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The internet can be an amazing thing. One day you make contact with like-minded people and before you know it you’re packing the car with pigeons and bags to visit them! :)

Yes, Elmo and Georgie decided they weren’t going to miss out on visiting a Wing and a Prayer Wild Bird and Owl Haven in Norfolk on the Haven’s Open Day (see also their facebook page: www.facebook.com/wingandaprayerhaven).

Getting to Norfolk wasn’t going to be a problem (only about a 3 hour drive) but would we find a pigeon-friendly hotel or bed & breakfast? Some hotels allow pets but after enquiring what species they allow we find out that “pets” really only means cat or dog, pigeons not allowed. :(

However, with the help of our new friend in Norfolk we make contact with a bed & breakfast that sounded perfect. Richard makes the call, asks about availability (yes, they have a room available), and then crunch time; the question we know may cost us the deal (conversation goes a bit like this):

Richard: “We have two pets. Would that be a problem?”

B&B lady: “What sort of pets?”

Richard: “Um, well, pigeons.”

B&B lady: “Pigeons?!” (she said with surprise in her voice) “We have all kinds of animals; hens, sheep,  goats. They’ll love it here!”

Richard: “Ok, great!” :)

The lady at Hengrave Farm was so nice, we couldn’t believe our luck in finding a pigeon-friendly bed & breakfast. So with a room booked, travel plans made, we couldn’t wait to be on our way.

My only concern was how Georgie would feel on such a long journey, since she gets motion sickness. Yep, you heard me right: motion sickness! You wouldn’t think birds could but they can, just like any other animal out there. (Does this mean that some birds are afraid of heights?) Since we want to take our pigeons with us on holidays to Cornwall and possibly a drive through Europe, we really need to sort out Georgie’s motion sickness. So the trip to Norfolk became a test to see how Georgie would handle a long drive.

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All pigeons ready in the car! (Georgie is hidden on the left)

Elmo doesn’t get motion sickness and was fine in his carry-cage as long as he could see us. We strapped the cages to the backseat and off we went (it always amazes me how some people let their dogs stand unrestricted in the car, sticking their heads out the window. Imagine what would happen if the car crashed into something). Sure enough, we soon heard Georgie vomiting. Poor girl. She seemed to have emptied her crop and then stood still for the journey. A few times Georgie had a little preen, which might indicate that she was feeling ok.

When we arrived at the Haven we took Elmo and Georgie with us in their carry-cages. A few people thought we were bringing them in to stay, so at one point I thought it would have been a good idea to put a sticker on the cages stating them as our beloved companions (next time I’ll have to remember to do this).

Wing and a Prayer Wild Bird and Owl Haven is a wonderful place, full of welcoming, nice people and beautiful birds (both free-ranging and ones in the large aviaries). Being the pigeon fanatics that we are, we honed in on the pigeons at the Haven, but they also have different owl species, chickens, ducks, rheas, corvids and songbirds.

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Free-flying pigeons sitting quite happily on an owl aviary

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Disabled pigeon aviary

The people at the Haven were happy to meet us, especially Elmo and Georgie, however, I think our pigeons were a bit reserved because of all the new faces (there were lots of people visiting on the Open Day). So rather than skip and hop about in his usual charming self, Elmo stood still and simply looked about. Later on he emerged a bit and did a little dance but I think he held back most of the time. Georgie was quite quiet too, which isn’t unusual, but I think she was still recovering from her car sickness.

It was a good day and we were very impressed with the premises and the wonderful team at the Haven. They help all sorts of injured and orphaned birds, and need all the support you can give in continuing their essential work (they are funded entirely by donations).

We later drove to Hengrave Farm and met the lovely lady in charge, who showed such sincere enthusiasm towards Elmo and Georgie that we couldn’t help feel we had found the perfect place to stay. The buildings, rooms and surroundings were so beautiful too!

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Elmo looks about the room

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Elmo (left) and Georgie (right)

Elmo and Georgie wasted no time in exploring the room. The clickety-clack of their feet as they walked around (or ran about as in Elmo’s case) was a nice sound. I do prefer wood flooring to carpeting.

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Road to Hengrave Farm

I didn’t waste any time in going to see the lovely sheep, goats and hens at the B&B, although the ram wasn’t very welcoming so I kept my distance. :)

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Stand-off with Mr. Ram

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Swallows

We had a lovely dinner at a nearby pub (The Hainford Chequers, very large food portions!) with the founders and volunteers of the Haven, and the next day a drive to the coast and a quick lunch was in order (Elmo and Georgie stayed at the B&B). Then, sadly, it was time to make our way back home. Georgie seemed less bothered by the journey down and this could be due to the fact that she hadn’t eaten a lot that day (so less food to make her feel nauseous?) or maybe she didn’t feel as ill this time. I’ll be looking into motion sickness in birds to see if there is anything to give to help alleviate her nausea. If nothing helps then Georgie will have to stay behind when we go on holiday next time, however, I don’t like this idea since she does miss me a lot and doesn’t eat very well when I’m away (she loses quite a bit of weight).

