Friday, 28 March 2014

Quiet times.....and some old favourites... and Cissie goes out for the first time....

Sun 16th  March 14 -  Early sunny morning, and the flock is already here...

 Down on the lawn to feed - see a white male dove 'driving' a female at the front

 Below - not a brilliant photo of Big Boy  - here you see him attempting to pick up a pea. These are hard for him, and he does better with corn, and best of all with peanuts! So I follow him round, sprinkling them in front of him!
 The 'woodie' ducks have arrived - same as they do every year about now. At the beginning of the season they are shy - by the end they are joining in the doves' feeding time. Mostly we only see one pair, but one day we saw three males and two females.
Wild Mandarin ducks, Surrey

 Snow White, top left, with his beautiful new wife, Star Light - and below, they eat from 'their' table
 And Bertie, our visiting cat, has a lazy Sunday

Mon 17th – I was only thinking this morning that the hawk had been quiet when I found a dead wood pigeon at the back of the house. It’s nice and quiet there, where we keep the compost bins and the wormery, and often the hawk has killed, or taken its kill there. At least the mess of feathers can be left, unlike when it’s at the front or on the lawn. Blasted hawk had hardly eaten any of it though....what a waste, maybe it will go back to it.

Here's my lovely white dove, Dolly, hatched last year in the cote (sibling of poor Fennie who has died of PMV)

 She wears pink and mauve rings and gets special treatment, targeted with nice food!
 Which she eagerly eats as you can see!

And here's a couple of photos of her dead sibling, Fennie, taken last summer - he won't be forgotten. If you are a new reader and wonder why she is white and he is a pigeon, then the answer is that I suspect their mummy was playing away!

 Pandora, below, was brought in injured last August - looking a sorry state like this, with dried blood all down her front, and badly damaged beak...

 Since then, she has fully recovered and is frequently seen here in the garden, with her red ring distinguishing her from the pigeons. It is always worth trying to help a pigeon - Pandora has had seven months more of happy life since her accident.

 I don't know if you can just above see in the photo below but her beak has obviously grown, but looks to me a bit 'crossed over' - I hope it doesnt end up causing her problems.
 She knows she is special and comes running to get her peanuts!
 She's in the middle in the photo below - the garden is getting quite spring-like
 And this is Charm, looking coy -  she's my previous stupid mummy dove who left her babies at night in January, and caused them to die of exposure. I do still give her peanuts though she doesn't deserve them. I only see her in the afternoons now - and Lucky, her former mate, in the mornings, and not always then. They do seem to be entirely split up now - which I find strange as doves mate for life, unless one dies. The only other explanation is that they come separately as the other one is on a nest somewhere......but why give up the cote? Snow White was happily sharing.... it's very strange.

Tuesday 18th – It is now about 8 weeks since I brought Cissie in to the house on Jan 19th, suffering from PMV and obviously unable to cope. According to what I have read she should now be over the infectious period (6-8 weeks) and can mingle with the others again. I gave her a bath outside and then allowed her down on the raised bed for a bit. Her one green eye and one brown eye took everything in, but she didn’t move about, just stood where I had put her.......

and after a while as she seemed to be shivering a bit and there was a sharp wind, though the sun was out, I took her back to the warm conservatory. Cloud, on the other hand, likes being out and about on the lawn when the others are there – here she is the other day enjoying her perambulations (top far left)

When the flock suddenly flies off......

 Oh my birds you are so beautiful....

she crouches down as she knows she is vulnerable and I rush to pick her up, and carry her around until they come down to the lawn again. I often carry her as she is content in the crook of my arm, unlike Cissie, who is still topsy-turvy and struggles.

Below, Cloud in the middle for diddle!
Who could not like pigeons in all their colour diversity?

Wed 19th March - Cissie enjoyed her time out a little more today - she walked around the raised bed, with Cloud nearby, and me sitting at the side, watching over them. They couldn't be left even for a minute with the hawk possibly about. You might be thinking that what if what happened to Echo happens to Cissie.... well, obviously I have thought of that too.... but what can I do? My recovered PMV birds must have some sort of normal life, which means a bit of time out and about, and if it ends with them flying off before they are fully able to cope, well I tried....and they would've died anyway if I hadn't brought them in. Cloud sometimes tries to fly, fluttering up a few inches and plomping straight down again! I'm not worried that she would ever fly off as I've had her as a 'homie' for 15 months now.

Cloud and Cissie spend time together in the conservatory, with Cissie in her crate and Cloud 'loose'. They always sit near to each other, and look perfectly in harmony.

