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Richard and I were on holiday recently and we sadly had to leave our two disabled pigeons at home, however, they were in the care of two lovely pigeon-sitters who ensured the Elmo and Georgie had everything they needed. This would usually mean human company as the top priority, however, this time both pigeons were broody and sitting on fake eggs the whole week. So it was an easy job for the sitters to come in and clean and give fresh food and water with Elmo and Georgie snuggled up in their nests (separate! Elmo sadly hates Georgie). I had to warn the sitters that Elmo WILL attack their feet since he gets very protective when he’s broody. I just hope he didn’t scare them away! :)

Upon returning home Georgie and Elmo decided to leave their eggs alone and snuggle up to us instead and so there was a happy home welcoming. And the weather stayed lovely so I was able to take them both out for some more adventures in the garden!

I think Georgie is the Sunbathing Queen!! :)

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I love taking my pigeons out into the sunshine. They really enjoy it and love to explore the garden. I particularly love looking at Georgie in the sunlight. All the little feathers on her head and face shine and are really distinct. They look amazing! And Georgie has such a delicate little face, she’s a real stunner even though she’s not very colourful.

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Since Elmo can see normally, watching him explore the garden is a joy. He peers into the grass to see if there are any clumps of earth he can peck at and eat, he’ll pick up different twigs and shake them about in his beak, and he’ll play with the long pieces of grass. Elmo often ‘tells’ me when he wants to go outside by standing near the front door. If I haven’t noticed him there he’ll fall alseep, and I’ll find him in that position later and take him out for a play in the garden.

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Here’s Elmo playing with a stick:

Georgie preening in the garden:

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There’s something very special about having a portrait of your pet animal, especially by an artist who captures the spirit of your pet.

We are lucky to have a painting of Elmo and one of Georgie:

Elmo portrait

Georgie portrait

These were painted by Ciara Healy: www.ciarahealy.com

The following portraits are of other people’s pet pigeons and they allowed me to share them with you to admire. :)

I think they are both beautiful and unique.

A painting of Emmett, a 20 year old pet feral pigeon, on two of his own feathers. Painted by Bobbie Momsen: www.bobbiesbirds.com

Feather portrait of Emmett

Feather painting of Emmett

A portrait of a lovely King pigeon called Dovee (a.k.a. Super Dovee!) by Alina Kremer: www.alinakremer.com

Super Dovee portrait

Super Dovee portrait

Dovee is an ambassador for Mickacoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue. Please visit their website: www.pigeonrescue.org

You can buy Super Dovee merchandise: http://www.printfection.com/MickaCooGear/SUPER-Dovee
Not only will you have a copy of this lovely portrait, you will also be supporting a wonderful organisation.

If any of you have a painting, sculpture or other type of portrait of your beloved pet pigeon or dove, I’d love to see it! Please contact me by commenting on this post or by clicking on the pink ‘Feedback’ tab on the right of the website. Thank you!


This year we’ve been blessed with a wonderful sunny May Bank Holiday weekend (in the South East of England at least), and I’ve certainly been taking advantage of it and had a wonderful time out with Elmo and Georgie in the garden.

It’s such a pleasure to know that my disabled, indoor pigeons are gaining so much from being in the sun. And I know they enjoy it too because of their behaviour. Georgie wouldn’t stop sunbathing – stretching out her wing and tail feathers to maximise their exposure to the sunshine. She was loving it! … When she started panting I knew she was a bit too hot so I gave her a drink of water and put her in the shade to cool off.

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Elmo simply wanted to stand on the picnic blanket and preen by my side. He kept stepping closer and closer to me in between bouts of preening until he was right against my leg – which he then started tickling with his beak (as if he was preening it).

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I really do hope this summer will be a sunny one so Elmo and Georgie have more goodness in the sun!

Earlier last week I saw a lovely brown coloured feral pigeon in our garden:

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We’ve had one before (see: Brown pigeon) so it may be the parent of this one. Such a pretty colour!


No sooner had Elmo decided he had incubated the fake eggs for long enough (9 days) when Georgie thought it was her turn and laid an egg! So now she’s all moody and broody while Elmo is back to normal. Go figure! :D

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Georgie lays an egg.

We were blessed with the sun shining throughout the weekend and so we spent most of our time out in the garden with our two disabled pigeons. They love to sunbathe and enjoy pecking at the grass and eating bits of dirt. I hope we have more sunny days so I can take them out often during the spring and summer. We sure need it after the dreary winter!

Looking at the photos I took of Elmo I can see how much he loved last weekend:

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And Georgie certainly had fun:


Both Elmo and Georgie had a shower and bath this morning. We then took them out to dry in the sunshine and I must say it was such a lovely morning, so relaxed and peaceful. Our pigeons took the lead and showed us how to have a lazy Saturday out in the garden, preening and soaking up the suns rays. Pigeons know best! ;)

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Georgie (left) and Elmo (right) enjoying the sunshine

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Georgie girl

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Elmo boy

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Elmo has a bit of a flap

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Pigeons in the garden

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"For you."

After coming back into the flat Elmo wanted to spend some time on the windowsill preening and watching the other birds flit about in the garden:

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Aren’t the manuals appropriate for such a flight-challenged pigeon? :D


Georgie loves it when I sing or hum to her. She finds certain songs irresistible, such as ‘Mmm mmm mmm mmm’ by the Crash Test Dummies. She also likes the Dr Who theme tune.

I took a video of Georgie’s reaction to my off tune humming:

As you can see, Georgie gets aroused. … Silly girl. I often tell her off for being so rude. Georgie will present herself on odd occasions, sometimes without any obvious reason for her arousal. I guess she is just in love and likes to show it. :D

(As I’m watching the video Georgie is getting excited over hearing my voice through the computer!)

In other news, Elmo is still broody and sitting on his fake eggs:

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I’m not sure how long we’ll allow him to incubate but he seems content enough to perform his ‘daddy’ duties for now. When Elmo gets bored of it all we’ll take away the eggs and hopefully Elmo will revert back to his normal cuddly cute self.

I’d like to leave you with some photos we took of us in the garden with Elmo and Georgie on a sunny afternoon last month:

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We’ve had some lovely sunny weather lately and, seeing how it can disappear so quickly, I’ve been taking Georgie and Elmo outside whenever the sun shines in the garden. They both love the sunshine and have been preening, pecking at the grass and dirt, and just enjoying themselves in the heat. Of course, the direct sunshine is good for their bones, feathers, and general health, but I think they just like the heat and the light after a dark winter.

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Georgie

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Georgie

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Georgie yawning

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Elmo

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Elmo

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Elmo


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


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: