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Button

Yesterday I introduced you to Button, a disabled feral pigeon who is desperate for a mate. I thought he would be a good match for my disabled pigeon, Georgie (read: Pigeon matchmaking – part 1).

Last weekend I brought Button home and we sectioned off a part of the living room (with sections of a wire rabbit run) for him to get used to us and our pigeons. Button is a feral pigeon that was found as an adult unable to fly (from a dislocated/broken wing) and was cared for by his rescuers for 8 months. So although he is tolerant of people he doesn’t like to be approached or touched.

I thought that in order for a pigeon to fall in love with Georgie then they would have to be a friendly or tame pigeon that isn’t imprinted to humans. That way the pigeon wouldn’t be afraid of us but would also not be too interested in us to ignore Georgie.

I could hardly contain my excitment in the pigeon matchmaking. I watched Button’s every movement and curious glances. I let him walk about in his sectioned-off area and had to stop myself from putting Georgie in with him immediately. I knew that Button would be afraid and unsure about his new surroundings – espcially because of Elmo’s advances! Elmo came charging over, cooing and dancing on his side of the fence, basically letting Button know that Elmo is the king of the house and that Button better watch out! Elmo does not welcome pigeon intruders.

After about an hour of Button exploring and getting used to his surroundings I placed Georgie on the floor by the fence and watched with bated breath. Sadly, the “love at first sight” reaction I was hoping for didn’t happen.

Button was not attracted to Georgie. He didn’t respond to her presence for a long time. Only after I started to pet Georgie and she got excited did Button react a bit but not in the excited “Wow, you’re gorgeous and I want to marry you” type of behaviour I was hoping for. So you can imagine my utter disappointment.

However, I knew that I was being too hasty. Afterall, Button had only been with us for a few hours! So the next day I continued to watch what Button did and how he responded to seeing Georgie walking about the flat. I knew that soon he’d find his voice and start calling to her. And I was right. On the third day (Sunday) Button began to coo a lot. He was establishing his territory and calling for a mate.

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Georgie (foreground) and Button in the background.

Georgie, despite her sight problems, knew that there was another pigeon in the house the instant I had placed Button’s cage down. She was very curious and kept walking up to it and when we put the fence up she kept trying to get through it. She knew that there was a pigeon there and she wanted to say hello. So when Button started calling, Georgie came running!

She danced and pranced to his cooing and I was as excited as she was. Here’s the moment, it is now happening: Georgie will have a pigeon mate!

I placed Georgie on the other side of the fence and thought I would see a lovely pairing. I was sadly wrong.

Button attacked Georgie and so I quickly took her away. When Button started calling to her again I placed her back with him, however, all attempts ended up the same way. Button would coo and call to her and when Georgie got too close he’d attack her. I couldn’t let it happen anymore so I seperated them for good.

Button wants a mate but he doesn’t want Georgie. :(

Here’s their first meeting through the fence. As you can see, Georgie is responding to Button’s cooing but he’s not really giving her the proper “come hither” coo nor is he dragging his tail feathers when he prances about. All this shows me that he’s not really into Georgie, rather, he’s just being territorial.

In the end, Georgie also didn’t want anything to do with Button and she ignored him. I was very sad about it because I knew how much Georgie wanted to befriend Button. However, I wasn’t going to let him attack her every time she tried to come close, so I took Button to work on Monday and placed him in Dora and Pidge’s aviary to find a mate in there. There are a few un-mated female pigeons that I’m sure he’ll court and eventually pair up with. So although it didn’t work out for Georgie and Button, I know that Button will be happy and Georgie is still very happy with me as her mate.

Here’s the naughty boy in his new home:

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Button in the aviary

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Button with Davey and Teresa (the white pigeons behind Button)

So my search for a pigeon mate for Georgie continues. I know that one day I’ll find her a suitable mate, it will just take time. I’m not going to force anything though. I don’t want to stress Georgie out by parading numerous male pigeons in front of her. I know that one day a special male pigeon will come by who will be perfect for her.

My criteria now is: a flight-abled pigeon (because he’ll have to be able to get away from angry Elmo) that is friendly to humans but not imprinted. Should I place a lonely hearts ad for Georgie? :)


For quite a while now I’ve had the feeling that Georgie would like to have a pigeon mate.

As many of you know Georgie has distorted and limited vision because of the scarring on her eyes which is why she was hand-raised and is therefore very tame. Georgie is bonded to myself, however, she does react to Elmo’s cooing and often approaches him when he’s calling out lovingly to Richard (never to Georgie! Elmo cannot stand Georgie and is completely imprinted to humans and loves my husband, Richard).

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Georgie on my lap

Georgie responds to my voice and will dance and coo when I call her name or sing to her. She’ll also often present herself for mating when I talk to her. In this way, I know that Georgie thinks I’m her mate and hears what she wants when I talk to her (whatever I’m saying to her is lost in translation). When I see Georgie responding to Elmo’s pigeon talk, I know that she understands him and mistakingly thinks that Elmo is talking to her when he’s in fact cooing to Richard.

