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Today has been very hot and sunny – I just had to go out and lie in the sun with a good book to read. Since I haven’t had the opportunity to take Georgie out in the past few weekends today I set up her outside pen and put her in it with a shallow dish of water for her to bathe in if she wanted. Sometimes Georgie’s a bit scared when I take her out into the garden but not today. She immediately started pecking at the grass and walked about picking up leaves to shake and break up. Then she preened herself a bit and sunbathed for a while too. She was loving the sun! Georgie spread out both her wings as well as fanning her tail feathers out to soak in as much sun as possible. Direct sunlight is so important for pigeons (any living thing really) and I think she missed it.

Direct sunshine is required for vitamin D production (which helps the absorption of calcium), which is essential for healthy bone growth and strength. It is not enough to simply put a caged bird near a window to receive sunlight since the UV part of the sunshine that helps vitamin D production is filtered out when going through window glass and therefore the bird won’t receive the benefits. It is therefore beneficial to have a UV lamp to shine on a caged bird (for the required amount of time) especially during the winter months. Since birds can see UV light (feathers reflect it) a lack of UV light can also affect a birds behaviour, particularly its breeding behaviour.

After she had sufficiently baked herself in the sun I splashed some water on George and she walked over to have a bath to cool down. As usual she looked quite comical with her feathers sticking out in odd ways. Georgie sat in the water dish and puffed out her feathers and had a bit of a snooze. By this time I was very hot from sitting in the sun and envied her. I wish that I had a pool to bathe in to cool down! It is times like that that I really miss Finland – the Land of a Thousand Lakes!! Oh, to be able to go to a lake and have a swim whenever one wants! What freedom and joy!

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on me to take a photo of George enjoying the sun, but you can all imagine how sweet she looked as she played in the grass and then in the water. What a darling girl!

Here’s a photo I took a while ago. I think the colours and shapes are very nice. Reminds me of lazy summer days.

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Pigeons love to bathe. Fact.

At work we have a square black water bowl in the garden for the wild birds to bathe in. I have spent many minutes of my day watching first the starlings fight over the water, then the pigeons (and once there were both pigeons and starlings in it at the same time – now that’s what I call inter-species relations!).

Imagine this: 3 fat fluffled up pigeons sitting in the water with 4 pigeons standing on the rim of the bowl waiting their turn to hop in and have a bath. Adorable!

And pigeons seem to love to bathe even in the coldest of weathers, and when it rains you can see them raising their wings to let the rain wash their armpits. :) I love seeing this. So sweet.

At home bath time is a bit more complicated. There isn’t any free-standing water for our pigeons to hop into whenever they want. We have to interpret their minds and watch their behaviour to determine when they want to have a bath. If we get it wrong they simply refuse to have a bath and then the next day we come home to an empty small water bowl and wet newspaper in their cages. Go figure.

P1060295The first time Georgie had a bath at her new home with us was hilarious. She went bonkers over it and soaked herself completely in the small dish of water. Then she sat down on one of her wings in the water for 5-10 minutes before hopping out and flapping her wings to dry herself (and splashing us with water of course). I then put her in the sun on the sofa to sun-bathe.

P1070734Dora’s first bath was in the kitchen sink. I was doing the washing up and she flew over to investigate. In a blink of an eye she jumped into the soapy water with the dishes. I removed her, did the washing up as quickly as I could (with Dora trying to jump in again and again), and then filled up a bowl of water in the sink. Dora was in it in a flash and she had a vigorous bath. I also splashed a bit of water from the tap on her and she lifted her wings up to have her armpits washed! :D

P1090176Richard put Elmo in the sink for a bath shortly after he came to live with us. I wasn’t at home at the time but was told that Elmo went scatty and almost drowned in his attempt to get as much water on him as quickly as possible. Silly boy! Since then Elmo has also jumped into the bathtub while Richard was in it. Sharp pigeon claws on naked skin is not the best combination!

The funny thing is that after they’d have a bath each of our pigeons will go sit or stand somewhere quiet and secluded, waiting to dry off. I think they know they are quite vulnerable in that state and therefore want to be somewhere safe and not be distrubed until they are fully dry and flight ready (despite not being able to fly properly anyway).

So there you have it. Pigeons and water are a great success.

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Elmo enjoying the sun and water

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Dora wants to join Elmo