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We have a new pigeon member in the household. Please give Funky Pigeon a warm welcome! :)

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I’m not sure Elmo is impressed with this new addition.

Elmo has a long history of attacking any soft toy that we try to pair him up with. I guess Elmo really does only have eyes for his human mate, Richard. :D

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I finally went to visit Dora, the other pigeon who used to live with us. Too long a time had passed since I last saw her, so I’m so happy to have seen her the other day at the wildlife rescue centre where she lives (Folly Wildlife Rescue). Sadly, something happened to her mate and he is unable to stand up properly, so he’s being cared for in the intensive care unit. And Dora is there with him for company and support. Pigeons pair for life and if one becomes ill or injured you should always try to keep the pair together or within sight so that they don’t pine for each other.

Dora’s mate, Pidge, is 20 years old this year (hatched in 1993) but we don’t know how old Dora is. When I visited her she seemed to recognise me – giving me the usual pecks and coos – and she was very attentive to Pidge, with gentle preening around his head. I’m praying that Pidge pulls through and regains full mobility so they can go back out into their aviary. Otherwise I may have to convince my other half to let me bring them home for permanent care. I’m sure we can fit a large cage in the corner that the second sofa currently sits in (unused!).

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Beautiful Dora!

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Gorgeous Pidge

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Lovely couple


I tried to take a few relaxed photos of Georgie (she doesn’t like the camera light) and I managed to get a few before Elmo jumped on the desk, wanting a piece of the action. He then tried to mate with my hand before deciding it wasn’t good enough and attacked it!

Georgie girl in the spotlight:

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And here’s Elmo boy:

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And attack!!!

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On the sofa enjoying a TV programme. When I turn my head to see what Georgie is up to I see that she’s on the backrest trying to feed the corner of a cushion. … What a silly girl! She has the cushion in her beak and she’s shaking her head about, trying to regurgitate a bit of food. Then she swings around and dances up and down the sofa backrest before presenting herself to be mated. I just turned back to the TV, totally incapable of commenting on her outrageous misplaced behaviour.

Later that evening I find Elmo picking bits from his mineral pick-pot. He LOVES his pick-pot, so much so that the white patch of feathers on his chest have now turned pink – from all the time he spends leaning against the red minerals!

I tried to take a photo of him with his head in the pot but Elmo became too excited over the camera and wasn’t cooperating. Sadly, this photo doesn’t show the delicate shade of pink his feathers are now. They may look white, but trust me, they are pink! :)

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Elmo by his beloved pick-pot


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)


I find it almost unbearable to listen to a single male pigeon coo desperately for a mate. It tugs at my heart. I must find the pigeon a mate!

In the resident pigeon aviary at work there are two single males and one single female pigeon. The female, Birdie, is not interested in pigeons at all, only humans, so she pretty much ignores the single males who were desperate to mate with her when she first arrived.

Button, one of the single boys, has been quite patient in his wait for a mate, but Davey boy, the other single boy, has been cooing and dancing every day in his attempt to attract a mate – or rather, to steal a mate from the other males.

So when two racing pigeons arrived at work in need of a home my hopes were raised that they were female. One laid an egg shortly after arriving, so she is obviously female. But we’re still not sure about the other one. Only one way to find out: Mix them with the others and see what happens!! :)

But let me tell you first about the confirmed female racing pigeon, whom I’ve named Davina.

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Davina

She was brought to my work because of the “mess” she and her feral pigeon mate was making on a couple’s property. She hadn’t flown home after a race and had taken up residency in Kent with her new mate. The couple caught her and took her to Devon where they released her, hoping she would fly back to her original home. … She made it back to Kent before them. … For fear that something bad may happen to Davina if we released her, we made the decision to try her in Dora’s and Pidge’s aviary. Davina is a lovely blue bar and immediately paired up with Button, much to poor Davey’s annoyance. He tried so hard to woo her but she only had eyes for Button. Button is naturally extremely happy with his beautiful mate.

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Button (left) and his new mate, Davina (right).