So I’ve been wanting to find Georgie a pigeon mate to give her the full pigeon interaction that I cannot give her (e.g. preening, proper pigeon cooing). However, previous experience has taught me that other pigeons don’t know quite how to react to seeing her eyes and her slightly non-pigeon behaviour (Georgie’s movements and reactions to other pigeons is different because of her limited vision). Both Dora and Minnie tried to peck Georgie’s eyes at first.

At one point I was worried that male pigeons wouldn’t be attracted to Georgie because of her eyes. I needed to know how other male pigeons besides Elmo (who doesn’t think he’s a pigeon at all anyway) would react to Georgie, so we took her once to Dora’s aviary to see what would happen. Most of the male pigeons came down to dance and coo to her. Whether it was to say they liked her or to show her who’s boss, I don’t really know. One male was quite insistent and pushy (he kept bumping his chest against her), and in the end Georgie told him to back off with a swift peck!

So what am I getting at here? Well, a few weeks ago a feral pigeon came to my work who I thought might just fit the bill for Georgie. He is disabled (dislocated/broken wing), tolerant of people (he had been living with the couple who found him for about 8 months), and is desperate for a mate. When I heard that this pigeon, called Button by his carers, needed a mate and a new home I thought he would be a perfect match!!

I brought Button home last weekend and couldn’t wait to introduce him to Georgie, however, I knew that I had to take things slowly and not force the situation. Richard and I put up a small room divider to keep Elmo from attacking Button (which is Elmo’s first reaction to any pigeon intruder) and we let Button get used to his surroundings.

Here’s the handsome boy stepping out of the travel cage to explore:

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Button takes his first steps

And here’s Button on top of his travel cage cooing his head off:

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Button cooing

A lot happened that weekend, however, it’s getting late now so I will write about it another day.


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Mr. Pigeon arrives waving hello!

We received a present from Elmo and Georgie yesterday. They surprised us by getting us our very own Mr. Pigeon! :)

He arrived in style, complete with passport and name tag. I also found some instructions for me to knit a top for him (hmmm, now do I have a “Knitting for Dummies” somewhere?).

I love him. Mr. Pigeon is adorable. A great mascot too! :) I haven’t decided his first name yet, so he’ll be addressed as “Mr. Pigeon” for the time being. After he gets used to living with us and we see his character coming out, we’ll then think of a suitable first name.

I couldn’t wait to introduce him to Georgie and Elmo.

Here’s Elmo’s reaction to seeing Mr. Pigeon for the first time:

Hilarious! I don’t think Mr. Pigeon appreciated all that attention.

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New arrival: the adorable Mr. Pigeon

We placed Mr. Pigeon next to Elmo in his nest while Elmo was still very excited, and after a few strokes from Mr. Pigeon, Elmo tried to feed him!! :D

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Elmo feeding Mr. Pigeon

Georgie wasn’t too sure about him. She gave him a light peck and walked away. He’ll have to try harder to win her affections.

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Mr. Pigeon and Georgie

I discovered the wonderful life of Mr. Pigeon when I came upon this fun blog by Charlie P: The Pigeon Loft. And you can buy one from Charlie’s shop when they are available: The Pigeon Loft Shop on Etsy. (More about knitted pigeons: Knitted pigeons.)

We’ll keep you posted on how Elmo and Georgie take to sharing their home with Mr. Pigeon! I’ll have to remember to share my time equally so that no one becomes jealous. :)

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Elmo sizes Mr. Pigeon up

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Elmo greets Mr. Pigeon, "Why, hello there!"


Happy Pigeon Day everyone!

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Yummy cakes! :)

To show our gratitude and love towards pigeons on this day, Pigeon Appreciation Day, we first gave Elmo and Georgie, our two disabled feral pigeons, a big hug and a kiss. Being extremely tame and imprinted to humans, they both reciprocated with wing waggling, cooing and gentle pecking.

We then covered the garden with peanuts. Not a blade of grass to be seen! The visiting feral pigeon flock descended and proceeded to pick the ground free of peanuts. Unfortunately, being in a rush to get to work, I didn’t have time to take a photo.

The injured and orphaned pigeons at my work, a wildlife rescue centre, received lots of treats and affection from me. Dora practically leapt into my arms when she saw the peanuts and other treats I brought over. There was a feeding frenzy as they all jostled around the feeder to get the best bits. (Dora is tame pigeon who used to live with us but is now living in an aviary with some fancy and disabled pigeons at my work.)

When I returned home I immediately put out some more peanuts, as well as sunflower hearts and other seed, however, to my amazement, not a single pigeon flew down!! I think they’ve been going round to other pigeon parties, stuffing their crops full before coming back to our home for a rest.

Later when I looked out the window I saw this fella eating the treats:

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Elmo and Georgie received a jar of one of their favourite treats: sunflower hearts! We also bought some mini-cakes to enjoy. Don’t worry, the chocolate ones were for us! (Chocolate is poisonous to many bird and mammal species.)

Georgie didn’t seem to want any mini-cakes (I think she was full from all the sunflower hearts she gobbled up!), and Elmo simply tried to mate with them – silly boy! So there were more for us humans. :D

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Georgie (left), Elmo (right) and our newest addition, Mr. Pigeon (front right)

I hope you all have had a wonderful day filled with pigeons and love!


Everyone has their day and today, the 13th June, should be the day that we humans appreciate pigeons.

Why? some of you may ask. Well, to put it simply, why not?

Pigeons are beautiful birds that have their place in this world just like any other creature. They don’t deserve the negative views (that are often founded on incorrect information) some people have of them.

Pigeons are:

  • Complex – they have a rich social life, bonding to each other, often for life. They are dedicated parents; both male and female look after the young. Pigeons also bond easily to humans.
  • Intelligent – they are one of the most intelligent birds around, being one of only six species (and the only non-mammal!) able to recognise their own reflection in the mirror. Scientists have also shown that pigeons are able to carry out tasks on the level of a three-year-old child.
  • Beautiful – not only are feral pigeons beautiful with their various colourations and patterns, but other pigeon species come in a multitude of colour as well. (Check out: Dove identification. Ps. Doves and pigeons are the same. There is no scientific difference.)
  • Clean - pigeons are not disease-ridden and do not spread disease wherever they go. That is simply a myth propagated by greedy pest control companies. (For more info on the subject: Feral pigeons and disease.)

You’ve got to admire the fact that feral pigeons are taking over the world. They are highly adaptive to different environments. They are found almost everywhere in the world (except for Antartica).

Pigeons can be highly amusing and playful. They can be friendly yet aloof, however, once you begin to observe them you’ll see that they are full of character. They are complex beings with rich social and emotional lives. Give them a chance to live their life peacefully without our prejudice.

So today is a day to celebrate pigeons all over the world!

Why not have a pigeon party? Invite the local pigeons down for peanuts, sunflower hearts and other nutritious treats, then sit back and watch them gobble it all up with true pigeon vigor and enthusiasm! :)

HAPPY PIGEON APPRECIATION DAY EVERYONE!!


Now, many of you have seen the silly things Elmo has taken to his nest. There was a bit of wire, a minicard, feathers (which he’s usually afraid of), and he’s also tucked rings and coins under him if Richard hands them to him (I’ve not been able to capture that on video yet). The other day Richard gave Elmo a thin plastic rod which Elmo thought would be great to take to his nest. It was a bit long and I was afraid Elmo would stumble over it, however, he managed to take it to his nest and place it down before twitching and cooing to Richard with glee. What a sweetheart!

I’ve discovered that Georgie loves Templeton, the soft toy rat. Of course she would love him! What’s not to love? However, a part of me thinks, “Does she love Templeton because Elmo hates him?” Hmmmm. I wonder.

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Georgie and Templeton

Georgie is being very loving:

And here’s Elmo showing his true feelings towards Templeton:


Elmo can be so impossible.

I wanted to take a few photos of him but he just wouldn’t stay still. As soon as he saw the camera he leapt into action and strutted his stuff, cooing and bowing to the camera. What a show off!

Elmo kept pushing his chest against the camera and then running off, so of course I couldn’t get any photos in focus.

Here’s my attempt:

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Elmo cannot perch. He just doesn’t know how. It may be because he hasn’t got great balancing skills or possibly because he simply doesn’t think he’s a pigeon (people don’t perch!). If you place Elmo on your finger he’ll flap about and turn around, trying to get a footing, and in the end he’ll flutter down to the floor. He won’t stay still enough to perch like a proper pigeon.

Georgie, on the other hand, is a star at perching. She will hold onto your finger with all the grace and ease of a proud pigeon. I think she does it to show Elmo how it’s supposed to be done. She’s got the upper hand. She’s the queen of perching!

:D

One day I noticed something about pigeons – something that I knew before, however, it didn’t really hit home until I saw it first hand. Pigeons have a lot of feather dust on them. More than you may realise.

I watched Elmo preen himself while he was in the sun – and you know that in sunlight you can see dust particles perfectly – well, it was like watching someone empty a vacuum-cleaner bag: dust everywhere!! Dust plumed from his body with every movement he made as he ran his beak through his feathers. And it didn’t seem to stop. The longer he moved the more feather dust escaped and rose into the air in twists and swirls. A veritable dust cloud!

Thankfully, I don’t suffer from any allergies, however, with the amount of feather dust a pigeon sheds maybe it’ll one day get to me. I hope not. I rather like living with my two pigeons (not that I would get rid of Elmo or Georgie if I ever became allergic to them).

More pigeon observations to come. :)


I have a confession to make.

I often endearingly call Georgie “pigeon pie”.

How bad is that?! :)

I caught myself crooning it to her the other night. She was sitting so sweetly by my side, all fluffed up and content, and was obviously enjoying the sound of my voice, having no idea what “pigeon pie” means. Not that there’s any risk of us ever eating our pigeons.

However, if Elmo misbehaves then I will threaten him by saying “pigeon pie!” He of course doesn’t understand what that means but it makes me feel better.

Georgie and Elmo can be little cheeky pigeons, and here’s Georgie trying to eat my pizza: