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My pigeons feel very vulnerable when they go through their annual moult. Elmo in particular. He’s looking very disheveled and I’m sure he feels that way too. It must be uncomfortable also. They’re preening a lot and pulling out all the old feathers and unsheathing the new ones. To be honest, Elmo is acting in such a way that I can only describe as “I’m feeling ugly. Leave me alone”. He’s very moody towards me and doesn’t want me around him. :(

Georgie is being a bit nicer to me but she’s now in the later stages of her moult and possibly wanting reassurance from me. I don’t know if birds in the wild feel the same as my pigeons do but I imagine they must also feel vulnerable during a moult. It takes energy and time to grow new feathers, and when they don’t have a full compliment of feathers they may be more vulnerable to predators.

As I’m writing this Elmo is on the sofa falling asleep. I want to go over to give him a kiss to reassure him that he’s loved but I’m not sure he’d be happy about that. Usually when I nod my head to Elmo he’ll respond with a nod and then run to his nest to coo to me. But lately he’s not been responding to me and simply stares. … I guess I’ll just have to wait until he’s feeling pretty again before he’ll let me cuddle him.

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Elmo

The above photos shows the few feathers on Elm’s left wing that he tries to preen but only succeeds in fraying and breaking. This may be because of the angle that he’s not able to reach them properly (since Elmo has coordination and mobility problems).


I’ve decided to start up a new business: making pillows stuffed with pigeon feathers.

I’m sure I have enough to stuff a pillow, what with the amount of feathers that Georgie has dropped in the past few days in her moult. Elmo also likes to join in and so we often have feathers stuck to our clothes, hair… even food. :)

I have to pick up all the feathers before Georgie flaps and scatters them into the corners and under the furniture. I hate to think how many have already made their way into those inaccessable places. When the time comes to move house we’ll probably find another pigeon under the sofa. :D

What I wrote last year about Elmo’s moult: Feathers EVERYWHERE!

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Feathers in Georgie's cage.

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Feathers on the floor!

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Georgie moulting


Pigeon behaviour fascinates me. Elmo will peak round the door when I’m in the bathroom brushing my teeth. Sometimes he’ll just stand there and stare. If I look at him he’ll turn around, fan his tail feathers, drop his wings, and drag his feathers across the floor – prancing away fully expecting me to follow him. The swoosh of his feathers against the carpet is such a lovely sound. Sometimes I hear this sound in another room and wonder who and what he’s dancing to (usually some discarded socks or a bottle of water).

Other times Elmo will barge in – announcing his presence with loud “Here I am! Look at me! Aren’t I gorgeous?!” coos. He’ll dance and sing to my feet, sometimes trying to mount my heel (he loves my heels but hates my toes. Weird foot fetish!). If I ignore him, Elmo will stop, look up at me and wait until I look down at him. If I don’t, he might give me a slight peck on foot.

If I don’t immediately follow Elmo when he dances away, he’ll wedge himself behind a door or under a desk and wait there for me to find him. He’ll help me find him by his insistent cooing. Not the best hide-and-seek player. :)

It is hard to ignore a pigeon. Especially when they’re as adorable and loving as Elmo!

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After posting Pretty in pink? Glen Bass brought to my attention that someone is dyeing pigeons in Venice, Italy, as part of a project to increase public appreciation of pigeons. I looked into this and found the below article about it.

Photos from: http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/10/view/23293/colorful-pigeons-amongst-a-flock-of-grey-at-the-venice-biennale.html

As well as it happening in Italy, they also painted pigeons in Copenhagen, Denmark. Please see Julian Charriere’s pigeon project: Some pigeons are more equal than others

This website also has lots of photos of the dyed pigeons (thank you, Glen, for bringing this to my attention!): Colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the Venice Biennale

Photos from: http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/10/view/23293/colorful-pigeons-amongst-a-flock-of-grey-at-the-venice-biennale.html

Questions are asked whether this is animal cruelty or not. And does the pink pigeon found in London mean that someone has started a similar project here in the UK?

Painted pigeons of St Mark’s square put Venice Biennale critics in a flap

Project to airbrush famous pigeons in garish, vibrant colours for architecture exhibition criticised by animal rights campaigners

  • John Hooper in Rome – guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 August 2012
Painted pigeons in Venice

Swiss artist Julian Charrière says by painting the pigeons of St Mark’s square, Venice, they will become ‘better regarded’. Photograph: Rex Features

As might be expected of the world’s most filmed, photographed and conspicuously indulged birds, the pigeons of St Mark’s square in Venice are capricious. If it takes their fancy, they will foul the top of your head, dig their claws into your scalp and mob the very tourists who feed them. But one thing that could be relied upon was that the pigeons of Venice were grey. Until now.In recent days, visitors to the city have been surprised to see pigeons sporting plumages that would do credit to a tropical parrot: green and yellow pigeons; pigeons whose feathers radiate electric blue or strident vermillion; even pigeons that seem to be robed in imperial purple.

Finding and filming them became a local pastime when it was revealed on Monday the coloured birds were the work of artists – the Swiss artist, Julian Charrière, and German artist, Julius von Bismarck – part of a performance for the architecture Biennale.

But while many tourists and locals were intrigued, questions were soon being raised about the ethics of the project. “Are works of art justified as such even when they involve other, non-consenting living beings?”, asked Miriam Leto on the www.artsblog.it website. It was not long before an answer was offered by another blogger on www.ecoblog.it.

“There is nothing to laugh about.” wrote “Marina”. “On the contrary, an initiative with so little respect for defenceless animals is to be condemned.”

The daily Corriere della Sera quoted Charrière as saying the project was “without any danger to the animals”. He said his aim was to give a recognisable personality to birds that were routinely harassed and reviled. “That way, pigeons will be better regarded.”

Animal defence activists are unlikely, however, to be comforted by the artist’s description on his website of the process used in a similar exercise in Copenhagen. That involved a “bird trap with a conveyor belt mechanism” where the “pigeon get [sic] automatically airbrushed in different colours. The machine was installed for a week on a roof in Copenhagen.”

The coloured pigeons are the latest in a series used in Biennales that has prompted controversy. At last year’s art Biennale, the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan exhibited a flock – in original hues – which had been embalmed.

Article from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/aug/27/venice-biennale-painted-pigeons-st-marks


You may think that the outcome would be obvious when a cat and a pigeon meet: Surprise attack, feathers everywhere, one satisfied cat. However, in some instances it is the other way around: Surprise attack, fur everywhere and one satisfied pigeon! :)

These videos can testify to that: http://www.pigeonsaspets.co.uk/tag/cat/ (Scroll down the page on the link.)

I know I’ve already written about Elmo and our visiting friendly tabby cat (see above link), but this time I took video of them. Generally the cat will leg it as soon as she hears or sees Elmo but my husband somehow managed to lull the cat into a comfortable coma and she seemed oblivious to Elmo’s attentions. (Sorry about the poor lighting in the videos.)