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I came back from a quick trip to the shops and thankfully it looks like the snow is melting already from the rays of the sun. I cleared a patch of snow in the garden so that I could place some seed on the grass for the feral pigeon flock and they happily came down for a meal. And it seems that Elmo was happy to have a moment out in the snow too:

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With the weather taking a turn for the worst – cold, windy and lots of wet white stuff falling from the sky – Georgie and Elmo have made the wise decision to hunker down for the day in the warmth and safety of our home. Georgie peered out the window this morning to “see” what all the fuss was about and turned round to let me know that she didn’t need to have another experience out in the snow.

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Georgie

So she got fed some pancakes instead! :)

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Pancakes!

Elmo didn’t want any, the silly boy. He decided the floor was comfy enough to nap on:

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Elmo


When it snows many of us pigeon people like to make sure that the feral flocks have enough food to ensure they survive the cold weather.

I do this whenever there is snow and every time the pigeons treat my snowy garden with suspicion. They know what my garden looks like normally, so this change of scenery makes them wary. Last time it snowed I thought it would be better to put the seed on a tray on the snow for the feral pigeons, but the pigeons were suspicious of the tray and wouldn’t fly down. So I had to stomp the snow down to make a flat surface and put the seed on the cold ground.

This year I cleared a small spot in the snow and put the seed on the grassy patch. Did the pigeons come down to eat? Did they?! … No, they stared down at the food and simply waited. Finally, one pigeon flew down and circled the patch in the snow for about 5 minutes, then flew back up to the roof to join his friends, leaving the seed untouched.

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Grassy patch in garden

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Suspicious ferals on the roof

Short of actually clearing all the snow away from my garden, there’s not much I can do to entice the ferals down. It’s their choice, and when they get hungry enough, they’ll fly down for sure. Thankfully the snowy weather doesn’t last very long here.

An hour later and the seed is still untouched by the pigeons, although a little robin has helped himself. Maybe our snow-woman, Gladys, is scaring the pigeons away?

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Gladys, the snow-woman

Previous post about snow: When it snows…

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The hedge


After about a week of coldness and threats of snow, it finally snowed.

Elmo checks it out from the warmth and safety of his home:

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The next day it snowed some more so we went out to see what Elmo would think of it:

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I love this last photo of Elmo hopping out of the snow. :)


I always worry about wildlife when it snows unexpectedly – for them, not so much for us. Although, who knows if they can predict when snow will come? Maybe they are prepared for the cold snap. Even so, I worry. Especially when I look at my two pampered pigeons resting snuggly on the sofa without a care in the world.

This morning we awoke to a white world:

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Our garden under snow

So the first thing I do is bundle up and go put out some fresh food for the wildlife that visit our garden. I can see from the tracks in the snow that foxes and cats have already sniffed about for any scraps of food. They’ll receive their dinner later but for now the birds must get a helping hand.

Peanuts, seed, defrosted sweetcorn and bread are put out for the pigeons, blackbirds, blue tits and robins that frequent the garden. (I sadly didn’t have time to stock up on fat balls and other yummies this week, so I had to raid my cupboard for anything edible for the birds.)

From the warmth of our home I take photos of the birds I see in the snow. I notice some long-tailed tits (occassional visitors) and a rarer visitor, a song thrush!

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Our resident woodpigeon

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Our other resident woodpigeon

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Songthrush

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Our resident robin

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Our resident robin

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Blue tit on the peanut feeder

Previous posts about snow in our garden (with photos of our pigeons in the snow!):


In the spirit of the current weather:


It snowed quite a bit last night and this morning we woke up to a white-washed world of coldness and peace.

The fox had obviously visited (as you can see from the paw prints in the first photo) and throughout the morning I watched blue tits, great tits, coal tits, dunnocks and robins visit the feeder (I had to go out to clear the snow off of it first). I also left a tray of seed for the pigeons but they didn’t come down to eat. Even the squirrels seemed reluctant to approach the seed tray, so I then had to stamp out an area flat and spread the seed on the ground for them.

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Elmo was very restless this morning and he seemed excited about the change in the landscape. Richard held him up to the window so he could see out and Elmo was shivering a bit as he looked curiously at the snow. We could see that he wanted to go out to explore this weird stuff, so later Richard put the harness on Elmo and took him out. As you might already know, Elmo doesn’t particularly like the harness and so he wasn’t impressed with having to wear it – he tried to run away from it when he was indoors and kept pecking at it. Only once he had relaxed did Richard take Elmo out into the garden.

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Once out though, Elmo didn’t seem to understand that he’s too heavy to stand on the fresh snow so he freaked out a bit when he kept sinking into it and had to be quickly rescued (as you can see in the video).

When Richard took the harness off of him, Elmo quickly came over to me and sat next to me on the sofa. It was quite funny actually to see how quickly Elmo took refuge in me rather than Richard. I think Elmo was upset with Richard and so he came over to me for comfort. … Don’t worry, he forgave Richard a few minutes later – but only after Richard had thoroughly apologised with head bows, cuddles and peanuts.

The squirrels, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy burrowing in the snow and leaping about. It’s so lovely to watch. I also love watching dogs play in snow – they have so much enthusiasm and joy – and they really seem to appreciate the fun in rolling about in the wonderful stuff.

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I have to admit, I get very home sick when it snows this much in England. It takes me back to white Christmases, sauna, ice skating, skiing, sleighing and snow-ball fights! Although Finnish winters can be very brutal in its darkness and coldness, there is a special beauty and wonder in seeing the world blanketed and muffled on a crisp morning – especially if you’re by a lake and have the opportunity to walk across it. Ice swimming is an activity that everyone should try at least once in their life! I’ve only ever braved ice swimming twice, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is definitely something I want to do again. I just have to figure out how to entice my husband to join me. (A bit about ice swimming: Ice Swimming Safety)

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What seems to be day 11 with the common cold (but more realistically: day 4) was spent on the sofa with everything I could possibly need around me so I wouldn’t have to get up too often. As you have guessed, I didn’t make it to work today either.

So, what did I have? Tissues, check. Cold medicine, check. Glass of water, check. Book, check. Mobile phone, check. Warm fleecy blanket, check. TV remote controls, check. Camera, check. Lip balm, check. Pigeons, check. All set for a day of complete rest and recuperation, however, it was no picnic I can tell you.

At least I could observe the animals in the snow in the garden. Here’s what I captured:

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I did throw seed onto the ground for the birds, but as you can see in the above photos, one chose to eat from the dispenser. Silly woody!

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Been at home with the common cold to keep me company. Oh, and of course Georgie and Elmo have been trying their best to keep my spirits up. Georgie insisted on snuggling up to me, cooing in her content loving way, and Elmo even dared to sit on my knee at one point.

There was a smattering of snow outside so I had to drag myself out into the garden to empty the frozen water bowl and fill it with some fresh water, as well as fill the seed dispenser so the little birds could have their lunch. The feral pigeons and the squirrels also came to snack on the seed I threw out for them.

Now I must go continue to recover if I’m ever going to make it to work this week!


Richard and I went away to Finland to see my family for 6 days but we had to leave Elmo and Georgie home. The cheap airline we used doesn’t take animals, and even if they did, I wouldn’t subject our pigeons to a flight unless they were in a seat next to us. (The thought of Elmo and Georgie alone in a noisy, cold cargo hold, scared and confused, makes me shudder. Couldn’t do that to them!)

Anyway, so we were away visiting family and skiing, skating and sledding in lovely snow-covered Finland, whilst Elmo and Georgie stayed at home with a team of pet sitters popping over to care for them. We really went all out to ensure that they had regular visits during the day and had the interaction they need.

Georgie was sitting on eggs when we left so her care was pretty straight-forward: simply clean out her cage, give her fresh seed and water, and let her out for a few minutes to flap about. She doesn’t like to be away from her eggs for long so I left a note explaining this all (a long note. … Actually it came to three A4 sheets of instructions and info. :) One cannot be too careful when it comes to our animals).

Elmo was the same: clean, feed and exercise, with the addition of play and chill-out time for a few hours. Elmo sleeps free in the bedroom and is allowed to roam about the flat when someone is there. He loves and needs human company, something we made sure he had whilst we were away.

So, with three people roped in to help (mum, my co-worker and a professional pet sitter) we had the 6 days covered. We also had the webcam in the bedroom so we could check in on Elmo. It made our time away much better when we could have a moment to see what Elmo was doing. I advise any pet owner to set up a webcam. Gives you peace of mind! The downfall is that you miss your animals more because you can see them but cannot be with them.

We checked on Elmo one day when we knew my co-worker was coming to spend time with him and Georgie. When Elmo saw her he went bananas! He ran about and did his mad pigeon dance, cooing and bowing away, and when she knelt down by the bed he rushed at her and bumped into her face! He was so happy! It made us very happy to see him greet his pet sitter like that. And we knew he and George were in good hands.

Georgie stayed on her eggs for the first two days we were away, then she decided she’d had enough and spent her time sitting on or near her pet sitters. I was worried that she might act up and they’d not know what to do since Georgie’s behaviour can be hard to read when she’s incubating, however, all went smoothly. Georgie was a very good girl and didn’t give anyone any trouble.

We got home late in the night and Elmo was very happy to see us. Georgie wasn’t impressed with being woken up in the night (she gave me some pecks and cooed angrily), and Elmo was tired, so we quickly gave them cuddles and kisses and went to bed. The next morning Elmo woke us up with cooing which he hasn’t done in a long time. He was obviously eager to wake us up so he could be with us. :D Sweetheart!

Ps. We saw some pigeons in the town of Tampere (see ‘Finnish pigeons’ post dated Feb 12th 2010) which was nice, however, it was very cold and I felt very bad for them. … But they were born in Finland and live there so I’m sure they get by during the winter.

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