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We have a new pigeon member in the household. Please give Funky Pigeon a warm welcome! :)

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I’m not sure Elmo is impressed with this new addition.

Elmo has a long history of attacking any soft toy that we try to pair him up with. I guess Elmo really does only have eyes for his human mate, Richard. :D

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The past few weeks have been upsetting for all of us. Elmo has been in a foul mood and nothing Richard and I do seems to make him happy. We don’t know what has happened to upset Elmo so much but we’re trying our best to improve things so Elmo feels better.

Here’s what I do know:

  • Elmo’s bad mood started shortly after we went on holiday.
  • Elmo started moulting during the week of our holiday.

Now I could understand his bad mood if we had left him for a week, but no, we didn’t leave at all! We stayed at home for our holiday, so what’s Elmo so angry about? Was it my constant presence (since I’m the rival)? I know that my pigeons can feel vulnerable when moulting, but Elmo’s behaviour is a bit extreme.

Elmo has now stopped moulting and we have gone back to work, but he’s still not his usual cuddly-cute, happy self. :(

The day we went back to work Elmo did show a bit of his usual behaviour – he cooed to us and greeted us – but that was short lived. He’s a bit better with Richard, no longer pecking him like he was during our holiday, but he’s not showing him the love that he usually does. I’m finding this all a bit stressful since I hate to see Elmo so angry.

All Elmo does now is chase me about the flat to attack my feet. I know the difference from his playful attacking behaviour, and this is not it. He wants to hurt me and he attacks in anger. The last time he was like this was when he was broody and sitting on the fake eggs.

I really hope Elmo feels better soon because I feel he’s also getting stressed about the situation. I’ve been giving him treats and trying to be loving but Elmo does not want me to be around him, so I will try to keep out of his way.

Even the sight of the camera didn’t excite his usual amorous feelings towards it!

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Elmo giving me the evil eye

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Elmo staring me down


The subject of predators is always a touchy one. Many people don’t like to see animals being killed by others, especially when it isn’t a quick, clean kill. However, the fact of life is that there are species born to be predators and species born to be their prey. And pigeons and doves are definitely a prey species.

Witnessing the attack, or aftermath of an attack, of a predator on a pigeon is traumatic, especially if it is one of your own. No one wants to lose their pigeon in such a horrific manner. When I worked at a wildlife rescue centre I saw the results of such attacks, and thankfully we were sometimes able to mend and rehabilitate the victims. But each case was heartbreaking and people would often say to me how cruel predators are. I actually disagree. I don’t see animals as being cruel to one another when they are hunting for food. They do what they have to do. Doesn’t mean I like to see it happen (or the results of an attack), but I don’t hate predator species.

There are many species that predate on pigeons and doves. Birds of prey, such as peregrine falcons and sparrowhawks, are the main ones, however, domestic cats, foxes, rats, corvids, snakes and dogs can all do their fair share of harm. If you have an aviary that isn’t predator-proof, then you only have yourself to blame if a predator gets in. It is the responsibility of the animal carer to ensure the safety of their animals. So please don’t blame the fox when it breaks into a flimsy chicken wire cage and kills all your chickens or pigeons. By containing birds in a small enclosed space you’re essentially taunting the predators with what they must view as a box full of goodies. Of course they are going to attempt to eat those goodies. Predator proof your aviary!!

Of course, many will state that most domestic cats don’t kill to eat anymore and therefore are cruel, however, cats are still a predator species. They may not have the need to kill for food, but most cats definitely have the urge to hunt. It is in their DNA. Simply domesticating a species doesn’t necessarily change that. However, for some reason cats often get off lightly when they kill birds. Is it because so many people love cats and have them as pets? Sparrowhawks, on the other hand, are usually the target of hatred, particularly here in the UK and certainly amongst the pigeon racing clubs.

Last week I watched in horror as a sparrowhawk chased a feral pigeon in the air, catch it then drop to the ground right in front of me! I was in my car, driving slowly down my street, so when this happened I stopped. The sparrowhawk and I stared at each other for a second. Before I could get out of my car the sparrowhawk released the pigeon, who flew away quickly. He didn’t look injured but I knew he would have some painful puncture wounds on his body from the hawk’s claws (I’ve held sparrowhawks before and had one sink its claws into my hand so I know from experience how painful it is), and it upset me that I couldn’t help the pigeon further. I have to hope the wounds heal quickly. The sparrowhawk flew away too, most likely to hunt another bird.

