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We recently saw an adult badger in our garden, much to our delight! We hadn’t seen one a very long time (last time: Garden views). I wasn’t able to take a photo of the badger because of the poor light (it was night) and I didn’t want to scare the badger away with flash photography. The badger was munching away at the food the neighbour had left for the fox family and as we were watching him we could see two little fox cubs peering through the hedge looking at the badger. They didn’t have the courage to chase the badger away.

In the morning we heard a commotion as the feral pigeons kept flying away from the big breakfast I put out for them. We soon saw the reason for the noise:

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The fox cubs were chasing the pigeons away and proceeded to eat the peanuts and seed that I had put out for the pigeons. Cheeky little things!! :)

With the sun shining so warmly lately the pigeons have been enjoying a bath in the garden and a good sunbathing session too.

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The feral pigeons often search the ground for things to eat but as you can see the grass is too long for comfort so I mowed the lawn to let the pigeons peck at the ground with ease.

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Halfway there!

While the ferals are mostly on the ground in my garden the woodpigeons like to forage in the trees and bushes. They are quite dexterous for such large birds. You’d think they wouldd have trouble standing on the thin branches but these woodies know how to get to the best bits of the plants without much trouble.

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Some of you here in the United Kingdom might have seen the fourth episode of Winterwatch on BBC Two last week where Adam Rogers, the creator of The Feral Pigeon Project, spoke to Chris Packham about feral pigeons and their colour diversity. This episode was greatly anticipated by many pigeon people (word spread on the net) and it was wonderful to hear a positive message about feral pigeons – since there are so few programmes on TV that concentrate on these amazing birds.

As mentioned, the message on this episode of Winterwatch was positive, concentrating on the intelligence and uniqueness of pigeons, and I hope many people feel inspired to help Adam Rogers with his research into pigeon colour diversity. Please visit his website for further information: The Feral Pigeon Project

A little side note here: many of us watching the programme immediately noticed the feet of the ferals and wanted to help. A common question appeared online as to why the ferals feet were deformed, which Adam quickly replied (on his blog): Deformed feet – what is the cause?

Here’s the link to the episode: Winterwatch, Series 1, Episode 4. The feral pigeon part starts at 08:43 (ending at 17:01). I also found the clip on YouTube:

I really hope more positive messages of pigeons get on TV and we can start to dispel the myths spread about pigeons. Maybe Elmo and Georgie should go on “Britain’s Strangest Pets” or something similar? (Although I don’t like the way those types of programmes portray the owners, so maybe something more scientific would be better.)

Online article about the Winterwatch episode:

Cornwall student appears on BBC Winterwatch to promote pigeon project

Friday, January 18, 2013

A zoology student from Cornwall has appeared on BBC Winterwatch to talk about his project to record the national pigeon population.

Adam Rogers, who studies at the University of Exeter’s Tremough Campus in Penryn, appeared on the programme leading a project to investigate plumage trends found in the once-domesticated birds.

When domestic animals return to the wild and breed, future generations usually take on their natural dull colour, yet urban pigeons have retained their brightness and variety of plumage.

The 29-year-old undergraduate wants as many people as possible to spend a few minutes counting the number of pigeons with different plumage patterns in their local high street.

Participants can then report their sightings on the Feral Pigeon Project website, which also contains a handy guide to pigeon colours.

“Pigeons can easily be overlooked as we go about our daily lives,” said Mr Rogers.  ”Yet these seemingly familiar birds have many secrets still to reveal.  The fact that they have been successful is clear, yet the means behind their success is less understood.

“No other creature causes such contention as the wild pigeon – some people call pigeons ‘rats with wings’, others are simply indifferent, but I call them the Super Dove.

“They may not be as glamorous as many of the exotic animals a person could choose to study but take the time to look beneath the feathers and they’re just as superbly adapted as any of the African big five.”

He added that people don’t need to be pigeon experts to get involved in the project, as the various types are easy to tell apart.

Adam is hoping that his research will reveal how pigeons are adapting to human influences, as well as sparking people’s interest in wildlife and nature.  He will examine aspects such as whether breeding habits are changing in towns where feeding bans have been imposed.

The Feral Pigeon Project appeared on BBC Two’s Winterwatch yesterday with a focus on the pigeons’ ability to breed in the middle of winter.  Adam described working with the BBC production team as “eye-opening”.

“Filming with Chris Packham was a fantastic experience, he’s clearly a very knowledgeable naturalist and is truly passionate about opening people’s eyes to the wildlife around them,” he said.

Adam Rogers is leading a project on pigeons

(Article from: http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Cornwall-student-appears-BBC-Winterwatch-promote/story-17894221-detail/story.html)


As many of you know, we feed the feral pigeons in our garden. At one point we had rather a large flock visiting us, and it seemed that the numbers were growing quickly, so we had to stop feeding them so much and as often as we did to prevent the neighbours from complaining about the pigeons.

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Visiting feral pigeons

Richard wrote about our growing pigeon flock in 2010: Pigeon Flock! In 2011 I posted my thoughts on the subject of feeding feral pigeons: To feed or not to feed…? Since pigeons can breed all year round, feeding them regularily can lead to a population explosion and that’s when some people may complain about the numbers. This website has some very good information and points of view: Feeding the pigeons

I now only throw out a few handfuls of pigeon seed in the morning, letting the pigeons go elsewhere to search for food the rest of the day. We have a small flock that flies by in the morning, sometimes with a new fledged youngster in tow, but the numbers haven’t grown much since I don’t increase the handfuls of food. I’ve seen the same pairs of pigeons for the past two years visiting us (they have distinctive feather markings/colours) and on the whole the flock looks healthy and strong. We also have squirrels and foxes visiting but I’m not sure if the badgers come to our garden anymore.

Now, for the main bit of news: We have a large bush full of red berries in our garden by our bedroom window (I’m not good with plant identification so I don’t know what type of plant it is). For the past few weekend mornings we’ve heard something on the windowsill and what sounds like a lot of flapping on the bush. What’s going on? We’ve never heard these noises before. … But the cooing gave the game away! :) There’s pigeons on the windowsill and bush!

Woodpigeons are known to feed on berries but I’ve never seen feral pigeons do so, and yes, the berry stealers are feral pigeons! Of course, when we open the curtains the pigeons fly away, so it’s been hard to take a photo of the spectacle. But I was lucky today – the pigeons raided the bush later in the day, so I managed to take this photo of one clinger:

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Feral pigeon on berry bush

Isn’t s/he a beauty?! :)

The window sticker is there to prevent birds from flying into our many windows (I first wrote about it in 2010: Window strikes). Overall, they seem to work, although a few pigeons have glanced the windows since, but no head-on collisions, which is a relief.

For different sticker designs please have a look at these websites:


I have been bitten by the knitting bug. I cannot stop. … Must create knitted pigeon flock! :)

(Oh, sorry pigeon folk if I’m boring you with all my knitting posts. I promise to write about Elmo and Georgie again soon.)

I first knitted Percy Pigeon by Alan Dart, however, my pigeon is more “Wonky the Pigeon”. Have a look:

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Wonky pigeon

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Wonky pigeon

Please bear in mind that this is the very first toy that I’ve ever knitted. While I found it easy to knit the pieces, I found it very hard to stitch the pigeon together. Practice makes perfect, though, so hopefully the next one will be more “together” and “with it”. :)

Although, with his wonky tail and lopsided body, he does look like a pigeon in need of care and rehabilitation – so he’s really the perfect mascot for my work at the wildlife rescue centre!

I next knitted a flock of tiny perching pigeons by Anna Hrachovec.

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Tiny perching pigeon flock

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The first tiny pigeon I knitted

There will be more to come!! I think I’ll have a few hundred of these little guys perched around the house and possibly in the garden too.

Mr. Pigeon (not knitted by me, by the way) wanted to meet the new additions and I think they’ll get along just fine:

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Mr. Pigeon (top right) with the new knitted pigeons

My next pigeon project will be Cooey the Pigeon by Lauren O’Farrell (once I buy the book. Couldn’t find the pattern for free). I will be looking for pigeon patterns to knit and will one day have a big flock of different pigeons to keep Elmo and Georgie company. :)


This summer has been so nice. Sunshine and hot weather – perfect for taking pigeons out into the garden for sunbathing and playing in the grass.

I slipped the harness on Georgie with minimum fuss (hooray!!) and took her out. Georgie is getting used to the harness, however, she still tends to stand still for a while before she makes her move (preen, sunbath, fly).

Here’s my girl out in the garden today:

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Panting in the heat

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Sunbathing time!

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Are you one of us?

It was quite funny actually how quickly the feral pigeons flew down when they saw me carrying Georgie into the garden – it was their cue! I put her down near the peanuts and the pigeons warily, but quickly, started gobbling up the peanuts around her. Georgie wasn’t sure about them at all and you can see it in her posture in the video – and the ferals weren’t sure about her either – keeping an eye on her as they got closer and closer.

I’m still waiting for a handsome male pigeon to coo and dance to her! Surely she’s pretty enough to attract some male interest?!


When we moved into our new home back in December 09 we had 2 feral pigeons come down and eat from our ground feeder. This number has grown exponentially (as you can imagine), and whilst we love having well over 42 pigeons coming down 2-3 times daily, we are a little worried about neighbours. The last thing we want is pest control companies coming round while we are away at work.

So we are going to gradually reduce their food in an effort to reduce their numbers. At its peak we would thrown out 4-5 cups of peanuts and 4-5 cups of seed a day (25kgs peanuts and 25kgs seed a month).

It’s heartbreaking, but we’re reducing down to a cup of each in the morning, and a cup of each in the evening too. Many of the pigeons that now visit us are this years young so they need to learn to find food elsewhere. They cannot be totally dependant on us. Hopefully, with the slow food reduction they’ll realise there isn’t enough food for the whole big flock and move on to forage further afield. We will miss them but we really don’t want to create a problem.

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Today is National Pigeon Day!!

(or the proposed day in the US. It’s not official yet. It should be International Pigeon Day really!)

However, technicalities aside, today is a day to remember those pigeons that selflessly served us humans, especially in WWI. Whilst every day should be a day to love, honour, respect and celebrate all pigeons around the world, today is the ‘official’ pigeon loving day. :)

Here in our humble abode we decided to give the visiting feral pigeon flock some extra treats to eat, which they happily gobbled up.

Even though I don’t think it’s possible since they get so many already, Elmo and Georgie got extra cuddles and kisses. We feel very lucky to have two such lovely pigeons living with us and wanted to let them know how much we love them. … I feel my crazy pigeon person side shining through for all to see now!! I feel a touch embarressed.

Here’s our little pigeon party:

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Us crazy pigeon people? Never!

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Elmo's ready to blow out the candles

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Elmo didn't like the look of the balloons so he flapped and destroyed the nicely set table. Georgie doesn't look too impressed with him.

Don’t worry, we blew the candles out before Elmo panicked. We weren’t going to take any chances with fire and feathers!

We let Elmo and Georgie have a fairy cake each but Elmo liked the brioche more. George on the other hand LOVED the fairy cake and went bananas over it!

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Elmo takes a bite out of the fairy cake

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Elmo likes the brioche more than the fairy cake

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Georgie loves fairy cake!

I hope everyone else had a lovely day with their pigeons! I’d love to hear from you what you did. :)

For more info on National Pigeon Day please go to: National Pigeon Day blog


On January 17th I wrote about our new bird feeder and the animals that visited it (post called “My favourite weather is bird-chirping weather”). On that date we only had two feral pigeons visiting our garden; today we counted 10! So very slowly our visiting flock has grown, much to our delight.

This morning Richard took Elmo out for a morning walk in the garden and he filled up the bird feeder and put some seeds on the ground at the same time. Elmo happily pecked at the grass and the seed and was very content; little did he know that ten feral pigeons were watching him from the rooftop, wondering if it is safe to come down to join him with Richard there.

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Elmo's the one on his own on the right

After a while one brave fella decided he wasn’t going to let Elmo eat all the seed so he flew gently down and began to eat. A few moments later the rest of the flock landed and were happily pecking at the seed. Elmo at first wasn’t that bothered but then he noticed the flock and decided he wanted nothing to do with them. I was watching from the open window and Elmo walked over and tried to fly up to get into the flat. Poor boy was a bit scared!

When Elmo lived with his previous career he once was feeding in the garden with a flock of ferals near him. They took off suddenly and unexpectedly Elmo took off too, flying high into the sky before he realised he didn’t know how to come down again. He hovered for a while then plummeted to the ground with his carer running frantically to him. Fortunately Elmo was unhurt save for a limp, however, after hearing this story we are quite cautious when other pigeons are near Elmo. We wouldn’t want to have a repeat!

Back to our garden: We put a squirrel guard to stop our three visiting squirrels from eating all the seed from the hanging feeders in one sitting (they are welcome to the seed on the ground feeder!) and we thought the seed would last for a while in the feeders, however, I noticed that they were starting to get low again soon after being refilled.

One day I saw this pretty guy helping himself:

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:D So sweet!

The other ferals watch this guy helping himself to seed they haven’t figured out how to get to yet (even though there is usually plenty of food on the ground for them!) and I’m anticipating all 10 ferals to be hanging from our feeder any day now!

Here’s some of our visiting flock:

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