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Elmo gave us – and himself as well – such a fright yesterday. As usual, Richard took him out into the garden for his late afternoon stroll around the garden. However, for some reason Elmo started shaking and shivering like he was scared of something and didn’t want to be in the garden. Then, unexpectedly, Elmo shot up into the air and hovered a bit before landing. Richard quickly went to grab him but Elmo shot up again into the air and spun about before hitting the ground. This happened a couple of more times before Richard managed to catch him. It was a heart-stopping moment.

We were so scared he’d fly over the hedge and into someone’s garden, or worst, onto the railway track opposite our garden. Elmo has never flown before in the garden and it is not an experience we want to live through again. Being an ex-PMV pigeon Elmo has permanent balance and flight damage that makes his flying a bit erratic and unstable. That’s why we don’t encourage him to fly outside. Indoors he’s more than welcome to fly about, but Elmo doesn’t fly much – he prefers to walk about instead. … Sometimes he will flap his wings and hover a bit for exercise though.

After taking Elmo indoors and giving him lots of hugs and kisses (as well as a good telling off for scaring us so!) we went out to see what could have scared him in such a way. The culprit was obvious: a bright blue tray that was being used as a bird bath! The tray had been put there recently for the feral pigeons, but it was obviously not Elmo’s cup of tea. We’ll have to replace the blue tray with something more discreet.