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I cannot believe I haven’t told you about Elmo and our new glass table!

Well, here goes: When we eat at the table Elmo wants to join us since he doesn’t like to be left alone the sofa. It is obviously nearly impossible to eat with a hungry pigeon trying to steal our food (which is what would always happen before we bought the table) and since we’re not about to let Elmo share the table with us when we’re eating he gets into a bit of a strop about being excluded.

Once we’re all done and the table is cleared we sometimes let Elmo join us at the table. We quickly noticed that he wouldn’t stand on the glass, only on the placemats. I’m a bit ashamed to admit we’ve had lots of fun with removing the placemats and seeing Elmo’s shocked reaction to standing on glass, which to him must seem like he’s hovering in mid-air!! :)

In this video I first place Elmo on the glass and Elmo, instead of walking to the placemat, jumps from where he’s standing. I then try push him off the placemat onto the glass and Elmo puts on the breaks!!

The other day I caught Elmo cooing to his reflection in the oven. Was he flirting with himself or did he think that there was another pigeon there to ward off? I may never know, however, there are indications that pigeons can recognise themselves: “So that’s what I look like!” – Pigeons and self-recognition


Four years ago today my husband and I adopted a very special little pigeon. Little did we realise the impact this pigeon would have on our lives. We had no idea and no warning, so when the little pigeon showed us how special he was, we weren’t prepared for how swiftly he’d become an integral part of our family. … I am, of course, talking about our darling Elmo. He came to us desperately needing a new home – a home living with people, not in an aviary with pigeons. Elmo has special requirements due to his less than pigeon-like upbringing. He requires a person to bond with, to love.

Four years ago Elmo was 8 years old, which obviously means that this year Elmo is 12!!! We have made today, the date we adopted him, his hatchday. So please, everyone who knows and loves Elmo, please wish him a very happy hatchday! :)

Happy Hatchday, darling Elmo!!!! xxxx

For those of you who have pigeons who are in their 20′s I know 12 years of age is still considered young. Sometimes Elmo looks like an old man to me, other times he looks like a baby. I cannot imagine all the things he’s seen in his 12 years. With us, Elmo has a sheltered life and is loved and is free to give his love without any restrictions. And boy, does he give his love!

Every day we are reminded of the love a pigeon is capable of. People may scoff at the idea of a pigeon in love, but when you observe them you can clearly see how deeply pigeons can feel. I don’t subscribe to the thought that animals only act out of instinct. I dare you to watch our videos of Elmo (and Georgie) and not be amazed: Pigeons as Pets YouTube channel

But I digress – today is about celebrating Elmo!

Thinking of what would be the best way to spoil Elmo today, I bought him his favourite treats: pine nuts and sunflower hearts. The only other present I know Elmo would love is lots of attention and love, which he gets every day anyway, so we’ll have to try harder today to give him extra! :D

Hatchday celebrations with little glasses filled with seed. The rest are in a jar for Elmo to raid when he wants:

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Elmo doesn’t look impressed with his party hat:

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Georgie definitely doesn’t appreciate her clown hat:

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I’ve taken two short videos of my two disabled, extremely tame (imprinted, really) feral pigeons as a sort of introduction to them for those of you who’ve just discovered my blog. Welcome! :)

And for those of you who already know my pigeons, here’s a few little things about Elmo and I:

I find myself calling Elmo “Mr Pigeon Pie” more often now. Shameful, isn’t it?! :D This is now a term of endearment for him, not a threat – unlike what I wrote about in 2011: Pigeon pie

Sometimes when I get up from the sofa to leave the room Elmo quickly follows me. I obviously leave his side without his consent. Other times Elmo is content to wait for me to return and often falls asleep before I do, so when he wakes up to see me by his side after only a minute later, he acts as if I’ve been away all day and greets me accordingly (which is to say, ecstatically!!).

A while back my husband and I visited a feed store to see what pigeon products they had and came back with lovely pigeon conditioning seed and mineral pick-pots. As many of you know, Elmo loves his pick-pot (see: Pet pigeons can be so silly sometimes…), so we decided to get a few different types for Elmo the peck at. Sadly, Elmo hasn’t taken to the new pick-pots. I don’t know why, however, I’ll leave them there just in case he changes his mind.

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Elmo's new pick-pots (the two on the left)


Carrying on from my last post about the feral pigeons in my garden, I noticed a larger and suspiciously “noble” looking pigeon amongst the flock. Upon closer inspection I saw that the pigeon has a white ring around its leg. This threw me a bit since I’ve never seen a checkered racing pigeon before, only blue bars, although I know racing pigeons can come in a variety of colours.

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Checkered racing pigeon

The racing pigeon looks healthy and strong (and very beautiful!), with no signs of any problems with his flight and I can only speculate that he became lost during a race and decided to team up with the feral pigeons for safety, companionship and intel on the good food locations. I don’t know how long he’ll stay with the feral pigeons before deciding to return to his home. He may never return if he falls in love with a feral. :)

Racing pigeons generally do well in the wild if they join a feral pigeon flock, unlike fancy pigeons that may have some unusual feather shapes that make it hard for them to fly away from predators quickly (please read my post about the welfare of fancy pigeons). This is one reason why you should never release a fancy pigeon into the wild. Racing pigeons, however, are bred to fly fast and strong, and I’ve seen racing pigeons stick with feral pigeons so I believe that they are capable of surviving in the wild. Maybe their genetic contribution to the feral population helps with the overall genetic health of wild pigeons? I have seen feral pigeons that look like they have racing blood in them (it’s often the shape of the head and beak that gives them away: very “Roman nose”).

I wonder: If I go out into the garden and hold some food in my hand, would the racer fly down to me?

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Can you spot the racer?

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology were conducting research into feral pigeon behaviour and colour distinctions/morphs, however, they have now discontinued it. I don’t know what the results of their research is, but I’d be very interested to know. However, this website has taken up the challenge of finding more about pigeon colour variation: Feral Pigeon Project

Pigeon colour morphs:

pigeon color morphs


As many of you know, we feed the feral pigeons in our garden. At one point we had rather a large flock visiting us, and it seemed that the numbers were growing quickly, so we had to stop feeding them so much and as often as we did to prevent the neighbours from complaining about the pigeons.

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Visiting feral pigeons

Richard wrote about our growing pigeon flock in 2010: Pigeon Flock! In 2011 I posted my thoughts on the subject of feeding feral pigeons: To feed or not to feed…? Since pigeons can breed all year round, feeding them regularily can lead to a population explosion and that’s when some people may complain about the numbers. This website has some very good information and points of view: Feeding the pigeons

I now only throw out a few handfuls of pigeon seed in the morning, letting the pigeons go elsewhere to search for food the rest of the day. We have a small flock that flies by in the morning, sometimes with a new fledged youngster in tow, but the numbers haven’t grown much since I don’t increase the handfuls of food. I’ve seen the same pairs of pigeons for the past two years visiting us (they have distinctive feather markings/colours) and on the whole the flock looks healthy and strong. We also have squirrels and foxes visiting but I’m not sure if the badgers come to our garden anymore.

Now, for the main bit of news: We have a large bush full of red berries in our garden by our bedroom window (I’m not good with plant identification so I don’t know what type of plant it is). For the past few weekend mornings we’ve heard something on the windowsill and what sounds like a lot of flapping on the bush. What’s going on? We’ve never heard these noises before. … But the cooing gave the game away! :) There’s pigeons on the windowsill and bush!

Woodpigeons are known to feed on berries but I’ve never seen feral pigeons do so, and yes, the berry stealers are feral pigeons! Of course, when we open the curtains the pigeons fly away, so it’s been hard to take a photo of the spectacle. But I was lucky today – the pigeons raided the bush later in the day, so I managed to take this photo of one clinger:

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Feral pigeon on berry bush

Isn’t s/he a beauty?! :)

The window sticker is there to prevent birds from flying into our many windows (I first wrote about it in 2010: Window strikes). Overall, they seem to work, although a few pigeons have glanced the windows since, but no head-on collisions, which is a relief.

For different sticker designs please have a look at these websites: