Monday, 8 June 2015

Solo. Lucky and lots of goings on

My last blog went up to the 28th April I think, and since then I have been keeping notes on Word like I usually do – well, somehow, I have either wiped the file or something has happened and all my notes have just disappeared! I did try to restore them, but it didn’t work. This is SO annoying because lots of little things have happened, and now I will just have to use my photos as prompts and do the best I can. I used to work directly on to Blogger but had a few probs doing that... oh well.

I'm sure you remember that poor Cloud got caught by the hawk but now her feathers are growing back

1.5.15 - Here you can see Solo being cute and joining in with the homies - 
this is the first time he's ever done this!

Sunday 3.5.15 - A yellow ringed white dove turned up, that I thought I should recognise..... but couldn't. I looked up a couple of birds I thought she might be but with no luck..... I know I ringed her - don't ask me how I know, but I know!

 Below - Chino (brown) in the bath with Cloud

 My pretty but flightless Chino
Henry, the pheasant, becomes my new best friend....
 And the unknown yellow ringed female attracts attention....

4.5.15 - Solo is 38 days old today. He is still being fed by his daddy Lucky - and having top ups from me.


 Below, Solo sits with his daddy, Lucky

There are several new young pigeons - one of my favourites is a black one I call Baby Nero. (I had a beautiful black pigeon a few years ago called Nero)

5.5.15  - Lucky in the top nestbox with little Solo in his compartment

6th May 15 - Having lost my notes (and as I write it is now a calendar month since this happened!) I can't remember exactly, but there was a little very sweet soft grey young pigeon that didn't seem to be managing very well. I hand fed, ringed and named her Dora, and she (or he) stayed close to the homies area under the hutch, until I re-captured her and put her on the roof to be safer.

Sunday 10th May – How often does everything happen perfectly? How often do you find the exact thing you want, exactly when you want it, and the price you can afford?  As my birthday is coming up, I said to hubby ‘If you repaired the hutch for me, it would be a great present and not cost you anything’  but he had a look at it and said ‘It’s as rotten as a pear, darling – it can’t be repaired’. Well, I’ll have a look on Gumtree I said...... and there was an ad for the perfect hutch, in great condition and being sold by someone in our home town, not 10 minutes away.  I measured it out and it would take up roughly the same amount of space, but was two-storey! Very convenient.  I replied to the ad and we went over straight away, and within an hour from first seeing it, were back here with the new hutch – voila!

 You can see the state of the old one!
 and we cut down the pampas grass too

Hubby and I moved the hutch into place quite easily. The top and the bottom are two separate pieces making it quite easy to move.
Monday 11th May – The first day for Cloud and Chino to go in the new hutch. Cloud in the top as that is what she is used to, and Chino in the bottom – with Cissie staying in the run as before. The only thing I felt was a shame was that the new hutch didn’t have the outside part that we’d created for Jose – but Cloud never used the facility much anyway, except to go to the water bowl (and now of course the water bowl would have to be inside). Cloud investigated the new arrangements and seemed ok with it. Then I brought Chino out and she settled really well – far better than in the crate+box which she was in previously.
Lucky spent the day dragging long fronds of the cut pampas grass to the nestbox. His new wife (Mrs. Lucky number four!) Lottie, helped from the inside.


When they had finished or got bored with it, I went to have a look Pampas grass is lethal stuff – will cut your hand if you’re not wearing gardening gloves and I wasn’t sure it would be great for little pink naked baby doves to hatch out onto. It also has a sticky quality to it – not nice at all. I got a handful of nice dry hay and patted it down on top – much more cosy! I wondered if Lottie would stay the night..... but both she and Lucky left the garden quite early.

 Above, Cloud and Chino are calm and happy in their new quarters. Below, Cissie gets lucky!
 Grace, who seems to like sticks, straws and grasses carries her new acquisition round for a while

 Below, the blue ringed one is Sausage - still doing well
 Below, left is Blackie and right is Dolly - who was hatched in the cote more than 2 years ago
 Blackie and Mr. Strong have teamed up since Mr. S lost his mate, Frances

Solo is 45 days old today but still in some ways seems small and babyish to me, but he manages very well, flies over to the island now with the others and generally seems a happy little bird.

 Solo on the island bridge
 He has such pretty colouring
 I was worried in the first few days that he'd fall in the water or get blown in!!!

Solo has slept in the cote every night since I first decided not to bring him in to the house any more, and I still give him a small hand-feed top up supper and block him in til I go to bed (just to keep him in and other birds away) and then I unblock him when I go to bed – so now I’m not having to get up so early, like when I was unblocking him before Lucky arrived in the garden.

12th May 15 –
In the afternoon, there was a peaky looking little pigeon which I netted in the raised bed, hand-fed, ringed with a white ring, and then released. It flew to the roof, so I hoped it would be ok, but in the early evening it was sitting, pathetically, in the path. I netted it again and popped it in the hutch, after hand-feeding it again. 

Then later, when I had moved the homies to their bedtime boxes in the spare room, I smuggled it in to the conservatory for the night – without hubby seeing, as he is not keen on having more birds in the house. I’m out tomorrow, but after a feed, it can go up onto the roof, like Dora did, and hopefully be ok for the day.
Luckily hubby hadn’t seen me smuggle it in because in the late evening, my youngest daughter rang in distress, to say that her cat had knocked a nest out from a bush or tree, and some of the babies were still alive. I felt it was little point telling her to put the nest back as she wasn’t sure where it had come from, and of course the cat would only find it again – and they said they couldn’t catch him to bring him in. So I incurred hubby’s displeasure when he heard me talking on the phone saying bring them over.  I don’t understand his point of view – after all, how does me looking after a few birds affect him? But he doesn’t like them in the house and that’s that. It doesn’t stop me though!  I got the electric hen ready and went out to the yard to meet her when she drove in. The babies were even tinier than I expected, and I told her that it would be a miracle if they lived. I really took them from her because she is getting married on Sunday and doesn’t need any more stress!  I removed the two dead ones – making sure they really were dead - and put the others in the nest under the electric hen. More I can’t do tonight. I have no idea what kind of birds they are – the nest is tiny. I don’t think they are robins.

Wed 13th May 15 -  Hubby left at 6.30am and I got up shortly after. The little pigeon in the conservatory was crouched up in the box in Cissie’s crate, but I went straight to see the tiny babies in the nest and..... amazingly they were still alive! I had had a restless night dreaming about them – sometimes they were alive and I was trying to feed them.... and sometimes they were dead and I was still trying to feed them....horrible! But the reality was that they had survived the night – no doubt due to the electric hen. I wasn’t too sure they were alive when I first looked at them, but when I gently stirred them, they woke up and started to gape.

I collected the soaked mealworms I had ready and my tweezers. I had never fed babies this tiny and delicate before and was beginning to think they must be blue-tits.  I had read that baby birds are fed constantly throughout daylight hours and I desperately  wanted to keep them alive until I could get them to the Wildlife Aid at Leatherhead, which is local to me. I decided to feed them in rotation, and quickly start recognising them – one was the largest and most lively, then the next one was a bit smaller and a bit less lively – and the third one was far smaller than the others, more delicate and looked less likely to survive. I called them Bibberty, Bobberty and Boo!
I had to leave home to get to my grand-daughter at 8.15am and therefore was rushing to get everything done – feed the homies, and the flock, look after the poorly one and feed the tiny babies in between. I grabbed a mug of tea, but got no breakfast myself!  I was feeding them about every 10 minutes and they appeared to go to sleep in between. Sometimes Boo wouldn’t take any food, and sometimes they spat out what I gave them. But I saw them all wriggle their little naked rear ends to the top of the nest and do their little poops, so that gave me confidence that they were all getting some nourishment. Despite being in a panic to feed and look after them properly, it was very interesting to observe them.
The little pigeon was taken out of the conservatory and hand-fed. It seemed to have no substance to it at all and I could see it wouldn’t be ok put out on to the roof  for the day– so I partitioned off Chino’s bottom section of the new hutch, and put it in an side-turned little square shape bucket with food and water, til I could get back. At least it would be safe.
I took the babies in their nest, in the old hood (placed in a box) with me in the car – with a jar of soaking mealworms and the tweezers – and my camera.  Halfway through the journey, I stopped the car in a quiet side-road and fed the babies again.
My three year old grand-daughter was enchanted with them – for about 10 minutes....

then she got bored and wanted me to play with her. I rang my daughter (the one who found the babies) as I knew she wasn’t working and she came over to see them – so so happy that they had survived. We were both surprised to  see Bibberty trying to preen himself – such a tiny new little thing, and trying to preen, it was amazing! 

I must admit if things had been different – i.e. if she hadn’t been getting married on Sunday and if hubby was more agreeable to me having little birds to look after – then I would’ve been tempted to keep them and try to rear them myself but in the circumstances it wasn’t practical – so me and my grand-daughter set out to the Wildlife Aid – stopping twice on the way to refuel the babies! At the first stop Boo wouldn’t eat, but he did at the second. I felt more confident that they would all survive. In the Wildlife Aid car park I fed again, and then we carried the babies in. When you take in a rescue there you have to ‘sign them over’ to them. The lady was very efficient – the nest was popped into a tiny little carrier and then taken off to the ‘team’ (they have vets and volunteers there) while the paperwork was done. We then gave a donation and left – with some relief on my part as I am sure the people there will be able to look after them.
We then drove back to my home – to find the little pigeon hadn’t made it, so we picked forget-me-knots and gave it a river funeral.

Here Grace insists Solo and a pigeon admire her new stick!

Evening – Lottie stayed the night for the first time in the cote – so must be thinking of laying. I wondered if Lucky would prevent Solo sleeping in the cote, but he didn’t – and Solo put himself to bed at about 8pm. I would’ve liked to give him a top up feed as I have done every night since he’s been sleeping out, but I felt I wouldn’t be able to take him out of the cote without disturbing Lottie, so I didn’t. He is 47 days old, so a big boy (or girl!) now and shouldn’t really need it anyway. One thing I am totally grateful about is that there are no babies that need my attention in the cote, or babies just about to fledge, as we will be away all Sunday and the night too (for the wedding).
Thursday 14th May 2015 – My birthday – I am 58. Horrible rainy day and so bad in the afternoon that we lit the fire in the sitting room and I brought the homies into the conservatory far earlier than usual.  This morning Lottie left the nest box and I zipped up the ladder – we have one new egg!  Solo stayed in his little place in the cote for much of the day, due to the weather. At one point he was out on the hedge and I wondered if Lottie or Lucky had forced him out – but later he was back in it, and L & L seemed tolerant of him. But then later again, he was sitting miserably on the roof with all the other bedraggled pigeons. When he eventually came down to eat, he landed on the table, and on impulse, I grabbed him and brought him in to the kitchen for a really good top up feed, and to dry off in a tea-towel.

His main body still felt warm but I should think little young birds like him can get chilled quite easily.  I know I am pampering him a bit but he is still very young, and so many young birds die in their first year – and I don’t want him to be one of them! Then, I wondered what to do with him – it was still raining and it was possible that he wouldn’t be allowed into the cote tonight, so I decided that though it wasn’t much past 5pm, I would put him in his room in the cote and block him in. I’d given him in a drink, so I felt he was all set up and it wouldn’t do him any harm and might be beneficial in the long run. I tried to approach the steps of the cote quietly but Lottie is not used to me, and it caused her to fly out. I wasn’t too worried as she is not sitting in earnest yet..... and anyway she came back pretty quickly. Of course this does mean that I can’t really unblock Solo til the morning for fear of disturbing her at night and will have to get up before 6am to do so, but never mind. It is now 5.30pm and I am writing this in real time – and it’s so gloomy it could easily be 8pm.
Friday 15.5.15 – I duly got up at 5.50am to find that Solo was sitting on the ledge outside his compartment! – he had obviously been strong enough to push away the metal grille plate and half brick that I had put there to keep him in - goodness! He must be stronger than I thought – I mean a proper half house brick! Lottie was on the roof – whether because she had wanted to be or whether Solo’s heaving and the crashing off the brick had frightened her I don’t know! They were the only two birds around, so I threw some grain and nipped up the steps to look in the cote – still only one egg! -  and then went back to bed.
I rang the Wildlife Aid in the afternoon to find out about the babies – the lady said their card said they were ‘finches’ but not what type. They are all still alive, and she suggested I rang back in a week or so when they will be bigger. I may ask if I can visit them when I ring next time.

Baby Nero

5.45pm and both parent birds out of the cote – I had another peek. Still only one egg.
7pm – I saw Solo put himself to bed in the cote. Lucky had left the garden a while ago.

Sat. 16.5.15 –  No-one was in the cote so I checked again but we still only have one egg. This was laid Wednesday night, so it looks like there is rather a long gap and maybe it will be the only egg this time. I have never had only one egg laid before – it’s always been two, though quite a few times there has only been one baby hatched. It is possible of course that another egg was laid and pinched by the jackdaws.

Loretta, Lucky's faithless wife no. 3 and mother of Solo, is still around the garden with two white admirers....

 You can't see that clearly in the photos, but Loretta's the one with the brown markings

Tomorrow is my youngest daughter’s wedding day, so I took the homies, Cloud, Cissie and Chino to the Poultry Farm to be looked after. I will be away all day of course, and tomorrow night, and not back til midday on Monday so they will need feeding. The PF has a big barn that is locked up securely at night, and I am not worried about their safety, but I hated leaving them there.  I felt quite bereft on the way home. I’ve got someone coming in from the Surrey Ark to feed the flock – and the only one I am really a little concerned about will be Solo, but hopefully he will manage and if I can I will grab him in the morning for a top up feed before we go!
Sunday 17th May 2015 – The day we’ve been waiting for – the Wedding Day! And sunny, thank goodness. As far as the doves are concerned, an ordinary day.  Again I was able to check the nestbox and only one egg still. Looks like we will have another ‘Solo’ if things go well.  I managed to catch my Solo and fed him 30 grains and peanuts – much more that I usually do as I normally just give a 10 grain top up.

Here's my beautiful daughter and handsome new hubbie!

 19th May 15 - Cloud and Cissie have started a little girlie lovey-dovey relationship.....this is not unknown in the pigeon world

Hey, Chino, how did you get up there?

Fri 22nd May 15 – Solo has started eating big grains on his own at last! He can eat grain and peas, but can’t get the hang of peanuts yet!  My baby is grown up!

I will end this blog here - as something dovie-dramatic then happened..... so the next blog will carry on and will be published asap! I have been so lax about blogging, what with the wedding and everything, and am paying the price of having to do a massive catch up!

To be cont.....

1 comment:

Fennie said...

As interesting as always but I am wanting to know the sequel about the little birds. The yellow ringed dove - have you found out who that was? Do you have a list of the birds you have ringed. Might it be a dove from long ago? I am not sure that Fennie dove didn't have a yellow ring. Anyway I expect he has a tale to tell. How are the brood of ducklings?