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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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I found Elmo on the window sill again today! Yay!

I could hear him cooing through the closed door and when I opened it I saw him bowing up and down on the window sill, cooing to a woodpigeon that was in the garden. Silly boy!

As soon as Elmo saw me though, he flew onto the bed and danced over to me – obviously happy to see me!

Elmo’s flying has been getting better (who’s been giving him lessons?). When we first received Elmo he was understandably unsure about us and his new home, and he would do some nervous backflips when he tried to fly. Over time, as he realised how much we love him and how safe his home is, Elmo’s flying became more controlled and less erratic.

Although Elmo cannot fly properly, he does like to have a good flap every now and then. He’ll stretch his wings and lift off from the sofa and land on the floor – then take off from the floor for a few more short flights up.

Once Elmo actually flew at Richard when Richard was mock-running away from him! He’s never done that before and hasn’t done it since, but it was very impressive.

Here’s some old footage of Elmo home alone (taken from the webcam):

Elmo greeting us through the window:

And when we opened the door:


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Georgie flying away

Wow and OMG!!!!  Just heard the lovely high pitched whiring sound of a pigeon flying and realised it was Georgie!!! Wow!!! Amazing!

Ok, so this might sound a bit sarcastic to some people, but I’m truthfully amazed – the reason being is that when Georgie flies she doesn’t make that lovely whiring sound you hear when you hear pigeons flying about. I don’t know why, but she doesn’t. However, today she made that sound!!! What has changed? I don’t know, since she still isn’t flying any better (sometimes she can fly across the room but often she just hovers with her landing gear out – waiting for me to put my hand out for her to land on).

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Massive looking wings! :)

I’m not saying that you cannot hear a thing when she flies – Georgie’s wings make a lot of noise when she flaps about – but it has always missed that delicate high pitched whiring sound that us pigeon people love to hear.

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to hear the sound I’m talking about but I uploaded two short “before” and “after” clips of Georgie flying.

Before:

After:


Today, as I was flicking through some photos I saw one of a pigeon in a pigeon nappy and it reminded me of the bird harness we had bought for Georgie and Elmo a while ago. As I wrote in Pigeon nappies?, it wasn’t a success – Georgie wouldn’t co-operate and Elmo was scared of it – however I was thinking about when we finally take the road trip through Europe and Scandinavia to Finland we will need Georgie and Elmo to be in a harness when we take them out for a stretch when we make pit stops. We cannot risk them flying away accidentally! So I thought we’d give it another go in putting first George in the harness.

And here’s the pretty girl all kitted out:

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At first George was not happy with it on, which is understandable since she’s not used to wearing things (what bird is?!), but after the initial walking about like a drunkard Georgie found her harness-legs and didn’t seem too bothered by it. You can imagine our delight!

Here’s her first steps with the harness on:

We were overjoyed with her acceptance and quickly took Georgie outside into the garden. I placed her on the grass and she walked about a bit then decided she wanted to be on me so she flew up into the air and hovered a bit until I placed my hand under her outstretched feet for her to land on. We did this a few more times just to test how safe the harness and lead is and it is now a big success!

Of course we cannot take her out for ‘walkies’ like a dog – and that’s not why we bought the harness – it’s just a safety measure to keep George safe in case she flies up and the wind catches her. Now George and I will be able to sunbathe together in the garden! :)

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We now need to try Elmo in the harness, however, since he’s a bit scared of it we’ll need to get him first used to the sight of the harness before we put it on him. After a week or so of the harness near his nest he should realise it is nothing to be afraid of and then we’ll see if he’ll accept the harness on him. Somehow I think he won’t be as accepting! (especially since the harness is blue!)

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It’s amazing how birds fly, utterly beautiful in slow-motion.


We had two friends staying with us over the Bank Holiday weekend and as you can imagine Elmo was beside himself with joy – he never turns down a chance to show how lovable he is!! Georgie stayed in the background, happy to let Elmo make a fool of himself as he pranced about like a clown (in Georgie’s own words!).

Since the weather was nice we had a barbeque out in the garden but Elmo and George had to stay indoors because they were a bit frightened of the bbq. We couldn’t keep an eye on them as well as the food on the grill (as well as entertain our friends)! Elmo stood on the windowsill in the bedroom watching us, then he got tired and fell asleep. George had a snooze in her cage.

The feral pigeons got a bit annoyed with us since we were sitting in the garden all afternoon. They wanted to land to have their afternoon/early evening snack but we were in the way. The pigeons kept flying about in the sky, circling our garden and flat. I was a bit worried that they’d start bombing us to get us to leave the garden!! :) Flying pigeons are beautiful – the formation, the wing clapping noise they sometimes make, the speed and gracefulness of their flight. I can understand why some people choose to fly their pigeons (e.g. tumblers and other such breeds) – watching them is very relaxing.

George hasn’t laid any eggs yet. We thought she would lay them last weekend because she was very broody and moody but we were wrong. For some reason she seems to have changed her mind and isn’t looking broody at all at the moment.

And finally, last night Elmo woke us up at 3am when he almost fell off the nightstand. He flapped to regain his balance and we woke up in a bit of a panic. It’s never nice to wake up to a flapping bird – you immediately think the worst! Needless to say we weren’t impressed with him and found it hard to go back to sleep. Poor Elmo must have given himself a fright too with his near fall.


Elmo gave us – and himself as well – such a fright yesterday. As usual, Richard took him out into the garden for his late afternoon stroll around the garden. However, for some reason Elmo started shaking and shivering like he was scared of something and didn’t want to be in the garden. Then, unexpectedly, Elmo shot up into the air and hovered a bit before landing. Richard quickly went to grab him but Elmo shot up again into the air and spun about before hitting the ground. This happened a couple of more times before Richard managed to catch him. It was a heart-stopping moment.

We were so scared he’d fly over the hedge and into someone’s garden, or worst, onto the railway track opposite our garden. Elmo has never flown before in the garden and it is not an experience we want to live through again. Being an ex-PMV pigeon Elmo has permanent balance and flight damage that makes his flying a bit erratic and unstable. That’s why we don’t encourage him to fly outside. Indoors he’s more than welcome to fly about, but Elmo doesn’t fly much – he prefers to walk about instead. … Sometimes he will flap his wings and hover a bit for exercise though.

After taking Elmo indoors and giving him lots of hugs and kisses (as well as a good telling off for scaring us so!) we went out to see what could have scared him in such a way. The culprit was obvious: a bright blue tray that was being used as a bird bath! The tray had been put there recently for the feral pigeons, but it was obviously not Elmo’s cup of tea. We’ll have to replace the blue tray with something more discreet.