, they circle downward,
    Peep in through the window-pane;
    Stretch their gleaming necks to greet me,
    Peck and coo, and come again.

    Faithful little friends and neighbors,
    For no wintry wind or rain,
    Household cares or airy pastimes,
    Can my loving birds restrain.
    Other friends forget, or linger,
    But each day I surely know
    That my doves will come and leave here
    Little footprints in the snow.

    So, they teach me the sweet lesson,
    That the humblest may give
    Help and hope, and in so doing,
    Learn the truth by which we live;
    For the heart that freely scatters
    Simple charities and loves,
    Lures home content, and joy, and peace,
    Like a soft-winged flock of doves.
    Louisa May Alcott

    Blog to be cont...

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Babies get bigger, and more hawk strikes

Sat. 2.3.13

I didn't have to bring the babies in for the night as Summer came back to them, but I did bring them in this afternoon as Sky left them for an hour and forty minutes. Probably as they are a week old now, they would've been ok, but it's still cold, and really he should stay with them for most of the time. As you can see from this photo of the eldest, the soft yellow downy feathers are already changing to the spiky little white ones.

The photos below show the pigeon that I mentioned in the last blog that I felt had probably been caught by the hawk - and escaped. The fluffed up feathers on it's back are where the hawks talons probably grasped it. It's right eye is damaged, but it can still see well enough to eat, so I'm hoping it will get over the experience and be ok.

Sunday 3rd March 13

White dove with week old babies
Monday 4th March 13 - The flock waiting for me in the early morning
By lunchtime it was a beautiful sunny day so I decided to put Patience out in the hutch to get some fresh air and sunshine but it wasn't very successful as she just wanted to hide in the 'bedroom' part of it. I think she is still very very nervous.
She stayed in the hutch for a couple of hours, then I brought her in and she escaped onto the table.
Tues 5th and Wed 6th March - More hawk strikes - no bodies, but heaps of feathers in the yard. There was one this morning (Wed) while I was feeding the birds in the early morning. The hawk had the bird down in the yard outside the garden but I ran out  and they both flew off. The pigeons fly up and down, changing direction and height rapidly, to avoid the hawk.
 Later, I wanted to see if Patience could fly so I allowed her to be free in the conservatory. She flew up to the roof and got her wing caught in the support rail ....
But she soon got herself free........
This is how she looks now - two weeks, one day after the hawk attack
and close up, though not a brilliant picture
Despite the 'moist healing' with the gel, the area seems to have scabbed over, but it is impossible to look too closely as it stresses her out, being held down - obviously!!! I don't know how long I will be able to keep her for  - if it was down to me I'd keep her til her wound had completely healed and her feathers grown back, but she has a say as well, and no doubt, like other birds, she will tell me when she really really wants to go!
This is how the wound looked on the day it happened - Patience being examined by the vet.

Tonight, Summer left the babies on their own - they are only 11 days old, and mostly they are not left til age two weeks. The weather is reasonably mild, so I didn't think about bringing them in and instead just put a feather-filled cashmere Turtle-dove glove in with them as a mummy substitute, and blocked them in for the night. I'll unblock them before the doves arrive in the morning.
And here's my new batch of lovely Turtle-doves - I am addicted to them! Check out their website for gorgeous and useful recycled fingerless gloves You can even have your own old cashmere jumper made into turtle-doves just for the price of the postage.
Thursday and Friday 7th and 8th March - I now allow Patience to come out of her box and wire cage area at lunchtimes so she can perch on the conservatory rail, and have a bit of freedom. Look at the state of her still!
Today, Friday, when I came home there had been another pigeon killed by the hawk in the garden - I am so afraid that Sky, or worse, Summer will get killed - it's a constant nightmare. The pigeon had been caught on the lawn, then dragged under the hedge, and was very much eaten, so didn't die in vain (not much consolation for it though!). I was sorry to see it, as always, but relieved I didnt have to mourn a special one as well as clear up feathers and gore from the grass. We left the body where it was, but it was gone before we even went to bed - so either Charlie Fox had visited or the cat we feed had dragged it off. When I went to see Cloud and Patience in the conservatory, I couldn't see Patience anywhere, til a small sound alerted me to the area between the wall and a unit we keep CDs etc on. She was stuck, wedged, down there. Poor Patience, I don't know how long she had been there, it could have been a very short time or as long as 3 hours and maybe what went on in the garden had frightened her off the rail, and then she got stuck. I rescued her, and held the cup so she could drink, and then hand-fed her peanuts - though really I am trying to wean her off hand-feeding. I spy on her to see if she eats/drinks on her own, but I have never seen her do so!
I brought one of the babies in on Thursday - I thought it was the oldest one. I just wanted to see it and they'd just been fed so I knew it was ok. The felt-tip band had rubbed off it's leg - or I got the wrong baby!

Wing of 12 day old white dove squab
 I love the babies at this age, when their white feathers explode like fluffy cotton, and their wings are so delicate and lacey. I quickly checked the other one too, without bringing it into the house - my excuse is I am checking them for parasites, but really I just want to see and hold them! The other didn't have the drawn on band either so it must've rubbed off so when I ring them - maybe at about 17 days old or so - I will just have to guess which is the oldest, though it doesnt really matter.

An adorable young brown pigeon has just joined the flock - another late in the year baby that has now emerged from the nest. In the bottom picture, the one above the young one is one of the gorgeous 'opal' pigeons that visit. It's no wonder people like pigeons with all their varied plumage - reminds me of one of my favourite poems - Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The other young ones that I mentioned in previous recent blogs - the grey one and the dark one I called Sparky - are still around but getting bigger and less recognisable. I feel my babies in the nest would be rearable - if, God forbid, anything happened to their parents. Very cold weather is forecast to come back, and I will be worried about them at night.....may have to bring them in.
To be cont....