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Georgie - She’s looking ready to lay eggs any moment now. She’s had 3 months rest (last time was in the beginning of April) so we are expecting her to drop a few any time soon. She’s moody, nesting and feels egg-heavy, however, she’s not holding her tail in the hunched position like she usually does when she’s about to lay eggs. .. Maybe she’s going to go through phantom egg laying?

Elmo - Nothing much to report. He’s his usual happy self. Still runs away from his own feathers when they drop off. Still defending his territory on the sofa from me and George. Still eating lots of peanuts.

Dora – She’s very happy with her mate, Pidge, in the aviary. I love to hear her cooing and chatting to him when she doesn’t know I’m listening. I’ve got to record her voice because she has a beautiful voice!

Minnie - No current news on how she’s doing, however, the last thing I heard is that she’s happy with her new role as Mrs Fancy Pigeon. Not interested in people anymore. … I’m a bit sad about that but happy that she’s paired up and thinks she’s a pigeon. It is so confusing for them when they think they are human.

At work – Seperated the juvenile feral pigeon from the white pigeon because the white one wasn’t happy with him (for more info please read yesterdays post). Will try again at a later date when there’s an aviary free to put in all the juvenile feral pigeons. That way there’s more space for them to run away from each other if they need to and to have their own personal space. I’m sure they’ll all get along fine in an aviary (till it’s time for release).

In yesterday’s post I posted a video of my husband bowing his head and cooing to a tame pigeon who responded by flying onto his head and shoulders. The pigeon reacted to his attempt at talking pigeon, which we found very amusing, despite being a behaviour we had seen before.

After we had lived with Georgie and Elmo for a while our behaviour towards other pigeons changed. When I first met Dora at a wildlife rescue centre I bowed and cooed to her and she responded by rushing up to me, fanning her tail and dancing around in a circle. I found her response amazing and couldn’t wait to try it out with other feral pigeons! Sure enough, both my husband and I found that when you bow your head and coo like a pigeon you’ll get some sort of a response from the receiving pigeon – ranging from a slight cock of the head to a full blown rush and dance routine!!

It tends to work more on feral pigeons that are a bit tame (either because they had been hand-reared or because they are used to being around humans). Little Minnie also responded well to bowing and a bit of cooing. And today I bowed and cooed at a feral pigeon at work who was making too much noise in the I.C.U. (it kept calling out for attention) and it stopped what it was doing, cocked its head at me and made a movement as if it was going to come towards me, however, it then thought against it and just watched me making a fool of myself as bowed my head, shook my shoulders up and down and cooed like a pigeon (or tried to at any rate).

I don’t know what we’re saying in pigeon when we imitate their behaviour, but it seems to attract their attention and encourage a response. Maybe we’re being a bit too flirtatious? Whatever message we’re conveying with our silly behaviour it is certainly getting their attention!

Georgie – For some reason George doesn’t seem to understand that the right side of the sofa is Elmo’s territory (see A complicated relationship). For the past week or so she has been constantly walking over to that side of the sofa, which annoys Elmo to no end. He chases her away and then a bit later she’ll try again. Sometimes it is to get to the peanuts (which I sometimes need to put in the middle of the sofa so that she can eat them in peace), but most of the time I think Georgie’s got some secret agenda.

Elmo – His blood blister is no longer soft but has dried up a bit. It doesn’t seem to bother him or cause him any pain. We don’t think we need to take Elmo to the vet because the blister seems to be going away, albeit slowly.

Dora – Today Dora’s babies (yes, I know, more babies! I try to keep on top of the situation but I just can’t keep up with Dora and her egg laying. She’s so sneaky!) came out from under the hutch when I fed the pigeons at work and were squeaking at her and the other pigeons. They are so adorable. I just love pigeon squabs! I watched Dora feed them and then they went back under the hutch to have a nap. I’ll try to get photos and a video of them next time.

Minnie – I was told today that Minnie is trying to start a family but thankfully her new carer has sneakily switched Minnie’s eggs with fake ones. One type of pigeon contraception at work! Since Minnie is so small I do wonder what her babies would look like. Would they be like her or more like Minnie’s mate who is of normal size? Maybe one day she’ll have a few oops babies and we’ll see.

As promised here’s an update on Minnie’s and mummy pigeon’s new life:

We visited them today and I have to say that it was lovely to see Minnie again. As soon as she saw us she jumped onto the aviary mesh and started flapping to get our attention. She obviously recognised us and was happy to see us!


Minnie (right) and her new mate

Minnie has paired up with a handsome big boy and she laid her first ever egg last Wednesday (14th April). She’s only 7 months old and still just as small. Minnie laid only one tiny egg, which was quickly replaced with a dummy egg. When Richard and I arrived at the aviary Minnie’s mate was incubating it.