The second racing pigeon arrived with a broken wing, which is actually locked down in position and the pigeon cannot lift it at all at the moment. I’ve given the pigeon a unisex name: Jules. :)

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Jules

When Jules was put into Dora’s aviary Davey was ecstatic. Have a look:

I’m praying that Jules is female and that she falls madly in love with Davey. He so deserves it!

:D

Here’s a list of all the current resident pigeons (fancy or disabled) at my work:

  1. DORAfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Pidge)
  2. PIDGEmale - feral pigeon (paired with Dora)
  3. GERTIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Marmaduke)
  4. MARMADUKEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Gertie)
  5. FLEURfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Marmalade)
  6. MARMALADEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Fleur)
  7. MADDIEfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Lord Nelson)
  8. LORD NELSONmale - West of England Tumbler breed (paired with Maddie)
  9. PEACHESfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Stanley)
  10. STANLEYmale - feral pigeon (paired with Peaches)
  11. SPECKLESfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Horatio)
  12. HORATIOmale - Highflyer/Tippler breed (paired with Speckles)
  13. LUMIfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Turk)
  14. TURKmale - Turkish Takla breed (paired with Lumi)
  15. MOUSIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Rudderford)
  16. RUDDERFORDmale - feral pigeon (paired with Mousie)
  17. TUXfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Burko)
  18. BURKOmale – feral pigeon (paried with Tux)
  19. DAVINAfemale – racing pigeon (paired with Button)
  20. BUTTONmale - feral pigeon (paired with Davina)
  21. JULES – racing pigeon (single)
  22. DAVEYmale - feral pigeon (single)
  23. BIRDIEfemale - feral pigeon (single)

Late last year two fancy pigeons were brought to my work because they had been found in the wild unable to cope with being out of captivity (they had either escaped or been stupidly released). They came in separately, but once they were put in an aviary together they promptly fell in love. :)

One is a male West of England Tumbler and the other a female of unknown breed (possibly a mix. Any ideas?).

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West of England Tumbler pigeon on the right

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Unknown fancy breed on the left

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They love each other!

We found them a forever home since the resident aviary at work is full, and the day I put them in their carrier to wait for their transporter was a loud one. As soon as the male Tumbler started cooing to his mate all the other pigeons in the Intensive Care Unit started cooing too. He also set off the baby pigeons we had in there. Just listen:

What darlings!! :)


A few days ago I spent a bit of time in Dora’s aviary at work – to check up on the resident pigeons there (a mixture of fancy, tame, and disabled pigeons), as well as to spend some time with Dora who used to live with us at home.

One thing I noticed immediately was that all the nesting pigeons (on fake eggs) were male pigeons, except for Dora! She was the only female to be incubating eggs. I don’t know why her mate, Pidge, wasn’t on duty – maybe Dora is a pushy girl and didn’t trust his commitment? Maybe Pidge isn’t as broody as he should be? Whatever the reason, it was quite funny to see the girl in her nest bowl, cooing away to Pidge while he pranced about on the perch to me (Pidge likes people as well as pigeons).

And as soon as I put my hand over to stroke her, Dora gave me the usual greeting:

Here’s Horatio (paired with Speckles) on incubating duty:

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Horatio in his nest

And the new pigeon, Burko, (paired with Tux) is a very good mate – protecting his fake egg from my intruding fingers:

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Burko in his nest

Rudderford has been through a moult and his new tail feathers aren’t as tatty as the previous ones, although I suspect they will soon fray at the ends again since he has trouble standing up properly (due to an injury).

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Rudderford


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Button

Yesterday I introduced you to Button, a disabled feral pigeon who is desperate for a mate. I thought he would be a good match for my disabled pigeon, Georgie (read: Pigeon matchmaking – part 1).

Last weekend I brought Button home and we sectioned off a part of the living room (with sections of a wire rabbit run) for him to get used to us and our pigeons. Button is a feral pigeon that was found as an adult unable to fly (from a dislocated/broken wing) and was cared for by his rescuers for 8 months. So although he is tolerant of people he doesn’t like to be approached or touched.

I thought that in order for a pigeon to fall in love with Georgie then they would have to be a friendly or tame pigeon that isn’t imprinted to humans. That way the pigeon wouldn’t be afraid of us but would also not be too interested in us to ignore Georgie.

