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Living with pigeons is amazing. The love and affection they show us is incredible and I truly believe that every child should grow up with pigeons to care for. You can learn so much from observing them. Pigeons are intelligent, comical, beautiful, loyal, and of course loving. I couldn’t imagine how my childhood would have been if I had been deprived of learning to care for animals or watching pigeons in the city. Animals brighten my day and those short times when I didn’t have a pet, I knew I was missing something special.

Although I never ever thought as a child that I’d end up with pigeons in the house. Dogs, rats, gerbils and guinea-pigs? Yes! But pigeons? Never even crossed my mind. :)

Nowadays you’ll often find me on the sofa with a pigeon by my side. Sorry, with a pigeon on me. Whenever I’m on the sofa Georgie will leap onto my lap, demanding to nestle down. Once settled she is the most content little pigeon in the world, all relaxed, safe and comfy. Elmo will usually be in his nest, twitching his wings and cooing softly to call me over. If I look at him he’ll go into spasms of excitment (i.e. the wing twitching goes up a notch and his coos increase in volume!) as he anticipates my hand coming over to stroke him. What a darling!

Having said all of this, there are days my pigeons drive me mad with their attention-seeking and demands. Take today, for instance. Georgie insists on sitting on my lap for cuddles despite me obviously being busy with my knitting. Georgie grabs hold of the needles and shakes them about, which of course makes it difficult for me to continue. If she’s quick enough she may even pull them out of the knitting, leaving me with open stitches just itching to unravel!! Infuriating… and yet, so cute. Even when I’m screaming in my head, I give Georgie a kiss and a cuddle and tell her how cute she is. Georgie is of course oblivious to my frustration. She simply accepts my affection and settles down for a nap. If I need to get up for any reason, I have to carry her with me.

Elmo is much the same – very needy! He likes to find places to attract me over to (e.g. Georgie’s nest) by cooing loudly and he won’t be quiet unless he falls asleep. … Which he usually does since I think he’s a bit narcoleptic. So I know that any cooing episodes from Elmo will be short-lived. Not so with Georgie. She can coo and coo forever!!

There are some traits in Elmo that make me giggle. When he’s nodding off he’ll usually open one of his eyes slightly to see if I’m still sitting near him. If I give him the smallest, almost imperceptible nod he’ll immedately start twitching and nod his head back. Sweetheart!

The other is that Elmo can be quite fickle. One minute he’ll be attacking my fingers – peck, peck, die, die – then he’ll notice something he likes and run away to court it. Then he’ll give me his “I’m interested in you” coo and start to court my hand. When I hear him cooing in his “I’m interested in you” voice in another room I know he’s found a sock or shoe (or other item on the floor) that’s perked his interest and that he’ll be puffing out his chest and dancing to the inanimate object with gusto.

I love my pigeons!! :D

I’ve been a bit preoccupied and haven’t been writing as much about my two disabled, tame pigeons, Georgie and Elmo - which I feel bad about – but when you discover a new interest, it can take up all your time and energy in the first few weeks of fresh discovery and excitement.

So what has been luring me away from blogging? Well, knitting actually. I won’t go into it in detail (you can read a bit about it here if you want: Elmo, wool and a pair of knitting needles and My pigeon flock – knitted of course!) but what I will say is that Georgie does not approve of my new hobby, whilst Elmo does.

Georgie truly believes that my lap is only there for her to sit on and that my hands are only in existence to pet and cuddle her. When I’m knitting my hands are in constant movement, thus disturbing her nap on my lap, and the needles may accidentally poke her, so as you can imagine, Georgie does not like me knitting in the evening when she is simply trying to have a snooze!! I get quite a few pecks and angry coos for my knitting endeavors.

Elmo, on the other hand, thinks the yarn and completed knitted toys are there for him to court. He’ll jump over, give his best “How you doing?” coo, and then attempt to mount the yarn ball. It can be quite distracting when I’m trying to knit.

I guess cats don’t have a monopoly on yarn balls. :)

Ps. As I’m writing this Elmo has hopped onto the coffee table to coo and prance around a yarn ball. He’s getting his feet tangled in the wool, silly boy. Gotta go rescue him!

As many have already gathered, I find pigeon aviaries very soothing and relaxing to be in. The sound of male pigeons cooing to their mates and the ‘tap tap’ of their feet as they dance along a perch are particularly entrancing. It is such a shame that there aren’t enough people out there that keep disabled pigeons – they are a joy to watch and care for!

All the pigeons, bar one, in the tame/disabled aviary at my work are paired up. I’ve been wanting to find the lone male pigeon (Stanley) a mate for a while now since he is in love with Dora and is always trying to follow her but cannot because he cannot fly. Poor dear!

So when a pretty little pigeon came in a month or so ago that had what appeared to be a broken wing, my hopes were raised and I immediately marked the pigeon for keeps. The pigeon had been hit by a golf ball at a golf course and its left wing was dropped and swollen.

P1030491My gut instinct said the pigeon is female – she’s just so pretty and petite! But my track record of sexing pigeons hasn’t been great so I wasn’t going to bet money on it. :)

However, a few weeks ago when I was feeding a baby feral pigeon I heard our golf pigeon cooing in a very wistful way and I saw her watching me feed the baby pigeon. I put the baby pigeon near her and she started getting very excited. The baby pigeon, already quite excited because it wanted more food, started pecking at the cage bars at the adult pigeon, begging for food, and on an impulse I put the two together. To my amazement I saw the adult pigeon trying to feed the baby!! It was such a sweet and loving moment to watch. I was then sure that the adult golf pigeon is female. She must have had babies (or was sitting on eggs) at the time of her injury, therefore her desire to feed a baby pigeon was strong. That thought makes me quite sad though because I don’t know what’s happened in reality (is the dad pigeon looking after the babies?).

Due to the location of the golf course I named the golf pigeon Hilda. She has such a character and is quite unafraid of humans. Here she is telling me off for putting my hand in her cage:

After treatment and seeing that her wing was still dropped I moved Hilda into the resident pigeon aviary to see how she gets along and to hopefully pair up with Stanley the lonely pigeon. Here’s what happened (Stanley is the white pigeon with the bald patch on his head):

All the male pigeons came down to see the newcomer and strut their stuff in front of her.


Hilda (in between the two white and grey pigeons) with the male pigeons.


Stanley (left) dancing at Hilda (right)

I was certainly hopeful that Hilda is pretty enough to win Stanley’s heart, however, today when I went to see the pigeons I noticed that Hilda can now fly and was sitting on the top perch, far away from Stanley’s reach. I’m happy that Hilda’s wing has healed and that she can fly but sad that Stanley and her aren’t a pair. I’m not sure that I will release Hilda now that she can fly since she is still quite approachable and tolerant of us – maybe a bit too tolerant, which might be why she got hit by a golf ball?

I’ve noticed something about Dora and the pigeons in the resident disabled/tame aviary at work. Although most of the pigeons are paired up and are generally busy with domestic life, Dora holds a certain power over the male pigeons.

Sometimes as she walks about doing nothing in particular the male pigeons leave their mates and start dancing and cooing to her. Dora ignores them since she’s found love with Pidge, but the other males cannot help trying their luck. There’s nothing wrong with the other female pigeons in the aviary, some have been loyal partners for over 6 years, but Dora’s presence has upset the peaceful balance in the aviary. The males cannot resist her. She’s like the Megan Fox of pigeons.

I think it is because Dora eminates a certain vibe that the male pigeons love. She’s always broody and up for it – basically a bit of a tramp – and I think the males sense this and therefore feel the need to court her.

I haven’t seen much evidence of any infidelity on Dora’s part, which is good. It means she’s sticking with her mate, Pidge. But I think I need to have a little chat with her to ask her to tone it down a bit so that the male pigeons don’t get distracted by her presence. (Am I being sexist?)

Dora is a naturally beautiful pigeon though – something she cannot help – so maybe the males will always be a bit in love with her. Oh well.


Beautiful Dora

More about Elmo and his romance with the lime green plastic cup. As some might have read (in More garden tales), one day when we were in the garden we captured Elmo courting a plastic cup that we use to fill up the bird feeders. Here’s the video again for your amusement:

Then I wrote that I thought maybe he has bad eyesight and has mistaken the cup for a brightly coloured pigeon (in About…).

Well, yesterday Richard brought the cup indoors and sure enough, Elmo started prancing and dancing to it, much to our amusement. Later that evening Richard put the cup in Elmo’s nest and when we had a look to see what Elmo was doing we saw this:


Too funny! :D

I think I’ll be reporting a lot about Elmo and his cup romance since he continuously catches us by surprise with his silly antics.