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Pidge

1993 – 2014

pidge 1

Rest in Peace

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Pidge on the 11th June, 2014, at the age of 21. In the past year Pidge’s health had deteriorated but he remained in good spirits and was cared for with love and devotion by his mate and the staff at Folly Wildlife Rescue. In the last months, as he was unable to walk very well, Pidge spent his days with his original carer, Annette.

Pidge was the first feral pigeon hand-reared and cared for by Annette (my former employer) at Folly Wildlife Rescue. He came to her as an orphaned baby in 1993 and she fell in love with him. Pidge lived as a free-flying pigeon for many years until he had a close-encounter with a sparrowhawk, after which it was decided that he would be safer in a large aviary with non-releasable pigeons.

All the staff and volunteers at the rescue centre fell in love with Pidge. He had charm and character and would entertain us with his behaviour all the time. Pidge would strut and coo to anyone who visited him. He LOVED people! He had such enthusiasm! Without fail, Pidge would fly over to me to greet me when I would enter his aviary to feed and clean. You couldn’t help but laugh and greet him back with joy. I believe he was the first pigeon that I met that opened my eyes to how wonderful pigeons are. It is possible to say that without meeting Pidge I may never have adopted my own pigeons.

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Pidge

Pidge wasn’t only interested in people, he also found love with a resident pigeon, Dora, and was very devoted to her. They were definitely the “celebrity couple” in the aviary, being so pretty and outgoing. Dora stayed by Pidge’s side when he fell ill, defending him from intruding hands (staff members who tried to clean the cage they were in) and giving him lots of cuddles and affection when he was unable to move about easily.

I can say for certain that Pidge will be greatly missed. He was a wonderful pigeon. Rest in peace, dear boy.

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If you would like to donate to Folly Wildlife Rescue in memory of Pidge, please visit their website: www.follywildliferescue.org.uk

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You can read more about Pidge on my previous posts: Pidge and the resident pigeons

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Pidge with his mate, Dora:

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As promised, here’s an update about dear Pidge, the 20 year old feral pigeon who our Dora has bonded to.

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Poorly Pidge

Some of you may have read my last post about my visit to Dora at her home at Folly Wildlife Rescue, but if not, please do so: Visiting Dora

I received an email from the hospital manager about Pidge’s visit to an avian vet who checked him over and concluded that Pidge has arthritis in his ‘elbow’ joint which has fused together, so Pidge is now using his leg as a prop, which would certainly explain why Pidge is unable to stand up properly anymore.

The darling boy will now be living permanently indoors with his mate, Dora, for company. Since Pidge also likes people, he’ll be happy to receive a lot of love from the rescue centre staff and volunteers.

We wish him well and send him all our love!!

Here’s Pidge a few years ago flirting with me:

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Handsome Pidge

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Pidge and Dora and their two babies (on the left)

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Pidge and Dora attack my fingers

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Happy couple!


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


I find it almost unbearable to listen to a single male pigeon coo desperately for a mate. It tugs at my heart. I must find the pigeon a mate!

In the resident pigeon aviary at work there are two single males and one single female pigeon. The female, Birdie, is not interested in pigeons at all, only humans, so she pretty much ignores the single males who were desperate to mate with her when she first arrived.

Button, one of the single boys, has been quite patient in his wait for a mate, but Davey boy, the other single boy, has been cooing and dancing every day in his attempt to attract a mate – or rather, to steal a mate from the other males.

So when two racing pigeons arrived at work in need of a home my hopes were raised that they were female. One laid an egg shortly after arriving, so she is obviously female. But we’re still not sure about the other one. Only one way to find out: Mix them with the others and see what happens!! :)

But let me tell you first about the confirmed female racing pigeon, whom I’ve named Davina.

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Davina

She was brought to my work because of the “mess” she and her feral pigeon mate was making on a couple’s property. She hadn’t flown home after a race and had taken up residency in Kent with her new mate. The couple caught her and took her to Devon where they released her, hoping she would fly back to her original home. … She made it back to Kent before them. … For fear that something bad may happen to Davina if we released her, we made the decision to try her in Dora’s and Pidge’s aviary. Davina is a lovely blue bar and immediately paired up with Button, much to poor Davey’s annoyance. He tried so hard to woo her but she only had eyes for Button. Button is naturally extremely happy with his beautiful mate.

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Button (left) and his new mate, Davina (right).

