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Pidge

1993 – 2014

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Rest in Peace

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of Pidge on the 11th June, 2014, at the age of 21. In the past year Pidge’s health had deteriorated but he remained in good spirits and was cared for with love and devotion by his mate and the staff at Folly Wildlife Rescue. In the last months, as he was unable to walk very well, Pidge spent his days with his original carer, Annette.

Pidge was the first feral pigeon hand-reared and cared for by Annette (my former employer) at Folly Wildlife Rescue. He came to her as an orphaned baby in 1993 and she fell in love with him. Pidge lived as a free-flying pigeon for many years until he had a close-encounter with a sparrowhawk, after which it was decided that he would be safer in a large aviary with non-releasable pigeons.

All the staff and volunteers at the rescue centre fell in love with Pidge. He had charm and character and would entertain us with his behaviour all the time. Pidge would strut and coo to anyone who visited him. He LOVED people! He had such enthusiasm! Without fail, Pidge would fly over to me to greet me when I would enter his aviary to feed and clean. You couldn’t help but laugh and greet him back with joy. I believe he was the first pigeon that I met that opened my eyes to how wonderful pigeons are. It is possible to say that without meeting Pidge I may never have adopted my own pigeons.

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Pidge

Pidge wasn’t only interested in people, he also found love with a resident pigeon, Dora, and was very devoted to her. They were definitely the “celebrity couple” in the aviary, being so pretty and outgoing. Dora stayed by Pidge’s side when he fell ill, defending him from intruding hands (staff members who tried to clean the cage they were in) and giving him lots of cuddles and affection when he was unable to move about easily.

I can say for certain that Pidge will be greatly missed. He was a wonderful pigeon. Rest in peace, dear boy.

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If you would like to donate to Folly Wildlife Rescue in memory of Pidge, please visit their website: www.follywildliferescue.org.uk

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You can read more about Pidge on my previous posts: Pidge and the resident pigeons

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Pidge with his mate, Dora:

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For those who doubt the awesomeness of pigeons here’s some interesting facts for you: 17 ways that pigeons are cooler than humans by Megan McCormick

And some funny photos: 23 pictures that prove pigeons are actually the best by Tanner Ringerud

This website puts it nicely too: 21 reasons you should appreciate pigeons by Stephen Messenger

So, after reading all that, do you agree with me? Pigeons are amazing! :D

This Friday, the 13th of June, is Pigeon Appreciation Day and people around the world will be spreading the word and celebrating all that is wonderful about pigeons! Join us!!

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HAPPY PIGEON APPRECIATION DAY!!

The purpose of Pigeon Appreciation Day is to spread the word that pigeons are wonderful birds that don’t deserve the dislike and hatred they often receive.

Pigeons are amazing. I could list down all the amazing things they can do and have done - such as saving peoples lives in WWI and WWII. Thirty-two pigeons received the PDSA Dickin Medal for their life-saving action in conflict! - but I believe the list would go on and on since there are so many wonderful things about pigeons.

Don’t believe me? Well have a look at the videos of our two disabled pigeons, Elmo and Georgie, and see how lovely pigeons are: www.youtube.com/PigeonsAsPets

So please don’t dismiss the humble feral pigeon. They are intelligent, caring, and loyal birds. They are also full of character – as anyone who has had close contact with a tame pigeon will testify!

There are many, many people around the world who, through rescuing an injured or orphaned pigeon, now have a wonderful companion living by their side. We, at Pigeons as Pets, have personally received emails from many of these people telling us their story and sharing photos and videos of their pet pigeons. We feel privaleged to see into their world.

I believe that by celebrating pigeons on this day every year for years to come we all will help dispel the myth that pigeons are dirty and diseased. Humans once loved pigeons – they were used for food and as messangers, and their faeces were highly prized as fertiliser – and I think we will learn to love pigeons once again! (But hopefully not to use them for food anymore.)

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Two feral pigeons

A good way to show your appreciation is to support a pigeon-friendly charity, sanctuary or organisation. Here are a some suggestions:

Last year there were many posts about Pigeon Appreciation Day, so I think we need to keep up with the good publicity and promote pigeons!! :D

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Celebration time!

Our previous years posts: www.pigeonsaspets.co.uk/category/pigeon-appreciation-day

Finally, Elmo and Georgie both want to thank you for all the suppport and love!! It is so nice to hear from you, especially when you share photos and videos of your wonderful pigeons!


Remember when I wrote about Elmo stealing Georgie’s igloo nest? (see: Elmo takes revenge).

Well, Georgie reclaimed her nest and Elmo was left feeling bereft. He kept walking up to the place where the igloo nest used to be and he’d stand there looking lost and a bit sad. So I made him a little tent for him to sit under but he wasn’t very impressed with my efforts.

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Elmo in his 'tent'

So you can guess what happened next. … We got Elmo his very own igloo nest and he LOVES it!!

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Elmo in his new nest

When I first placed it down Elmo spread his tail feathers out and started cooing and dancing to the nest, as if he was courting it!! I could tell he was very impressed. :)

So now both pigeons have two nests to choose from each (the guinea pig bed as well as the cat igloo bed) and there shouldn’t be any disputes over property.


Living with pigeons is amazing. The love and affection they show us is incredible and I truly believe that every child should grow up with pigeons to care for. You can learn so much from observing them. Pigeons are intelligent, comical, beautiful, loyal, and of course loving. I couldn’t imagine how my childhood would have been if I had been deprived of learning to care for animals or watching pigeons in the city. Animals brighten my day and those short times when I didn’t have a pet, I knew I was missing something special.

Although I never ever thought as a child that I’d end up with pigeons in the house. Dogs, rats, gerbils and guinea-pigs? Yes! But pigeons? Never even crossed my mind. :)

Nowadays you’ll often find me on the sofa with a pigeon by my side. Sorry, with a pigeon on me. Whenever I’m on the sofa Georgie will leap onto my lap, demanding to nestle down. Once settled she is the most content little pigeon in the world, all relaxed, safe and comfy. Elmo will usually be in his nest, twitching his wings and cooing softly to call me over. If I look at him he’ll go into spasms of excitment (i.e. the wing twitching goes up a notch and his coos increase in volume!) as he anticipates my hand coming over to stroke him. What a darling!

Having said all of this, there are days my pigeons drive me mad with their attention-seeking and demands. Take today, for instance. Georgie insists on sitting on my lap for cuddles despite me obviously being busy with my knitting. Georgie grabs hold of the needles and shakes them about, which of course makes it difficult for me to continue. If she’s quick enough she may even pull them out of the knitting, leaving me with open stitches just itching to unravel!! Infuriating… and yet, so cute. Even when I’m screaming in my head, I give Georgie a kiss and a cuddle and tell her how cute she is. Georgie is of course oblivious to my frustration. She simply accepts my affection and settles down for a nap. If I need to get up for any reason, I have to carry her with me.

Elmo is much the same – very needy! He likes to find places to attract me over to (e.g. Georgie’s nest) by cooing loudly and he won’t be quiet unless he falls asleep. … Which he usually does since I think he’s a bit narcoleptic. So I know that any cooing episodes from Elmo will be short-lived. Not so with Georgie. She can coo and coo forever!!

There are some traits in Elmo that make me giggle. When he’s nodding off he’ll usually open one of his eyes slightly to see if I’m still sitting near him. If I give him the smallest, almost imperceptible nod he’ll immedately start twitching and nod his head back. Sweetheart!

The other is that Elmo can be quite fickle. One minute he’ll be attacking my fingers – peck, peck, die, die – then he’ll notice something he likes and run away to court it. Then he’ll give me his “I’m interested in you” coo and start to court my hand. When I hear him cooing in his “I’m interested in you” voice in another room I know he’s found a sock or shoe (or other item on the floor) that’s perked his interest and that he’ll be puffing out his chest and dancing to the inanimate object with gusto.

I love my pigeons!! :D


Elmo and Georgie send their love this Valentine’s Day
to everyone who appreciates pigeons!!

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Georgie and Elmo send their love!

The first photo had to be shot very quickly before they attacked each other. Sadly they don’t love each other, but they do love you!!

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Georgie

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Elmo


Pigeons love to bathe. Anyone who has observed pigeons will notice this. And because of this wonderful pastime that is such a delight to watch I’ve written numerous posts about my bathing (and showering) pigeons.

So, what went wrong? Why have Elmo and Georgie suddenly decided that they no longer want a bath? … Sure, they’ll try to have a bath in their tiny water bowl next to their food, but when I go buy a large plastic container for them to have a good soaking in, they reject it!! They’ve even rejected having a bath in the other dishes and containers they used to bathe in. I don’t understand what has happened. When I see Georgie trying to bathe in her water bowl, I’ll quickly get the large dish out and ready but when placed into it, Georgie will simply jump out and walk away. Elmo does the same. … I have to admit, I am completely stumped as to why they are behaving like this.

As far as I can tell nothing has changed, but something, in their minds, has turned their minds away from bathing in the large bowls. I guess I’ll have to leave them to bathe in their tiny water bowls – which is actually quite a funny thing to watch since they obviously cannot get the desired soaking, despite all their attempts.

Here are some photos of Elmo and Georgie in their bathing heyday:

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Elmo in the dish he used to like bathing in

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Georgie happily soaking in the bathroom sink

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Elmo chilling out in the sun

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Georgie bathing in a large bowl


One of my favourite days is finally upon us! :)

Pigeon Appreciation Day!!

Spread the word – spread the love – it’s time to celebrate Columbiformes around the world!!

Today is about showing our appreciation – worldwide – and letting other people know that we appreciate pigeons for what they are: loyal, funny, loving, and intelligent birds who, given the chance, will make a strong connection with people.

Our disabled pet pigeons, Elmo and Georgie, would like to wish everyone a very Happy Pigeon Day! They gathered all their pigeon toy friends to join in the celebration:

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Elmo

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Georgie

It has been raining the past few days but today the sun peeped out and chased the rain away, so the visiting pigeon flock enjoyed their bountiful breakfast in our garden in the glorious weather, although the squirrel scared them away from the seed dish to scoff his face (never one to miss a free breakfast!). I knew this was most likely going to happen so I spread the seed throughout the garden to ensure that everyone got something to eat.

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On Facebook 656 people have indicated they will celebrate today: Pigeon Appreciation Day 2012

To find like minded people:


There are a few things Elmo is afraid of. In order of the most scary thing:

  1. Hats and helmets – he’s scared of anyone wearing a hat or helmet.
  2. Vacuum cleaner – but then again, who isn’t? :)
  3. Feathers – yes, Elmo is in fact afraid of any feathers lying about, and will peck at them vigorously to make them go away. However, if we hand him a feather he will most likely take it to his nest as bedding.

Other people have told me that their pigeons are afraid of sunglasses and towels on heads. What about yours?

Things Elmo likes to attack:

  1. Toys
  2. Pens
  3. My toes
  4. My hands

Bizarrely, Elmo loves my heels! He’ll coo to them romantically and do a little dance, however, if I show him my toes, he’ll attack them.

In January, 2010, I posted the following:

Likes and Dislikes

Georgie likes: Revati (a.k.a. mummy), popcorn, peanuts, hot chocolate, brioche, cuddles, being sung to, baths and sunbathing.

Georgie dislikes: torches, camera light and socks on feet.

Elmo likes: Richard (a.k.a. daddy), popcorn, peanuts, cuddles, fluffy socks, shoelaces, baths, grass, earth, the colour green, cooked rice, and men.

Elmo dislikes: Georgie, hats, towels on head, pens, feathers and women in general.

Georgie no longer likes popcorn or peanuts, and I have no idea why, she just stopped eating them. But she will still try to drink my hot chocolate, although she is strictly forbidden to do so since chocolate is very poisonous to birds. She still hates any lights shining on her such as torches or camera lights. And she loves to peck at socks, especially if you wiggle your toes. :D


Davey has a mate – finally!! :D

I’m so happy to announce the romance between Davey and Jules!

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The happy couple: Jules (left) and Davey (right)

If you don’t know about Davey’s plight please read: Once again, pigeon matchmaking

Last week I had to take Jules away from the aviary because one of the pigeons had pecked her and she was bleeding around her right eye. Thankfully, there was no damage done and after receiving pain relief medication and a few nights away to recover she was fine. While Jules recuperated I went into the resident aviary to see what could have been the problem and quickly identified that a lack of nesting sites was probably the main issue. A few of the flighted pigeons had taken up the hutches on the floor to nest in instead of using the nests on the shelves higher up, which left the flightless pigeons (from broken wings) no place to nest. So Jules had probably tried to go into one of the occupied hutches and was attacked.

I found some empty hutches and put them in the aviary and the nestless couples went to investigate the new properties.

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Property to rent!

Button, who has a broken wing, and his flighted mate, Davina, decided the top hutch was the perfect spot to nest in. Button manages to get to the top hutch by hopping from the log to the hutch. They seem very happy together and I heard Davina’s loving coos to Button when I went to take a photo.

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Davina (left) and Button (right) in their new home

Davey and Jules have taken up residency in the bottom hutch! Which means that every couple now has a place to nest in and peace should reign. … But pigeons can be such territorial little sods that I’m sure the males will be visiting each spot to see if it is better and if they can turf the occupiers out. C’est la vie!

I love this photo of Davey marching into his home to greet Jules:

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Davey entering the hutch

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Jules (left) and Davey (right)