Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Huckleberry Finn-ale - goodbye to my sweet jackdaw and info about pigeon eyes.....

Thursday 27th June 2013 -Huckleberry Finn, the baby Jackdaw I rescued from the ditch, was making such a fuss in his crate the night before, that I thought I would probably have to release him. I'd had him for 9 days and he'd grown considerably, could feed himself and fly, so I had no reason to keep him. I waited until the afternoon as I would then have the time to stay at home for the rest of the day, in case he needed me. I also wanted him to have had the chance of a good feed before he went. First I took a photo of him, in case he just flew off and it was the last photo..... (but it wasn't)

 then I opened the top of the run, and Huck didn't need to be asked twice. He hopped out to the side of the run....
 And sat there for a minute
 Then he flew to the top of Cloud's hutch
 Before flying to a low branch in the tree of paradise in the corner of the garden next to the hutch

He sat there for about ten minutes, perfectly content and getting his bearings, and I took some photos. I wondered how long he would stay there, and was thinking of getting a rug to sit on to be near him, when he flew up to a high tree. Almost immediately another jackdaw flew by, he recognised his own..... and off he flew!
I enjoyed having Huck, he wasn't any trouble, and now I'm missing him. I left the run open, with some food inside, he case he came back, and during the rest of the afternoon and til about 9pm I went out every so often and called him in the tone of voice he was used to ....'Hu-uck!' and 'Hal-low' but of course he didn't return, and I would've been very surprised (though delighted!) if he had. I think if he had I would really be able to consider myself a bird whisperer!

One of us was pleased to see Huck go - Cloud! She had only tolerated her noisy room-mate.When I brought her into the conservatory at dovie in-time, I had not yet cleaned the crate after his messy occupancy, so planned to put her in the small box for the night as before but I didn't shut her in at first and left the grille open, allowing her the freedom of the table. When I next checked her, she had shuffled out of her box and was sitting just outside the crate. It's my crate, she said, and I want it back!

Lucky and Charm have started a new nest and this morning when Charm popped out of the cote to eat, I popped up the steps to find one egg nicely tucked well into the middle back of the nest. Good! If you remember, the eggs of their last lot (that failed to develop properly) were laid right up near the entrance which I found very unusual. So this first egg has been laid 9 days after the others were due to hatch, and Lucky and Charm have followed the regular driving, courting, mating, cuddling in together, nest building process before the egg was laid. The actual nest building was helped by me as I added hay to the nestbox - I am so hoping that nothing will go wrong with this lot of eggs and Lucky doesn't seem very good at nestbuilding!

Friday 28.6.13 -  At 9.30 am this morning when Charm again came out of the cote, I found that the egg was still on its own. I hope that another will be laid this afternoon. The last time, if you remember, Charm left the first egg on it's own for the night, but she stayed last night and she and Lucky have been conscientious about taking turns - this egg has hardly been left alone for a minute. That and the fact that the egg is in the 'proper' place in the nestbox makes me feel more hopeful for the success of this egg or eggs.

I took some photos of Lucky sitting in the raised kitchen garden bed in the rain today. He is lifting his wings, as the pigeons and doves do when it rains, but it wasn't until I uploaded the photos that I noticed something. So how observant are you? Have a close look at the five photos of Lucky below.

 Did you spot it? I only noticed today, but Lucky has odd eyes! His right eye is the beady one - and that is what all the pigeons' eyes seem to be like, and his left one is liquid brown, like Charm's and the other doves. Lucky as you can see is pure white except for the dark smudge on his breast, which sometimes looks like a horseshoe, and two sets of tiny marks on his neck which look like little pigeon footprints. He obviously has pigeon genes somewhere in his make-up, and though I did wonder if little Fennie is actually Lucky's offspring, or the result of Charm's fling with a pigeon, I think now maybe he is. Now I am looking at all the doves and pigeons eyes to see if I can spot any more oddities! I found a lot of info on the internet and odd eyes are not unusual (sorry Lucky, you're not rare!). The doves' dark eyes are referred to as 'bull' and mainly found in birds with white plumage and the main two other options are 'orange' and 'pearl'. Lucky's beady eye is an 'orange'. The  'pearl' eyes are lighter - I will have to look to see if any of the birds have this type of eye. If you are interested I have attached a link to one of the more uncomplicated and well laid sites about pigeon eye differences and genetics that I found   There is also the possibility of an albino bird with pink eyes, and some people, apparently, are noting pigeons with green or violet eyes. Hmm the photos look like they are wearing fashion lenses! Split (sometimes called cracked) eyes are common in piebald birds. It's where part of a coloured eye is shadowed like bull eye. Apparently it can be a little spot or it can be as much as almost the whole iris. Usually it is close to half of the eye shadowed and can be in one or both eyes. So as you can see, lots of possibilities for eye differences and colours.

