Friday, 28 February 2014

Big Boy returns!

Sat 22.2.14 – I saw Big Boy for the first time since his release on Thursday morning. He came down with the morning early-birds and I thought I must observe him closely to make sure he can pick up food ..... and he could! I am overjoyed! He can’t pinpoint small grains like the others, but I targeted him with larger grains and peanuts and I think he got enough. Gradually, I hope, he will get more used to whatever funny way he has to eat and adapt as necessary.

 Above - Big Boy arrives with some pigeons (he is far left)
and below you can see his crossed over beak
 and here you can see 'my' ring!

Sun 23.2.14 – Big Boy was again here this morning, and stayed a while, coming down several times. Sometimes he struggles, and other times he picks up several in a row with no problem. You can see from this photo that his beak is still crossed over. There is a sweet little scruffy white dove that comes with a posse of pigeons – it has difficulty in picking up grain, and does it with an endearing side-ways movement. I try to target it with the kind of food that it can pick up easiest, but I do wonder if I will be seeing it for many more days. I told you that I don’t see Sugar now, didn’t I? It’s sad to lose these little doves, they do try so hard.
Monday 24.2.14 – Big Boy – tick. Sweet little scruffy dove – tick. I targeted them both with the kind of food they can eat best. I tried to put Cissie in the hutch with Cloud again as it was sunny, but this time Cloud wouldn’t accept her, and made vicious swiping movements so near Cissie’s head that I was concerned and felt it best not to leave her in there. It’s annoying because I was hoping that keeping Cloud and Cissie in the hutch would be an option for the spring and summer. Another option I have been wondering about is whether Echo and Cissie would get on well enough – even pair  up – so I could keep them together. Pigeons don’t reach sexual maturity til 5-7 months of age, at least, so if I am right about calculating Echo’s age now at about 14 weeks then he wouldn’t be getting a twinkle in his eye til about May time. And I don’t know Cissie’s age – she didn’t seem as babyish as Echo when I first brought her in.  You may be thinking what on earth is she thinking about to consider pairing up two handicapped birds.... well I am not thinking that they would be able to rear babies, or even have eggs, but just be a little bit more than companions on either side of a grille! Of course, the ideal scenario will be that both Echo and Cissie recover totally and are able to be released. Echo had a bath outside as it was so sunny – here he is drying off in the garden, and trying to fly. Cissie isn’t allowed on the grass  yet as she is still infectious so she had a bath in the kitchen. Both pigeons find baths a little stressful, so once every 2/3 weeks is plenty at the moment. I have to hold their heads up while they are in the water or they would probably drown.

Tues 25.2.14 - Went to Wisley RHS with my daughter and grandchildren to see the butterflies. The atmosphere in the glasshouse didnt suit my camera and it seized up and had to spend the night by the aga to recover. It's an old camera but I would hate it to 'die'  as I need it for this blog and for my ebay!!! - luckily it was ok!

Wednesday 26.2.14 – I came home with my 2 year old granddaughter especially to feed the birds this lunchtime, well particularly the little sweet one. There was a bunch of pigeons on the roof but no little one, and I wondered what had happened to it. Every day it had been finding it harder and harder to pick up the grains so I thought it might not have had the strength to get back here. By the time I came home alone again though it was here, but really struggling now. Hubbie and me both observed it and he seemed to think there was something wrong with its beak and one of its feet. I managed to pick it up without netting it at first try, and that’s not a good sign. I brought it in to examine and hand-feed, but it struggled out of my hands and banged itself against the window, poor little thing. It weighed 247g so not impossibly small (thought it seems tiny) – Echo was only 211g at first pick-up. Firstly I thought it might have some sort of canker in its throat, but after offering a weak sugar/salt hydrating solution, it washed it away so must have been just seeds or something Then I fed it about 30 grains, and gave it another drink before settling it in Big Boy’s old box which was standing clean and ready. I did think that its beak seemed slightly open and one foot was definitely a bit crumpled up – which is also a bad sign as some of the pigeons ‘turn up their toes’ before they die. I will consider what to do with it in the morning – but, if alive, I will spray it as it is covered in visible lice.  Echo went out this afternoon again, and he really enjoys it and is beginning to get quite mischievous on the lawn – running away from me like a naughty toddler when it is time to go in! It reminded me of having to chase Jose (my flightless dove) around the lawn when it was time for her to go back in the hutch. I had forgotten how fast they can run! He is also getting better at flying – rising up from the lawn to a height I wouldn’t be able to reach and somersaulting down. I will have to be careful he doesn’t flutter over the fence and into the river because there would be no hope of rescuing him! For the first time EVER since I brought her in over a month ago, I have seen Cissie drink on her own – since the 19th January I have been offering her a drink at least twice a day, so thankful I can cross that care chore off my mental list now. Especially as I have a new patient!

Thurs 27.2.14 -  The new little one survived the night. She is much more of a poppet than Poppet was, but I will call her Moppet. She drank thirstily and I hand-fed her but will leave the spraying for lice til a bit later on in the day. I was thinking about maybe releasing her – she can fly and wants to go and I haven’t really the facilities for looking after yet another bird. I know it sounds awful, but I can’t keep them all!  I had thought that we hadn’t seen anything of the hawk for at least a week, but when I went out in the garden there were feathers sprinkled all round the lawn which looks like maybe an attempt was made. Moppet was released at midday when it was sunny and what looked like ‘her’ posse of pigeons were on the roof. She flew straight up immediately. Unfortunately later it rained heavily and hailed, but she had gone by then, and all I can hope is that I see her tomorrow.

Thurs 27.2.14 - Lucky is driving Charm again – which means he is chasing her (apparently it keeps the hens away from other cocks during the mating period) – and this is prior to laying eggs. Fine! But the dovecote is  grubby and has a greenish tinge. I really need to scrub it, but I hate that task because I have to do it on the steps, and the water runs up my arms.... but unless I am quick they will start laying again and I won’t get the chance!

 Above - Lucky, centre, with Grace behind him, and a racing pigeon to the right
And below - Grace, now a year old
 And Lucky again, looking very determined

Echo was seen playing with his wood and bell dangle toy today. He is a lively bird and it will be a shame if he doesn’t recover from the PMV but it is 10 weeks since I picked him up from the lawn and he is no better.  And neither is Cissie – she star-gazes now and I suppose that is the progression of the disease.

Friday 28th Feb - Moppet made it back again.... see the line up below (sorry the photo is so small) and you can just see a little white figure away from the rest on the far right - that's Moppet!

 And below, poor scruffy little Moppet
 But she came down several times, and got something to eat. Of course I regretted letting her go and wished I'd kept her.....but I couldn't pick her up today. Echo came out for his playtime and here he is running away from me down the path.

It was sunny mid afternoon so I bit the bullet and scrubbed the dovecote. It really is a most hated chore, teetering on the steps that are sinking into the soggy lawn, wearing rubber gloves that have sprung a leak.... but in fact it only took three-quarters of an hour. The cote is not persil white of course, it needs repainting, but at least the greenish tinge has gone. Lucky is still chasing Charm, but we are apparently due for a cold snap, so that will put them off nesting, and I'd prefer they didnt for now.

I have ordered something from Australia - perhaps my RL friend Hari can guess what it is? More about that when it arrives!

Before I go, a special hello to my blog reader Harvey Hedges who made himself known to me on my last blog's comments as a long time silent reader of my blog. Welcome Harvey! and thanks to everyone who reads about my little dove/pigeon world, it is much appreciated whether you make yourself known or prefer not to.

One last thing (I have to mention my shop!) - if anyone needs real birds feathers for craft or lifestyle do please have a look at my Groovycart shop 'Real Birds Feathers' - thank you! I have just added some lovely partridge feathers.

Real Birds Feathers on Groovycart

To be cont....


Harvey Hedges said...

Thanks for mentioning me on your blog faith!
Wishing that moppet makes it.

Fennie said...

I am wondering whether if you introduced Cissie and Cloud progressively they might take to each other. A couple of minutes at first, then five, then gradually building up?
Thanks for another lovely blog. Are you going to paint the dovecote. The smell of paint might put the doves off nesting for the requisite time.

Linda Percival said...

Ah I do know what you have ordered! so glad, can't wait to see them......

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