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A few weeks ago I posted two articles about feral pigeons in my area from the local papers (see: Local pigeon news). I felt I had to reply to the articles from a pro-pigeon perspective, and they published my views in the “letters” section. I wonder if anyone will bother to attack my views or if someone will agree with them. I’ll keep an eye out.

But first, I found the original “pigeon and hawk” article online, so here it is. Simply click on the photos to zoom in (keep clicking!).

Pigeon article1

Pigeon article2

http://www.yourtunbridgewells.co.uk/

And my letter in response to the article:

My letter

And my comment on the pigeons under the railway bridge article:

Although I do not reside in the Sherwood area, I know of the bridge mentioned in the article (“Councillor vows he will clip the wings of pigeon problem”). The design of the bridge is an ideal nesting spot for feral pigeons and without proper netting they will continue to use the space.

My concern regarding the article is that Mr Backhouse says he’s pushing for the railway authority to “re-house” the pigeons. I’m doubtful any pest control company will actually re-home these pigeons, rather, they would most likely kill any babies they find. Besides being cruel this is totally unnecessary since there is a local wildlife rescue centre (Folly Wildlife Rescue in Eridge Green) that would take in any feral pigeons and pigeon babies found for rehabilitation and re-homing.

R Poole


I’ve talked about Elmo’s balance problems before and we’ve noticed that he finds it hard to stand on one leg and stretch out his other leg and wing at the same time (in the normal pigeon way).

One day Richard held Elmo on his back and touched his legs and Elmo stretched them out with full force and freedom! He loved it!! Finally, Elmo can have a proper stretch (with a little help from us)! :)

Here’s a short clip to demonstrate:

At work we had a surprising new arrival: A silver baby!

He was found on the ground, unharmed but not coping. He’s such an unusual colour. He’s so pretty. I’ve never seen this colouration in feral pigeons before. Maybe he’s a mix?

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And we’ve added a new pigeon to Dora and Pidge’s aviary. He came to us unable to walk and although he’s recovered from his original illness and injury, he’s permanently damaged – incapable of lifting his tail feathers and therefore unable to perch. He has to stay on a level surface.

I cannot think of a name for him. He’s a lovely blue bar with tatty tail feathers. Any suggestions?

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New resident pigeon


We’ve made a few changes on this website.

The calender is now an Archive and should be easier to navigate. Simply click on the month and year you want and read through the posts (it shows the last post of the month first). At the bottom of the page you’ll find a “Previous entries” button to go back through to the beginning of the month. Please note that in 2010 there was a post a day so there’s quite a lot of reading to do if you’ve only just found us! :D

Another change we made was to add a “Featured” box at the top (part of the row of pink boxes) which contains those posts we think should stand out on their own because of the information in them (e.g. what to do if you find an injured pigeon, and about pigeons and disease).

As we learn more about pigeons and have more contact with other pigeon people we’ll be making changes and adding or taking away things we think will help make our blog as pigeon friendly as possible!

We’re not a pigeon rescue centre, we don’t breed or sell pigeons, nor do we race or show pigeons. We simply share our lives with two amazing feral pigeons who show us every day that life with pigeons is life worth living.

(Too corny? :) )


Georgie still isn’t talking to me (she’s on her “eggs”) and Elmo thinks I’m the perfect person to practice his latest karate moves and pecks. I have a very long scar on my hand from his kicks!

So I’ve been getting all the hugs and cuddles I can from the pigeons at work. :)

Dora was actually nice to me today – I managed to get a cuddle from her without being pecked to bits. She was obviously not feeling territorial nor possessive over her nest and mate. It’s nice for a change.

I spent a little time in the pigeon aviary at work with the fancy, tame and disabled pigeons. I love watching all the “pigeon politics” that go on.

There’s nothing quite as peaceful and serene as being amongst pigeons. I simply love it.


Big Bob

Big Bob

This year we sadly lost another resident pigeon at work. Big Bob was an older, disabled feral pigeon (he had a broken wing and couldn’t fly) and had been living in the resident aviary for many years. One day in February we noticed that he was hunched and shivering. He was brought into the heated unit for observation and care, as well as to receive medication. Sadly, a few days later he died. He will be sadly missed.

We kept an eye out for any signs of illness in the other pigeons in the aviary, and thankfully, none of them showed any signs of illness or have died. We believe that it was simply Big Bob’s time to go. He had a good life with a mate (who sadly died in August last year) and was a real sweet pigeon. He wasn’t tame but he tolerated my presence whenever I went into the aviary to talk to Dora and Pidge.

After such a sad depature we had some pigeons that were waiting to join the gang in the resident pigeon aviary, being unreleasable for one reason or another: One is fancy, others are disabled, and two are racing pigeons that needed a new home after their owner had passed away.

To see all the pigeons in the aviary please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pigeonsaspets/sets/72157623805901094/

Please welcome the following pigeons to live with Dora and her mate, Pidge:

Lumi

Lumi is a white pigeon that had been caught by a cat when she was a baby. She had extensive injuries and her left eye is shrivelled. She became very tame due to her long-term care. Lumi means "snow" in Finnish.

Turk

Turk is a Turkish Takla breed. He does backflips when he flies.

Mousie

Mousie is a racing pigeon that had to be rehomed.

Gertie

Gertie is a racing pigeon that had to be rehomed.

Speckles

Speckles is a feral pigeon. She had a broken leg and broken wing, which have healed, however, she has limited flight.

Davey

Davey is a white feral pigeon. He has a broken wing and cannot fly.


This is what greeted me when I came home from work yesterday:

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I didn’t expect it at all, so when I slowly opened the door all these feathers started moving out and I got a fright from seeing so many! My first reaction was that something had happened to Elmo. That somehow a sparrowhawk had gained entry into the house and had plucked him. Silly thought, I know, but I had just seen a dead pigeon at work that had been eaten by a sparrowhawk, so it was still fresh in my mind.

Elmo was fine, of course. He came running out of the room with his usual joy and excitement. There were more feathers behind the door:

P1050852

So Elmo is moulting. This morning we were covered in feathers. The flat is full of them. I’m surprised Elmo has any left on him by the rate they are falling off. He was preening himself last night and kept pulling loose ones out. Then he’d get scared of them and run away. Like I’ve said many times before, I don’t think Elmo knows that he’s a pigeon. He’s afraid of feathers!

Here’s a photo of him looking at a feather he’s not sure about:

P1050853

This is one side of keeping pigeons that can be a problem: feathers everywhere when they moult! But, it’s a small price to pay to have them in our lives! :)

(More about moulting: The facts about moulting)

P1050859


Playtime! Some pigeons and doves play nicely, others will attack, and some are just naughty! :)


Saw this video clip and found it very interesting. I love the way the man talks about the loft being a home for wild pigeons as he’s stroking one on his arm! They obviously trust him and you can clearly see the love in the man’s eyes.

More about pigeon droppings and its uses: The scoop on pigeon poop!

Unfortunately, anyone outside of the UK cannot view the video. (I couldn’t find the video on YouTube.)



There have been two articles about feral pigeons in my area. One about the problem of pigeons breeding under a railway bridge, and another about using a hawk to scare pigeons away from a certain area in town.

I know the bridge mentioned in the first article, I’ve been under it and have seen the pigeon population that breeds there. Since the design of the bridge is perfect for pigeons – with ledges and nooks and crannies – pigeons naturally choose to roost and nest under them.

Since these types of bridges normally have a busy road under them I always fear for the baby pigeons that might accidentally fall from their nest. I would personally like to see the bridge netted off to prevent pigeons from nesting there (purely to stop baby pigeons from falling to their death), however, it would need to be done properly so that the pigeons could not get through and become stuck.

What I’m worried about is what will happen to the existing baby pigeons under the bridge. Will they be “rehomed” as the councillor is suggesting or will they simply be killed by the pest control company? I will be contacting the relevant people about this matter.

Councillor vows he will clip the wings of pigeon problem

Friday, March 11, 2011, 08:00

By Helen Kitchener (helen.kitchener@courier.co.uk)

It has been a slimy, unpleasant problem for more than 15 years – but now a Sherwood councillor has pledged to tackle the scourge of pigeon droppings from Sandhurst Road railway bridge once and for all.

For several years councillors and residents have lobbied Network Rail, which owns the bridge, to clean it up and move the pigeons which roost there but to no avail.

Recently elected councillor Bob Backhouse, who lives round the corner from the bridge, said it was high time the disgusting mess was tackled. But Mr Backhouse was quick to point out he was “not declaring war on pigeons”.

“This is one of those issues which sounds trivial but when you go out knocking on doors people want it sorted,” said Mr Backhouse. “Just the other day I heard from a woman who was pushing a double buggy and one of the pigeons dumped on her. It’s happened to me when I was walking into town and I had to turn round and go home to wash my hair.”

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council employs a contractor to spray the area around the bridge with antiseptic on a regular basis.

“I’ve been assured by the borough council there’s a file about four inches thick on it,” said Mr Backhouse. “The council has really tried but has come up against a brick wall with Network Rail. I understand they have much more important things to sort out but they seem to have quite a cavalier attitude.”

Mr Backhouse is pushing for the railway authority to rehouse the animals and put up netting after they had bred to stop them returning.

“It’s one of those things that if we get it done it will make a lot of folk happy,” he added.

Network Rail refused to comment.

(From: http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/news/Councillor-vows-clip-wings-pigeon-problem/article-3317091-detail/article.html)

Sandhurst Road railway bridge:

sandhurst-road-pigeon-bridge2

(Photo from: http://kevinlynes.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/sandhurst-road-railway-bridge-a-real-bird-puller/)

The second article is about the fact that some traders are fed up with the local feral pigeons and the mess they leave. They take the usual ignorant stance that pigeons are dirty and a health hazard and therefore need to go (please see my post: Feral pigeons and disease). I understand that their droppings can damage buildings, etc., however, without barring off the nesting sites and ridding the place of waste food, the pigeons will stay in the area. A few hours in the week of a hawk flying about won’t deter them.

While I applaud the traders efforts to find a humane solution to their so-called pigeon problem, it is flawed and will most likely be ineffective. My worry is that once they’ve realised that their hawk plan isn’t working they’ll turn to inhumane actions.

As far as I can tell from the original article, the hawk isn’t trained to catch the pigeons, only to fly about and scare them off by its presence.

Hawk hired to scare away Tunbridge Wells pigeons

Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The hawk in the Pantiles

The hawk’s profile while in flight scares away the pigeons
Kent traders have employed a bird of prey to scare away pigeons they said are damaging historic buildings.

Several businesses on the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells have joined forces to pay for the hire of the Harris hawk.

Richard Simm, chair of the Association of Pantiles Traders said the pigeons are destroying buildings, and putting off tourists.

Simm has tried playing sounds of the pigeons’ predators through speakers, but with no effect.

He said he is hoping that the landlords or the Traders Association will be able to help with funding for the bird.

“The hawk is quite an expensive way of dealing with the pigeons, but it is done in a humane way.”

(From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/kent/hi/people_and_places/nature/newsid_9425000/9425811.stm)


Georgie laid an egg (no surprise there, I guess… ha ha). What do you think of it?

P1050785

Ok, so that’s obviously not her egg. :)

We put the chicken egg there to see if she’d try to sit on it, but Georgie just looked perplexed. :)

Georgie is ignoring me now that she’s incubating. She’ll get up to eat and then go back to incubating. Then 20 minutes later she’ll get up again to eat. She does this all evening. I cannot believe how well she eats when she’s broody. Normally, Georgie doesn’t eat that often – which is why I keep track of her weight to ensure she’s eating enough. However, when broody, Georgie has a full crop of beans so to speak. I call her crop her “bean bag”. It’s lovely to feel how heavy she is and I’m hoping she doesn’t lose her post-incubation weight, which was what happened the last time.

In other news, Elmo likes to “hide and seek”, however, he’s not very good at it. He’ll hide behind the bedroom door and then he’ll coo and coo and coo until we find him. Here’s what happened on one such occasion: