Monday, 8 August 2016

Cloud's drama - and a summer of babies!

Carrying on from the last blog...

Tuesday 19th July – I don’t normally enter the aviary after I have locked it up for the night but Cloud was flapping about and I was anxious – well it turned out she was having a funny five minutes but was actually fine – and seeing Pan with his babies looking so protective and loving, I nipped back for the camera.






Wednesday 20th July 16 – Today Appoline was missing for a while, but did come back in the late afternoon – but was gone again at bedtime. Perelle was left there alone. I do feel little ‘Apple’ (as my grand-daughter calls her) is a bit young, at only five and a half weeks, to be flying off with the flock, and can only hope that she will make it back in the morning.

Thursday 21st July – Appoline did come back, but this evening Perelle didn’t stay in the cote. I’m a bit sad that my sweet white and speckly-white babies have fully grown up. In the aviary, Avery and Evangeline have learnt in the last day or so to scramble up to the top of their nest box, and to pop through the little window and walk along the perch in the day room supervised by daddy, Pan.
A ringed racer joined the late feeders in the garden, and walked, uninvited into the kitchen. Of course, being the softie I am, I gave him his own dish of grain …….



but when he then walked into the sitting room, it was taking a liberty so I collected him up and put him into the hutch, in case he needed a refuge for the night, and though he stayed a while eventually he up and left.

Friday 22nd July – The racer was there in the morning, and Appoline, amongst many others, but no Perelle. Poor little thing, I wonder if he will find his way back by tomorrow. The aviary babies are full of beans, and flutter about inside their home, but haven’t tried to venture out yet.

Saturday 23rd July - Evangeline left the aviary today, and Avery the day after - they are four weeks old. They just wandered out and joined the other pigeons.




 Evangeline above, blue ring, and Avery below, red ring

Monday 25th July 16 – Cloud created a little drama. At her morning hand-feed, about 6.30am, I normally let her just jump off my lamp. Sometimes she does a little fluttering flight but always towards the ground, not up! But this time, somehow, she flew up and landed on the aviary roof. Oh no! Of course, as you know, the other side of the aviary is the river. I watched her on the roof, and took a photo, but although I put the steps up I couldn’t reach her because she was enjoying the new view and didn’t want to come anywhere near me.




She stayed there for a while, but when the flock flew off in a real or imagined panic, suddenly she wasn’t there anymore. I had visions of her ending up in the river, like Cissie did that time, but when I looked over the fence, there she was on a pile of grass, leaves etc. I quickly got the net and put it over her so she couldn’t move....



and then had to get the steps and scramble over the fence – not really what I wanted to be doing first thing in the morning! She was ok of course, just a few ruffled feathers.

Wednesday 27th July 16 – Well I have written my notes for a while but so far Perelle has not come back. He or she was a sweet young bird and it is a shame that I will probably never see him again. Of course, not seeing a bird doesn’t mean it is dead, but Perelle went off in the heat-wave and may not have been strong enough to get back here from wherever the flock go at night.  I see Appoline every day though thankfully. This is why the aviary birds have such an advantage – they can fly to the roof and round about, but don’t have far to go home. Avery (right in the photo) and Evangeline are now fully fledged, but still spend much time in the aviary.....



though they also enjoy being out on the roof with the flock – unlike Pascal and Primrose who mainly stay in the aviary…. Pascal because he has to, not being able to fly, and Primrose because she wants to, though she does come out for short periods. When I cleaned out the aviary yesterday I made a new arrangement for Pascal, with a ‘nest’ like Cloud has got (a proper pigeon nesting bowl). He and Primrose act like mates, rather than the siblings they are. I am not sure if siblings do mate, though I don’t think this is a great idea, especially because of Pascal’s disability, but if they do start nesting for real I won’t stop them. They are a bit young yet being only four months old.  I think the box I put there is a bit small, but the space is limited. 




I went into the aviary at lunch-time to be greeted with an unexpected but pleasant surprise – Chino was out of the nest box, she had obviously just done her ‘hen poo’ (very big poop excreted by sitting pigeon females, saved up over the night!) and next to it was an egg-shell. Wow! A baby already! I wasn’t expecting hatching til Friday. This means the baby hatched only xx days after the first egg was laid. Pan was obviously itching to get hold of the shell – the second I released it after taking the photo, he picked it up…… and went to the little doorway…….flew to the roof, and chucked it away!






I removed Chino and held her against my body, so I could take this photo, she made a dreadful fuss of course, but I wanted to see our new arrival – the cutest weeniest just hatched little orange bubba! Later Pan celebrated by mating with Cloud! I have never seen her allow this before!



The horrible eye infection seen in so many last Autumn  is back in a big male pigeon that I have been unable to catch. One time I did manage to get my hands on him but he struggled away, and now of course is even warier of me! One eye is fine, the other is gunked up though he can still see out of it. I know that if I could only catch him, I could remove the stuff and treat his eye with the wonderful drops I discovered last year from Healing Sun on ebay. All I can do is make sure he gets an extra ration of peanuts to keep his strength up but if the other eye got infected too, unless I could get him, he is doomed to either be caught by a predator or starve to death.