Now, I’ve never actually seen the chase and capture before so it was a shock to witness it (both birds flew incredibly quickly). There was no way I was going to allow the hawk to rip open a pigeon right in front of me. I know that it has to eat but I don’t want to see it happen. I will always stop it from happening if I can – and I’ve interrupted a few sparrowhawks from killing pigeons and doves in the past (there was one that visited the rescue centre every now and then to have a go at the local birds) – but it doesn’t make me hate sparrowhawks. Even after everything I’ve seen from injured birds, I still don’t dislike birds of prey. They are beautiful, skillful and amazing birds. They are built for speed and agility. And do you know what? Pigeons are also built for speed. Pigeons are amazing flyers and can escape from the chase of a sparrowhawk. In fact, predators usually have to hunt many times a day in order to get just one kill. Most of their prey escape, therefore predators have to try harder.

Of course, certain domesticated pigeons, e.g. fancy pigeons, do not stand a chance against predators, what with their unusual feathers or body shape. Erecting a pretty white dovecote with pretty white fantail doves in the garden is simply asking for trouble. Fantails are not good flyers and will be easily killed by most predators.

Free flying pigeons are also going to be targets of predators. Hand-reared tame pigeons are more vulnerable because many lack an awareness of the threat of predators (especially if they have been hand-reared with dogs and cats). So if you let your pigeon fly freely then you have to accept the fact that a bird of prey may one day attack. It will be up to you to decide whether the risk is minimal compared to the gains and joys of freedom and make the choice that you feel comfortable with. My choice is easier to make since both my pigeons cannot fly properly anyway, so they stay indoors and any time outside is heavily supervised.

I have hand-reared, cared for and rehabilitated many bird and mammal species at the wildlife rescue centre, both predator and prey species. I have fallen in love with the warning clicks of a baby owl, the adorable look of a baby magpie, the insistent squeaks of a baby pigeon, as well as the stubborn, defensive glares of a sparrowhawk chick. Ultimately, all baby species are adorable so for me it was inevitable to fall in love with them. :)

A few photos of sparrowhawks cared for at the wildlife rescue centre I worked at. They have piercing stares, even the juvenile one!

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Juvenile sparrowhawk

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Adult sparrowhawk

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Adult sparrowhawk


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Our Christmas tree

Every Christmas we have the same problem. We bring out the tree, the decorations, the lights and the hats and Elmo and Georgie protest – it takes days for Elmo to pluck up the courage to run past the Christmas tree, the twinkling lights annoy Georgie (cue: wing slaps and angry coos), and heavens forbid we dare put on a Santa hat to get into the Christmas spirit!! Elmo HATES them. It’s as if we turn into gremlins when we place them on our heads – Elmo runs a mile, shaking with fear. If we place the hat on the floor Elmo will rush over to kill it.

Last year I attempted to wear one while decorating the tree, jumping about to corny Christmas music and Elmo nearly had a heart attack. So now we can bring out some decorations (but only a few respectable ones) and the Christmas spirit, but we have to make sure we look and behave relatively normal, as if nothing has changed, just another normal day in the calendar year. I guess the neighbours will be glad that we’ve toned down with the amount of lights we put up.

However, I’m seriously thinking that with all this humbug attitude going on I won’t give Elmo and Georgie any special seed presents this Christmas. They certainly haven’t helped so why should I bother?! Maybe the feral flock will be more accepting? :)

Here’s Elmo, our darling clown boy, attacking the Santa hat:


I received a lovely gift from a friend: a pair of owl socks!

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Owl socks

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Owl socks

Aren’t they adorable?

Elmo disagrees. He’s taken a serious dislike to the owl socks and will not leave them alone when I wear them.

As you probably noticed, at one point (40 seconds in) Elmo notices the camera and begins flirting with it. He’s so fickle! :)

But back to being attacked: It’s become so annoying that I now cannot wear the socks at home. :( Elmo will follow me about in his drive to peck the socks – it makes life very difficult when you’re trying to walk with a pigeon attached to your toes.

