Friday, 19 December 2014

The birds of the year - I look back over 2014

December 2014

Currently, as I write, all is calm with the birds. My little squab, Endeavour, comes every day and is doing so well, as is Sausage. I always look out for them both and they get extra food. My daddy dove, Snow White has started building a nest. Please don't build a nest, Snow White, I said, it's only December, but he just looked at me, and sent me a telepathic 'Don't be silly!' and carried on collecting sticks!

As always, there have been good times and bad for me and the birds over the last year.

January - One of the worst things happened in January with two mother doves (Charm and Rose Red) abandoning their nests in the cold night, leaving three babies and a nearly hatched egg to die - absolutely dreadful and took me ages to get over it. I had had Echo, a bird with PMV symptoms, for about a month, when I got Narcissus (now usually called Cissie) - also suffering from it (19th Jan). Echo eventually managed to fly off, but probably didnt survive. Cissie is still with me, with Cloud, my white dove, a PMV survivor and Chino, who can't fly (well, none of the homies can)

Above, Echo

Big Boy also turned up in January - suffering from a problem with his beak which meant he was unable to eat. He was a wonderful bird, very big and strong - a ringed racing pigeon - and worth trying to save.

Above, me examining Big Boy's beak

Big Boy recovering

February - Big Boy was released, and then re-captured a week later and taken to the vet for anti-bios. Poppet, a small pigeon that I tried to look after (after a hawk attack) was eventually killed by the hawk virtually as soon as I released it. Moppet, a sweet little white dove caused me much worry as it struggled to eat, and was eventually brought in...... very poorly as you see below.

March - Cissie went out for the first time after her quarantine from PMV.

April - Big Boy was still around in April and May, but now not seen for a long time.

May - The first living babies of the Spring - Fleur and Fern - had three parents because their mother, Charm 'divorced' her last year's partner, Lucky, and went off with Snow White! Lucky, feeling he had a share in the babies, fed them whenever he got a chance! It was a very odd situation with the doves. SW had had a mate called Rose Red who was killed by the hawk - then he had a new little wife - Star Light - for a very short time, before dumping her and seducing Charm away from Lucky! Star Light eventually found a mate in Mr. Moon and they also had a nest in the cote. And poor old Lucky eventually teamed up with a white female I called Loveday, and also had a new nest. You can understand Lucky's confusion - he had had a total of 5 nests with Charm before SW muscled in! - 1st - May 13 - babies Dolly and Fennie. 2nd - June 13 - eggs 'hatch. 3rd - July 13 - Harlequin and Columbine. 4th - Aug 13 - Alpha and Omega and 5th - Jan 14 - the babies that died. By the way, out of those 5 nests, only Dolly is still visiting the garden and the only one living, as far as I am aware.

Above, Lucky feeds Snow White and Charm's tiny babies

Brownie Mo arrived in early May - a sweet little brown pigeon with a broken beak and dried blood all down his front - he became a real favourite, with me looking out for him and trying to make sure he got enough to eat. By the 3rd week in May I had managed to catch, ring and hand feed him, but of course released him, and he carried on coping ok.

Above, Brownie Mo in a bad way

The baby bluetits in my 'postbox' nestbox also fledged - adorable!

June was busy. Destiny, a dove hatched in April 13 in my cote, came back, perhaps looking for a mate in June 14 at 14 months old, and looking fantastic! Tufty, a racer with a withered leg turned up, and eventually the leg and foot dropped off (Dec '14 -he's still around though!), Muffin and Tiffin were little brown pidgies that I took an interest in during June and July, but no longer seen now. Stockie was a baby stock dove that I caught and ringed, as rather baby-ish but eventually coped well on his own.

July saw me concerned about a juvenile blackbird, who was around for quite a while, but eventually not - probably just grew up. Below - Blackie comes into the kitchen.

Patience, proving himself male, turned up again and was courting. He had had a bad hawk experience the year before but survived and was kept by me for a month before being released and went on to live a full life.

Above, Patience in June '14, come back to court in my garden
and below, when I first 'met' Patience in Feb '13  - 16 months earlier!

To see Patience again, so fit and well, was one of the most incredible moments of the year! It shows how feisty the pigeons - if you find an injured one - give it a chance! They CAN survive! - GO HERE FOR ADVICE! Just don't feed any injured bird straight away - they need to be warm and stabilised first.

My Dolly had an injury which I treated with medi-honey and she's been fine since and still around every day. My friend gave me an injured young magpie, Chester to look after, who died very shortly, poor little thing.

August was stressful with lots of hawk attacks. Gulliver, a baby stock dove, was brought to me and I raised him for a couple of weeks before he was released, but he got poorly and died at about 9 weeks old. Below, Gulliver, left, a baby stock dove, when I first got him - judging him to be about 3 weeks old. The other bird is Chance, a baby pigeon, who def was 3 weeks old.

Cissie, my homie, was dramatically rescued from the river. 
Another bad few minutes for me - and her! But she soon recovered.

By this time SW and Charm had had Fern and Fleur, Daisy and Dusty, and then Clover and Clara - out of this lot I still see Fleur, Dusty and Clara. Lucky and Loveday had had Desiree and Chance - and I still wish I kept Desiree in as she was a fragile little thing and doubt if she made it for long. Star Light and Mr. Moon's first nest was unsuccessful. Mercedes and other birds died due to the hawk, but Mercedes2 was brought down into the flower bed by the hawk, rescued and ringed by me, and still seeing her! At the end of August I flipped and decided not to blog for a while.

October - so I last blogged on 26th Aug and then not again til nearly 2 months later. By that time Mr. Moon and Star Light had had Twinkle and Little Star (who I found as a dead hatchling, two or three days old). Twinkle was raised and fledged, but found dead but still warm under the cote one day after I'd come home from being out - I can still see his poor little body, and I was very sad about that particular death, though they all affect me.  Below, Twinkle

SW and Charm had their last babies of the season and these two Tommy and Mercy are still seen and both tame enough to eat from my hand - today 19th Dec I had them both eating from my hand at the same time, and could see they are like twins, very similar size and now over 4 months old. They were named after Tommy, an 'old soldier' pigeon that the hawk killed, and Mercedes, another tragic victim - her death was so awful. But they live again in my two gorgeous young birds.

Above, Dec 14 - current birds - far left, front is Dusty (green rings), middle back is Tommy, and far right, not quite in the picture is his sibling, Mercy.

Tommy, white dove, four months old
Above, Tommy
Below, Mercy is on the left

 Mercy, left, and friend, come to eat from my hand

In September, after struggling with the half a beak disability for 5 months, Brownie Mo was caught by the hawk, mauled about and brought in by me, by died very soon. I was so very sad to lose such a plucky little bird.

Above, Brownie Mo's funeral

And Brownie Mo in better days, bathing - the one just out of the bath is Tufty, the racer who lost his leg and foot, but manages fine with his stump!

 Other September birds were Sooty, Sheridan, Bentley, Petronella and Cappucino - my new homie, Chino! These birds all had their stories - see the relevant blogs - and Sheridan and Petronella are now dead. But at least I can look after Chino, who can't fly.

Above, Chino

November brought Sausage - see Nov blog for his story and early December, Frost and Endeavour - see Dec blog for their stories. Frost was dying but Sausage and Endeavour still around!

So an eventful year as always which brought some very special birds into my life. If I had to give medals then Lucky would get one for making the best of a bad job and Brownie Mo one for pluck and endurance. It does sound like it is all deaths when I read back over this blog, but many of the doves and pigeons last several years before going to meet their maker so it's not quite as bad as it seems!

I treated myself to a little Christmas present - and here it is - a pigeon stone! And nicer than it appears in the photo. It is a 'Cobble Creature' painted - find more about them HERE and also on Facebook, Etsy, Folksy and Ebay. Vanessa doesn't just paint birds on stones - there are all kinds of sweet creatures, so do have a look. Irresistible!

I do intend to continue to blog about the doves, pigeons and other birds so do please come back in 2015. Wishing you all a peaceful happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and thank you for reading all my blogs and everyone who comments (or who just reads and doesn't comment!)

To be cont....


Fennie said...

Hi Faith, and a happy Christmas to you and all the doves and pigeons. Yes, the birds seem to be born just to die but there are some fascinating tales here and I could easily imagine a little book with headings such as 'Lucky's story' Or 'Sausage.' But what I still don't understand is why your birds fly away when you provide them with a constant food source. Why do they go? And where do they go. You never write to say that you had a letter from the Isle of Wight to say one of your ringed doves had turned up there, or even from further afield. The birds just vanish. Equally birds arrive out of the blue without rings. Do they chew them off, I wonder? Very glad to hear that you are going to continue blogging and I do hope we'll see your bears visiting your doves or vice versa one day. Happy holidays!

hopeinparis said...

Hi Faith,
Thank you for a lovely recap of the year, and what an eventful year it has been for you and the birds. I especially followed the stories of Lucky and Brownie. I love how you post so many wonderful photos. Thanks for a great blog and I look forward to more in 2015! All best wishes - Jane

Geraldine Teggelove said...

Hi Faith,
I just love reading your stories ... thank you for taking the time to share. The photos add so much to the blog posts ... they are just great. I really look forward to the ongoing story in 2015. A million blessings, Geraldine

Faith - aka Granny Annie! said...

Thanks to you all, and anyone who read without commenting.