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Many of you may know that Elmo sleeps on Richard’s bedside table. He wouldn’t have it any other way. But before Elmo is placed there for him to settle down to sleep he must have a drink!

If Elmo hasn’t had a drink right before bedtime he’ll walk around in circles on the bedside table and won’t settle. This happened one night (probably last year or so) and I said aloud, “I wonder if he’s thirsty?” Sure enough, once placed into the cage that holds his food and water, he went straight to the water bowl and nearly drunk it dry!! It happened another night and we then realised that Elmo had to have a drink before going to sleep. (Don’t we all?)

Some evenings we’re not sure if he’s already had a drink (e.g. while we were brushing our teeth) so Richard will place Elmo in the cage and wait for him to take a sip. Obviously, if he’s already quenched his thirst he’s not interested in the water. But Elmo soon started to teach Richard what he wants. If Richard gives Elmo a kiss before placing him in the cage, Elmo will have a drink (and then expect another kiss and lots of praise!!) – even if he’s already had a drink, in which case, Elmo will take a tiny sip (just to satisfy our request) and then run over for his praise. If Richard doesn’t give Elmo a kiss beforehand, Elmo will not touch the water.

Pretty clever! :)

The other night Elmo was in a trance, completely trusting in everything Richard did, even when placed on his back – as you can see:

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Elmo asleep on his back


I spent a week with my family at my grandmother’s home in Orosháza (Hungary) and the weather was unexpectedly hot, ranging from 32°C to 38°C! I’m not used to such heat and generally don’t like it but this time it was a pleasant experience. So I made the most of it and spent a lot of time sitting under the shade of the walnut trees in the garden watching the birds.

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Mr. Pigeon enjoying the ride!

At times the heat was stifling (which after a while would drive me to retire to the cool interior of the house), other times there was a refreshing breeze. I felt sorry for the male blackbird who lived in the garden. He looked very hot! He was quite tame – not even bothered by the presence of the neighbour’s dogs (he must have sussed out that they weren’t interested in him) – and would walk near me on his daily forage. Poor bird. He had his beak open most times but luckily he had a tray of water to bathe in to cool down.

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Blackbird bathing

The one vivid memory I have of my grandmother’s home in Hungary is the sound of cooing. As a child I didn’t know what type of bird was cooing (despite knowing what a feral pigeon is). It may be surprising for you to learn that I had never seen a woodpigeon nor a collared dove until I went to the UK. While there are woodpigeons and collared doves in Finland (where I lived before moving to England) I had never noticed them. When I started working at a wildlife rescue centre in the UK I saw lots of pigeon and dove species and soon became acqainted with all the different cooings. So when I went back to Hungary and heard the cooing in the garden I immediately knew what bird species was making the sound: collared doves!! And this time I noticed them. They are everywhere! And they coo continuously – talking to each other.

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Collared dove

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Mr. Pigeon enjoying the garden views

As I sat in the garden reading a book (during this recent visit) I started to notice how often the collared doves visited the garden to drink. There is a big tub of collected rainwater that they drink from. All sorts visit: sparrows, greenfinches, woodpeckers, blackbirds and even the neighbour’s dogs!

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Collared dove at the local "watering hole"

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Taking a long sip in the heat

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Mr. Pigeon wants a drink too

I did see a few woodpigeons (at the local water park) and a few flocks of feral pigeons in the towns, however, collared doves seem to dominate the area where my grandma lives.

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Collared dove relaxing in the shade

I had a lovely time with my family and with the birds there but I missed my Georgie and Elmo a lot! Mr. Pigeon was a comfort though. :)

The neighbour’s very friendly dogs, Pöti and Daisy:

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Pöti

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Daisy


Pigeons drinking always makes me smile – since they can suck up the water unlike other birds they can really gulp it down when they’re thirsty. Elmo dunks his whole beak and forehead into the water – making his forehead very wet. It’s so sweet. George on the other hand is a bit more delicate in her drinking – she doesn’t make her forehead wet but she still puts her whole beak in the water sometimes. In fact, most pigeons do – which I find amazing since their nostrils are on their beaks. Do baby pigeons have to learn not to breath in when drinking? I can just imagine their parents teaching them how to be a good successful pigeon! :)

Me husband did the gardening today – mowing the lawn, strimming the hedge, etc. and Elmo was on the windowsill watching. He got very excited and kept trying to jump throught the glass. We couldn’t let Elmo out whilst Richard was working there since he’s scared of big machines… amongst other things. After a while Elmo calmed down and just watched Richard’s every move – like an eagle!

… I tried to upload a few videos of Elmo and Georgie but it didn’t work, which annoyed me to no end. I’ll keep trying, but first I’m going to relax with my pigeons and enjoy the evening. :)