Friday, 16 May 2014

The fence gets done.....and the babies are ringed and named...

Sat 10th May 2014 - My eldest daughter is 35 years old today -wow! It doesn't make me feel particularly old though I will be 57 in a few days time.

 The 3 parent doves - from L to R - Lucky, Charm and Snow White
 and 'their' fluffy babies

11.5.14 - This morning hubbie decided he must strim and mow - all the doves and pigeons flew away, but Snow White was very brave - staying on the roof, alone, to protect his babies. He even got used to the noise and popped in to feed them. Lucky is still feeding them too - he went in first this morning, and I saw Charm feed as well. The babies with their 3 parents are like little fat pom-poms!

 Above, Bianca, female
Below, Snow White, male
 Below, Autumn, female
 Some of the flock

Above, I call this one Ringed Checker - he has a checked head, but I have a feral called just Checker. He's been a regular now for quite a while.

Here, Lucky and Charm sit together on the top of the cote, and eventually mate - while unsuspecting Snow White sits inside. It was funny to observe one day, when SW tried to mate with Charm, and she had already crouched - but as SW got on top of her, Lucky zoomed in from somewhere and knocked him off! - yes, truly!

I snap a photo, surprising one of the babies who was preening
 Pandora, still coping well, despite her bill, which though healed is now crossed over

On the 8th the babies weighed 247g and 189g - when I brought them in this evening (not so long since they had been fed of course) they weighed 302g and 247g. I couldnt believe the increase!

12.5.14 - I decided to weigh them again this morning before putting them back in the cote. Big baby was 272g and Little baby 224g. As they had been weighed on the 8th in the early morning then these new weights are probably more accurate - there were about 36 poops in the night box with them! That's where all the weight went! So - Big baby increased 25g in 4 days and Little baby 35g. They are very good weights I think. I hope soon to not have to bring them in at night but just block them in the cote - the weather is due to warm up mid-week. Although I don't like getting up early I have got into the routine of it now and it is certainly worth it to ensure the survival of my fluffy babes.

 I wonder if the young brown pigeon above is the sibling of my poor little one below? They have similar colouring. I call the one with the tattered beak Browny Mo (we used to have an old banger by that name!) and he (or she) is still coping well - not able to pick up small grains, but concentrating on the corn, and even now beginning to be able to pick up slippery round hard peas sometimes. It must have been around for at least a week since the accident so doing well, but I still want to pick it up and wash the spiky blood-stained feathers, and feed it up a bit with a few peanuts.
 The babies today - adorable! They are getting very grown-up, squeaking quite loudly and preening themselves.
13.5.14 - Here Snow White and Charm are spending time together with the babies, and Lucky is the excluded one. Later on, Charm had no peace whatsoever as both SW and Lucky were 'driving' her. I don't really care about their shenanigans, as long as the babies get fed. And SW is still a good daddy, even turning up at 6.30pm to give another feed, with a little break sitting on the roof, and continuing to feed at 6.40pm - which is quite late - but it had been a nice sunny afternoon.
 I let the homies have plenty of time out on the lawn, and was amused to see Cloud give herself a bath. A nice polite pigeon came along...... May I have a bath with you please?
 Well, you can sit and watch..... and your friend too!
 Cloud .... and her three admirers!

Cissie is no longer the scared little thing she first was. She literally runs about the lawn, pecks at things, even manages to pick up scrummy little bits to eat and generally enjoys herself. She is so quick now that I have to use the net to catch her when play time is over and can flap well enough to raise herself up into the air about a foot - I know that probably in the end I will lose Cissie like I lost Echo, but I don't want to restrict her activities. Better a short life than a long one kept forever in a small pen.

Below, Cissie on the lawn.... and trying to fly!

14.5.14 - My 57th birthday - whew, getting on a bit! but as far as the dovies were concerned an ordinary day.... until hubbie rang me at lunchtime to say that the fencers were on their way. Oh well, I thought, whatever happens at least the baby doves are old enough for me to hand-feed now. The two guys duly arrived and I immediately went out to explain about the doves and offer tea, coffee, whatever they wanted. I always ply workmen with drinks and bikkies in the hope of getting better service! The men were very reasonable about the doves by pulling out the old panels and piling them on the lawn. Of course any birds around flew away, except for my brave Snow White who stayed on the roof to watch over his babies.

The fence is taken down

And we get to see a pretty view of the bridge and island that we won't see from this angle again

The hungry flock have to get used to the big pile of old fence on the lawn. They hate anything different!

Later, I got the babies out for my two year old grand-daughter to see. She didn't want to hold them, but just sat like a flower-fairy watching them.

One baby looks far bigger than the other, though this doesnt show in the photo. The little baby is in the front here.

One of the big new panels coming in frightens one of the parents away from the cote

At 2.30pm we were meeting my daughter and grandson out for tea, so had to leave the garden and let the men get on with it, but all was well when I got back later.

The weather had got far warmer, so I made the decision not to bring the babies in - which is difficult anyway as they don't like it, cling on to the nest material and I am afraid of damaging their wings as I have to fairly drag the out. So I blocked them in with two feather-filled cashmere gloves, and a half brick. I am pretty sure they are feathered enough to cope now.

15th May - The fencers didnt turn up til 10.10am and by 10.20 they were having a tea break! But actually the whole thing went well today as far as the doves were concerned. The babies, and the flock, were fed early - and then later about 1pm when the fencers went to their van to open up their lunch-boxes, I got Cloud out of the hutch as a decoy, to encourage the parents to the ground. This worked well and the babies got fed again. I often use a home bird to bring the other birds down if I need to. The men took a full hour for lunch - well fair enough I suppose - and so Snow White, Lucky and Charm were able to get a good lunch too! Then the work continued til about 3pm when they said they'd run out of cement and were leaving for the day - good, good!

Today I had my four year old grandson for a while so gave him the opportunity to see the baby doves. I took one out of the cote for him to hold..... I told him whatever happens, don't drop the baby!... so he's a bit nervous....

 Then he got a bit more confident.....
 And finally....big smiles all round!

Surprisingly, Charm decided to stay the night in one of the lower front nestboxes. I don't think she is ready to lay yet - just staking her claim for the cote.  The doves certainly have not brought any sticks to make a new nest. I still felt I wanted to block the babies in though for warmth and safety, and thought well if she flies off that's up to her - she can either come back when I've finished or not! I approached the cote quietly, as always, and put the gloves in and the brick up - and Charm stayed where she was.

16.5.14 - I got up at 5.15am, briefly (before going back to bed for another hour and a half) to unblock the babies and throw some food down for whoever was there. Charm was still in the cote, and Lucky and Snow White were on the roof. I feel I have got to a comfortable relationship with these three, and they know I will come to feed them and unblock the babies, so I don't think the block worries them.

The men were here before 8am to finish the fence, and at about 9am I thought while they were here and the birds staying away, would be a good opportunity to weigh and ring the babies. Naming day! They are about 19 days old. Big baby weighed in at a staggering 343g, though it was difficult to get an accurate weight as he kept moving around. Little baby was only 253g, and it seemed to me that his crop was full and hers wasnt! It looks like he has been demanding more of the food, and getting it!

I took them into to the conservatory to ring.....

First, they ignored me....
 Then they had a peek around....

 Here is the little baby - I am calling her Fleur. She's got one blue ring so far, but I will probably give her another one soon as Bianca has one blue ring.
 Big Baby is called Fern. He wouldnt show his one green ring, and he wouldn't allow me to put on another - kept wriggling - so I probably try again tomorrow!

After our little ringing/naming/photo session, I put Fern back into the cote and took Fleur into the kitchen for a top up feed. I never particularly want to interfere with the feeding of the babies, but she is considerably smaller - so if I can feel that she has not been fed then I think a top-up is justified. It seems to me now that only SW and Charm feed - I havent seen Lucky in there for quite a while.

A while after ringing the babies, I noticed a white dove on a section of the garden near the conservatory where no dove usually lands - ? .... then I realised it was Cloud. I had left the conservatory door open, and she had hopped down from the table where she roams free - and taken herself into the garden!

I must be more careful or it's possible Bertie could get her!

The fence is finished and the garden cleared, and I think they made a nice job of it. I was grateful to the powers that be that I had older babies and no parent birds on nests to be disturbed while the work was done!

To be cont....


Harvey Hedges said...

Lovely seeing all of them enjoying the those babies are getting big.

Fennie said...

Beautiful. Such lovely babies (both doves and humans!) So glad no harm was done by the workmen. Shouldn't Charm have a rest now? Love those baby names.

Cloud seems to be getting better; perhaps she is recovering. She is doing more.

CAMILLA said...

Love the new baby names, so pleased there was not too much disturbance to your darling birds when new fence was being put up. You have a lovely garden Faith.

What an interesting pattern to your Pigeon Ringed Checker.

I am sure your Grandchildren will continue to enjoy your birds too when they visit, lovely photo's.