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It seems that Georgie has forgiven me for not pulling my weight with the incubation because she’s spending some time with me instead of sitting all evening on her infertile egg. I think she’s had enough and tomorrow I might remove the egg. But first I’ll have to see what sort of mood she’s in.

And it may be that we have a racist pigeon on our hands. Uh oh. Elmo hated the black shirt that Richard put on (he ran away, shaking with fear and outrage), but when Richard changed into a white shirt Elmo was happy! Hmmm….. OK, so I might be overreacting here. The alternative: Could Elmo possibly be letting Richard know, in his over-dramatic way, that he didn’t look good in the black shirt? The white shirt could very well have looked better on Richard in Elmo’s eyes!

Maybe we’ve got a fashion-conscious pigeon instead? After all, if you’ll allow me to stereotype here, Elmo is gay!

It is said that pigeons live on average to be about 10-15 years old. I believe this is for captive or racing pigeons. The average feral pigeon living in the wild would most likely have a reduced lifespan since they have no one to care for them against the elements, disease and predators.

The oldest recorded pigeon (that I could find info about) was a red checker cock called Kaiser. He was born in 1917 and died in 1949 at the age of 32 ½. Kaiser was in fact a German war pigeon who was captured by the Americans in 1918 and used by them for breeding.

Kaiser, WWI Captured German War Pigeon:

  • “Kaiser” 1917-1949
  • Band # 17-47-0-350
  • Red Checker Cock
  • Bred and trained by the German Imperial Crown
  • Captured by the Americans in 1918 during the Meuse Argonne offensive
  • Assigned to the US army signal corps, Fort Monmouth, N.J and Camp Crowder, MO.
  • Handled by Col. Clifford Algy Poutre from 1936-1943
  • Kaiser lived for 32½ years
  • Specialty: outstanding breeder

This photo of Kaiser was taken in 1938, US Army Signal Corps Lofts, Fort Monmouth, N.J.

Martha – the last passenger pigeon:

The second oldest pigeon was Martha, the last passenger pigeon. She hatched in a zoo in 1885 and died in 1914, aged 29. The sad and poignant story of the now extinct passanger pigeon species can be read here: In Memory of Martha

A live passenger pigeon in 1898 (Note: I don't know if this is Martha)


By Wilson P. Dizard
Published in The New York Times, February 24, 1946

Technically, Kaiser could be called a traitor to the Imperial Crown of Germany. A soldier of fortune, he has served under two flags in two international wars. This may seem surprising when one considers that Kaiser is 29 years old and that his kind has always been regarded as a symbol of peace. But Kaiser carries no olive branch in his bill-he’s a Regular Army Flier, assigned to the United States Signal Corps, and the oldest pigeon known to history.

Kaiser was hatched in Germany in February, 1917, and was trained as a military homing pigeon for the German Army. The famous bird was captured when the Yanks stormed an enemy front-line trench during the Meuse offensive in 1918. He was brought to this country and assigned to the Signal Corps Pigeon Center, Fort Monmouth, N.J., until August, 1942, at which time he was transferred to Camp Crowder, Mo., the Army’s pigeon-breeding center.

In terms of human ages, Kaiser is a cool 140 years old-the normal life span of a pigeon being from 5 to 8 years. Despite his advanced age, Kaiser has continued to father large groups of homing pigeons. He astounded his keepers and pigeon breeders all over the country last year by fathering seven youngsters. The breeders shook their heads and said that because of Kaiser’s age his youngsters would be useless as military homing pigeons. They took it all back when one of them, Little Caesar, won a 320-mile race from Dallas to Camp Crowder in competition with some of the best birds in the Army.

There is no logical explanation for the Kaiser’s hardiness except for the fact that he lives under ideal conditions at the Crowder lofts. He and the latest of his many mates, Lady Belle, live alone in a white loft away from the other loft buildings. The only difference between their loft and those of the other pigeons is that Kaiser and Lady Belle have an electric heater-a small concession to Kaiser’s old age.

Although a “member” of the United States Army, Kaiser still wears a seamless aluminum identification band on his left leg, bearing the seal of the German Imperial Crown. This band was placed there by his German keepers when he was a week old, and it cannot be removed unless cut from the leg.

(From: http://pigeonsincombat.com/thepigeoneerswebpage.html)

The other day when I was out in the snow looking for Christmassy things I saw some nice bird baubles and I thought that next year our Christmas tree should be decorated only with bird baubles and decorations (haven’t the time nor cash to do it properly this year). A real pigeon tree! :)

I know some of you out there have been very creative with your decorations (e.g. pigeon stockings!) and I’d love to see photos of them.

I’ve already bought a few decorations which I’ll show you later but for now here’s some I found on the net:

Gold dove Christmas decoration from Shop Art - The National Gallery

Old fashioned fabric dove from shutterstock

Earthenware dove from SeaHolly Ceramics

Baby Mourning Dove Christmas ornament by Melody Lea Lamb

Dove shape ornament from WellPromo.com

Dove of Peace by Doggyhugs

Love Dove card that turns into a decoration by Polli

from Christmas Tree Land

So what’s been happening lately in our lives. Well, Georgie laid an egg, but only one! Pigeons usually lay two so I was very surprised that Georgie hadn’t laid another one. But I guess since she’s had such a big break from the last time she didn’t have the energy or inclination to go all out. Anyway, Georgie is happy at the moment and busy with her incubation.

Although she’s still not pleased with me disturbing her for a photo. Here’s Georgie about to wing slap me:


I have to admit that I’ve been missing cuddling up to Georgie. I’m giving Elmo more attention, much to his displeasure! :) I think George is upset with me because I’m not pulling my weight, i.e. I’m not doing my part in incubating (both the male and the female pigeon incubate – they take turns).

There’s not much to report about Elmo. Just that he’s a little git! :) Loving Richard, hating me. His feathers have grown completely in his bald patch, however, he now needs to preen the feather follicles off:


And once again it has snowed in this part of the world. I’ve got to clear a spot in the garden so that the wildlife can be fed (and not sink into the snow!). I saw our local fox walk up our stairs and through the fence into the neighbours garden this morning. He looks very healthy. I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of him.

The ferals and woodpigeons have been down to eat the seed I put out for them. We haven’t had much problems with the feral pigeon flock since we feed them sporadically, however, when it snows I put out food more regularily to help them out. It can be tough for the wildlife when there’s a sudden snowfall.

And lastly, we had a pleasant surprise when opening the beer box:



In pigeons, both the mother and father feed their babies crop milk. It is amazing to watch these dedicated parents lovingly feed their babies:

I love finding positive blogs about pigeons. I’d be searching for one thing then notice something different and follow that route until I find a lovely pigeon blog! It’s great to see so many pigeon lovers out there.

Here are some blogs about pigeons (many you might already know of):

  • Pigeons Aren’t Perfect – This wonderful blog was set up to “praise, promote and publicise pigeons. After all, they are not perfect but they do need looking after.”
  • Pigeon Tales – Interesting blog following the lives of a family of feral pigeons living with the author.
  • People for the Preservation of Pigeons - An informative and important blog that is “concerned with the protection and preservation of mankind’s oldest domestic bird, the gentle and loyal pigeon.”
  • Pigeon Blog – An online diary of a London pigeon.
  • Pigeon Madness – All about pigeons – breeding, info, videos and much much more!
  • Rescue Report – Wonderful blog about fostering and adopting pigeons (from MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue).
  • The Pigeon Nest – A blog that features articles, information and the latest news about pigeons.
  • The Pigeon Loft - About the adventures of a knitted pigeon, Mr. Pigeon.
  • Pigeon Hole - Blog containing “‘Pigeon Facts’, personal pigeon experiences and musings, photographs and videos.”
  • The It-Pigeon – Blog containing photos of feral pigeons. “Who will be next?”

If you know of any other pigeon blogs, please don’t hesitate to let me know! :)

I first saw these cute dove socks in the following post (scroll down to the bottom): Shoegazer Loves: PIGEONS!

“Paloma’s socks” are from: Alberto’s Family

I have to admit, I want them!!! :)

But of course you simply cannot give your pigeon some socks without other clothing. So, to go with the socks, a nice comfortable coat:

By Ciara Healy

Bird coats by Ciara Healy

And a warm hat:

Knitted hats from The Pigeon Loft

And finally, a stylish backpack to carry all the essentials:

Photo: Zsuzsa Ákos

I think Elmo and Georgie would look quite fetching in this ensamble. What do you think?

Returned home early today and Elmo was besides himself with joy. I couldn’t believe it – he was inviting me over for cuddles!! Is this the same pigeon? What’s happened to Elmo? :)

Seeing as he was in such a generous mood, I had to take him up on his offer. So instead of doing all the housework like I was psyching myself up to doing, I cuddled with Elmo for most of the afternoon. I could see that he was in bliss. And you know what? So was I! :)

(Of course, this is not the first time he’s been kind to me, for example: Holiday welcome.)

Georgie is busy incubating her egg. I’m expecting the second to appear today but so far nothing. Hmmm. Wonder what’s taking so long? (I’ll be replacing her infertile eggs with fake ones soon.)

