As mentioned in her bio Georgie pigeon was thought to be a boy. Before I took her into my care I knew next to nothing about pigeons (so I couldn’t tell that she wasn’t a boy). Sure, I had admired pigeons when I was young as they bobbed and cooed in the street of my home town. I thought them pretty and wondered why they walked like they do. I particularly enjoyed seeing the males trying to get the females attention (all that tail fanning, bobbing and cooing is fascinating). I have always loved animals and had kept many pets but I never had a special interest in pigeons until I began working at a wildlife rescue centre.
You see, pigeons are quite common (really? Could have fooled me. ) and many kind and caring people bring injured or orphaned ones to the rescue centre so I was (and still am) pretty surrounded by pigeons (hedgehogs being the next most common animal brought in). I saw my first baby pigeon there and didn’t have a clue what it was. But I quickly fell in love with them as my supervisor showed me how to feed them – the poor darlings squeaking away with such enthusiasm and earnest – “Please feed me, mummy!” and quickly, “Please cuddle me!” as they grew and wanted some love from their adopted carers.
Many people say that squeakers and squabs are ugly but I beg to differ. Maybe it is a case of “Having a face only a mother could love”? Do I care what other people think about them? … (Actually I do. I can get quite upset when people see the baby pigeons at the rescue centre and say “How ugly they are!” I can remember only two people saying how beautiful they looked and I almost hugged them).
Anyway, back to Georgie. So here was this almost 1 year old young male pigeon who Richard and I loved to bits. Then one day, shortly after her 1st birthday, Georgie laid an egg. And she hasn’t looked back since!!
The unexpected egg
We were shocked to bits, our whole view of George changed immediately. She was no longer this cool male pigeon, rather a moody female one. And by lord, can she get moody when she’s incubating her eggs! They aren’t fertile since Elmo boy doesn’t pay her any attention, so we let her incubate them till she’s bored of it. We have a couple of fake eggs to replace her ones just in case we accidently break the real ones (Georgie likes to nest on the sofa despite the dangers of us sitting on them).
So we have to deal with a very moody pigeon on her nest while we are trying to watch TV or relax on the sofa. Richard cannot sit next to her otherwise she’ll attack him. Only I can safely sit next to her, but sometimes, when she’s really into her protective mother role, I have to back off because she’s ‘protecting’ her eggs.
We cannot get Georgie to stop laying eggs. Her body and hormones and mind tell her to bond with me and have babies. That’s just the way it is. Pigeons like to breed. And they’ll do it all year round. That’s why there’s so many of them. Sure, I could stop petting her or letting her cuddle up to me, I could put her somewhere where she hasn’t the opportunity to bond with someone, but that would simply be cruel. Georgie needs affection. She’s semi-blind and craves contact.
So we’re stuck with a loving pigeon (who we still love dearly) who will lay a pair of eggs nearly every month. I keep a diary of when she lays them so I can monitor her health. Georgie was eggbound once and it was a scary ordeal. I now have calcium drops and special UV bird lamp to counteract the strain of her egg production.
At the moment we’re expecting Georgie to lay an egg. The last egg she laid was on the 18th Nov 09, so it’s been over two months, which is pretty good. It’s never good for a bird to lay eggs continuously. For those of you who have seen a pigeon lay an egg it’s quite fascinating. But if you’ve ever thought a pigeon was a boy and he laid an egg?? Well, that’s a different feeling!