All in all we had a wonderful mini-break and we are looking forward to visiting again next year when the Haven have another Open Day.

A big thank you to everyone who welcomed us and made our stay so enjoyable!!

(I don’t like naming people without their permission, but you know who you are! :) )

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The sea, the sea

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Pebble beach

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Mr. Pigeon tucked in for the night

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Elmo trying to feed Richard. Look at his tongue!

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Georgie is a friend of the Haven!

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Elmo shows his support too!


Everyone has their day and today, the 13th June, should be the day that we humans appreciate pigeons.

Why? some of you may ask. Well, to put it simply, why not?

Pigeons are beautiful birds that have their place in this world just like any other creature. They don’t deserve the negative views (that are often founded on incorrect information) some people have of them.

Pigeons are:

  • Complex – they have a rich social life, bonding to each other, often for life. They are dedicated parents; both male and female look after the young. Pigeons also bond easily to humans.
  • Intelligent – they are one of the most intelligent birds around, being one of only six species (and the only non-mammal!) able to recognise their own reflection in the mirror. Scientists have also shown that pigeons are able to carry out tasks on the level of a three-year-old child.
  • Beautiful – not only are feral pigeons beautiful with their various colourations and patterns, but other pigeon species come in a multitude of colour as well. (Check out: Dove identification. Ps. Doves and pigeons are the same. There is no scientific difference.)
  • Clean - pigeons are not disease-ridden and do not spread disease wherever they go. That is simply a myth propagated by greedy pest control companies. (For more info on the subject: Feral pigeons and disease.)

You’ve got to admire the fact that feral pigeons are taking over the world. They are highly adaptive to different environments. They are found almost everywhere in the world (except for Antartica).

Pigeons can be highly amusing and playful. They can be friendly yet aloof, however, once you begin to observe them you’ll see that they are full of character. They are complex beings with rich social and emotional lives. Give them a chance to live their life peacefully without our prejudice.

So today is a day to celebrate pigeons all over the world!

Why not have a pigeon party? Invite the local pigeons down for peanuts, sunflower hearts and other nutritious treats, then sit back and watch them gobble it all up with true pigeon vigor and enthusiasm! :)

HAPPY PIGEON APPRECIATION DAY EVERYONE!!


There’s something so beautiful about a pure white pigeon or dove.


I have a confession to make. … I’m addicted to Etsy. I cannot help myself; there are simply too many beautiful wonderful things for sale on there!

I put ‘pigeon’ in the search engine under the ‘Jewelry’ category and 124 items came up. I found some real gems and have one already on order (a present from my darling hubby). I’d love to order the other beautiful pigeon necklaces I found but cannot afford to splash out just yet. Anyway, don’t take my word for it, have a look for yourself:

Pigeon Jewellery on Etsy

One example:

Olive green bird necklace by baronika5

Here’s some very quirky yet fun pigeon necklaces by Ruth Bellotti at Chinnychinchin:

Pigeon Ring Necklace

Product description: “Wear a little piece of sporting greatness around your neck with this original pigeon racing ring necklace. Complete with sterling silver chain and individual pigeon profile.”

My only reservation is in thinking that these pigeons were killed to get the rings off of them, but more likely the birds died and then had their rings removed. On the other hand, maybe these rings were never on any birds – it’s most likely all make-belief.


Some interesting and very beautiful finds. If I had any natural talent or inclination I would be an artist. I will be eternally jealous of those who can create. (I thought I had already posted these links but I hadn’t, so here there are now.)

Here are some links to artists who create on feathers, with feathers or with eggs:

JBW Studio – Little worlds inside real eggshells

Feather Art by Ian Davie

Feather Art by Brandy Davis

Incredible Feather Art by Kate MccGwire


A few random pigeon videos of some beautiful pigeons:

I love these two:


There are about 500 different breeds of pigeon: Tumblers, Rollers, Pouters, Highfliers, Trumpeters, Homers… the list goes on and on. I don’t know anything about pigeon breeds, I don’t even know what the ones I’ve listed even look like, but I do find it interesting that while there are some fantastic looking pigeons out there (ones with feathered feet, crested heads, fanciful colouring) a mostly dark grey feral pigeon, whom I love dearly, has somehow landed in my care and home.

Georgie headshot

Georgie is not much different looking from any feral pigeon you’d see out in the street or park. You probably wouldn’t even look at her twice if you saw her in an aviary. But she is so beautiful and dainty and has the prettiest face I’ve ever seen on a pigeon. Sometimes I wonder what other people see when they look at her because all I can see is this gorgeous little girl with delicate features. Sure, she isn’t chocolate brown or stripped, nor does she have a wonderful crest or a big puffy chest. George is simply a small grey feral pigeon with a sweet face and a character to match (and the brightest red feet!).

As I gently caress her head while she rests by my side I can see Georgie for what she is – one cool pigeon!

:)