At the moment Georgie wants nothing to do with me or Richard. She’s defensive and very sensitive. We have to leave her alone in her cage on her nest. Every now and then she’ll get up for a stretch, which is when I let her out of her cage and she does a massive poo (which she’s been saving up while she incubates) and then wants to go back to sitting on her egg. What dedication!

Yesterday I wrote that we were expecting Georgie to lay an egg any minute now, and lo and behold, she did!

The whole day George was restless. She didn’t want to nest in her guinea-pig nest, nor even in the pink and white fleece! For some reason Georgie was rejecting them. I didn’t know what she wanted and nothing I did seemed to please her. Georgie kept moving about without settling.

In the end we found that she’d laid the egg on the floor. She didn’t seem interested in it at all. Poor dear.


We left the egg in Georgie’s cage today when we left for work and returned to find her incubating it. Hooray! (By the way, Georgie’s eggs are never fertile.) We now await the appearance of the second egg, which should happen tomorrow.


This is a video of Georgie laying an egg earlier this year:

Georgie has had an 8 month break since the last time she laid eggs, which I think is good because as you can imagine, egg production and laying takes a lot of energy and calcium. It can take its toll if birds lay eggs continuously, a condition called “chronic egg-laying”. I’m happy that George made the decision to not lay eggs for a while, thus giving herself a break. Now, however, an egg has appeared and who knows if she’ll continue to lay eggs every month from now on. I hope she doesn’t.

Chronic egg-laying can cause a number of serious health problems for birds, and can ultimately lead to the death of the female if left untreated.

“Chronic egg-laying in the pet bird poses a significant threat to the health and behavioral well being of many pet birds. When a hen lays repeated clutches or larger than normal clutch size without regard to the presence of a normal mate or confined breeding season, a myriad of secondary problems can follow. Ultimately, functional exhaustion of the reproductive tract poses risk of metabolic and physiological drain on the bird, particularly on calcium and energy stores. All of these ultimately predispose the hen to egg binding, dystocia, yolk coelomitis, oviductal impaction, oviductal torsion, cloacal prolapse and osteoporosis.” Ask an Expert: Chronic egg laying by Dr. Brian Speer, DVM.

This article – Chronic Egg Laying from AvianWeb – has some good advice on how to combat chronic egg-laying (mainly aimed at parrot species). Please go to the article to see the full explanation of the points below.

Things you can do to discourage / stop your bird from laying eggs:

  • Do not remove eggs which she has already laid.
  • Remove possible nesting sites and nest-making material.
  • Mimic “Shorter Days”.
  • Limit food access.
  • One vet recommended turning day into night.
  • Discourage breeding behavior in your bird.
  • Rearrange the cage interior and change the cage location.
  • Give your bird optimal nutrition.
  • Provide full spectrum light.
  • If necessary, separate from “mate”.
  • Ask your veterinarian about hormone injections.

The following article has good advice about egg-binding (one of the problems of chronic egg laying):

“Calcium is used by the body to not only form the shell of the developing egg and maintain strong bones, but is also crucial in the proper functioning of the muscles. While it does take a large amount of calcium to form an egg shell, the hen also needs calcium for the muscle action needed to expel the egg.

“Vitamin d3 is crucial in the absorption of calcium. Without it, all that good calcium we offer our birds passes right through the body without being absorbed. In outdoor flights, our birds are able to produce d3 via a chemical reaction to sunlight. In indoor flights, they are unable to do this. Sunlight through a window is not sufficient. The ultraviolet light needed does not pass through window glass. Full spectrum lights can help but some studies have shown that the ultraviolet is only at sufficient levels at less than one foot from the light source. For inside birds, a d3 supplement is almost always helpful.” Egg Binding by Carol Heesen

I made the mistake of putting the pink and white fleece on the sofa for Georgie to nest in. I did it to quieten her down because she was being very demanding and was flying about constantly to get to me (I was busy and couldn’t give her the attention she wanted).

She’s now looking as if she’s going to lay an egg. Oops.

I really should have known better. Georgie loves the pink and white fleece. It’s soft and warm and forms nicely into a nest. It’s where she laid her very first egg!


Georgie in her nest

We’ll have to wait and see if Georgie does lay an egg. If she doesn’t, I’ll be very worried because she’s holding herself in an egg-heavy way. And she’s pooing really big, watery poos – which is usually a sure sign of imminent eggs!

Another clear sign is her moodiness and her readiness to attack anything for no reason – which George’s been doing. She’ll all of a sudden run about and peck at the nearest object or person in anger.

Here’s my lovely girl being very sweet and loving:

And here she is in her nest when she suddenly pecks out in anger (I think she realised that I’m videoing her):