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Elmo and Georgie pigeons have been enjoying the sunshine in February. As soon as the sun peeks through the clouds I dash out with my darling pigeons so they can benefit from some UV rays (see The importance of ultraviolet light for pigeons and doves). It can be hard, though, to juggle so many animals, since Hugo cat also likes to go out for a walk when I take the pigeons out. I’m reduced to taking each animal out one at a time for supervised fun in the sun, since Elmo doesn’t like Georgie or Hugo and will peck them if they come near and I cannot leave any of them alone outside since, A) predators may be about, B) Hugo will fight with the neighbourhood cats, C) Georgie or Elmo may flap about if it is windy and be lifted into the neighbours cat-filled garden, and D) I only possess two hands and cannot hold safely on to 3 animals at a time if I need to quickly take them back into the house.

So when the sun comes out I have to time things right to give each pet a fair share of time in the garden. I wonder what the neighbour’s think when they see me popping out with a cat on a harness and lead for a stroll and sniff around the garden, then back out with a pigeon for a peck at the grass and dirt, then out again with another pigeon for a bit of sunbathing. They must think I am mad! … I always suspected that I would become a crazy pigeon-cat-knitting lady. :D

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Georgie pigeon

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Elmo pigeon

 

 

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Georgie pigeon

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Elmo pigeon

 


Being inspired by the post Planting Greens For Your Pigeons and Doves on The Rescue Report – and knowing how much Elmo loves lettuce and cabbage – I decided to grow some greens for Elmo to eat.

Elmo is very attracted to anything green – in fact, my green work uniform always puts him in a good mood towards me. As soon as I change into my normal clothes he reverts back to pecking me with gusto! It’s amazing. One minute I’ll be in my uniform and Elmo wants to feed me and hang out with me, the next minute I’ll change and Elmo will view me as the enemy. I don’t know what he sees when he looks at me in the uniform. Strange. :)

So when my husband and I were at the garden centre I had a look at different salad/vegetable seeds available to plant. Since I’m not very good at keeping plants alive I didn’t want to buy anything that would be too complicated to grow (my fern and two cacti are still alive but I think it’s pure dumb luck), so I chose a cress growing kit to start with.

Elmo watched me “plant” the seeds with interest and after a few days (after careful watering) some growth could be seen.

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I was excited. Soon ideas of sprouting seeds and beans as well as growing a lush garden of salads and other greens sprang into my mind. I was to be the queen of the garden! I had visions of Elmo gorging himself on the fresh food with enthusiasm and appreciation. It was to be a magical new era for us.

Sadly, this was not the case. The cress grew beautifully and I was as proud as anything. I placed the cress in front of Elmo and he simply glanced at the cress and walked away. He wasn’t even intrigued. Not one bit.

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As you can imagine I was heart-broken. After all my hard gardening work and fretting over the seeds – waiting, wishing, hoping for a strong crop – Elmo didn’t even want to try it. Is it because it was cress? Would Elmo prefer something else? I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to go through all that work a second time if he’s not going to appreciate it. :D

I have to say, though, the cress went beautifully with the cream cheese on the sesame seed bagel I had for lunch. :)

Maybe Elmo would have tried the cress if it was in a bagel?


Last night we had an unexpected visitor in our garden. Isn’t he just the cutest?

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We never thought we’d see a hedgehog in the garden since we have badgers in the area so we were very surprised when this guy turned up on our doorstep. We gave him some dinner and he munched on it quite happily even with the light on. :)

I wonder what Elmo would make of him? :D


Richard and I were on holiday recently and we sadly had to leave our two disabled pigeons at home, however, they were in the care of two lovely pigeon-sitters who ensured the Elmo and Georgie had everything they needed. This would usually mean human company as the top priority, however, this time both pigeons were broody and sitting on fake eggs the whole week. So it was an easy job for the sitters to come in and clean and give fresh food and water with Elmo and Georgie snuggled up in their nests (separate! Elmo sadly hates Georgie). I had to warn the sitters that Elmo WILL attack their feet since he gets very protective when he’s broody. I just hope he didn’t scare them away! :)

Upon returning home Georgie and Elmo decided to leave their eggs alone and snuggle up to us instead and so there was a happy home welcoming. And the weather stayed lovely so I was able to take them both out for some more adventures in the garden!

