Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Lucky becomes unlucky.....again! - and Cloud has 'news'

Sat 23rd May –  8.30am There are two white doves in the front nestbox – Lucky’s nestbox – and neither of them are Lucky! I don’t know for sure which is Lottie, but it looks like another male has taken over – poor old Lucky, there will be ructions when he gets back!!!! 

Lottie (left) and the male intruder
9.15am – Lucky came back. He didn’t realise anything was wrong, I fed him peanuts and he had a leisurely walk round and a long drink to sustain him for the day on the nest. Lottie – I assumed – was by now hovering on the ledge. She flew off, and Lucky entered – to find the alpha intruder! As they tussled inside the nestbox, I nipped up the steps quickly – fearing the egg would be crushed – and grabbed a bird......I checked it was the naughty one, and by heck didn’t he struggle! I brought him in for ringing – purple, right and orange, left – and that was hard as he is a strong male (but very beautiful!)  Another Snow White methinks! I released him, throwing him towards the roof, and he sat on the ridge, preening himself. I am reluctant to block Lucky in while I go out but am thinking about it. I wish now that when I had the intruder – as yet not named – and Lottie in the nest box that I hadn’t caught and ringed both. But at least I know the other male now.
Later – I didn’t block Lucky in – it wouldn’t be right. He’s an experienced bird and what will be, will be...... but when I got back all seemed well.  The other male, bearing no grudge to me, was around at feeding time and I, wanting to name him as a tribute to Snow White (who had acted in similar fashion to Lucky),  have called him Snowdon. I do sometimes wonder when I ring a white dove – if it was to go back to its original cote or owner, what they think???? 

 Above, Snowdon
and below in the middle on the roof

Sunday 24th May – an ordinary-ish dovie day but Lottie spent her free time with Snowdon, and in the evening just at 9pm when I could still see the cote, out of the window, but the dusk was gathering, I saw what I thought was Lottie peeking out of the nestbox. I hoped she would settle back in, but then I saw the dark spot on the breast and knew that it was Lucky! He was anxiously looking out, waiting for Lottie to come back to do her nightly nest duty, but she – even flightier than Loretta – had betrayed him and her unhatched egg and obviously gone off with Snowdon! I waited to see what Lucky would do, but he came out of the box, stayed on the roof for a few minutes and then left! Oh no.... the poor egg. If it was a new egg then I wouldn’t care so much, but it could be due to hatch in only a week’s time. I somehow didn’t have a good feeling about this egg from the start...but you never know.... so I brought it in and put it under the electric hen. The egg didn’t feel very warm to the touch.....but as I say, you never know. I like to give things a chance. I managed to remove the egg from the cote, and replace it with a plastic one, just in case Lucky did come back, without disturbing Solo in his little section.

 Snowdon (top) and Lottie
Below, Solo relaxes on the grass with varied friends

Bank Holiday Monday 25th May – I got up at 5.30am to put the egg back, but Lucky, Lottie and Snowdon were already in the garden, along with a few pigeons. The egg, having been under the electric hen all night, seemed too hot to me...... but I don’t know..... the electric hen was the same temperature for the baby bluetits or whatever they were.... and they survived. Anyway, I swapped the real egg for the plastic one, and went back to bed. I don’t know why I am doing this – I am sure it is hopeless and I have probably cooked the egg.....horrible thought, poor little doomed baby dove. When I got up again the three key players in the game were either scrapping on the hedge or round the cote, or sitting calmly on the roof. Lottie sometimes jealously guarded the doorway of the nestbox but seemed disinclined to sit. I had to go out and when I came back, Lucky and Lottie were on the hedge together, and soon enough Lucky went in to the nestbox and sat, more or less, all afternoon. I just don’t really know what to do.
Later – Lucky left the nest at 7.10pm.....Lottie hadn’t come back of course. Solo had already gone to bed, but he got up again with his daddy and they both sat on the roof.
I collected the egg and hubby – who has experience with pheasant eggs in the past – ‘candled’ it for me with a torch. He said it was a fertile egg but reckoned it had been dead a while. I could see red veins and dark patches, but there was a whole blank area – to be honest I didn’t really know what I was looking at or looking for!  In case you are interested, this is how you test to see if the chick inside the egg is alive.  Take some thick cardboard and make a hole roughly the size of the egg, for the egg to rest in. Place the cardboard over the light of the torch, and place the egg in the hole – sideways not upright. Then you can see the veins etc. It doesn’t look like there is a chick in this one, so I wouldn’t know what a live egg would look like. Hubby said you might as well chuck it and then they will start again sooner – he knows I am sad about the loss of the egg. I said I wasn’t sure I wanted them to start again, until they have sorted out who is going to be with who! Last year we had lots of babies.... this year Solo really is solo. I put the egg back in the nestbox for now but it’s possible a predator might take it. Solo’s now back in his section with his poor unhatched probably unformed and certainly dead baby half-brother or sister in the nest above....... very sad.

Candling pigeon egg

Tuesday 26th May 15 – The egg was still in the cote, stone cold of course – nobody was with it, so I removed it and cracked it open. It looks like hubby was right and something had stopped the baby developing a while ago. Below is what I saw...... it didn’t smell nasty.

Lucky checked out the cote a few times, but seemed ok about it. I didn’t want him to waste all these lovely sunny afternoons sitting on an egg that won’t hatch. Now I know that the baby obviously stopped forming a while ago, I feel better about the loss.

Wed. 27.5.15 – I grabbed Solo at the morning feed and gave him a big top up of about 25 peas and peanuts as I will be away tonight babysitting my grandchildren, and I wanted to make sure he is well fed! I haven’t hand fed him for a week or so now he can eat big grains but I didn’t want him to go hungry – he is still my baby, and still quite babyish to look at. He has spent every night in the cote since he started sleeping outside and I don’t think he flies far as he is very often on the roof.
The loss of the egg means that Lucky is once again thinking of starting again. Lottie seems to be hanging around with Snowdon..... though they are not fighting for the cote (at the moment). My Grace (hatched in the cote two years ago and offspring of Sky and Summer) seems to be interested in the cote and Lucky...... wow, wouldn’t that be handy? A mummy dove who is already ringed, already a special dove of mine AND flies to my hand for peanuts! Let’s hope it works out.

Below, Grace checks out the cote

 Thurs 28.5.15 - My bluetits fledged - I almost missed it, I think this was the last baby to come out! Adorable!

 Lucky, above and below, showing his odd eyes!
 Below, you can just see Lucky on the ledge of the cote 
- and who are those two down on the raised bed?
 It's Snowdon and Lottie - looking suspiciously like a pair!
 and Lucky doesn't look best pleased!
 and now Lucky and Snowdon chase Lottie up the roof 
 I wonder if Lucky remembers - like I do - when this happened before (with Snow White and Lucky's first wife, Charm)
 Oh Lucky, surely you are not going to lose out again?
 This is Dolly struggling out of the bath
 Don't look at me! she says modestly, I'm not dressed!

Monday 1st June - Well I am pleased to say that Snowdon backed down allowing Lucky and Lottie to patch up their differences - and Lottie stayed the night.

Tue 2nd June - We have one new egg, and by Thursday there were definitely two. I so hope these eggs are ok. I want more babies in my cote!

Wed 3rd June - Solo is 68 days old and has always slept in the cote - but tonight a white dove tempted him out 'after bedtime' and he flew to the roof with it.

 When he flew back to the cote, the dove went too (Lottie didn't seem worried)
 But as you can see Solo eventually tucked himself away, and the white dove left. I was quite relieved as I like my little Solo staying safely in the cote at night. 
 Thurs. 4.6.16 - Beautiful Baby Nero - growing up rapidly - relaxes on the low roof

6th June 15 - The homie girls, Cloud, Cissie and Chino have acquired a 'minder'. He's a big ringed racing pigeon who appeared from nowhere and he seems to like spending time with them.

My lovely and unusual pigeon, Seagle has a shower

 Another new favourite also has unusual colouring - the young bird I call Dotty

I am calling the homies minder, Sultan. He was chasing round all of them - his harem - 
but has now singled out Cloud as being his favourite.

 Chino watches as they take over her place
 Hey, get a room!

 But they don't
 They snuggle up in hers!

7.6.15 - This evening, cheeky Solo and friend decided to come and tap on the sitting room window - Where's our supper?

 I took these photos from inside of course - Shows how much the windows need cleaning!!! Of course I got up, went outside and fed them. Solo is still the little prince - he wants, he gets!

Monday 8th June 15 -

Sultan arrived and I opened the hutch to see if he would join Cloud - and he did! Here you can just see him walking into the nightbox part where she is hiding! (and if you can't find me, she says, I'll be in the night box!)
 But later, when the homies were having play time, he seemed to be talking to Chino, while Cissie sat on the dropped down door of Chino's section.
 You can see his racing ring in this photo. I don't feel bad about him being here - he is free to fly back to his owner or loft if he wants to.
 I think maybe it's Chino making eyes here
 But Sultan doesn't say no!

 Though he takes a moment or two to preen

 And then they go all the way!
 Hey Sultan, if Cloud finds out she'll sue you for breach of promise!
 And it looks like Chino has another admirer!

9th June 15 - 

A close up of Seagle - I think she's female; the most amazing bright light grey with stunning pale, almost pink eyes

 Free range eggs from the poultry farm (where I get grain for the birds, and where the homies go on holiday if I need them looked after)
Free range eggs, every one a different colour!
 Since Sultan came into her life, Cloud has spent much time just cosying up, alone, on her little piece of snuggly carpet in the nightbox part of her hutch. Maybe she dreams about starting a nest?

To be cont....


hopeinparis said...

Great post - thank you, Faith! Lucky's love life is incredible. And what if the hutch turns into a big nursery?! Then you might get your wish for more babies! Can't wait for the next installment.

Fennie said...

Looks like more babies are on the way. I wonder what would happen if you put a couple of hens eggs in the cote. Would someone come to sit on them and if they hatched would they rear the chicks. I suppose chickens would rear doves though they might be perplexed that the squabs wouldn't follow them and I suppose hens wouldn't feed a squab, would they - so that way round it wouldn't work.