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....


Fennie said...

Hallo Faith, Doves and Pidgies, so glad all is well (apart from the HA victim). You don't mention Cloud is she getting any better?

Faith said...

No, she's no better Fennie. Looks like she will never get better - she has a funny personality though.

Gemma Howlett said...

I've recently found your blogs, and enjoyed reading them, apart from the hawk attacks :(
Might sound odd, but read about coloured doves/pigeons for some reason they don't get targeted. Whether it really works is another thing.
Check out on google images "coloured pigeons" they look funny, but if it saves their lives! I read that food colouring is best as it's non toxic.

I totally understand if you don't wish to colour your beautiful birds.
I will continue to read your blogs. As we are new to keeping doves/pigeons.