Today a beautiful pale grey and white pigeon arrived. I immediately named her Snow Pearl, and she reminded me of my 'Beautiful Stranger' who I haven't seen for quite a while. There is much comings and goings at this time of year, and we have several very young birds appearing. I try to make sure that the little ones get enough to eat - they are so low in the pecking order, and so hesitant that if I don't try to feed them directly, all the grain is gone before they have started.

Snow Pearl possibly has the 'pearl' eyes but I haven't been able to get a close enough photo yet.

I of course cleaned the crate today so it is ready for Cloud tonight. It seems very empty without all the bricks, flower pot and bits and pieces I put in to keep little Huckleberry amused. Maybe I should give Cloud toys, but I wouldn't know what to give her. Hubbie thinks she is worse than she was - I am not sure, but she does spend a lot of time in the day sleeping. A few times recently I have looked across at the hutch, thought she was lying as if she were dead, and gone across to find her zonked out, but alive!

Sat and Sun 29/30.6.13 - Cassidy, with his one leg, is still doing well, much less nervous of me now as he knows he gets thrown peanuts if he only stands and waits!

 I managed to get a close up of a 'bull eye' on a piebald pigeon - a visiting racer
Bull eyed pigeon

 And, I think Snow Pearl might be the only pigeon I am currently seeing with the 'pearl eye'
 Porchie kept Cloud company again - they preened together

And they seemed so happy that I decided to open up the hutch and see what would happen if I let them have some time together. Porchie got very enthusiastic and Cloud fell off the table!

 Then he got even more enthusiastic, as you can see - I snapped a few photos

 But then it was getting unpleasant for Cloud and I had to rescue her - it was a silly idea of mine and it didn't work out (how could it? the state she is in....)

In the evening, when she was in the conservatory in her crate, Cloud had a bad fit. She has them sometimes, but this went on for quite a while, wings flapping noisily. I went in to see her, but she seemed disorientated, flapping and pecking at me crossly, so I left her to recover. Hubbie thinks she might just die one day during a fit. Poor Cloud - maybe it was due to the heat, or because I let Porchie get to her.....I wish she would recover and have a normal life, but I don't think that is going to happen - she's been like this for 7 months now.

Cassidy suffered a bit in the heat too - here he is panting.. it must be hard work hopping about on one leg in this hot weather!

Thurs 4th July 13 - Lucky on the roof, alone except for one dark pigeon. He does go for a fly round, but is always back on time to take over from Charm on the nest.

 I followed the beautiful princess Snow Pearl around, trying to take more photos of her eyes

But just at the crucial moment - she shut them!!!

 Porchie, with the dark mark on his wing/tail, tries to forget Cloud and makes up to another young lady

 She appears shy
 And goes off, leaving him on his own again - naturally! I'll have to call him Leo Sayer!

Snow Pearl has the most beautiful opalescent plumage

Doesn't she? You have to agree....

And I am pretty sure she has what would be called the pearl eye
Pearl eye pigeon with pale opalescent plumage

I was lucky enough to be able to photograph Snow Pearl next to an orange eye pigeon so you can appreciate the difference.

Sat 6th July '13 - Didn't see Liberty today, but all my other special birds were accounted for. I allowed Porchie to again spend some time with Cloud, as he is soooo faithful, sitting outside the wire grille for hours on end, when she is locked in - which she has to be for her own good.

 Sometimes, as in the photo below, she looks normal - and I am sure her brain is fine....
 And then her head flops again....

 After feeding her, I let her be on the kitchen garden for a while, with Porchie, but under strict supervision from me!
 He tries to court her....
 But they end up ignoring each other!

I'm kidding myself if I think she can have any sort of a normal life - and I don't even know if she likes Porchie or not. That sounds ridiculous, but when I had Jose, my flightless bird, I knew she liked Happy from her behaviour......but Cloud can no longer be considered a normal bird and it's not fair on Porchie to let him think he's in with a chance. I wish he would find a lovely young lady dove to bill and coo with! 
Sun 7.7.13 - Here's Fennie (grey) now aged about 59 days and still small compared to Dolly (the white one is not Dolly)
 But here she is - Dolly, his white twin!
 And here's Autumn at the back (about a year old now) with Destiny (81 days) - they have the same parents  - Sky and Summer, my previous parent doves, before Lucky and Charm took over the cote.
 Destiny's twin, Liberty, hasn't been seen for several days now. She was always such a home bird, that I fear something has happened to her. But Autumn's presence is reassuring - she was away for ages - months - and then came back.
 A general view of the doves and pigeons - you can see Cloud in her hutch at the back
Bath time - two's company

Three's a crowd

 And who's that drinking the bath water?
 Above, you see Sally Anne (who has proved to be a male) on left, with curled up foot, but now able to put weight on it, and pretty well recovered fom the injury. He seems interested in the other bird - as you can see she has similar colouring to him, and I read that birds like to choose a mate that looks like their own parents!

The pigeon standing above is Charlie - rescued from the hawk in January 2012 - and still coping despite not being able to pick up grain as easily as the others. He's at least 20 months old, as he wasn't a squab when I first saw him - and he's done well. It's gratifying to see him every day, enjoying the garden.

Mon - Wed - 8-10th July - This is what I currently see when I go into the garden at 6.30am every morning to feed the birds - a huge flock on the roof. And there are many birds I recognise but don't mention in the blog as I'd be blogging all day if I did!
 Here's a little young one that I call Baby or Tiny - he seems a bit down-hearted or poorly, and though I try to make sure the young ones get thrown small grains so they get enough to eat, I'm afraid many of this year's babies never make it past the first few weeks.
 In the afternoons, in this lovely heatwave that we are having, I sit crossed legged on the grass (you can see how dry it is in the next few photos) with Cloud on my lap - feeding and spending a precious few minutes with her, and enjoying seeing the flock.
A bird came to my attention a few days ago - see the one in the front that looks like it has no head? Well this one appears to have symptoms similar to paramyxo. It was difficult to take some photos with all the flock moving about, and this one - Roly-Poly I call him - is just an ordinary grey pigeon indistinguishable from the rest, mostly, until he sort of lists to the side, and collapses, to get up again - normal for a while. (You can also see one-legged Cassidy, middle of the photo)

Roly-Poly staggers and...
 star-gazes like Cloud....

 It is upsetting, but he is very quick to eat, and I make sure he gets thrown plenty. Birds DO recover from paramyxo - not like Cloud, but properly recover like Flash did, and I hope Roly Poly will be one of the lucky ones.
Here he is staggering again....

 and then collapses over.

 Below, we can see Snow Pearl being followed by a white male. I think they look so amusing, almost tiptoeing along after the chosen female.
 He's getting closer!
 But it looks like she's not interested for now.

Wed. 10th July 13 - The jackdaws come into the garden early to try to rob the grain. Every caw reminds me of little Huck, and there was a youngster today, following it's parent -
 Mama or Papa Jackdaw tries to grab a bit away from Mrs. Woodie Duck. I use the turquoise container for Charlie, as he finds it easier to eat from something deep. Of course everyone else dives in too, but Charlie knows its for him, and flies to it straight away when I fill it up. This photo was taken after the main flock had gone, and the jackdaws polish off any left-overs. I do feed the jacks too  by throwing left over bread and bits and pieces into the yard outside the gaden, after I've fed the doves/pigeons but they still come into the garden at this time of year.
 Baby jack - so sweet!

Cassidy has had a thread or wisp of something attached to his head for a day or so - I wish I could get hold of him to pluck it off - it's really annoying me!

All seems well with Lucky and Charm's nest - only 6 days to go til they are due to hatch!

To be cont....

1 comment:

Fennie said...

Hi Faith, another interesting blog. Sorry couldn't comment on it when you first posted. Interesting about the pigeon eyes. Our ducks (or some of them)used to get paramyxo. Hope the weather isn't too hot for the nestlings. You wouldn't need to sit on eggs would you, this weather.

Have you ever thought of keeping quail. You could keep them among your flock and they could next in the hutches and you'd have lots of lovely quails' eggs. Or hatch them out and have more quail.