The second racing pigeon arrived with a broken wing, which is actually locked down in position and the pigeon cannot lift it at all at the moment. I’ve given the pigeon a unisex name: Jules. :)

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Jules

When Jules was put into Dora’s aviary Davey was ecstatic. Have a look:

I’m praying that Jules is female and that she falls madly in love with Davey. He so deserves it!

:D

Here’s a list of all the current resident pigeons (fancy or disabled) at my work:

  1. DORAfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Pidge)
  2. PIDGEmale - feral pigeon (paired with Dora)
  3. GERTIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Marmaduke)
  4. MARMADUKEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Gertie)
  5. FLEURfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Marmalade)
  6. MARMALADEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Fleur)
  7. MADDIEfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Lord Nelson)
  8. LORD NELSONmale - West of England Tumbler breed (paired with Maddie)
  9. PEACHESfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Stanley)
  10. STANLEYmale - feral pigeon (paired with Peaches)
  11. SPECKLESfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Horatio)
  12. HORATIOmale - Highflyer/Tippler breed (paired with Speckles)
  13. LUMIfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Turk)
  14. TURKmale - Turkish Takla breed (paired with Lumi)
  15. MOUSIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Rudderford)
  16. RUDDERFORDmale - feral pigeon (paired with Mousie)
  17. TUXfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Burko)
  18. BURKOmale – feral pigeon (paried with Tux)
  19. DAVINAfemale – racing pigeon (paired with Button)
  20. BUTTONmale - feral pigeon (paired with Davina)
  21. JULES – racing pigeon (single)
  22. DAVEYmale - feral pigeon (single)
  23. BIRDIEfemale - feral pigeon (single)

Remember Davey pigeon’s foot injury? (See: Davey pigeon in care) Well, it healed up nicely, no infection or other complications, so we removed the stitches and put him back into Dora’s aviary. All the male pigeons came down to greet him and Davey got straight to work in establishing his territory after having been away for a week and a half. :)

Last week it was rather wet and windy so it was a relief to have Dora’s aviary cleaned and given dry bedding (the pigeons love fresh bedding. I love watching them pick up bits of straw to take to their nests). But of course it rained today so the aviary is a bit wet again. The pigeons don’t mind the rain to be honest (they do have shelter in the aviary). I often see them with their wings up to let the rain wash their “wing-pits”. :)

I went over to check for eggs to replace with fake ones and to do a quick visual check of all the pigeons in there. Everyone looked fine and healthy, which was of course a relief after the scare when Davey injured his foot.

I managed to take a few videos of Dora and the other pigeons for your viewing pleasure. As usual, Dora had fun attacking my fingers while her mate, Pidge, thought they were worthy recipients for mating.

Here’s a list of all the current resident pigeons (fancy or disabled) at my work:

  1. DORAfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Pidge)
  2. PIDGEmale - feral pigeon (paired with Dora)
  3. GERTIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Marmaduke)
  4. MARMADUKEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Gertie)
  5. FLEURfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Marmalade)
  6. MARMALADEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Fleur)
  7. MADDIEfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Lord Nelson)
  8. LORD NELSONmale - West of England Tumbler breed (paired with Maddie)
  9. PEACHESfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Stanley)
  10. STANLEYmale - feral pigeon (paired with Peaches)
  11. SPECKLESfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Horatio)
  12. HORATIOmale - Highflyer/Tippler breed (paired with Speckles)
  13. LUMIfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Turk)
  14. TURKmale - Turkish Takla breed (paired with Lumi)
  15. MOUSIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Rudderford)
  16. RUDDERFORDmale - feral pigeon (paired with Mousie)
  17. DAVEYmale - feral pigeon (single)
  18. BUTTONmale - feral pigeon (single)
  19. BIRDIEfemale - feral pigeon (single)
  20. TUXfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Burko)
  21. BURKOmale – feral pigeon (paried with Tux)

A few days ago I spent a bit of time in Dora’s aviary at work – to check up on the resident pigeons there (a mixture of fancy, tame, and disabled pigeons), as well as to spend some time with Dora who used to live with us at home.

One thing I noticed immediately was that all the nesting pigeons (on fake eggs) were male pigeons, except for Dora! She was the only female to be incubating eggs. I don’t know why her mate, Pidge, wasn’t on duty – maybe Dora is a pushy girl and didn’t trust his commitment? Maybe Pidge isn’t as broody as he should be? Whatever the reason, it was quite funny to see the girl in her nest bowl, cooing away to Pidge while he pranced about on the perch to me (Pidge likes people as well as pigeons).

And as soon as I put my hand over to stroke her, Dora gave me the usual greeting:

Here’s Horatio (paired with Speckles) on incubating duty:

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Horatio in his nest

And the new pigeon, Burko, (paired with Tux) is a very good mate – protecting his fake egg from my intruding fingers:

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Burko in his nest

Rudderford has been through a moult and his new tail feathers aren’t as tatty as the previous ones, although I suspect they will soon fray at the ends again since he has trouble standing up properly (due to an injury).

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Rudderford


There are a few words used by pigeon lovers on the net that makes us smile and tut at the same time when we see it posted: “Oops” babies! :)

These words announce the discovery of baby pigeons that have slipped our birth-control vigilance. We smile because we are delighted to see little babies but tut because we know we should have checked more carefully but somehow we slacked and missed those eggs. Sometimes, pigeons will go to great lengths to hide their eggs from us so the babies remain hidden for a long time (Dora hid under a hutch: Dora’s first babies).

Now why on Earth would I be writing about “oops” babies?! … Have you guessed yet? :)

Dora’s aviary was having a major clean. A hutch was lifted and underneath we discovered these little critters:

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Baby field mice

Ok, so they’re not pigeons but they are sooo adorable! 8 little field mice and 1 big fat mamma mouse! Next to the nest is a big pile of peanuts. After our shock and a quick photo, we placed the hutch back to leave the family in peace. We’ll check on them later when they are old enough to fend from themselves: then the fun begins! Catching them all up and releasing them. I’m not sure if the mother mouse can get out of the aviary since the wire is quite small, however, mice are quite capable of squeezing through small spaces so she may be coming and going easily. Whatever the case, she’s obviously finding life with the pigeons a breeze: plenty of food and bedding around and no predators!

In other news, Teresa (a disabled pigeon) is still not using her legs properly and we have been unsuccessful in finding a cause (read: News about pigeons in Dora’s aviary). I put her back in Dora’s aviary to see how she would cope, and the male pigeons swamped her – cooing and dancing on and around her, making it impossible for her to escape from their unwanted attentions. They stood on her wings and basically penned her down. I quickly removed her and knew that she would not be able to live in the aviary in her condition. So I set up a smaller pen outside and gave her two other white pigeons for company and they are all getting along fine. No fights or unwanted behaviour.

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Teresa (left) and a friend

The other two white pigeons are youngsters that were orphaned and ill, but are now fine and growing up beautifully.

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Teresa (left) and co in their outside pen

Birdie pigeon is looking much better now that her feathers have grown back:

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Birdie girl

And Tux and Burko have decided that they want to nest in the hanging basket instead of the hutch I provided:

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Burko (left) and Tux (right)

Dora and her mate, Pidge, are doing very well. Dora’s sitting on a fake egg and being very demanding. As soon as she sees me (from across the field) she’ll cling to the aviary wire to let me know that she’s expecting me to come over with peanuts. Woe betide me if I come empty-handed!!

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Dora and Pidge

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Dora's aviary


Last week at work I noticed that one of the disabled pigeons in Dora’s aviary was sitting down a lot and was very reluctant to move about. It was Teresa, an old girl with a broken wing (old injury). After examing her I found that she had hurt one of her legs, however, there wasn’t anything obvious (no breaks, cuts, etc.). She was just reluctant to use it. So I took Teresa into the intensive care unit (I.C.U.) to receive the care and bed rest she needs.

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Teresa in a hospital cage

Teresa is still in I.C.U. on medication (pain relief, etc.) and bed rest, and she’s eating lots and her droppings are normal. I’m hoping she’ll be on her legs and back in the aviary with her friends soon.

In other news, we have two new resident pigeons to join Dora and the gang! :)

Burko

Burko, a tame feral pigeon

Burko is a grey checker feral pigeon that was found on the ground in February. He was healthy but was simply not flying. It is thought that he had just fledged and maybe got dazed and confused. After a bit of care Burko started flying again.

Tux

Tux, a tame feral pigeon

Tux is a black and white pied feral pigeon. She was found in March, all wet and oily with a damaged left wing. The wing healed within a few months, by which time Burko had wooed his way into Tux’s heart, since the two had been living in the same house together (with a few cats too). Both are a bit too friendly towards people and cats so they cannot be released and were brought to my work for rehoming.

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Burko and Tux in their new home

Tux and Burko settled in fine in Dora’s aviary and I’m sure they’ll be sitting on eggs soon (fake ones when I sneakily replace them). I cannot wait to get to know them better. When they were in the isolation pen Burko kept attacking my fingers in a playful manner, so I can see he’s a very feisty pigeon, however, Tux was not so keen to interact with me. I think she’s a bit more timid and may take a while to get used to me and her new surroundings.

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Some of the pigeons in Dora's aviary

Remember Birdie girl? Unfortunately, she hasn’t chosen a mate yet. Neither Button or Davey have stolen her heart. :( I’m afraid she may never choose a pigeon mate, rather preferring a human companion. If she seems unhappy I will have to rehome her to a loving home, however, at the moment she doesn’t seem unhappy with the pigeons. I will keep an eye on her and assess the situation later. On a happier note, Birdie’s feathers are growing back so she should look like a proper pigeon soon. :)

List of all the current resident pigeons (fancy or disabled) at my work:

  1. DORAfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Pidge)
  2. PIDGEmale - feral pigeon (paired with Dora)
  3. GERTIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Marmaduke)
  4. MARMADUKEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Gertie)
  5. FLEURfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Marmalade)
  6. MARMALADEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Fleur)
  7. MADDIEfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Lord Nelson)
  8. LORD NELSONmale - West of England Tumbler breed (paired with Maddie)
  9. PEACHESfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Stanley)
  10. STANLEYmale - feral pigeon (paired with Peaches)
  11. SPECKLESfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Horatio)
  12. HORATIOmale - Highflyer/Tippler breed (paired with Speckles)
  13. LUMIfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Turk)
  14. TURKmale - Turkish Takla breed (paired with Lumi)
  15. MOUSIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Rudderford)
  16. RUDDERFORDmale - feral pigeon (paired with Mousie)
  17. TERESAfemale - feral pigeon (single)
  18. DAVEYmale - feral pigeon (single)
  19. BUTTONmale - feral pigeon (single)
  20. BIRDIEfemale - feral pigeon (single)
  21. TUXfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Burko)
  22. BURKOmale – feral pigeon (paried with Tux)

After returning back from my week in Hungary I was very eager to see my Dora again, as well as all the other lovely pigeons she lives with (for photos of them all, please click here).

As I stepped into the aviary Dora and her mate, Pidge, were already by the door ready to greet me, both for different reasons: Dora, to demand peanuts! Pidge, to try to mate with my hand! Pidge is 18 years old and had been hand-reared from a baby. He loves people as well as pigeons, so while he’s now paired with Dora, he likes to flirt with any human who visit him. :)

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Pidge (left) and Dora (right) defend their nest

I give Dora a hug and a kiss with Pidge on my head (I think he’s also jealous of the attention) but she’s already trying to tell me off. “Where’s the peanuts?!” she coos. Then Pidge and Dora fly up to their nest area and defend it from intruding hands. … I only want to pet them, but what do I get in return? Pecks!!

In the neighbouring nest I see Rudderford and Mousie – the newlyweds. I’m happy they’ve paired up. Pigeons are so gregarious and loving; they need company, especially if they live in an aviary.

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Rudderford (right) and Mousie (left)

The newest member of the aviary, Button, hasn’t paired up with anyone yet, and the only single girl left now is Teresa. Will they pair up? Possibly. Although, Davey is single too and hasn’t paired up with Teresa yet (Teresa could be still in mourning after loosing her mate, Hookbill). But Davey is in love with Peaches who is paired up with Stanley. Pigeon relationships: Complicated or what! :)

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Button resting on a log

List of all the current resident pigeons (fancy or disabled) at my work:

  1. DORAfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Pidge)
  2. PIDGEmale - feral pigeon (paired with Dora)
  3. GERTIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Marmaduke)
  4. MARMADUKEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Gertie)
  5. FLEURfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Marmalade)
  6. MARMALADEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Fleur)
  7. MADDIEfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Lord Nelson)
  8. LORD NELSONmale - West of England Tumbler breed (paired with Maddie)
  9. PEACHESfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Stanley)
  10. STANLEYmale - feral pigeon (paired with Peaches)
  11. SPECKLESfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Horatio)
  12. HORATIOmale - Highflyer/Tippler breed (paired with Speckles)
  13. LUMIfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Turk)
  14. TURKmale - Turkish Takla breed (paired with Lumi)
  15. MOUSIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Rudderford)
  16. RUDDERFORDmale - feral pigeon (paired with Mousie)
  17. TERESAfemale - feral pigeon (single)
  18. DAVEYmale - feral pigeon (single)
  19. BUTTONmale - feral pigeon (single)
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One end of the aviary

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The other end of the aviary


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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? :)