Thursday, 30 June 2016

Happy News!

June 2016

Sunday 26.6.16 - I had been car-booting and when I got back I opened up the aviary to make sure all was well but it was a minute or two before I noticed an egg shell on the floor.

At first, for a distressing second, I thought that a squirrel had been in and stolen and destroyed an egg from under Chino, but then I realised, silly me! - the eggs must've hatched!! Because Chino laid them before our return from holiday the sitting time has seemed very short and I wasn't sure when they would hatch. I had a little peep inside the nestbox but Chino was sitting tight and I couldn't see anything.

Chino above, Pan below 

Later, when it was Pan's turn to babysit, he left the box and I had the chance to see the babies - and even pick them up! They are actually quite tiny but look larger than they are, in my hand.

The parents will not desert them if they are handled - they don't have a very good sense of smell. Anyway, Pan trusts me - and Chino tolerates me! So, Pan and Chino have become parents for the third time this year with the first babies to be hatched in the aviary. I thought I'd have a little play on words so the biggest baby (which is probably the male and the first hatched) will be Avery and the other one will be Evangeline (or Angel for short). Their older brothers and sisters are Pascal and Primrose, now 13 weeks, and Bronte and Darcy now 8 weeks. Their little neighbours in the dovecote are Perelle and Appoline, now 2 weeks old.

Baby white doves - 2 weeks old - Perelle nd Apolline

Apolline is named after this tiny restored 14th century chapel, dedicated to St. Apolline, situated near Perelle bay, Guernsey.

St. Apolline chapel, Guernsey

14th century painting of the last supper, St. Apolline, Guernsey
Since I am mentioning Guernsey, I will show you the photos I took of a white dove collecting nest material from a window box high up above the shops in St. Peter Port. I wonder if I was the only one who noticed him that day? Maybe my blog reader, Guernsey Girl, could have a look sometime and see if that pair are still there? I think it was the windows over Boots. I'd love to know if they raised babies in their flowery abode

White male dove looking for nest material in a window box, St. Peter Port, Guernsey

 He jumps in to have a better look!
 And below, he has taken it to another window box next window down -
can you see his mate just peeping out?
 And he emerges again, to go and look for more!

Back to Sunday 26th - Another thing that made my dovie day was that my Autumn turned up again, after a month away. She is nearly four years old - my oldest 'baby' hatched in my dovecote at the end of July '12. I always think I may never see her again..... and then she appears, and I am so pleased!

Tuesday 28.6.16 - this evening, about 6.45pm just as I was getting ready to serve supper, I noticed Robin by the water bath and threw him some peanuts. He seemed to be struggling to jump up to the raised bed, and then I realised that he couldn't fly again! Robin, as my Purplecoo friends will remember, is a male pigeon that I ringed with two pink rings probably a couple of summers ago. His original name was Robber because he was always stealing grain from the hutch, but when he was found, unable to fly, in my back kitchen on 24th April this year, and I took him in, I changed it to Robin! This was before I had the aviary, so Robin was smuggled in past hubbie and I cared for him for two weeks, bringing him in every night, before he became able to fly again. But now he's back.....I suppose he has a weakness in his wing, or something. Anyway, this evening it was very easy, I just popped him in the hutch, with food and water, and he dived into the nestbox part, glad to have shelter for the night. I will be assessing him tomorrow properly.

Wednesday 29.6.16 – Robin has an injury to the underside of his wing. It looks like it could be a glancing shot wound…… or it may not be of course.

 It seems that it is not related to the reason he couldn’t fly the last time. It didn’t look nasty but having got him there, I anointed it with the veterinus gel anyway.

Veterinus gel - excellent for wounds on pigeons
I was sure that it was just the injury and he didn’t have anything else wrong with him, so I tried him in the aviary with the others (while Pan was with the new babies) but he didn’t seem to like it/them much and escaped as soon as possible to go back to hiding under the hutch. I will look after him, obviously putting him safely in the hutch at night, and hope he gets better like he did the last time. I wouldn't put an unknown poorly bird in the aviary - obviously - in case it brought in disease.

The new babies are now three days old - it is hard to twist round with the camera and get a picture of them inside the nest, especially as they are not left for long. You can just see two fluffy bundles...

 And here they are - Avery and Evangeline. I am a very proud Grandma Dove!

Tonight, Darcy didn’t come back to the aviary and was still missing by dark. I hope she manages to make it back tomorrow.

Thursday 30.6.16 - Darcy came back with the flock in the morning. I was pleased of course but not too surprised, as this pair - Bronte and Darcy - have always been grown-up for their age which I was truly thankful about when I had to leave them at only four weeks old to go on holiday. Bronte, I am pretty sure, is male - he has been displayed male dominant behaviour these last couple of weeks - which seems surprisingly early. Sometimes he even dominates his mother, Chino - and she has to sit where he says, not where she wants to! Below, sorry a not very clear photo of Darcy and Bronte on top of the aviary.

When I caught up with my neighbour, I found out more details about the rescue of  Darcy who had fallen down the chimney while we were on holiday. This very kind young man found her in the back bedroom, took her outside and put her in the aviary. I hadn't expected that - I thought he would've just thrown her out. He said he could see she was a young one. He told me a funny story - apparently when he goes on night fishing trips, his girl friend doesn't like staying in the house alone so goes to her parents'. One time she came back in the morning to find an egg on the kitchen floor! Most odd! Eventually she found a female mandarin duck in one of the little back rooms - she must have come down the chimney to the back of their old unused Rayburn - and was able to get through the broken mesh or whatever it was that was there. You wouldn't have thought after that experience she would've felt like laying an egg! But, when an egg's coming, it's coming, I suppose and must be laid!

When I open the hatch window on the aviary the birds fly out in the current 'pecking order' - which is age order - Pan first, then Primrose, then Bronte and last Darcy. Pan, Bronte and Darcy seem to like to go flying in the mornings, but Primrose is a home bird and usually comes back first.

Darcy, left, and Primrose inside the aviary. 
They are probably both females - same parents but not siblings

Lucky and Lottie's babies, Perelle and Apolline, are adorable. Perelle has some dark feathers on his wing, but Apolline seems to be pure white. Last year, Lucky had one baby Solo with his third wifey, Loretta - and then later on his first baby with Lottie, Selfie. They were the only babies hatched last year in the cote. Selfie died at fledging time, for no reason I could fathom, so I am hoping that all will be well with these two. So far, I haven't had to worry about them as they seem well cared for. Lottie started leaving them at night at two weeks old, which is usual, but I still don't like it. How could anyone want to leave this tiny little thing......?

Two week old white baby dove
Therefore, every night since they have been left, I have been tucking them up with an old cashmere glove stuffed with feathers, and a handful of hay, then blocking them in with a little grille and a half brick. This keeps them safe and warm, without mummy, til morning. I get up at 5am before Lucky and Lottie come back to unblock them, then I go back to bed til 6.15am when I get up to feed the flock and open the aviary. This routine is a bit tiring but I will continue til they are three weeks old and more feathered up. They should be fine, after all it is late June - though a miserable wet one!

Here's their beautiful mother, Lottie. She seems to have bonded well with Lucky, and I hope they will stay together.

Lucky was first with Charm - who left him for Snow White (both now dead in the cull), then he was with Loveday for a while - not sure what happened to her, probably the cull as well - then with flighty little young Loretta, and now with a hopefully more steady mate, Lottie. Below, Lucky, coming to eat peanuts from my hand.

Here's Chino having a bath - this was before the babies hatched. The pigeons like to get their feathers wet so as to moisten the eggs to aid the hatching process. There is a bath in the aviary but so far I have only see Pan and Cloud use it.

Chino, enjoying the sun, but near enough to dive back inside. She's is a bit of a nervous bird, and a good mother, wanting to be near the babies.

I made a little flower bed next to the aviary as there was a patch of bare ground after the aviary had gone up. It looks prettier than the photo! - with purple, pink and lilac flowers. I call it Pan's Garden, and I had the little statue of Pan in the garden already but moved it here.

And last but not least, here is my little tortoise, Orlando, who is just about a year old. I have had him for 5 months now and his shell measures approx 3 inches. He's in his vivarium, having a munch! The oldest recorded tortoise in the world is Jonathan, Seychelles giant tortoise - they reckon about 184 years old, hatched in 1832 -amazing! Have a read!

One year old tortoise

To be cont......

1 comment:

hopeinparis said...

Hi Faith - What a great blog post and fantastic photos. I'm happy for Chino and Pan. What fun to have babies in the aviary and the dovecote. Good luck to Robin! Thanks for showing an image of the Veterinus gel product, very helpful. I hope everything progresses well and that you have a beautiful and happy summer. Thank you so much for posting!