Thursday 28.7.16 – Pan is one year old today! Happy Birthday to my clever boy! His short eventful life so far – He was hatched to my flightless bird Cissie who was disabled due to being a paramyxovirus recoverer and Sultan, a racing pigeon, who stayed for a while. Sultan left when Pan and his sibling Tink were only about 17 days so I hand reared them, as Cissie was unable to feed them. Tink died but I nurtured Pan all through last winter, and in February put him with Chino, and they made a match of it. Pan is now father to eight! (all thriving) Pascal and Primrose, Bronte and Darcy, Avery and Evangeline, and two new babies – the other egg hatched today! Here’s Chino and you can just see one of the tiny babies – probably only as big as my thumb now but amazingly will probably be fledging in four weeks time!



Friday 29.7.16 – Just after the young birds (now the old babies!) Avery and Evangeline had gone back into the aviary at about 8.30am, and I had gone back into the house, I heard a thump, thump and went straight back out to see a sparrowhawk flying away from the grain bin area. There were feathers on the lawn, but I think whatever bird it was had got away. Haven’t seen the SH for ages, and not wanted to! – but I MUST take care, and remember it could be there at any time. Cloud and Pascal particularly need to be protected.
I made a new arrangement, particularly for Pascal’s benefit today, in the aviary. I made a slope so that he could possibly get up higher – and into the box that Primrose mostly uses at night. Pascal and Primrose seem determined to be together, so I will humour them, against my better judgement. It aint right n proper, but they don’t know that! Within a very short time, Pascal had learnt to scoot up his slope!

Thursday 4.8.16 – Oh dear I haven’t written up my notes for a while, and things move on so quickly with the birds! Well the new babies are beginning to sit up and take notice. They look very similar at the moment. It seems amazing that Avery, their big brother (or sister) is still less than 6 weeks old, and still has a few of the wispy yellow baby down feathers on his head, and they are a week old – BUT daddy Pan is ‘driving’ (chasing) mummy Chino because he wants to start ANOTHER nest!
Bronte is less than 14 weeks, and his sibling, Darcy, left the family home (the aviary!) quite a while ago – but he has stayed and from an early age has strutted his stuff and made things awkward by courting his own mother, and annoying Pan. Last evening, when Bronte arrived back in the aviary, they started fighting, so I shut him in a box that I had put on the top of the box that the new babies are currently in. I had put the box there for his benefit and hoped that Pan would just let him in it without fuss. But of course Pan is the alpha male and likes a good tussle – and this new box looked pretty good to him – being nice and high. And he saw no reason why he and Chino shouldn’t have THREE nestboxes! I thought Bronte might not come back tonight - either because he didn’t like being shut in the box or because he doesn’t like Pan’s attitude! Again, I had to shut Bronte away – mainly to keep him out of Pan’s way but also because he (Bronte) was ‘getting at’ poor little Evangeline!
In fact, tonight, Avery didn’t come home – which is a shame because he is still young to be out all night! I hope to see him again in the morning.
Pan doesn’t appear to have a problem with Pascal, who is also male. This is no doubt because Pascal is an ‘under-dog’ sort of bird. He keeps himself to himself and his quarters (with Primrose) are all underneath the shelf upon which Pan’s nest-boxes stand. Pascal and Primrose (siblings) are approximately four and a half months old

Friday 5.8.16 – Avery was there in the morning. He is probably the most distinctive of Pan and Chino’s offspring, with his one white-tipped wing feather. There is another bird, probably about the same age, that comes with the flock, very similar – also with the one white tip. I call him Avon. Although I said I wouldn’t name and/or ring new birds, of course sometimes I do!

Evangeline didn’t come back to the aviary this evening either, so it looks like the two of them have moved out – despite being less than 6 weeks old, and still practically babies themselves! Bronte did come back, and I had the same performance with Pan, , who I had to chuck outside for a minute or two, while I caught Bronte and locked him into the box (with a little pot of food and some water).

A few photos taken around this time....


Cloud sunbathing in the porch of the aviary. I like it here! she says. The aviary gives her far more freedom than she had before. For a start, she doesn't have to wait for me before she gets up in the mornings!


Primrose, left and Pascal - I put him there, he can't get up by himself
 Below, Mariette and Montgomery - the new babies 
And Chino, feeding them

Monday 8th August 16 - The situation with Bronte in the evenings hasn't improved, but Pan has decided that the upper box is ideal for his new nest and has started putting sticks in it! He is busy, busy, busy - there is no time to fly to me and mess about on my head, shoulder or in the feeding bowl - he has too much to do! Pan of course and as always must have his way, and so I lock Bronte in the lower box that is unoccupied by the new babies - who aren't so new now as they will be 2 weeks old on Wed/Thurs! So far they appear to both be grey, with Monty the lighter one.

Lucky and Lottie have not attempted to start a new nest and the dovecote stands empty. It needs painting so desperately that maybe I ought to start thinking about doing it.

5.30pm - was going to sign off and finish this blog when I found an injured pigeon in the garden. She had a wound on her wing, which I sprayed with the Veterinus spray (I also have the gel as you know) and seems unable to fly, though otherwise alert.







 She wouldn't take a drink, but I made her as comfortable as I could in the old hutch which is now the hospital! She wanted to go in that corner, but I will move her to the night part a bit later on, as I think she will feel safer there.

Later - the injured one accepted a drink, which I was pleased about and I settled her in the darker night part of the 'hospital'. Bronte didn't come back to the aviary tonight - he obviously can't face Pan's aggression.

Here are the birds tonight....


 Pan comes rushing towards me as I try to take his and Chino's photo
 Chino in the new nest
 And in the box below the new nest, the babies in the old one!
 Pascal snuggles up for the night in his box

And Primrose sleeps in her 'nest' above Cloud on the ground floor

To be cont...

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