The mummy pigeon hasn’t had as much luck unfortunately! :(


Mummy pigeon

Although there are two other single males in the aviary neither have courted her, which I find surprising since she was such a big hit with the male pigeons at my workplace. But at least she is in a safe environment.

One of the single males is currently trying to steal a female from another male but maybe he’ll realise he cannot have her and will concentrate on the mummy pigeon.

The other single male is a white dove and only likes white females. Here he’s excitedly courting a new female arrival (who has a broken wing):

We’re very happy with Minnie’s new life and wish her the best with her mate. They make a handsome couple!


Minnie's mate is bigger than her which this photo doesn't show.


Minnie's mate

Elmo is still very angry about everything. Ever since we brought Minnie home with us he’s been acting like he should be the only pigeon in the flat. Well, Minnie is now living in an aviary with other pigeons and receiving lots of cuddles from her new mum, however, Elmo has transfered his angry emotions to Georgie and started attacking her, which annoys us to no end.

We are gently trying to teach Elmo that he isn’t allowed to attack Georgie. If he does, he is promptly removed from the sofa (where he likes to attack her) and put on the floor. After a while he seems to understand that he’s not allowed on the sofa if he’s going to go for Georgie. If he’s sitting there nicely and leaving her alone, then we leave him be.

It might take a long time but I think we’ll eventually get back to normal. Georgie doesn’t seem too upset about it, which is good. She’s just interested in cuddling up to me nowadays (methinks it’s egg laying time soon. Uh oh!).

I’ve been trying to take some video of Georgie when she dances for me but I always ruin it by speaking in ‘baby talk’. When will I learn that talking like that doesn’t sound right when others view it! :D

On Tuesday Richard wrote that we decided not to take Minnie home with us since Elmo was getting very jealous and territorial and attacking everything and everyone in his jealous anger. It wasn’t an outcome we had hoped for.

Elmo was chasing and trying to attack Minnie, who would fly onto Richard, which enraged Elmo even more (since Richard is his!). Then Elmo would take it out on Georgie – even attacking her on the floor which is something he never used to do! Poor pigeons! I have to admit we seemed to have messed things up with this! :(

And it wasn’t fair on Georgie either to have another pigeon in the flat since she cannot see properly. Minnie seemed to be quite interested in Georgie’s unusual looking eyes and would try to peck at them gently. Obviously Georgie didn’t like this and since Minnie can fly, George couldn’t really escape from her advances.

So after only having Minnie living with us for two weekends and evenings in one of the weeks, we made the decision to find her a new home. We have to think of what is best for our current pigeons.

During the week when Minnie was in the aviary at my workplace she was getting a lot of attention from the temporary ferals in the aviary next to her. The males were all cooing and dancing to her and I could see that she was interested in them too. Minnie was also interested in Elmo when he made his courting noises to Richard; she would fan out her tail and run across the sofa to him, thinking that Elmo was cooing to her. After seeing all this I knew that although Minnie loves to be with people, she would also love to have a pigeon partner (just like Dora).


The broken wing female

I knew of someone who is looking for female pigeons for her aviary to pair up with some of her mateless male pigeons, and so yesterday Richard and I collected Minnie and another female pigeon (that has a broken wing and therefore cannot be released) from my work and took them to their new home.

We put Minnie and the female into the aviary and the male pigeons there immediately took an interest in them. There was an initial uncertainty but both the broken wing female and Minnie didn’t seem distressed by the attentions of the male pigeons. We would have stayed longer to see who Minnie took a liking to but the heavens opened up and we had to run back to the car before we got soaking wet.

I’ll keep you updated on how Minnie is settling in and who she’s paired up with!


Minnie hanging onto the bars, unsure about the big male next to her.

Elmo is generally a happy pigeon. He’s content laying in his nest (a guinea pig nest) twitching furiously at me for the most part of the day / evening, occasionally wondering around the flat and calling me to what he considers ideal corners to roost in.

Sunday wasn’t one of those days. Elmo is a little put out that we have a new pigeon in the house (Malcolm / Minnie) and hasn’t been behaving like himself. He’s very aggressive, and very territorial!

On-top of this we discovered something we thought was hugely entertaining. If we showed Elmo the blue underside of his nest he went absolutely bananas! He’d rush up to it to attack it, wing slap it, and vigorously peck at it. Most unlike Elmo. We may have taken this a little too far on Sunday, and Elmo spent the most part of the afternoon and evening in a foul mood indeed.

On Monday we decided it would be best if we didn’t take Malcolm / Minnie home, to give Elmo and Georgie a break. Elmo is most pleased with this decision and is back to his normal loving self again.