 But on these sunny days, the conservatory warms up quickly and can get like an oven. One day I 'forgot' (felt really bad about it) and when I came back the conservatory was roasting, but both birds had sensibly gone into their shelters where it was slightly cooler. Even when the roof window open, it is too hot in there sometimes, and I can't leave the side windows or door open because of Bertie or other predators. I had tried putting Cissie in with Cloud in the hutch, and Cloud will tolerate her for a while, but then starts beak swiping her so that I am frightened she will hurt her - so I have had to section off the hutch. Here you can see I have used an old oven grill as a partition - it's not ideal! Cissie gets the larger portion of the indoor part, and Cloud gets a smaller part but with the other room (which was rabbit sleeping section) with access to the outside.

 And then of course I shut the front!

This is the only way, at present, that I can keep them both safe and at a reasonable temperature, when I am out or busy. Mostly they will sit down, facing out through the grille, and be perfectly happy. When I am home, then I move them about as I think best - with Cloud staying longer in the hutch than Cissie, who is really happiest in the security of her crate. Their day is longer now - up and out of their night boxes (in the spare bedroom) at about 7am for feeding and going to bed at about 5.45 - 6pm. I like putting them in their night boxes, and shutting the door of the room securely, knowing they are safe for the night. No bird now spends the night in the garden (unless they are in the cote of course!). Since Bobbie was killed by a fox that broke into the run, I have made this rule and stuck to it, for the birds' security and my peace of mind. The only exception was when Jose, my flightless dove, was on her eggs, or with her one hatched baby, Pearl - then I barricaded up the hutch like Fort Knox! (but I still worried!)

Thurs 20th March 2014 - Last night I spent some time looking back over old photos on my pc. Does anyone remember this injured dove from last October?

She was coping, although the 'bones' of her wing were exposed, and I never captured her - I didnt need to as she could fly ok - so all I did was target her with nourishing peanuts! Her wing recovered slowly but I still recognise her as there is still the faintest shadow there. But here she is - being 'driven' by her mate - a perfectly well and beautiful white dove.

 She's the one nearest to you - the slight lumpiness in her right wing was the site of the injury

Fri 21st - I was feeding Cloud, sitting on the edge of the raised bed, with Cissie nearby, when another dark pigeon, similar to Cissie landed in the bed – so I threw it some grain. Cissie saw the pigeon immediately and deliberately walked over to it, and fluttered her wings in the babyish way that squabs do when they want to attract their parents to feed them. It was a little pathetic to see her, as she obviously recognised the pigeon as one of her own (unlike Cloud who is white) and maybe had some vague memory of her parents. The pigeon ignored her of course – poor little Cissie. She is the most unassuming little pigeon – a little scrawny, not very pretty.  I wonder how old she is – I imagine that she was about 35-40 days old when I picked her up, so now she must be about 3 and a half months old – and not sexually mature yet. Cloud attracts male attention, but Cissie, who I do think is female but I could be wrong, doesn’t. Cloud is not interested in men – they all get beak swiped!

I saw my RL friend (who appears in my blog followers sometimes as Hari and sometimes as her real name- why is that??) tonight, and did her a reading with my lovely new Feather Oracle cards. She gave me the sweetest little gift, just right for keeping earrings in at the side of my bed. Thank you so much, I love it!

Dove trinket box

Sat 22/3/14 - Snow White and Star Light spent time in and around the cote today. This is probably SW in the cote...

 They sit together on the roof, with Star Light looking very small and demure....
 As you can see, they keep themselves to themselves, staying away from the rowdy lot!
 Because.... they have other things on their minds....
Billing and cooing....
 and mating!
 Doesn't Snow White's wing look pure and perfect! A good photo if I say so myself!
White doves mating
 But SW and SL show no signs of beginning a family - mind you the weather is much chillier than it was
I found Cloud sitting in her water pot!
 This was my cue to give her a bath - which I did later

 Cissie, left with Cloud in the raised bed - playtime

But later Cloud worried me by going into her box in the conservatory and 'dying' - Cloud what is wrong with you? Don't die!
 But when I looked closer I could see her breath softly rising and falling - she was just in a deep sleep.

 Sun 23rd March 14 -  Cissie is enjoying her time in the garden a little more than she did at first, but today she overbalanced from the edge of the raised bed and fell into the water bath. She was floundering about, splashing and going under, unable to keep her head up – I rushed over to rescue her – it’s ok, it’s ok, I’m here – then put her back in the bed, but she was so stressed she just was dragging her head in the soil, getting it in her eyes, so I had to dunk her again quickly to clean it off. Poor Cissie she was in a bit of a state, so then I wrapped her in a cloth and carried her into the conservatory to go back into her crate. PMV pigeons, like Cissie, must never have a large bowl of water in their quarters as they could easily drown. Cloud has far more control over her head than Cissie does but I am hoping Cissie will improve as time goes on. Later on, as it was so sunny, but I couldn’t keep watching over them, I put Cloud and Cissie into the run. I haven’t used it since last summer probably, and it is rather dilapidated and not entirely safe – but safe enough from hawks – and I knew that Bertie was shut up in the house. Cloud, being ‘top bird’, took over the walkway, and I ended up putting a bit of old breeze block in there for Cissie to stand on.

The run will give C and C more room to move about in the summer, and hubbie has promised to repair it. I would probably only use it if I was around, not if I’d gone out (mind you poor Jose was killed by the neighbour’s dog when I was in the house)

24.3.14 - There is a pigeon around with a damaged foot, but it seems to be coping ok. If they can fly and eat, that's the main thing. See it balancing on it's one good foot in the the centre of the photo. It's wearing a racing pigeon ring on the bad foot.

And below, it sensibly sits down to rest

25.3.14 – Not much is happening at the moment. The only bird I am currently concerned about is Big Boy – and I am not worried about him, just concerned that he gets enough food. I have seen him every day so I can target him with peanuts and he is managing very well. But I am going away next Monday til Friday and hubbie will be in charge of the feeding. He knows about Big Boy but doesn’t care about the birds like I do. But hopefully BB will get by until I get back. Last year, hubbie fed Cloud for me, but now there is Cissie too, so I have booked them into a holiday home. All pet owners know the problems that arise when they want to go on holiday, and a while ago I was very much stressed about who would look after my ‘homies’ – and I had Echo too then, so 3 PMV birds to get looked after safely and hand-fed. Then I had a brain-wave! I asked the lovely people at the Surrey Poultry Farm in Ockham Ockham Poultry – Caroline and John – if they would have them. I knew that they looked after people’s hens and ducks while they were away, so why not my pigeons? No problem, they said, Just teach us how to feed them. So I booked them all in – Echo too but now sadly we are down to just the two, though I did wonder at one point if Moppet might be making up the numbers. I will take some photos when I take the birds in so you can see their holiday home, and I am writing a list of everything they need to pack in their suitcase!!! Food of course, water bowls, their night boxes (which will be in their accommodation so they will have to put themselves to bed!) kitchen roll, newspaper, wrapping cloth (for Cissie to make hand-feeding easier)....what else....mmm bricks to perch on, very important. I hate leaving them but hubbie would struggle to hand-feed two, and probably John and Caroline will look after them better than hubbie would anyway. He doesn’t like touching birds, though was very good coping with Cloud while I was away last year.

Wed 26.3.14 - I was looking at a list of 'current doves' from May 2012 - from that list only two are still around. Cloud is one and she wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for me taking care of her, and the other is the white male, Bandit, ringed with a red ring on each leg. They were both mature birds then so must be about two and a half years old.

Thurs 27th March - I came into the kitchen to find Bertie had brought in a rabbit. Thanks Bertie, but I don't really want it....poor little thing was already dead, I did check. I don't feel the sorrow over a dead rabbit that I would over a bird....especially one of my birds....but skim over the next couple of photos if it's going to upset you. I'm afraid Bertie is very much a hunter, which is probably one of the reasons he likes being around here with all the fields.

 I chucked them both out into the garden
  There was a little young dove on the roof - you're lucky it wasn't you, mate

Friday 28.3.14 - Hubbie will be doing the main feeding of the flock while I am away but at one point I thought he might be away working so I was looking for someone else to do this. Years ago my old neighbour used to do it, but he has now been taken into a nursing home, poor soul (though I think he is happy there) and at another time a local teenager used to help out, but she's grown up now, so I was rather stuck until I discovered The Surrey Ark pet care service. Three lovely girls came this morning to see the doves garden and they will be doing some afternoon feeds for me - so now all my birds are catered for, and although I will worry about them until I leave, once I am away, I will 'forget' about them and enjoy myself.

To be cont...


Fennie said...

A lovely, happy post - apart from the poor Easter bunny. Can't believe Bertie is hungry. But I am wondering if rabbits could be company for your doves? They both can eat grains. I don't know. Not an entirely facetious suggestion as sometimes animals want company but attack their own kind. Love the ducks. Do you get other sorts of birds, too. Corvids? Parrakeets? Enjoy your trip away.

CAMILLA said...

A lovely post Faith although I did have to skip part of it where Bertie had got the bunny, naughty Bertie but then that's what cats do I remember my cat Betie years ago had done exactly the same thing.

Pandora I hope will continue to do well, so too Cissy.

Have a wonderful trip away dear Faith.

Linda Percival said...

The little bird trinket box looks SO cute in the photo! Glad you love it. Didn't know cats killed and ate rabbits ...... glad you got all the birds taken care of, what a major operation! enjoy Bognor x