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 so....so 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!!!) http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/maggotsflystrike.htm - 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.....