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Birdie

Birdie girl

We want you to welcome “Birdie girl” into Dora’s extended family.

Birdie girl, as she’s named by her carers, was found as a baby last spring and was hand-reared. She seemed to be a slow developer or maybe she was simply so happy with her carers, but she only started eating for herself after 6 months of being hand-fed!! She then began making nests and laying eggs in the usual female way and seemed quite happy in her home, however, a month or so ago Birdie became stressed and started to pluck out her feathers. Her carers thought that it may be a lack of a mate that was stressing her so they contacted my work to see if we could find her one.

Birdie is too tame to be released, and since there are two single males in the resident fancy and disabled pigeon aviary at my work, we decided to give her a home with the hopes that she will pair up with one of the single boys.

And here’s the two boys, Davey (the white pigeon) and Button (the grey feral), cooing and dancing to Birdie on her first day in her new home (the boys stop when Birdie comes close to me):

I hope Birdie likes her new home and finds either Davey or Button a suitable match. I’m sure both the boys will prance about like little clowns to attract her attention. I’ll keep you posted if I see a romance blossoming. :)

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Pigeons eating


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


I miss Dora. It’s become very busy at work; with all the baby birds to feed (every 20-30 minutes) and the constant cage cleaning, I haven’t really had time to spend time with Dora and the rest of the pigeons in the resident pigeon aviary.

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Dora and Pidge (in the background)

A few weeks ago I went over to say hello to Dora and she gave me lots of pecks and wing slaps for coming too close to her nest and fake eggs. Her mate, Pidge, was happy to see me though and tried to mate with my hand. Again. He gets confused and I think that’s why Dora tells me off. She thinks I’m stealing her mate from her!!

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I’ve been observing the new pigeons in the aviary (before the busy period began) and Lumi (which means “snow” in Finnish) has paired up with the Turkish Takla pigeon, Turk.

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Lumi (left) and Turk (right)

They make a very pretty couple, and here they are romancing, with Pidge interrupting them:

Lumi came to my work after she had been caught by a cat and had extensive injuries on her head and body. She healed up nicely, however, she lost her left eye. Turk was found in a garden and picked up because he’s obviously not a wild pigeon. He must have become lost from his flock and aviary, however, since he didn’t have any form of identification on him (no tattoo on his wings, microchip nor ring with numbers on it) we couldn’t find his owner.

Here’s what Lumi looked like upon arrival:

I know I keep saying this, but one day – one day!! – I will have an aviary of my own with lots of disabled and unwanted fancy and racing pigeons in it. And then I would have to open up a sanctuary for pigeons! I’m sure I would receive a lot of support from all the pigeon lovers around the world! :)


The newest disabled resident pigeon has a name! :)

I spent some time in the aviary at work and watched him with the other pigeons and one name kept popping into my head. So a big THANK YOU to Dawn for the name suggestion of “Rudderford”!! :D

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Rudderford the handsome!

I think it suits him a charm. He has a lower back/pelvic injury that makes it hard for him to perch easily since he cannot lift his tail feathers for balance. So he tends to stick to the ground and flat hutch-tops that are easy for him to sit or stand on.

He came to us as a young pigeon and couldn’t stand at all. Unfortunately, his injury seems permanent but he has a home for life now and will hopefully pair up with one of the single girls in the aviary.

Rudderford isn’t tame and doesn’t like people coming close to him, however, with time he’ll soon realise that we won’t harm him and I’m hoping he’ll calm down.

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Standing on a flat surface is easy for Rudderford.

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Clinging onto a hutch top. Rudderford's tail feathers are tatty because he tends to lean back on them for stability.


Georgie still isn’t talking to me (she’s on her “eggs”) and Elmo thinks I’m the perfect person to practice his latest karate moves and pecks. I have a very long scar on my hand from his kicks!

So I’ve been getting all the hugs and cuddles I can from the pigeons at work. :)

Dora was actually nice to me today – I managed to get a cuddle from her without being pecked to bits. She was obviously not feeling territorial nor possessive over her nest and mate. It’s nice for a change.

I spent a little time in the pigeon aviary at work with the fancy, tame and disabled pigeons. I love watching all the “pigeon politics” that go on.

There’s nothing quite as peaceful and serene as being amongst pigeons. I simply love it.


Big Bob

Big Bob

This year we sadly lost another resident pigeon at work. Big Bob was an older, disabled feral pigeon (he had a broken wing and couldn’t fly) and had been living in the resident aviary for many years. One day in February we noticed that he was hunched and shivering. He was brought into the heated unit for observation and care, as well as to receive medication. Sadly, a few days later he died. He will be sadly missed.

We kept an eye out for any signs of illness in the other pigeons in the aviary, and thankfully, none of them showed any signs of illness or have died. We believe that it was simply Big Bob’s time to go. He had a good life with a mate (who sadly died in August last year) and was a real sweet pigeon. He wasn’t tame but he tolerated my presence whenever I went into the aviary to talk to Dora and Pidge.

After such a sad depature we had some pigeons that were waiting to join the gang in the resident pigeon aviary, being unreleasable for one reason or another: One is fancy, others are disabled, and two are racing pigeons that needed a new home after their owner had passed away.

To see all the pigeons in the aviary please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pigeonsaspets/sets/72157623805901094/

Please welcome the following pigeons to live with Dora and her mate, Pidge:

Lumi

Lumi is a white pigeon that had been caught by a cat when she was a baby. She had extensive injuries and her left eye is shrivelled. She became very tame due to her long-term care. Lumi means "snow" in Finnish.

Turk

Turk is a Turkish Takla breed. He does backflips when he flies.

Mousie

Mousie is a racing pigeon that had to be rehomed.

Gertie

Gertie is a racing pigeon that had to be rehomed.

Speckles

Speckles is a feral pigeon. She had a broken leg and broken wing, which have healed, however, she has limited flight.

Davey

Davey is a white feral pigeon. He has a broken wing and cannot fly.


Saw this story posted on facebook and I just had to share it!

A pigeon perch for two

March 7, 2011 : 8:55 PM ET

By Ted Brewer
One of the pigeons is, neurologically speaking, a bit challenged. The other is kind of peculiar looking. And though they were once ostracized by their respective flocks, they have been inseparable since meeting each other.

Christy and Slippers have both been at Wild Friends for well over a year, but the two had never laid eyes on each other, at least not until they both wound up in quarantine together.

Christy and Slippers
Christy and Slippers

Wild Friends is home to approximately 100 adoptable pigeons who live in two separate aviaries. Christy lived in the aviary reserved for what Wild Friends calls its “special needs” pigeons, a small number of birds whose physical limitations prevent them from thriving in the larger pigeon aviary.

Best Friends took Christy in because of a neurological problem that causes her to hold her head to one side and lose her balance easily. She is normally able to roll over and get back up when she falls, but one morning she was found lying on her side, with her head pressed into the dirt, unable to right herself.“It appeared the other pigeons had been picking on her,” says Best Friends’ wildlife rehabilitator Barbara Weider. “It may have been because Christy was sick.”

Barbara and Wild Friends’ manager Carmen Smith realized Christy was sick when they brought her in that day. They weighed her and found she was severely underweight. She was not eating enough to survive. So Barbara and Carmen had to feed her by tube for several months while treating her for coccidia, a type of parasite. They feared Christy might not make it.

In the meantime, Christy stayed in quarantine, where she could be more easily monitored and not exposed to the outside elements. At the time, temperatures were falling well below freezing at the Sanctuary.

“Some pigeons do very poorly in temperature extremes,” Barbara says.

Like Christy, Slippers doesn’t do well when the weather turns cold. And again like Christy, he’s a loner, perhaps because he has an unusual array of feathers on his legs and feet, which make him appear as though he’s wearing slippers (hence the name). He has no physical problems and lives in the main pigeon aviary, but instead of staying warm with the other pigeons inside their heated nest area, he often preferred to stay outside at night. The caregivers noticed he was fluffed and shivering in the mornings.

Knowing Slippers wasn’t fitting in and was freezing at night because of it and considering that Christy was probably feeling quite lonely in quarantine, Carmen and Barbara decided to try a little experiment. They placed Slippers in quarantine with Christy — just to see how they would get along.

The experiment could not have been more successful. The two bonded almost immediately and now cannot seem to get close enough to each other.

“They are always smashed against each other,” Barbara says, laughing. “They are always cuddling. And if they hadn’t both had health problems at the same time, they never would have met.”

Since they united, Christy’s health has been on the rebound, and she is finally eating enough on her own. Barbara and Carmen no longer have reason to fear the worst. Far from it.

Can’t get enough Wild Friends? Click here for more from the wild side of the Sanctuary.

The special care that the Sanctuary is able to provide is made possible by people like you! You can help create these happy endings by sponsoring one of the residents at Wild Friends. Click here for more information.

Photos by Molly Wald

(Article from: http://news.bestfriends.org/index.cfm?page=news&mode=entry&entry=C437065E-CC9B-0E00-A9FA035BC6087E21)


I feel a bit stupid. A while back I was trying to sort out the resident pigeon aviary, called “Pidge’s aviary”, at my work – kitting it out with all the proper pigeon paraphernalia – however, I was finding it hard to buy the things I wanted (e.g. fake eggs, mineral pick pots, nest bowls, etc.). All the pigeon supply companies I contacted either didn’t have things in stock, were having technical problems and couldn’t process orders or had shipping problems. So I was really struggling. Somehow I managed to get the things I wanted, however, the ceramic nest bowls still eluded me.

Last week I visited the feed store my work orders straw and seed from just to have a nosy around and see what they had to offer. And what do I see on the top shelf, almost out of sight?! Yes, you guessed it, a whole stack of nest bowls!! And all this time I could have simply asked the feed store if they had any pigeon things and it would have saved me the trouble of the countless hours of internet trawling!! Grrrrr…. Stupid me!

Anyway, now I have the bowls and I very happily gave one to each of the pairs in the aviary and Pidge and Dora were ecstatic! They finally have a big enough nest to sit in side by side in love. :)

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I had to attach the nests to the ledge so they won't fall off.

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The male pigeons checking out the new furniture.

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Dora and her mate, Pidge, are happy!

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In my early naive pigeon keeping days I innocently thought that pigeons are quiet birds, that they only occassionally cooed when in a mating mood. Little did I realise just how noisy they actually are! Pigeons coo all the time! Dora was almost evicted for it (in the end she was evicted to find a mate in an aviary). Even though Richard would be sitting right beside Elmo, Elmo would decide to jump off the sofa, waltz into another room and then coo incessantly and loudly for Richard to come to him. How demanding!

Sometimes Elmo and Georgie will have a cooing contest. George snuggled under my chin, cooing with contentment and Elmo in his nest cooing excitedly to Richard. If we touched them they’d explode into a song of love, each harmonising with the other, totally ignoring the fact that we might be trying to watch a movie or read a book in peace.

Pigeons in aviaries are noisy creatures too – the male strutting his stuff and cooing to attract the females, pigeons fighting for space on perches and for better nesting sites, and the males cooing in the nests with eagerness when the females choose to be with them. I have found that female pigeons tend to be quieter if they have a pigeon mate, however, if they have a human mate then they change into attention seeking little things. I think it may be because naturally male pigeons are always trying to impress the females, however, us humans don’t spend all our time cooing and dancing to our pet pigeon – we interact differently – and I think the female pigeons realise this and therefore take on the role of males; trying to get our attention instead. … Just my theory.

So beware those of you who are thinking of having a pigeon as a pet because you’ve been told they are quiet! :) … Well, compared to the loud screeches and imitations that some parrot species can do, then yes, pigeons are quiet. But they aren’t silent. They have a voice and will be heard! :)

Just listen to all the cooing in these videos:


Just wanted to update you on the progress of the pigeons and doves at my work that I have previously mentioned.

  • Widget and his collared dove friends have been released. Hooray! We wish them all the luck in the world that they stay safe!
  • Dotty is almost ready for release (it’ll happen in the next week or so). She’s grown well and is no longer interested in humans and is currently chilling out with other collared doves in an aviary.
  • We have found a home for the 6 fantail pigeons. Yay! We are satisfied that they can fly well and they have good predator awareness (I observed their behaviour to determine this). The lady who is taking them will keep them enclosed for a few weeks while they get used to the area and see the existing flock she feeds and cares for, and then they will be free flying around her home.
  • The young stock dove is in an aviary with collared doves (because we don’t have any other stock doves at the moment), and will also be released later this month when we’re happy that he’s old enough (we’ll wait a bit for the iridescence to appear on his neck). He has reverted back to his wild state and doesn’t want anything to do with us humans, which is great because we can release him without having to worry that he’s tame! Here’s a photo of him:
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Stock dove with a collared dove (right). 27th October