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Four years ago today my husband and I adopted a very special little pigeon. Little did we realise the impact this pigeon would have on our lives. We had no idea and no warning, so when the little pigeon showed us how special he was, we weren’t prepared for how swiftly he’d become an integral part of our family. … I am, of course, talking about our darling Elmo. He came to us desperately needing a new home – a home living with people, not in an aviary with pigeons. Elmo has special requirements due to his less than pigeon-like upbringing. He requires a person to bond with, to love.

Four years ago Elmo was 8 years old, which obviously means that this year Elmo is 12!!! We have made today, the date we adopted him, his hatchday. So please, everyone who knows and loves Elmo, please wish him a very happy hatchday! :)

Happy Hatchday, darling Elmo!!!! xxxx

For those of you who have pigeons who are in their 20′s I know 12 years of age is still considered young. Sometimes Elmo looks like an old man to me, other times he looks like a baby. I cannot imagine all the things he’s seen in his 12 years. With us, Elmo has a sheltered life and is loved and is free to give his love without any restrictions. And boy, does he give his love!

Every day we are reminded of the love a pigeon is capable of. People may scoff at the idea of a pigeon in love, but when you observe them you can clearly see how deeply pigeons can feel. I don’t subscribe to the thought that animals only act out of instinct. I dare you to watch our videos of Elmo (and Georgie) and not be amazed: Pigeons as Pets YouTube channel

But I digress – today is about celebrating Elmo!

Thinking of what would be the best way to spoil Elmo today, I bought him his favourite treats: pine nuts and sunflower hearts. The only other present I know Elmo would love is lots of attention and love, which he gets every day anyway, so we’ll have to try harder today to give him extra! :D

Hatchday celebrations with little glasses filled with seed. The rest are in a jar for Elmo to raid when he wants:

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Elmo doesn’t look impressed with his party hat:

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Georgie definitely doesn’t appreciate her clown hat:

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Although we don’t know the date when Georgie was born we know that she must have been born in October 2007 since she was taken to a rescue centre in November as a squeaker. Richard and I made the 1st of October as her birthday since it’s easy for us to remember.

Elmo on the other hand is a bit of a mystery. We know he was born in 2000 but we don’t know what month. Since we took Elmo home with us on the 20th of November (in 2008) we’ve set that as the date of his birthday.

So this is just a heads up for all that Georgie will be 3 years old on the 1st of October and Elmo will be 10 years old on the 20th of November.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Elmo is going to be 10 years old. A lot of people don’t realise how long birds can live for. I believe I’ve read that pigeons can live into their early 20′s in captivity (with good genes and the correct diet and housing. I think 15 years of age is the average lifespan of a captive pigeon), however, in the wild the average lifespan is 5 years (I don’t know this for certain, just what I’ve read). I hope and wish with all my heart that Elmo and George live well into their late 20′s, early 30′s!

We’ve taken on a long commitment and responsibility by taking these two pigeons into our care. We have to think about their physical and mental wellbeing, and if we want to go on holiday we have to think about pet-sitting, which adds on extra costs to the holiday budget. However, we wouldn’t change things. It is a responsibility and commitment we gladly take on to have them in our lives.

Georgie baby

The only photo I have of George when she was found as a squeaker. Photo courtesy of Stuart Innes.