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I am sad to announce that Elmo and the plastic cup are breaking up. Elmo’s romance with the green plastic cup started in April of this year and he’s been courting it with great vigour, however, today something else caught Elmo’s eye and he couldn’t resist flirting with it. The green cup was not pleased when it discovered Elmo’s infidelity and quickly ended things with him.

So what could have possibly drawn Elmo away from his beloved cup? Only the round shape and brown tones of an onion!!


I was preparing to peel an onion when I noticed Elmo looking intently at it. I placed the onion on the kitchen floor and immediatly Elmo pranced over to it and began his courtship dance. I could only shake my head in disbelief. It seems that Elmo will court anything except another pigeon! Silly boy!

Some days you cannot get a moment to spare and today is one such day. I have finished reading the pigeon book and I have to say that it did leave a bit of a bad aftertaste. But I’ll get to that another day when I have a moment to actually think about what I’m writing.

For your entertainment – a video of Dora being courted by Pidge with the other aviary pigeons strutting their stuff:

I had a good day at work today with the wild, rescued and resident pigeons. Although it was a bit cold at times, today was sunny and clear and one of those days where you know you’ll get things done. One of the jobs I’ve been meaning to get done was to redo Pidge’s aviary, the aviary that houses tame and disabled pigeons (see Dora’s friends).

After the prolonged snow we had in December and again in January the roof of Pidge’s aviary caved in a bit and we had to relocate the pigeons into a smaller aviary. Unfortunately the original aviary had to be dismantled because it was old and worn down. We are planning on building a bigger aviary for the tame and disabled pigeons, however, we’ve had some setbacks so the pigeons are having to stay in the smaller one for a while still. They don’t seem to mind, they are so preoccupied in courting and nesting, but the hutches and perches needed redoing. And today was the day I was going to get it done!

So, first I had to locate another hutch and then needed to make some modifications to the existing ones, and then the aviary and hutches needed a total clean, and then I had to put in some logs and perches in the right places (to also allow the flightless pigeons to get up off the ground). And then fresh bedding material and fresh food and water was needed. Phew, hard work all this. … Ok, I’m making it sound as if I did all the work. In reality all the hard grafting was done by a strong volunteer, but I did all the brain work and organisation!!

And here’s the result:




I think it looks great. I had to make do with what was lying about my workplace and think a bit what would be best for the pigeons – by dividing the hutches up I’ve made more nesting places so all the pigeon pairs have a spot, and it will reduce any fighting. And now that the legs of the hutches have been removed Dora won’t be able to hide away to lay eggs – I can keep a better eye on what’s going on in the aviary and find eggs easily. When the new aviary is built I’ll get proper pigeon lofts built for them so it’ll look neater and be more appropriate for the pigeons.

Here’s a video of them in the new surroundings. At 1:15 you’ll see Stanley (white pigeon with grey patches on back) run into frame to woo Dora who flew down with Pidge hot on her heels. Stanley is very happy with the new hutches and logs because now he can get higher and follow Dora about more than he used to, although he still wants to get to the top perches but can’t because of his broken wing.

The other day a man brought in a friendly feral pigeon that had been hanging about a care home. The residents there were looking after the pigeon in their rooms, however, the warden had to remove it because of health and safety reasons (yeah, like the pigeon is going to kill all the people in the care home! Beware of the pigeons!).


The warden was very nice and obviously liked the pigeon. I think he was sad to have to remove it, but he was happy to hand it over to us for rehoming (we’ll later mix it with other ferals and have them released as a flock at a later date). There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s only very friendly, and funnily enough it looks exactly like one that comes to our garden. Today I put my hand in the cage and it started dancing and cooing at me and then running up to my fingers and pecking at them. Sweet!

And finally, I captured these ferals having a lazy moment at my work after a bath in the garden:



Elmo: I had a thought the other day about Elmo and his funny courting behaviour (see More garden tales). Maybe it is all down to him having bad eyesight?! Maybe Elmo thinks he’s courting a pigeon when he sees the cup (a very brightly coloured pigeon!)? Anything’s possible!

Georgie: Here’s her new hairdo after a shower. I think it is very smart!


Dora: I shot some video footage of Dora and the pigeons when I took them their lunch (consisting of seed, peanuts and brioche). There was a feeding frenzy – all I could see was their bums in the air! Dora is the speckled one nearest to the camera. She and her mate, Pidge, love any soft and sweet bread or pastry – possibly because they are feeding their young and like any fatty foods. You can see their two baby squeakers under the hutch. Sweethearts.

On Tuesday Richard wrote that we decided not to take Minnie home with us since Elmo was getting very jealous and territorial and attacking everything and everyone in his jealous anger. It wasn’t an outcome we had hoped for.

Elmo was chasing and trying to attack Minnie, who would fly onto Richard, which enraged Elmo even more (since Richard is his!). Then Elmo would take it out on Georgie – even attacking her on the floor which is something he never used to do! Poor pigeons! I have to admit we seemed to have messed things up with this! :(

And it wasn’t fair on Georgie either to have another pigeon in the flat since she cannot see properly. Minnie seemed to be quite interested in Georgie’s unusual looking eyes and would try to peck at them gently. Obviously Georgie didn’t like this and since Minnie can fly, George couldn’t really escape from her advances.

So after only having Minnie living with us for two weekends and evenings in one of the weeks, we made the decision to find her a new home. We have to think of what is best for our current pigeons.

During the week when Minnie was in the aviary at my workplace she was getting a lot of attention from the temporary ferals in the aviary next to her. The males were all cooing and dancing to her and I could see that she was interested in them too. Minnie was also interested in Elmo when he made his courting noises to Richard; she would fan out her tail and run across the sofa to him, thinking that Elmo was cooing to her. After seeing all this I knew that although Minnie loves to be with people, she would also love to have a pigeon partner (just like Dora).


The broken wing female

I knew of someone who is looking for female pigeons for her aviary to pair up with some of her mateless male pigeons, and so yesterday Richard and I collected Minnie and another female pigeon (that has a broken wing and therefore cannot be released) from my work and took them to their new home.

We put Minnie and the female into the aviary and the male pigeons there immediately took an interest in them. There was an initial uncertainty but both the broken wing female and Minnie didn’t seem distressed by the attentions of the male pigeons. We would have stayed longer to see who Minnie took a liking to but the heavens opened up and we had to run back to the car before we got soaking wet.

I’ll keep you updated on how Minnie is settling in and who she’s paired up with!


Minnie hanging onto the bars, unsure about the big male next to her.