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Like any creature on the planet Elmo has days when he’s not ‘feeling it’, if I may use an expression of mine. Sure, we’re all entitled to feeling a bit blue and moody, but when Elmo is in such a mood it worries us since it’s harder to find out why he’s in such a mood. But this mood may only last a day and the next morning he’ll be his usual clownish, attention-seeking self. So we often don’t know the reason behind the behaviour change.

When Elmo is moody he won’t coo to us, nor react to our head-bobbing (a behaviour that often elicits head-bobbing in return, as well as a pigeon strut). He’ll peck our fingers – yes, even Richard’s! – and basically keep to himself – yet, he’ll remain in our company (never going off into a corner).

Now, since birds are notoriously good at hiding illness, such behaviour change can cause alarm. I am aware of this so I am always on the look out for any other signs of illness (e.g. changes in droppings, appetite, feather condition, etc.). Thankfully, I haven’t seen any other signs to worry me that Elmo would be ill – if he was he’d be whisked away to the vet in a heartbeat!

Over the weekend Elmo had one of his mood swings. Since Georgie is incubating her fake egg we thought maybe her broodiness was rubbing off onto Elmo. So Richard placed the other fake egg into Elmo’s nest and that evening Elmo sat on the egg and accepted our offerings of straw to cosy up the nest. The next morning, however, Elmo had rejected the egg and wasn’t interested in it anymore so we took it away. Shame, we thought he’d enjoy being broody again, but we were wrong. (For the story of Elmo’s broodiness, please read the following posts: Elmo is broody!!, Moody Broody Elmo, Broody day three and Eggless Elmo.)

Two years ago Elmo nested on the fake eggs and here’s a video of it:

After a day of Elmo ignoring us it was nice to have him showing some interest – which happened when Richard had his dinner of chicken and rice. Elmo went a bit mad with desire! He wanted some chicken and rice!!

Ok, maybe I should explain, Elmo isn’t a vegetarian. He likes to eat rice, but only if it is coated with some sort of meaty sauce. I kid you not. He’s special that way. :D

I’m a vegetarian so I find Elmo’s carnivorous/cannibilistic appetite a bit confusing. (Secretly, I think it might simply be the spicing, not the meat that Elmo likes.) The first time Elmo showed this interest we decided to take a video of it for proof:

Sadly, I didn’t take any video of Elmo’s recent meat cravings. I wish I had – his behaviour was hilarious! Elmo was staring at Richard’s plate with such an intensity that I had to warn Richard to move the plate before Elmo jumped onto it. Then Elmo watched Richard’s every move as he ate – begging with his eyes to join in. When he was allowed to peck at a few meaty grains of rice Elmo couldn’t believe his luck. You’ve gotta love him!!


My last post was about the importance of ultraviolet light for indoor pigeons and how Georgie doesn’t like the bright light. Well, she’s still not 100% convinced about the light – preferring the warm rays of real sunshine, even if it is through window glass:

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Toasty George

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Loving those warm rays

Like a cat, Georgie knows how to make lounging in the sun look like the best thing in the world. :) When I take Georgie out into the garden she sometimes sunbathes on my hand, which is so adorable.

Elmo also decided to feel the warmth of sunshine and asked to be let out into the garden for a quick stroll:

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"It's nice out here"

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"Ooh, is that dirt?"

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"Look, I have a leaf!"


When we first adopted Georgie and Elmo we lived in a flat with no garden. Since both pigeons are disabled we knew they would always be indoor pigeons, however, I felt uneasy about their lack of access to the green green world. A year or so later we moved to a flat with a garden attached and I was able to take Elmo and Georgie outside under supervision. We bought a large rabbit run as well as a bird harness so that our pigeons could be outside safely. (One of the reasons why: Fly, birdie, fly!)

One of the major disadvantages of keeping a pigeon predominantly indoors is the lack of ultraviolet light (UV light) they receive. This is not something to be taken lightly of. Direct sunshine is required for vitamin D production (which helps the absorption of calcium), which is essential for healthy bone growth and strength. It is not enough to simply put a caged bird near a window to receive sunlight since the UV part of sunshine that helps vitamin D production is filtered out when going through window glass and therefore the bird won’t receive the benefits. Since birds can see UV light (feathers reflect it) a lack of UV light can also affect a birds behaviour, particularly its breeding behaviour.

Experts recommend shining a specialised bird UV lamp on an indoor bird for a minimum of 4 hours per day. Never use a reptile or fish UV lamp (or a plant grow light!) as they don’t have the correct spectrum for birds. An avian UV lamp should have 12% UV-a (for behaviour) and 2.4% UV-b (for calcium). Arcadia sell avian UV lamps: Arcadia bird lamp

For more information: The Essential Nutrient Your Pet Bird is Likely Seriously Short On… and Ultraviolet Lighting and Birds

Please watch this video on the subject:

In our past veterinary visits with Georgie and Elmo the vet has always asked, “Do you provide UV light?” So I knew how important it was for our pigeons but I had my reservations about one aspect of it. And it’s this: Georgie hates bright lights. And I mean HATES. Here’s what happened when she met a lava lamp: Explosive behaviour (For those of you who don’t know this, Georgie has distorted pupils and scarring on her eyes so she has limited vision. She can, however, see bright lights and movement.)

As I’ve written numerous times before, if my camera light goes on Georgie will back away. If the flash goes off then Georgie will wing slap me! So what is Georgie going to do with a super bright UV light shining on her?!!

But I had to bite the bullet and implement the light for her own well being. Summers being so wet here in the UK it’s not always possible for me to be outside with Georgie and Elmo – and never for many hours a day – so they’re missing out on essential ultraviolet light from the sun.

So I bought a light and turned it on and Georgie started a war campaign against it! And to be honest, I don’t blame her. The thing is BRIGHT!! Hurts my eyes when it’s on!

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Georgie doesn't like the new light

Elmo, on the other hand, doesn’t mind the light at all.

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Elmo fast asleep

To get Georgie used to the light I have to have her on my lap or shoulder while I sit next to the lamp. (I wonder what health benefits I will get from the bird light?) Sometimes she seems to tolerate it, but mostly she’ll become angry when I turn it on. A minimum of 4 hours is asking a lot for her to tolerate I’m afraid. :( I think I’ll have to build up to that slowly.

As I’m typing this I have looked over to the sofa and seen Georgie settled down for a nap next to the lamp. Success!! Maybe she’s realised that the lamp is doing her good. :)

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Georgie and Elmo and the UV light


Our darling pigeon-pie is FIVE years old!!! :D

HAPPY HATCHDAY, GEORGIE!!!!

I cannot believe another year has gone by. I feel very lucky to have such a gorgeous, loving pigeon in my home. Every day with Georgie brings little joys and surprises.

For Georgie girl’s special day we bought her a big jar of linseeds – a seed that she LOVES!

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Georgie's Hatchday party

Elmo dressed for the occasion with a smart bowtie (which he hated so I had to take it off):

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Elmo looking smart

And the birthday girl wore a pretty little heart necklace:

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Georgie looking pretty, albeit scruffy from her moult

When Elmo saw Georgie tucking into her present he became jealous and jumped over to have his share!

I was very conscious of the fact that Elmo could peck Georgie so had to keep them seperate as best as I could with one hand. After a while Georgie realised that Elmo was stealing her present and she attempted to slap him:

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Georgie tries to slap Elmo