The routine for Malcolm pigeon at the moment is to be at my workplace in an aviary during the day and to come home with Richard and I to stay for the night. One reason why we brought Malcolm home in the first place (besides the fact that Malcolm is so tiny and sweet) was to see if he’ll bond with Georgie. This hasn’t happened for two reasons:

  1. Georgie is incubating eggs and is not receptive to making new friends.
  2. Malcolm is a girl.

In the previous posts about Malcolm I mentioned that we didn’t know if he was a boy or a girl. The other evening Malcolm exhibited some very girly behaviours but we couldn’t be 100% sure. Yesterday I took him to work and put him in the aviary and the male pigeons in the next aviary went bananas and were prancing about and cooing madly to get Malcolm’s attention. I knew then that Malcolm was a girl but wanted more proof (I still couldn’t be 100% certain because there was a female pigeon in the same avairy as Malcolm which the male pigeons were also cooing to, so I wasn’t sure if they were cooing solely to her or to Malcolm also).

Tonight Richard patted Malcolm on the back and she leant down, wings slightly spread out flat and bottom feathers fanned out – in other words, Malcolm presented herself for mating just like a female pigeon does! And so Malcolm baby has been renamed Miss Minnie Malcolm, or simply Minnie for short. :)

So we brought Malcolm home the other day. … We couldn’t help it!

At first Malcolm was a bit unsure about being in a new place, especially when Elmo came running over and was prancing about loudly. Malcolm was on the floor with Elmo and Georgie near and at first the pigeons were ok with each other; Elmo wary and Georgie curious. But then Malcolm pecked Georgie and she ran away and Elmo tried to attack Malcolm, so we put him on the sofa and observed how he behaved to the new environment.

Georgie is still very defensive in her egg sitting mode, so we’re not taking her behaviour as being the ‘norm’ at the moment, but Elmo is not impressed with Malcolm.

Malcolm spend the evening sitting on our shoulder or by us on the sofa, not flying about or wanting to explore. He’s a funny little thing and we haven’t figured out his character completely, so maybe with time he’ll start exploring the flat on his own.

He can fly but chooses to climb and walk about more which we find peculiar. Isn’t flying easier and quicker? At the moment he’s preening himself on Richard’s shoulder. He doesn’t seem fazed by anything. He has the sweetest high pitched voice and very small features (since he’s so miniture). He’s only about 6 months old and we’re not sure if he’s a ‘he’ at all yet. Maybe we should send one of his feathers to be DNA sexed? If Malcolm turns out to be a girl I would rename him ‘Minnie’, however, Richard would rename him ‘Mel’. :)

More on Malcolm later! (Malcolm’s story was posted on the 11th March.)


Malcolm nibbling Richard's hand

It comes with the job of being an animal care assistant at a wildlife rescue centre to fall in love with some of the animals brought in. You can’t help it – not when you’re looking at a small badger cub (that looks like a panda!) or at the open gape of a baby magpie, begging for food. You resist the urge to cuddle the baby wildlife or sneak them home under your jacket. That wouldn’t do at all!! Not when they’re meant to be released back into the wild when they’re ready.

However, occasionally you come across an animal that isn’t releasable, no matter how hard you’ve tried to get them up to scratch. It could be that the animal has a deformity that will hinder their success in the wild or they have become imprinted on humans. In these cases you really only have two options: euthanasia or keep it in captivity. (Releasing such an animal is tantamount to animal cruelty since they would most likely die of starvation or get into trouble around human beings.)

These two options are not something to be taken lightly. Keeping a wild animal in captivity can cause it to be distressed if its captive environment isn’t suitable, however, euthanasia is final and not an easy decision to make.

In the case of Malcolm the tiny feral pigeon, euthanasia is out of the question.

Here’s his story to date:

Baby feral pigeon that fell out of its nest at a railway station.

Admitted to a rescue centre on the 22nd October 2009.

Railway station staff named the pigeon ‘Malcolm’, however, its sex is unknown.

Was ill on two separate occasions and therefore was isolated from other pigeons. During this time Malcolm became very tame.

Went into an outside aviary on the 8th January 2010 with a group of young feral pigeons to learn how to be a pigeon.

Malcolm’s status on 11th March 2010: imprinted to humans, tame and non-releasable.

Weight on the 11th March: only 260 grams

Here’s the special little boy (his neck full of peanuts!):


I would LOVE, absolutely LOVE to have Malcolm living with us. He is such a sweet little pigeon (he’s so small it’s amazing) and just loves to be in the ICU with the staff instead of being in the aviary with other pigeons. Unfortunately having three pigeons in the house has proven to be a bit too much for me, I’m sad to admit. … … But maybe I’ll give it another go!! :D

Here’s a video of Malcolm having a bath with me splashing the water:

Ps. I think that Malcolm may have been pushed out of his nest since he’s unnaturally small and was ill. Parent pigeons are quite intuned with any oddity in their babies and will reject ones that aren’t viable in their eyes.


Let me out of this aviary!