Autumn was in the garden today, being chased by her pure white mate. For any new blog readers, Autumn is one of my babies from last summer, and an older sibling to little Valentine and Grace. She is the only surviving 'baby' and is now about 8/9 months old (so fully sexually mature). Of course it's possible that some of the other summer babies may have survived but they are no longer visiting the garden.
The poorly or old pigeon sat on the light again to spend the night. Here it is in the late afternoon; the guardian of the door.
Sat 6.4.13 - A sunny day. Cloud was able to spend time in the hutch - but the poor thing is not getting any better. Sometimes I wonder if she is worse.... she has fluttery fits, where she has no control over herself, shuffles backwards with her head bent backwards onto her back, and yet at other times she is quiet and contented, with her head upright. When I brought her in, I gave her a bath (in our bath, don't tell hubbie!) and then put her in the warm conservatory to dry off.
Here's Sky with Grace (female). I always thought Valentine was the older one of the two - and he* may well be (*I don't know what sex he is yet) - but Grace acts the oldest, comes out onto the lawn more frequently and is generally more grown-up. I am going away for a few days in just over a week, so I am trying to get the babies to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Sky doesn't appear to be feeding them any longer - and there is no need as they can feed themselves, though only small grains. I have been putting a small pot of small grains in their own compartment of the cote, and they like to eat from that, but really I am going to have to stop that before I go away.
Sunday 7.4.13 - Another sunny day - which is blissful after all the bitter cold. The poorly one that sits on the light at night has been named Pharos by hubbie (old word for lighthouse). She spends the day on the roof..... can you pick her out here?
Yes, that's right, she is second from the left - I can always recognise the poorly ones as they stand in that hunched up manner. Here's a close up....
Tonight, the forecast said it would be above freezing all night, and part of my new regime for the babies will be not to block them in at night, so I am glad it will not be too cold. The birds are in the garden very early in the mornings by now.... the first ones are arriving before 6am, and I have been getting up to unblock the babies but from now on I will be leaving them unblocked. They were both in together tonight which is good for companionship and warmth.
Tuesday 9th April '13 - Grace put herself to bed as usual in the dovecote, but Valentine was not there, and I searched for him with no luck. I'd like to think he will be there in the morning, but I doubt it. These poor little young dovies - they are just nature fodder and a very very high percentage don't survive. It was sad to see Grace all alone........
Wednesday 10.4.13 - Valentine was not there in the morning and I don't suppose I will ever see him again. All these babies that just 'disappear'........I'm so sad about it..... in particular Santa, and now Valentine. Grace, at the moment, is sensible and stays close to the cote. It's the only way for these babies to survive. I am still giving her her little pot of grains at bedtime, and think I will continue and persuade hubby to carry on when I'm away. He'll have his work cut out looking after all the dovies!
Thursday 11.4.13 - Patience is here nearly every afternoon. I think she looks fantastic! - what do you think? Her feathers have grown back so well, far quicker than I expected.
The last couple of mornings, when Pharos has come down to the lawn, I have picked her up and hand-fed her, as she can't seem to eat very well (1 grain to another pigeon's 10!). I know I am only prolonging the inevitable, but I can't bear to see a pidgie starve to death. She gets unwanted attention from the males, and one tried to get on top of her today, til I shooed him off, but if they get too much for her she goes to her roost on the porch above the kitchen door and they seem to get the message.. She doesn't sleep on the light any more - I think she finds it too precarious, and I noticed one of her feet is a bit curled up sometimes. Here she is in the raised bed (which still needs digging over!) in the afternoon sun. She can still fly so I haven't felt the need to take her in or put her in the hutch. She doesn't look too bad in these photos, but is a very slow old lady.
By 6pm she was up, dozing, on her new bedtime roost
But little Grace was still on the roof with the last two pigeons..... and I was worried that she might fly away with them, and not come back like Valentine.....
Grace at 6.30pm
But thankfully she put herself to bed in the cote, and was rewarded with her little pot of grains.
Friday 12.4.13 - Pharos didn't come down to even try to eat this morning...... at all. So I got the steps, carefully netted her and gently pulled her down the little porch roof to my hands. I gave her some peanuts then put her back, but later it poured and poured and she sat there, all hunched up and miserable looking, and when the thunder started, I could bear it no longer and brought her down again - fed her and put her in the hutch.
It cheered up considerably later, but it seemed silly to put her out again and I won't, unless I absolutely have to, leave a bird in the hutch all night (because of the fox), so I brought her in to the conservatory for the night. It doesn't surprise me in the least that I have a poorly bird to look after just before I go away on holiday, because it always happens! |(Mind you, you could say I always have poorly ones anyway). I hope she will be able to feed herself as hubbie is geared up for feeding Cloud, but he won't hand-feed another one.
Charlie - a pigeon rescued by me last year from a tussle with the hawk - has found himself a lady love. I call her Charlotte to be easy - and I'd never recognise her if she wasn't with Charlie. I don't know whether they will find a place to nest and start a family.... Charlie isn't really good daddy material as he finds it hard enough to feed himself, let alone a couple of hungry squabs. This is because he can't pick up grains very quickly - it usually takes him at least 2-5 stabs where another bird gobbles it up straight away. But it's great to see him in love!
Charlie and Charlotte - he's on the left with his distinctive white edged wings.
Saturday 13.4.13 - Pharos spent the day in the hutch. When I was at home I left the wire front open, but she didn't try to fly out. I don't think she has the energy to fly now, poor old thing.
In the early evening, all the last doves and pigeons flew away, little 'Gracie' among them and while I wished her luck as I waved her goodbye I was worried she would find new 'fields', but she was back and in bed by 6.30pm with her usual little pot of grains. So maybe now is a good time to finish this blog, and leave all the flock to hubbie while I'm away.
To be cont.