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I finally went to visit Dora, the other pigeon who used to live with us. Too long a time had passed since I last saw her, so I’m so happy to have seen her the other day at the wildlife rescue centre where she lives (Folly Wildlife Rescue). Sadly, something happened to her mate and he is unable to stand up properly, so he’s being cared for in the intensive care unit. And Dora is there with him for company and support. Pigeons pair for life and if one becomes ill or injured you should always try to keep the pair together or within sight so that they don’t pine for each other.

Dora’s mate, Pidge, is 20 years old this year (hatched in 1993) but we don’t know how old Dora is. When I visited her she seemed to recognise me – giving me the usual pecks and coos – and she was very attentive to Pidge, with gentle preening around his head. I’m praying that Pidge pulls through and regains full mobility so they can go back out into their aviary. Otherwise I may have to convince my other half to let me bring them home for permanent care. I’m sure we can fit a large cage in the corner that the second sofa currently sits in (unused!).

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Beautiful Dora!

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Gorgeous Pidge

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Lovely couple


Some of you here in the United Kingdom might have seen the fourth episode of Winterwatch on BBC Two last week where Adam Rogers, the creator of The Feral Pigeon Project, spoke to Chris Packham about feral pigeons and their colour diversity. This episode was greatly anticipated by many pigeon people (word spread on the net) and it was wonderful to hear a positive message about feral pigeons – since there are so few programmes on TV that concentrate on these amazing birds.

As mentioned, the message on this episode of Winterwatch was positive, concentrating on the intelligence and uniqueness of pigeons, and I hope many people feel inspired to help Adam Rogers with his research into pigeon colour diversity. Please visit his website for further information: The Feral Pigeon Project

A little side note here: many of us watching the programme immediately noticed the feet of the ferals and wanted to help. A common question appeared online as to why the ferals feet were deformed, which Adam quickly replied (on his blog): Deformed feet – what is the cause?

Here’s the link to the episode: Winterwatch, Series 1, Episode 4. The feral pigeon part starts at 08:43 (ending at 17:01). I also found the clip on YouTube:

I really hope more positive messages of pigeons get on TV and we can start to dispel the myths spread about pigeons. Maybe Elmo and Georgie should go on “Britain’s Strangest Pets” or something similar? (Although I don’t like the way those types of programmes portray the owners, so maybe something more scientific would be better.)

Online article about the Winterwatch episode:

Cornwall student appears on BBC Winterwatch to promote pigeon project

Friday, January 18, 2013

A zoology student from Cornwall has appeared on BBC Winterwatch to talk about his project to record the national pigeon population.

Adam Rogers, who studies at the University of Exeter’s Tremough Campus in Penryn, appeared on the programme leading a project to investigate plumage trends found in the once-domesticated birds.

When domestic animals return to the wild and breed, future generations usually take on their natural dull colour, yet urban pigeons have retained their brightness and variety of plumage.

The 29-year-old undergraduate wants as many people as possible to spend a few minutes counting the number of pigeons with different plumage patterns in their local high street.

Participants can then report their sightings on the Feral Pigeon Project website, which also contains a handy guide to pigeon colours.

“Pigeons can easily be overlooked as we go about our daily lives,” said Mr Rogers.  ”Yet these seemingly familiar birds have many secrets still to reveal.  The fact that they have been successful is clear, yet the means behind their success is less understood.

“No other creature causes such contention as the wild pigeon – some people call pigeons ‘rats with wings’, others are simply indifferent, but I call them the Super Dove.

“They may not be as glamorous as many of the exotic animals a person could choose to study but take the time to look beneath the feathers and they’re just as superbly adapted as any of the African big five.”

He added that people don’t need to be pigeon experts to get involved in the project, as the various types are easy to tell apart.

Adam is hoping that his research will reveal how pigeons are adapting to human influences, as well as sparking people’s interest in wildlife and nature.  He will examine aspects such as whether breeding habits are changing in towns where feeding bans have been imposed.

The Feral Pigeon Project appeared on BBC Two’s Winterwatch yesterday with a focus on the pigeons’ ability to breed in the middle of winter.  Adam described working with the BBC production team as “eye-opening”.

“Filming with Chris Packham was a fantastic experience, he’s clearly a very knowledgeable naturalist and is truly passionate about opening people’s eyes to the wildlife around them,” he said.

Adam Rogers is leading a project on pigeons

(Article from: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Cornwall-student-appears-BBC-Winterwatch-promote/story-17894221-detail/story.html)


When it snows many of us pigeon people like to make sure that the feral flocks have enough food to ensure they survive the cold weather.

I do this whenever there is snow and every time the pigeons treat my snowy garden with suspicion. They know what my garden looks like normally, so this change of scenery makes them wary. Last time it snowed I thought it would be better to put the seed on a tray on the snow for the feral pigeons, but the pigeons were suspicious of the tray and wouldn’t fly down. So I had to stomp the snow down to make a flat surface and put the seed on the cold ground.

This year I cleared a small spot in the snow and put the seed on the grassy patch. Did the pigeons come down to eat? Did they?! … No, they stared down at the food and simply waited. Finally, one pigeon flew down and circled the patch in the snow for about 5 minutes, then flew back up to the roof to join his friends, leaving the seed untouched.

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Grassy patch in garden

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Suspicious ferals on the roof

Short of actually clearing all the snow away from my garden, there’s not much I can do to entice the ferals down. It’s their choice, and when they get hungry enough, they’ll fly down for sure. Thankfully the snowy weather doesn’t last very long here.

An hour later and the seed is still untouched by the pigeons, although a little robin has helped himself. Maybe our snow-woman, Gladys, is scaring the pigeons away?

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Gladys, the snow-woman

Previous post about snow: When it snows…

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The hedge


After about a week of coldness and threats of snow, it finally snowed.

Elmo checks it out from the warmth and safety of his home:

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The next day it snowed some more so we went out to see what Elmo would think of it:

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I love this last photo of Elmo hopping out of the snow. :)


After writing my last post about Elmo and Georgie’s bathing habits (see: What went wrong?) I tried to entice them once again to have a bath in a large dish. Did I succeed? … In my dreams. So, in an act of desperation, I gave them a light shower in an attempt to show them how wonderful it is. I have to say they seemed equally unimpressed with me that day.

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Georgie, wet pigeon number 1

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Elmo, wet pigeon number 2


Pigeons love to bathe. Anyone who has observed pigeons will notice this. And because of this wonderful pastime that is such a delight to watch I’ve written numerous posts about my bathing (and showering) pigeons.

So, what went wrong? Why have Elmo and Georgie suddenly decided that they no longer want a bath? … Sure, they’ll try to have a bath in their tiny water bowl next to their food, but when I go buy a large plastic container for them to have a good soaking in, they reject it!! They’ve even rejected having a bath in the other dishes and containers they used to bathe in. I don’t understand what has happened. When I see Georgie trying to bathe in her water bowl, I’ll quickly get the large dish out and ready but when placed into it, Georgie will simply jump out and walk away. Elmo does the same. … I have to admit, I am completely stumped as to why they are behaving like this.

As far as I can tell nothing has changed, but something, in their minds, has turned their minds away from bathing in the large bowls. I guess I’ll have to leave them to bathe in their tiny water bowls – which is actually quite a funny thing to watch since they obviously cannot get the desired soaking, despite all their attempts.

Here are some photos of Elmo and Georgie in their bathing heyday:

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Elmo in the dish he used to like bathing in

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Georgie happily soaking in the bathroom sink

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Elmo chilling out in the sun

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Georgie bathing in a large bowl