Monday, 18 July 2016

More eggs on the way

 July 2016

Do you remember how the conservatory used to look - the table covered in the birds' crates, grain and loose feathers? Look at it now.... mind you I miss them inside to a certain extent, especially carrying Cloud off to bed in the spare room, and snuggling/smelling her on the way! The birds smell sweet due to being grain-eaters I suppose.

Sunday 10th – Several ringed racing pigeons here today. It was windy, and maybe they had been blown off course – or just stopped off for a free meal. There was one who seemed rather small and unsure – I easily managed to pick up and hand-feed it a few peanuts for energy. I checked the ring – yes it said GB16 so a this year’s bird. It’s nice to see the racers, but I had a much more delightful surprise – my lovely white pigeon Mr. Strong arrived! I haven’t seen him for ages – possibly since April – and had thought I never would again. He is beautiful, pure white with a fan tail (probably not a full fan-tail, but one of his parent may have been). He used to often arrive with my Grace but she wasn’t there.

 Above, Mr. Strong and below, in the middle, the gorgeous big pigeon that I call Silver Shadow

Monday 11.7.16 – This morning, Perelle fledged properly and flew to the roof.

Young squab (right) just fledged, with father pigeon 
At lunchtime, I took Appoline out to give her a little drink, and afterwards she struggled out of my hands, scrambling to the top of the dovecote. She seemed happy and was safe enough. But later on, it started raining and I wished I hadn’t got her out. I mean, the birds are waterproof, but it was her first day out – and Perelle’s. The rain got worse, it was a deluge! 

The flock on the roof stoically hunched together. I was worried about my poor little moppets, but there was absolutely nothing I could do of course. Fed the flock lots of times, but the babies didn’t come down. I had supper, still not down.

Below, Lucky comforts the babies after the rain

Well after 7pm Perelle was on the lawn and I managed to catch him. He did have some body warmth but his wings and the top of his body were saturated so I gently dried him off with the hair dryer and gave him a  hand feed. When I came out from doing that Lucky disappeared, leaving his half-drowned babies to cope on their own. I had to catch Apolline with the net, and dry and feed her too.

By the late afternoon, Chino had laid her second egg. If all goes well, we will have new babies by the end of July. Below, Avery in the aviary!

Tue 12th – Bright sunny morning. Perelle came out but Appoline stayed in the cote – hardly surprising after yesterday! Lucky flew up and fed her in cote, and I saw him try to feed Perelle on the ground but he didn’t seem to want daddy to feed him – I’m big now, he says, I’m out and about on my own! Just before I had to go out, the flock flew away and Perelle almost immediately flew into the cote. I am so pleased he can fly and negotiate the entrance to the cote well. Perelle and Apolline survived the drenching yesterday very well. Most newly fledged pigeons take a bath within the first few days, but I bet these two won't!

A spotty white dove with a green ring was there too this morning with other white doves. I felt I should recognise this bird for several reasons. One – it was ringed with my kind of ring , on its right leg, which is the leg I favour. Two – it looked a lot like Lucky. Three – it was reasonably tame and didn’t seem scared of me (and in the afternoon ate peanuts from my hand). Four – it was in my garden – possibly back home? At times like this I wish I had kept a ring book from the start. I have at times, but usually on scrappy little bits of paper that I have lost. There were only 3 babies last year – only Selfie in the cote, who died, and Tink (also died) and Pan in the hutch. So I will look at my blogs for 2014 and 2013 and see if I can find out who it is.

Pascal and Primrose (siblings) still spend time together, but of course Pascal, the pale one, has stunted wing and tail feathers and can't fly. I watched them for a little while....

 and when something startled Primrose and she flew off, I caught the moment Pascal jumped into the air - but of course came down with a bump! (he's so adorable, I love him to bits!)

Perelle didn’t come out of the nest-box again today, and Apolline not at all. After Lucky had fed them and left in the early evening, I took a little supper of small grains up to the cote in two tiny dishes (glass night-light candle holders) which they polished off – and then I took them up a drink in a tiny shot-glass with a handle, that I always use for the babies!

Wed 13th – The cote babies were out on the roof  when I got up at 6.15am this morning, but later put themselves back in. I think we can say that these two are safely fledged – and quite early too. Properly fledged at only about 30 days – some don’t fledge til 35 days. Lucky has treated them well, and they seem fine and healthy. It doesn’t look like Lucky and Lottie will be starting a new nest any time soon, so the young ones will be able to keep the nestbox to themselves which is nice – because it gives them more of a chance to grow up before they are forced to fly away and leave the cote or relocate into another section.

One of the aviary babies wasn’t in the nest box with the other, when I went in. But as the aviary is totally shut at night I wasn’t too worried. I soon found him or her in with Chino and the eggs in the new nest – It was Evangeline and she looked so sweet cuddled in with mummy, but by the time I got the camera, Chino was out and baby was heading towards her own beddies.

Robin spends most of his time in the aviary, but can fly to the low roof now reasonably well. As long as Pan is ok with it, I don’t mind him living with the others.

One day when I had my four year old grand-daughter, I said to her that we would go and see if my friend, Sara, was in, as I hadn’t seen her since she had a serious jaw operation. ‘Oh’ said my grand-daughter ‘Is she a bird person or a real person?’ (shows how much I give the birds human characteristics!)

Thurs 14th July 16 – Apolline was not on the roof, or in the cote, or anywhere I could find this morning when I went out early, but there was an unringed pure white dove of the right age……could Apolline have lost her ring? It IS possible of course, as at this stage the birds have little slim legs, or I might not have snapped it together securely, so it could have come off, but this doesn’t usually happen. I searched in the flower beds and around the back of the house, and near the offices which back on to us but there was no sign of her, or of any foul play. The little white dove flew to the cote and went into one of the lower boxes, and I am not sure that a young dove from somewhere else would do this. I picked her out and gave her a hand-feed, then popped her in with Perelle who had by that time gone back to the usual nest box. He didn’t seem worried by this, and neither did Lucky – though he didn’t feed either of them, so I have to assume it IS Apolline, and I will re-ring her with the same colour ring (blue) but on the left leg instead of the right, just in case the first Apolline turns up! But no, I think this MUST be Apolline. And later, Lucky did feed her….. what on earth happened to that ring??

I cleaned out Avery and Evangeline’s box early this morning, about 8.00am. I only have a short window of opportunity for doing something like this, as Pan would make a fuss and get in the way if he was around, but he goes out flying first thing so I got it done and dusted while he was out. The nest, made of sticks by Pan, and with an underneath layer of pigeon felt and a piece of old carpet was very damp, VERY dirty and had a few of those dreadful wriggling things that I have a phobia about – disgusting! It was very soon all disposed of with nice clean old towelling at the bottom and a layer of fresh hay. Nice and clean! (won't stay that way for long!)

 I blocked Chino on her nest in for the duration, and the babies waited patiently in a little basket!

Baby pigeons in a basket

Friday 15th – I weighed Avery – 370g – and Evangeline – 331g today. They are now 19 days old and must be the biggest babies I have ever had. At that age Pan weighed 248g and Pascal 318g. They weigh more than Perelle and Apolline at 26 days. Probably they get more food than is maybe good for them – as it is right there on the shelf for Pan and Chino to feed them. She is still doing so, but probably wouldn’t if she had to go out and forage for food; then she would leave it to Pan. There is a window at the front of the aviary and I can discreetly observe the secret lives of my baby pigeons! Already I have seen them help themselves to small grains, and Avery had a drink out of the bowl. 

Although I took them out of the aviary into the kitchen to weigh them, I don’t intend to take them out for any other reason (such as a little play time as I do with the dovecote babies) as I want to see what they will do at fledging time of their own accord.

I forgot to say in the last blog, before Chino laid the eggs she is sitting on now, I went in to the aviary and had a bit of a surprise, as she was on top of Pan appearing to be mating! Of course it is normal for the male bird to be on top and I have never seen this type of behaviour before. The only thing I could think of – and other people suggested it to me also – was that it was some form of dominance. But Pan is not the kind of male you dominate! Very strange! In fact, I never saw Pan and Chino mating at all before these eggs were laid – except for that one weird time – but assume, and hope, the babies will hatch as usual.

I am wondering what colour the new babies will be. Chino is pale brown with a darker brown band, and Pan is a typical grey pigeon with mottled wings, and green/purple iridescence on his breast - no doubt there are endless colour combo's
1st set  – Pascal – very like Chino – Primrose – dark grey and like Pan but more subdued
2nd set – Bronte – Sandy brown with mauve-ish breast, and mottled mauve patches on wing.. Darcy – brighter sandy brown than Bronte

3rd set – Avery - dark grey with a dark band and white wing tip – very fetching!. Evangeline – pale grey with dark band.

Above, Bronte

Sat 16th - I while ago I caught a fledgling robin in the house and released it - so sweet!

A day or so later, I saw it - or another one - on the path and threw it some peanut granules.

But today I was so distressed to find it dead in the garden with the cat sitting nearby. 'No Loopy! I said to her 'I really DON'T want darling baby robins as a present.......' but cats will be cats, there is nothing I can do about it (at times like this I wish I hadn't adopted her). The only thing I could do of course was to give the little one a special funeral.

Watery funeral for fledgling robin

Robin (the pigeon) was nowhere around at the time I shut up the aviary, so obviously felt well enough to fly off  (11 days after the injury, which was the second injury)- he was back by tea-time the next day, helping himself to grain inside the day room. Home from home!

The photo below was taken at the poultry farm where Cloud and co. are looked after when I am on holiday. The dog does spot the chick (but can you???) but doesn't go after it, and it was soon scooped up and put back with its mother.

Monday 18th July 16 - So now we are into a quiet mode with the new eggs not due to hatch til about 29th July and I probably won't blog again til then.

Avery and Evangeline - 3 weeks
Perelle and Apolline - 5 weeks
Bronte and Darcy - 11 weeks
Pascal and Primrose - about 16 and a half weeks

 The aviary birds on the floor of the day room, with Primrose on the water bath, and Pascal at the front. Cloud to the left, and Pan in the middle. Below, Avery and Evangeline (right)

Below, I am not totally sure who the four white doves are, but I like to think it is a happy family snap of Lottie and Lucky, with their babies, Perelle and Appoline.

To be cont


hopeinparis said...

Fantastic blog and photos, Faith, as always — thank you! Goodness, I don't know how you keep track of all these babies and the comings and goings. You do such a fantastic job with them all. Oh, regarding seeing a hen pigeon mount a male — I've observed this a few times, it definitely happens. I think it's sort of a "I'll teach you who's boss" message from the hen to her husband :-) xx

shirley said...

So nice to read your blog's again your Avery is lovely almost like a pigeon loft !!
hope the birds keep save and well.