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The sun is up and the curtains are drawn, however, sunlight is seeping through and the room is light. A little feral pigeon is waiting patiently on the bedside table for his mummy and daddy to wake up. What’s this? One of them stirs, turns over. Cue loud cooing and wing waggling from the pigeon. “Good morning, mummy. Good morning, daddy,” he’s saying. No response from the bed. The humans haven’t woken up yet. The pigeon goes quiet again, settles down and waits. Again, one of the humans have moved and the pigeon starts cooing, calling them to wake up. This occurs every time there is movement from the bed. The pigeon is waiting and watching.

Eventually the humans wake up. Cue ecstatic morning greetings from the pigeon on the bedside table. Mummy and daddy greet him back. Having a lie in is nearly impossible when you have a watchful pigeon by your side.

This is how we are woken up by Elmo in the weekend. If Georgie hears us getting up and moving about she’ll jump at the bars of her cage, demanding to be let out. So, the other morning I went to get her and brought her back to the bedroom. I wasn’t ready to get up and start the day just yet, so Georgie was allowed to be on the bed for a bit.

Elmo tucked his head under his body and waited for Richard to give him a cuddle. The head-tucking is a quirk of Elmo’s (a possible side effect from having had PMV as a baby). We find it so adorable.


Georgie is thinking of having a preen. Elmo's keeping an eye on her.


Georgie preening. Elmo decides to hop off the bed.

After a bit of time on the bed both pigeons decide to hop off the bed to start their day. Elmo hides behind the bedroom door – a favourite cooing spot – and calls incessantly to us. Georgie finds a nice spot behind the mirror and coos and dances excitedly when I come down to see her.

During the summer Elmo spent most of his weekday time on the window sill looking out at the visiting birds, foxes, rats and cats in the garden. We know this because a) we could see it from the webcam we set up in the room, and b) by the amount of poo concentrated in the area. Now the days are shorter and Elmo has not been on the window sill for a long time. We don’t know why. Most days when we’re at work Elmo is by the door or on the bedside table (his roosting spot).

I cannot imagine why he’s rejected the window sill. He loved spending his day there – viewing the outside world – so why the change? Did a cat scare him? Was there a bossy pigeon who threatened him? Whatever the reason, I can’t help feel that he’s missing out on something by not looking out into the garden. But I could very well be wrong in thinking this. Elmo can make his own choices as to what to do during the day when we’re away at work. He has the whole bedroom to explore and I’m sure many moments are spent with him cooing and dancing to my fluffy socks or with Elmo exploring under the bed (so many interesting things under there!). I’m sure he’s not bored in any way. He spends a good portion preening and sleeping, being the old boy that he is (ok, maybe not old but at least middle-aged).

Here’s a video of us coming home from work and greeting Elmo from the garden. As you can see, he’s very happy to see us! :)

My wonderful husband made us some granary bread, which was delicious!! George agreed with me because she hopped onto my lap and begged for some. I couldn’t refuse her. I tore a piece of my sandwich and held it out for her to peck at and she LOVED it! It’s been a while since I’ve seen her act like this. She was twitching and cooing and begging so intently! So cute! When I took the bread away George exploded with energy, begging so enthusiastically that I had to give her some more. It’s hard for me to explain the behaviour – I wish I had recorded it. In the end Georgie ate nearly all my sandwich – she was woolfing it down!

This isn’t that occasion, but this video shows you how Georgie generally eats bread – a bit of pot-luck since she cannot see properly – which is why you either have to hold the food out so she can peck it from your fingers or give her a large piece that she cannot miss!

Watched Georgie through the window before entering our home and she was on her perch having a quiet preening session. As soon as she heard us at the door she lept off the perch and was waiting for us to let her out. Eager! :)

Elmo was on the window sill. Sometimes he hears us come home, in which case he’ll be cooing and dancing on the bed or on the floor with anticipation. Today he didn’t but as soon as he saw me peering in he lept from the window sill onto the bed and started his greeting dance. We really should capture it on video one of these days.

Elmo likes to preen my husband and here he is in his loving mood:

Sometimes, though, Elmo preens a bit too much and little red marks appear on Richard’s arm (where he’s pulled a little bit of skin off). Ouch.

In other news, little Widget has grown up into a slightly scruffy looking collared dove and is in an aviary with other collared doves, waiting for a break in the weather to be released. Hooray! :) (Photos to come if I manage to remember.) We had another little 1 day old baby collared dove in, which I have named Dotty since she’s as small as a dot.

After a long hard day at work Richard and I come home hoping to just sit back and relax for the evening. What are we met with upon our arrival? Only just the most excitable pigeon ever who’s been treading through his own droppings and making a right mess. Dear Elmo boy. He’s discovered the window ledge and spends most of his time there looking out into the garden at the feral pigeons, woodpigeons, squirrels, blackbirds and robins that visit the bird feeder. Unfortunately he doesn’t always poo over the side so he ends up walking through his droppings and staining his feet and the ledge. We’ll need to look into covering it with cloth to prevent him making such a mess.

So after cleaning Elmo’s mess (and trying to catch him to clean his feet before he walks through the entire flat) we are greeted by Georgie’s messy cage. Some days it is quite clean but other times she’s decided to redecorate with water and shredded newspaper (I applaud her efforts but ultimately have to tell her that it’s a tad bit outdated). Georgie is always equally happy to see us. She leaps at the bars and as soon as I pick her up she cooes and dances on the palm of my hand. Sweet.

The only other animal I’ve had that has shown the same amount of pleasure and excitement in seeing me when I come home has been my cairn terrier, Nyytti (which means ‘bundle’ in Finnish). She would go bananas and wiggle about in greeting, howling with all her might. Thinking about her makes me sad (since she died four years ago) but also content in knowing how much we loved each other and showed each other this daily. How lovely it is to be able to do that without any misunderstandings, hesitations or uncertainty!

Human beings are very complicated and miscommunication is all too common. With my dog it was very easy and simple: “I love you, Nyytti, and I let you know this by caring for you properly, by giving you affection, by understanding what you need when you need it, and by accepting your faults. And you love me and let me know this by giving me your affections, your desire to be with me, your instincts for knowing my emotions and how to react, and ultimately accepting my faults.” I like to think that Richard and I have this sort of understanding. Naive or just plain animal love? :)

I guess dogs wear their hearts on their sleeves, and I think pigeons do too. Elmo and George show us that they are happy we are home and that they love us and we do the same. Nothing beats that excited joyous greeting when you come home, be it from a dog or a pigeon. And with any luck you may receive such a greeting from another human being.