I think Georgie is the Sunbathing Queen!! :)

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I love taking my pigeons out into the sunshine. They really enjoy it and love to explore the garden. I particularly love looking at Georgie in the sunlight. All the little feathers on her head and face shine and are really distinct. They look amazing! And Georgie has such a delicate little face, she’s a real stunner even though she’s not very colourful.

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Since Elmo can see normally, watching him explore the garden is a joy. He peers into the grass to see if there are any clumps of earth he can peck at and eat, he’ll pick up different twigs and shake them about in his beak, and he’ll play with the long pieces of grass. Elmo often ‘tells’ me when he wants to go outside by standing near the front door. If I haven’t noticed him there he’ll fall alseep, and I’ll find him in that position later and take him out for a play in the garden.

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Here’s Elmo playing with a stick:

Georgie preening in the garden:

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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


Elmo is now officially friends again with the bedroom window sill (Elmo has free reign in the bedroom when we’re at work). Last year, during the summer, he spent a few hours every day on the window sill watching the live drama show that occurs in our garden (click on the Categories tab above and select “Garden” for posts about the garden). During the winter, however, he stopped standing on the window sill and I had no idea why. But I think I’ve now figured it out! The window sill is cold during the winter!! There are some ventilation strips above the window and there must be a bit of a draft which was too cold for Elmo. Now that summer is well on the way and the air is a warmer, Elmo has decided that it’s no longer too cold by the window. I’m almost 100% about this. (I have so many theories.)

I’ve caught Elmo out a few times – he’s been flirting with the woodies and feral pigeons! Which is so funny because he cannot stand Georgie so why flirt with other pigeons? Sometimes when I return home I can hear him cooing and when I open the door he’s dancing and cooing on the window sill to visiting pigeons. I don’t know if they notice him but it must be a funny sight for them. They probably think we’re horrible people because we’re keeping a pigeon indoors. If only they knew the life of luxury that Elmo and Georgie have! They’d all be queuing to get inside!! LOL.

I had a half day at work today so I’ve been spending a bit of quality time with Georgie and Elmo. They’re ecstatic to have me home early: they were dancing and prancing about with excitement for the first hour or so. :)

Now Georgie is on my lap and she’s fidgeting about. I think she wants to nest and is finding my lap unsuitable, which is bizarre because usually my lap is the best spot! Earlier I found her in different places that she was exploring for their suitability as a nest site.

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"Is this a good spot?" Georgie in the bedroom.

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"Maybe here?" Georgie on my bag in the corridor.

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"How about here?" Georgie in the coffee table shelf.

Also earlier Elmo jumped up onto the “pigeon-free” sofa, and after a quick photo I removed him from it. Our pigeons have full access to the whole flat except for our smaller sofa which is in my reading corner. We want to have at least one surface (besides the kitchen counter tops) that doesn’t get bombed with pigeon poop. :)

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Elmo on the forbidden sofa!

Elmo wasn’t impressed though. He quickly ran away in a strop. But as soon as I pointed the camera at him he came running back with his tail fanned out and he made some impressive flirting moves to the camera.

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"Here I come!"

I also managed to take a video of Georgie and Elmo mucking about. In this video Elmo is playfully preening a plastic bag. I’m lying on my stomach taking the video and Georgie climbs onto my back and takes offense to the camera. You’ll hear her coo angrily and wing slap as I turn the camera towards her!

Elmo is moulting around his face and he’s got lots of flecks of white there which are in fact new feather growth still in their follicles. He looks quite different but soon he’ll be back to his normal grey self (he does have a few white feathers on his head).

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New feather growth on Elmo's head.


Guess where I found Elmo this afternoon upon returning home from work? … On the window sill!! He hasn’t been on the window sill in months!!

And how do I know this, you ask? Well, I can tell by following the poop trail he leaves. If Elmo spends a lot of time in one area there’ll be a bunch of poops nearby. It’s as simple as that! :)

I had wondered why Elmo had stopped sitting on the window ledge this winter. Did something spook him? Maybe he got bored with the view, but now that spring is around the corner he’s taken an interest in the garden again? I wonder…

Since moving into our new flat we’ve had many different visitors to our garden. I’d like to post some of the photos I took of these very welcome visitors:

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Grey squirrel

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Badgers

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Bullfinch

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Long-tailed tit

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Fox cub

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Brown rat

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Woodpigeon

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Feral pigeons!

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Feral pigeons!

With all these visitors how could Elmo get bored with the views?! :)


It snowed quite a bit last night and this morning we woke up to a white-washed world of coldness and peace.

The fox had obviously visited (as you can see from the paw prints in the first photo) and throughout the morning I watched blue tits, great tits, coal tits, dunnocks and robins visit the feeder (I had to go out to clear the snow off of it first). I also left a tray of seed for the pigeons but they didn’t come down to eat. Even the squirrels seemed reluctant to approach the seed tray, so I then had to stamp out an area flat and spread the seed on the ground for them.

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Elmo was very restless this morning and he seemed excited about the change in the landscape. Richard held him up to the window so he could see out and Elmo was shivering a bit as he looked curiously at the snow. We could see that he wanted to go out to explore this weird stuff, so later Richard put the harness on Elmo and took him out. As you might already know, Elmo doesn’t particularly like the harness and so he wasn’t impressed with having to wear it – he tried to run away from it when he was indoors and kept pecking at it. Only once he had relaxed did Richard take Elmo out into the garden.

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Once out though, Elmo didn’t seem to understand that he’s too heavy to stand on the fresh snow so he freaked out a bit when he kept sinking into it and had to be quickly rescued (as you can see in the video).

When Richard took the harness off of him, Elmo quickly came over to me and sat next to me on the sofa. It was quite funny actually to see how quickly Elmo took refuge in me rather than Richard. I think Elmo was upset with Richard and so he came over to me for comfort. … Don’t worry, he forgave Richard a few minutes later – but only after Richard had thoroughly apologised with head bows, cuddles and peanuts.

The squirrels, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy burrowing in the snow and leaping about. It’s so lovely to watch. I also love watching dogs play in snow – they have so much enthusiasm and joy – and they really seem to appreciate the fun in rolling about in the wonderful stuff.

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I have to admit, I get very home sick when it snows this much in England. It takes me back to white Christmases, sauna, ice skating, skiing, sleighing and snow-ball fights! Although Finnish winters can be very brutal in its darkness and coldness, there is a special beauty and wonder in seeing the world blanketed and muffled on a crisp morning – especially if you’re by a lake and have the opportunity to walk across it. Ice swimming is an activity that everyone should try at least once in their life! I’ve only ever braved ice swimming twice, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is definitely something I want to do again. I just have to figure out how to entice my husband to join me. (A bit about ice swimming: Ice Swimming Safety)

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Elmo and Georgie have been enjoying the fact that I’ve been at home during the week. They think it’s the best! More time with mummy! :)

With all the snow out there we’ve been watching the feral and wood pigeons jumping about in the snow trying to stay on top – but they keep sinking into it. Poor birdies! Richard had to go out into the garden and flatten a spot for them to eat the seed from. Then the squirrels came round and chased the birds away!

Last year when it snowed I was able to enjoy it (since I didn’t have a cold). We had great fun and here’s what we did around this time last year:

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Our garden in Dec 09

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Georgie's first snow experience

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Elmo in the snow

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Stevie, our snowman!

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Georgie and I

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Elmo's not too sure about the snow

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"Get me out of here!"

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Curious Elmo

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Curious Georgie


What seems to be day 11 with the common cold (but more realistically: day 4) was spent on the sofa with everything I could possibly need around me so I wouldn’t have to get up too often. As you have guessed, I didn’t make it to work today either.

So, what did I have? Tissues, check. Cold medicine, check. Glass of water, check. Book, check. Mobile phone, check. Warm fleecy blanket, check. TV remote controls, check. Camera, check. Lip balm, check. Pigeons, check. All set for a day of complete rest and recuperation, however, it was no picnic I can tell you.

At least I could observe the animals in the snow in the garden. Here’s what I captured:

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I did throw seed onto the ground for the birds, but as you can see in the above photos, one chose to eat from the dispenser. Silly woody!

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