Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Alf and Meg are growing up......Pandora is coping.....Columbine is lost but Bertie comes back!

Sat 31st August 13 - The first pigeons arrived in the garden at 6.18am and the first white doves at 6.24 - it's getting later every morning of course. The babies were quiet in their night box and I wanted to check them but didn't want to disturb them as they would start squeaking wanting their breakfast! I put them out shortly after, and about ten to seven Lucky and Charm both went to the cote, and Charm eventually went to the babies. She didn't stay in with them long, and about half seven when the doves and pigeons were settled on the roof, motionless, and Lucky and Charm nowhere near the cote, I took the babies out one at a time to look at them and weigh them. They did feel like they'd got some grains inside them, but not much, and their weights weren't much different from last night so I gave them some top-up of defrosted warmed peas and Kaytee balls as I had them ready. I won't take them out of the cote again til this evening when I bring them in - I don't think it's good for them to keep being disturbed but I have to make sure they are fed. Lucky should be feeding them too, but he doesn't seem to be.... Lucky please don't do a Sky on me! Anyway, they are alive and growing their little pin feathers so its not all doom and gloom, and now we have gone back to quieter pre-Bertie times maybe all will be well. The birds will eventually get over their fright and settle down. The last day of August and definitely a September coolness in the mornings.
Later - a lovely sunny afternoon with the birds acting normally, and the babies being fed. I saw Pandora - and Columbine and Grace both ate from my hand - I've got a happy face!
6.15pm - Alf and Meg were collected and brought in. I could tell they had full crops - made me realise how very empty they were before. Their weights had shot up from about (Alf/Meg) 136/120 to 193/161. I've got an even happier face now! Their cotton wool feathers are starting to burst out fluffily and they even seemed too big for their night box so I found a more spacious one. I do adore these two!

Sunday 1st Sept - I decided to catch Pandora at the afternoon feed today - she only comes in the afternoons - to top her up with peanuts to give her a boost and see how her beak is. I caught her quite easily and she didn't struggle too much. I got about 25 peanuts and grains into her before she resisted, then I gave her a quick bath before setting her free - just dunking her in the water bath and splashing her back a few times. The day was warm or I wouldn't have done it and baths do them good - helps build up the powder on their feathers to make them waterproof, and I still want to remove the dried blood from down her front. The inside of her beak looks marginally better I think but there is a big swelling or blood blister or some sort of scab in there. No chance of getting a photo of this from Madam Pandora! Still she can eat on her own, after a fashion, so that's marvellous.

6pm - The babies weighed Alf/Meg - 187/185g today - Alf has gone down a bit, and Meg is catching up - in the beginning she was much much smaller than Alf. Meg was quiet, but Alf was squeaking and pushing his beak into my hand wanting to be fed. I could tell they had been well fed tonight, but I gave them each just a couple of defrosted warm peas so they stay used to me feeding them sometimes. Their feathers are super-sprouting now! I think they will have very pretty colouring (I may be biased!) In the photos below, Alf's the one with the dark beak.

13 day old squabs - parents are white F and white with black smudge M
Monday 2.9.13 - I caught two birds today for different reasons. First Cassidy - just to have a look at the stump of his leg. The feathers have grown very fluffily over the stump, maybe to protect it or keep it warm. He didn't like being caught, of course and I won't every catch him again, unless he's ill or injured of course. Although he's only got one leg, he's incredibly quick at getting the peanuts, and I always throw him extra anyway as he is a special favourite.
Pigeon with only one leg - stump of missing leg
 Then later it seemed to me that Wooden Eye's eye had improved and I wondered if my cleansing it had helped and whether it would be beneficial to do it again but this time with the salt/Echinacea solution. When I'd caught him, I could see that it wasn't improved at all - what you can see in the photo is just a bloody blob not an eye at all. I cleansed it, wiping it a few times with a fresh cloth and solution each time but he struggled and flew from my hands out of the open kitchen door.(By the way I used old soft hankies for this sort of thing as they are not fluffy so less likely to irritate). Although this eye looks dreadful - and is - Wooden Eye is very feisty and otherwise lives a normal life.
 The photo below is the eye last time - which was the first time I had wiped it. Maybe I ought to try doing something more.... but what? I really can't afford to take pigeons to the vet.

Pigeon with bad eye

Alpha and Omega are fourteen days old today and still gaining weight. I'm keeping a record as it might be useful with other babies. I took their 2 week old portrait for which they posed nicely.
Tues. 3.9.13 - No particular news. I didn't see Pandora today - also on the missing listing for quite a while are Bianca and Dirty Ricky, and Autumn.... and Destiny I've just realised! Cloud had a long time on the lawn today as it was sunny - and I forgot her! She had about an hour, instead of the usual half. She put herself in two of the water baths, first the pink and then the blue, and seemed to be having fun. Poor Cloud - her mind is ok, it's just her body letting her down.

Wed 4 Sept 13 - No Columbine at the morning feed; Harli was there, very perky, but I did pick him up for a top up of peanuts. He takes them perfectly calmly and when I release him sits on my lap a moment before flying back to the lawn. Columbine was back later, and also Pandora - she was eating pretty well and getting her share, so I didn't attempt to capture her as it's so stressful for her, me and even the rest of the flock.
Thurs 5 Sept 13 - There are far fewer birds at the afternoon feed in the last few days and Lucky and Charm seem to be leaving the garden earlier and earlier - today, despite being beautifully sunny til at least 6pm, they had gone by 4.30. I brought Alpha and Omega in at 6pm and weighed them - they seemed to have lost a bit of weight and not feel very full of grains, so I topped them up before I settled them for the night. Before Bertie came, Lucky and Charm were displaying courting behaviour - cosying up on the roof together and mating - but a cat in the garden put a stop to all that, and they don't seem to have started again. I actually hope they won't have any more babies this year because even if they laid eggs today, those squabs wouldn't fledge until the last week of October - and guess who would be doing most of the feeding and looking after?!!! Yes, muggins here!
Fri 6th Sept 13 - Overcast and starting to rain - its going to be 10 degrees lower than yesterday. The birds were late in arriving to the garden but Lucky and Charm were among them and I saw both of them go to feed the babies at different times. The weather was better by the afternoon but when I came back at 3pm there was a very small group of birds there, and no others turned up. Time ticked on, I fed the few birds there - which did include Pandora thank goodness .... and eventually about 5.45pm I took Alpha and Omega out of the nest box to bring them into the kitchen to feed. I weighed them - which is difficult as they now move off the scales - and found they certainly hadn't put on weight and have probably lost. While I was feeding them and had given them about half the amount I had planned, a few more white doves and pigeons turned up - 6pm, later than usual. Charm was among them! OMG - I quickly put threw some grain down for her and the others and popped the babies back in the cote. Then I closely watched! Charm ate, drank some water, and then flew to the roof - she moved along to the cote end, and I thought she definitely had it in mind that she would feed her squabs, but something happened - the doves took fright - and all the birds flew off, with the babies still unfed by mum. I waited a while but no birds returned, so I brought them in, finished the feed, and put them to bed as usual. It makes me very upset and concerned that Lucky and Charm are not feeding Alf and Meg adequately - why? In the mornings I don't feed them before I put them back in the cote, as I want them to be eager for whatever food L and C offer them and they always seem to feed them in the mornings. Tomorrow hubbie's daughter is getting married and I have no idea what time we will be getting home in the evening. I may well top the babies up before I leave, and then will have to hope for the best. I will be there to care for them on Sunday, so it's only one night.
Sat. 7th Sept 13 - My stepdaughter's wedding day, and pouring with rain but plenty of time for it to clear by the afternoon. Lots of white doves and pigeons this morning, so I gave them all a good feed. I saw Lucky and Charm go to the babies several times so am reassured they have been fed this morning. Little Harlequin was there, but Columbine didn't turn up at all - I do hope she is alright and returns, I do miss my birds if they are not around. I asked my neighbour's teenage daughter to feed the flock this afternoon, and when I came home much later in the evening I checked the babies and blocked them in. 
Sunday 8th Sept 13 - The weather cleared up yesterday so we had a beautiful sunny late afternoon for the wedding, and it was again sunny this morning. Here are the morning birds - many white as you can see.

 Alpha and Omega were perfectly ok after their first night in the cote alone after that dreadful morning two weeks ago when I brought them in .....cold, and seeming near dead! They are now 19/20 days old and quite well feathered, except for under their wings and at the back of their necks. After the morning feed, when all the birds had left the roof, I decided that it was Ringing Day. It was bright and sunny so ideal to bring the babies out of the cote, and into the conservatory for their rings, but first I thought I might as well weigh them, and although they don't stand on the scales very well, I reckon Alpha is now about 251g and Omega 240g so doing much better - though this weight is partially the grains they were filled with after the morning feed of course. I wasn't in the least worried that the parents would come back at this time so I was able to enjoy ten minutes alone with Alf and Meg, ringing and photographing them. Neither will be pure white - Alf has a dark beak, and sweet little dark tipped feathers and Meg has some too. Both were ringed on their left leg - Alf with one blue ring, and Meg with one orange ring (a different type). If you are reading this, S, then the orange ring is one of the ones you sent me - the roll up type. I couldn't work them out before, but you told me not to open them up too much, and this time, as I wasn't in a hurry or stressed, I managed to do it perfectly well.

Still no Columbine, but Destiny made a surprise appearance late in the afternoon. I think he's a he - looking very male in the photo below. So glad to see you Destiny!

Lucky and Charm seem to think it's ok just to feed the squabs in the mornings. I brought them in to the kitchen to feed at 6pm when I was pretty sure Charm was not going to come back - then I was tempted to keep them in as it was rainy.... but like tender little plants they need to harden off, and grow their warm feathers, so I put them back in the cote, and blocked them in for the night.
Monday  9.9.13 - Another wonderful surprise - Autumn came back! It's so great to see my own birds and know they can manage on their own but like to come back and visit the garden. Well, some of them can manage - I think it's likely that my poor sweet little Columbine has perished..... but you never know. I thought Columbine was so strong - if you'd asked me I would've said that Harli would've been the one not to make it. It's time for a roll call of the birds around, so I will keep a list this week for future reference - and this time I will make it a Word document as I have 'roll called' before and then I lose the paper or book I wrote it in..... or it's way back in my blog. It's interesting to know what birds are around from last year - or will be here next summer. Patience is still missing too, but I get the vibe that he is ok.....whereas I think Columbine has died. All my poor little babies......I still miss Santa.
Tues 10.9.13 - Pandora came with 'her' flock - they seem to turn up about 1.30-2pm. I wouldn't normally feed at that time, but the rest of them are lucky - if Pandora's there, they get fed! She is brilliant, managing so well with her poor broken beak. I'd love to have a look, but I don't want to try and catch her - it would probably be possible, but she hates it, so I'll refrain.

 Below, Pandora looking a bit odd on the roof - she kept stretching her neck, but settled down and seemed to be ok

All my self-imposed rules and regulations from the summer can no longer apply - as the days get shorter the afternoon feed gets earlier. I tend to feed depending on who is there - at lunchtime if Lucky and Charm are there, then I feed, for the babies' sakes. The afternoon feed/s time depend on whether I am at home or not, but I like to feed the birds by 3pm as so many have left by 4-4.30pm, depending on how gloomy it is. Here's Lucky and Charm today - the bright weather has made them think about nesting again - but I hope they won't!

The babies are three weeks old today. I took their picture when I brought them in for their supper which I am giving them about 5.45-6pm as Lucky and Charm don't really feed them after 3pm and it's a long time to breakfast! Alf and Meg don't rear up, hissing and spitting at me, like other dove-cote babies, thinking I am a predator - they greet me with happy squeaking and flapping of wings as they know I am a food-bringer like Mummy and Daddy!

Wed. 11th Sept 13 - Bertie came back! We were sitting have lunch in the kitchen, with my youngest daughter who was visiting, when there was the click-clack of the cat flap and in came Bertie! I put my hand down, he 'kissed' it and then walked back out again - down the path, over the gate, and gone! I was quite surprised as I had popped round to see his real owner about a week ago, and knew she had had him neutered so I didn't think he would straying again. He lives about fifteen minutes human walk away - I suppose that's not that far really. My daughter who also has a tabby cat was pleased to meet him, even for a few seconds, but later on he came back and sat on the armchair near us making himself at home, just like before. I decided to leave him til we'd had afternoon cup of tea, then put him in the car and take him 'home' - you'd really rather be with us, wouldn't you Bertie? Of course, again he has scared off the birds, and Alf and Meg probably had nothing from Lucky and Charm since this morning.

Later - Bertie stayed comfortably on the chair while it mizzled with rain outside. Lucky did come back with some other white doves and I fed them, but wasn't sure if the babies got fed too. I took Bertie home just before 6pm, and his owner was of course pleased to see the chauffeur driven car arrive with his lordship inside! I felt the babies when I got back and felt they hadn't got much in their crops so I did bring them in for supper.
To be cont....

1 comment:

Fennie said...

Lovely pics, Faith. Yet again I am reminded of the similarity between squabs and the dodo. I think it is something to do with the shape of the head and beak.