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It was a funny sort of day the other day. It started with heavy rain, so much rain that I thought I’d need to wear waders to get to my car. Then it stopped and the sun came out and all was glorious. But wait, here comes the rain again. I was home for lunch and when the rain stopped I decided to let the pigeons out for a wander on the wet ground.

As soon as Georgie felt her feet in the water she started swishing her beak in the water and I knew what she was wanting – a puddle bath!! :D

So there was Georgie having a whale of a time when I noticed Elmo shaking. He was looking at Georgie intently and shiving all over – he wanted a bath too!!

It was such a joy to watch the two of them bathing so close together without any fighting – they were simply concentrating on the water – water that I was scooping up to drip over them and swishing around their feet. I don’t think they’ve ever had a “wild” bath before – it’s always been tap water – so I’m glad they had a rainwater, puddle bath. It felt like they were going back to their roots as feral pigeons. :)


Our pigeons love summer. The sunshine, the gentle breeze, the vibrant grass. They love to hang out in the garden doing practically nothing, just enjoying the day without a care in the world. A little bit of preening may be on the schedule, a bit of pottering about to peck at the ground, and then a spot of sunbathing to round things up.

I learn a lot from being with Georgie and Elmo. I slow down and relax, take in the glorious day and enjoy it. It’s a lesson I appreciate. :)


We wish our darling, funny boy a very happy hatchday! Elmo is now 13 years old! :)

HAPPY HATCHDAY, ELMO DEAR!

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Elmo enjoyed his birthday treats (with Georgie trying to join in) and had some exercise in the garden. He loves it out there! :)

For those of you who are not familiar with Elmo’s story, please read the following short bio:

Elmo is a feral pigeon and hatched in 2000. He was found as a baby with paramyxovirosis which he recovered from but was left with permanent damage (such as balance problems and inability to fly properly). He was living indoors with a lady and became imprinted on humans, craving their attention.

In 2008 Elmo was brought to a wildlife rescue centre for rehoming after his owner was unable to continue to look after him.

Due to his unique nature Elmo had to be rehomed to a household that could give him the attention and care he needed, since Elmo doesn’t like other pigeons at all and wouldn’t be happy in an aviary. The staff at the rescue centre knew that since we already had an indoor pigeon, we most likely wouldn’t mind having another one, so when they asked us if we could adopt Elmo it didn’t take us long to say yes!

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Today we had a good chance to spend some quality time with Georgie and Elmo, our two disabled and tame pigeons, after the busy past few weeks. With the cold and rain giving us a break we took them out into the garden for a bit of sunshine and relaxation. Elmo went mad when he saw how long the grass had grown and tried to eat the grass seeds. He didn’t have much luck since his balance isn’t very good, but he looked like he was enjoying himself: flapping about, pecking at the tall grass.

After a few minutes in the sun both Elmo and Georgie were panting from the heat so we let them cool off in the shade and also gave them the option to have a bath. Georgie flatly refused but Elmo was beside himself with joy!

When Richard poured the water onto him, Elmo was in heaven! :)

I think the photos and video speak for themselves:

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Elmo

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Elmo

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Georgie

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Georgie

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Georgie

They say that having an animal such as a dog or cat as a companion relaxes you and can extend your lifespan. I think they should definitely add pigeons to the list!


Some of you may have seen on facebook the photo Georgie Pigeon posted of Elmo having his first experience with bubble bath. I thought that it would be nice to share all the photos of him investigating the bubbles. Enjoy! :)

Disclaimer: No pigeon was harmed in this photoshoot.

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I opened the front door to put out the recycling and Elmo stepped onto the doorstep. It was a very windy day so I was prepared to pick him up if he tried to walk out to the garden. Didn’t want him to become spooked by something blowing in the wind or the wind to excite him into flapping and lift him over the hedge and onto the railway track. Too much of a risk to let him out on a windy day. So I was prepared to stop Elmo from walking any further than the front door, but Elmo simply stood on the doorstep and looked out at the plants blowing in the wind.

He seemed to be enjoying the feel of the crisp wind blowing at him and he started to preen his feathers. I sat down next to Elmo and watched him. He didn’t want to go any further but he did want to feel the wind. As a predominantly non-flying pigeon Elmo hasn’t really had much experience with feeling the wind beneath his wings. Sure, he can flap about and get a bit of lift into the air, but he doesn’t have much stamina and cannot actually fly from point A to point B. When we first got Elmo he used to do somersaults in the air when he tried to fly, loosing control and flipping around, often hiting the floor hard. He soon stopped doing that (thankfully) and we’re no longer worried he’ll hurt himself when flapping about.

We like Elmo to experience the elements, even if it’s for a short period of time. If it snows, we take him out. If it rains we’ll stand in the rain with him for a while. Elmo will often choose when he wants to go back inside and we let him. Of course, sunshine is the favourite of all pigeons, so I try my best to be out in the sun with him when its sunny. But I feel it is important for Elmo to also feel the other elements, and Elmo appears to agree with me. He wanted to feel the wind that day, safe in the doorway of his home, so we did. It was a lovely quiet moment, and I felt really happy watching him enjoy the wind.

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We’ve had some lovely sunny weather lately and, seeing how it can disappear so quickly, I’ve been taking Georgie and Elmo outside whenever the sun shines in the garden. They both love the sunshine and have been preening, pecking at the grass and dirt, and just enjoying themselves in the heat. Of course, the direct sunshine is good for their bones, feathers, and general health, but I think they just like the heat and the light after a dark winter.

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Georgie

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Georgie

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Georgie yawning

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Elmo

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Elmo

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Elmo


What a glorious day it has been today! Since the sun decided to make an appearance I quickly set up the run in the garden to give Georgie and Elmo a chance to be out in the sunshine.

And they loved it! It’s been a while since they’ve been outside and they enjoyed every opportunity to soak up some rays (the sun started to play peek-a-boo behind some clouds) and to peck at the grass and earth.

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Pretty Georgie

Since both Elmo and Georgie are disabled and cannot fly properly, we put them in the run for their own safety (not at the same time otherwise Elmo would attack Georgie!). I also had Georgie on the grass outside of the run for a while (when it was Elmo’s turn in the run) and kept a very close eye on her in case she decided to flap into the air and be carried away by the wind.

Elmo is usually a bit scared in the garden but today he was a champ. He saw a bit of dirt and started pecking at it and then preened himself in the sun. He wasn’t bothered by anything.

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Elmo pecking at the ground

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Elmo in the run

I took a little video of Georgie but she wasn’t sure about the camera (you can see her backing away at the sound of the camera in the beginning and end of the video).

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Georgie in the garden


I have a confession to make.

I often endearingly call Georgie “pigeon pie”.

How bad is that?! :)

I caught myself crooning it to her the other night. She was sitting so sweetly by my side, all fluffed up and content, and was obviously enjoying the sound of my voice, having no idea what “pigeon pie” means. Not that there’s any risk of us ever eating our pigeons.

However, if Elmo misbehaves then I will threaten him by saying “pigeon pie!” He of course doesn’t understand what that means but it makes me feel better.

Georgie and Elmo can be little cheeky pigeons, and here’s Georgie trying to eat my pizza:


There’s a few things I think humans could learn from feral pigeons.

Lesson number 1: Till death do us part. Now I know a lot of people find this an unrealistic or even an unnatural state to be in but if other animals such as pigeons can do it, so can we. I find the prospect of sharing my life with someone exciting, romantic, challenging, yet ultimately rewarding. Of course it’s not for everyone but monogamy has numerous benefits that in my eyes outweighs any negatives.

If you observe how lovingly pigeons pair up and raise their young your heart will melt. Pigeons are so affectionate to each other. They kiss and feed one another, as well as preen each other gently around the head (where a pigeon cannot preen itself – only scratch). In my eyes this shows that a pigeon understands how pleasant it feels to have their head preened and that they want to give their partner the same kind of pleasure. How lovely of them!

Lesson number 2: If at you first don’t succeed, try again. Ever seen a single male pigeon dance and coo to a female pigeon? Of course you have! It’s one of the most common pigeon sight you can see. This is generally how the scene goes: female pigeon is busy looking for food or eating whilst lonely (and horny) male pigeon struts his stuff around her. Female pigeon ignores male and male continues to dance to her. Female pigeon flies away and male pigeon follows.

The male pigeon doesn’t give up. He knows he’s worth it! He’s a big, handsome, healthy pigeon ready to share his life with a lovely female and nothing is going to stop him from attaining his goal. The cold shoulder the female gives him only spurs him on to dance and coo even more. Eventually she’ll see how wonderful he is and let him court her some more until she finally admits that she’s always fancied him.

Us humans should be the same – have a goal and don’t stop till you attain it. I applaud those who follow their dream.

Lesson number 3: Enjoy the simple things in life. When I see Georgie or Elmo enjoying the sun, a bath or a cuddle from us, I think that life would be so much simpler if people just stopped and appreciated the natural world around them and the little things it gives us. Spend an afternoon or the weekend sitting in the sun with a loved one, relaxing and simply living in the moment. Both George and Elmo are so content with just being near Richard and I. They want nothing more than our company.

Today I saw about 7 feral pigeons in and around the rim of a water bowl, all sharing and relishing the water. They looked so happy in their little group. It made me want to swim in a lake again. … Aah, the simple joys in life! :D