On a light note, Elmo makes an impression on my favourite snuggle fleece:

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Pigeon footprints


I tried to take a few relaxed photos of Georgie (she doesn’t like the camera light) and I managed to get a few before Elmo jumped on the desk, wanting a piece of the action. He then tried to mate with my hand before deciding it wasn’t good enough and attacked it!

Georgie girl in the spotlight:

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And here’s Elmo boy:

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And attack!!!

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Elmo loves attacking his fat woodpigeon toy:

Our pigeon isn’t the only one who likes to attack toys. Here are two other pigeons attacking their cuddly friends:


Davey has a mate – finally!! :D

I’m so happy to announce the romance between Davey and Jules!

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The happy couple: Jules (left) and Davey (right)

If you don’t know about Davey’s plight please read: Once again, pigeon matchmaking

Last week I had to take Jules away from the aviary because one of the pigeons had pecked her and she was bleeding around her right eye. Thankfully, there was no damage done and after receiving pain relief medication and a few nights away to recover she was fine. While Jules recuperated I went into the resident aviary to see what could have been the problem and quickly identified that a lack of nesting sites was probably the main issue. A few of the flighted pigeons had taken up the hutches on the floor to nest in instead of using the nests on the shelves higher up, which left the flightless pigeons (from broken wings) no place to nest. So Jules had probably tried to go into one of the occupied hutches and was attacked.

I found some empty hutches and put them in the aviary and the nestless couples went to investigate the new properties.

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Property to rent!

Button, who has a broken wing, and his flighted mate, Davina, decided the top hutch was the perfect spot to nest in. Button manages to get to the top hutch by hopping from the log to the hutch. They seem very happy together and I heard Davina’s loving coos to Button when I went to take a photo.

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Davina (left) and Button (right) in their new home

Davey and Jules have taken up residency in the bottom hutch! Which means that every couple now has a place to nest in and peace should reign. … But pigeons can be such territorial little sods that I’m sure the males will be visiting each spot to see if it is better and if they can turf the occupiers out. C’est la vie!

I love this photo of Davey marching into his home to greet Jules:

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Davey entering the hutch

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Jules (left) and Davey (right)


I’ll be going away for a week and will be back in action on Tuesday 12th July (I’m going to Hungary to see family). Unfortunately I cannot take Georgie with me, nor Elmo or my hubby!

While I was packing, Georgie tried to smuggle her way into the bag:

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"Will mummy notice me?" thinks Georgie

I know she’ll miss me, however, Richard will give her lots of attention and affection (whether she wants it or not). Georgie can be a bit of a pain, though. She has mood swings: one moment she’s sitting happily by your side, the next she’s attacking you! So Richard will have to be careful with his interactions with her. I hope she doesn’t peck him too much!

Elmo, on the hand, will be happy to have Richard almost all to himself!! :) For one whole week he won’t have to share the sofa with me nor have to tolerate (or not! as is often the case) my vain attempts to cuddle him. I just hope Elmo’s not too disappointed to see me when I return.

Georgie made one last attempt to get into the bag, but I can only take one pigeon with me and I’ve chosen Mr. Pigeon as my travel companion.

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Mr. Pigeon and Georgie

I’ll try to check our facebook page and emails, however, I might not have the opportunity to be online every day. Richard will have to keep an eye on things for me.

I hope to see some pigeons in Hungary (I know there’s collared doves at my grandmother’s house because I’ve heard them cooing) and I’ll try to take photos of them. A sort of pigeon-spotting trip! :)


After a lovely snuggle with Georgie girl on the sofa (with Elmo’s watchful eye at the territory border) I took Georgie with me to the kitchen to get a glass of water. We walked past something in the corridor that Georgie took offense to and she exploded with anger. Angry pecks and lots of wing slaps! Took me completely by surprise!

And when I saw what it was that Georgie was so angry at I smiled. Of course, it was the lava lamp!! :)

Georgie hates bright lights, especially from torches and mobile phone screens, and she especially hates flashing lights. So a lava lamp must be something terrible to her! It’s big, colourful and full of light!!

I had to take a video of Georgie attacking the lava lamp. She was being very unreasonable. I’m sure the lamp just wanted to make friends.

I’ll have to cover her eyes next time I carry Georgie past it.