I could hardly contain my excitment in the pigeon matchmaking. I watched Button’s every movement and curious glances. I let him walk about in his sectioned-off area and had to stop myself from putting Georgie in with him immediately. I knew that Button would be afraid and unsure about his new surroundings – espcially because of Elmo’s advances! Elmo came charging over, cooing and dancing on his side of the fence, basically letting Button know that Elmo is the king of the house and that Button better watch out! Elmo does not welcome pigeon intruders.

After about an hour of Button exploring and getting used to his surroundings I placed Georgie on the floor by the fence and watched with bated breath. Sadly, the “love at first sight” reaction I was hoping for didn’t happen.

Button was not attracted to Georgie. He didn’t respond to her presence for a long time. Only after I started to pet Georgie and she got excited did Button react a bit but not in the excited “Wow, you’re gorgeous and I want to marry you” type of behaviour I was hoping for. So you can imagine my utter disappointment.

However, I knew that I was being too hasty. Afterall, Button had only been with us for a few hours! So the next day I continued to watch what Button did and how he responded to seeing Georgie walking about the flat. I knew that soon he’d find his voice and start calling to her. And I was right. On the third day (Sunday) Button began to coo a lot. He was establishing his territory and calling for a mate.

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Georgie (foreground) and Button in the background.

Georgie, despite her sight problems, knew that there was another pigeon in the house the instant I had placed Button’s cage down. She was very curious and kept walking up to it and when we put the fence up she kept trying to get through it. She knew that there was a pigeon there and she wanted to say hello. So when Button started calling, Georgie came running!

She danced and pranced to his cooing and I was as excited as she was. Here’s the moment, it is now happening: Georgie will have a pigeon mate!

I placed Georgie on the other side of the fence and thought I would see a lovely pairing. I was sadly wrong.

Button attacked Georgie and so I quickly took her away. When Button started calling to her again I placed her back with him, however, all attempts ended up the same way. Button would coo and call to her and when Georgie got too close he’d attack her. I couldn’t let it happen anymore so I seperated them for good.

Button wants a mate but he doesn’t want Georgie. :(

Here’s their first meeting through the fence. As you can see, Georgie is responding to Button’s cooing but he’s not really giving her the proper “come hither” coo nor is he dragging his tail feathers when he prances about. All this shows me that he’s not really into Georgie, rather, he’s just being territorial.

In the end, Georgie also didn’t want anything to do with Button and she ignored him. I was very sad about it because I knew how much Georgie wanted to befriend Button. However, I wasn’t going to let him attack her every time she tried to come close, so I took Button to work on Monday and placed him in Dora and Pidge’s aviary to find a mate in there. There are a few un-mated female pigeons that I’m sure he’ll court and eventually pair up with. So although it didn’t work out for Georgie and Button, I know that Button will be happy and Georgie is still very happy with me as her mate.

Here’s the naughty boy in his new home:

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Button in the aviary

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Button with Davey and Teresa (the white pigeons behind Button)

So my search for a pigeon mate for Georgie continues. I know that one day I’ll find her a suitable mate, it will just take time. I’m not going to force anything though. I don’t want to stress Georgie out by parading numerous male pigeons in front of her. I know that one day a special male pigeon will come by who will be perfect for her.

My criteria now is: a flight-abled pigeon (because he’ll have to be able to get away from angry Elmo) that is friendly to humans but not imprinted. Should I place a lonely hearts ad for Georgie? :)


For quite a while now I’ve had the feeling that Georgie would like to have a pigeon mate.

As many of you know Georgie has distorted and limited vision because of the scarring on her eyes which is why she was hand-raised and is therefore very tame. Georgie is bonded to myself, however, she does react to Elmo’s cooing and often approaches him when he’s calling out lovingly to Richard (never to Georgie! Elmo cannot stand Georgie and is completely imprinted to humans and loves my husband, Richard).

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Georgie on my lap

Georgie responds to my voice and will dance and coo when I call her name or sing to her. She’ll also often present herself for mating when I talk to her. In this way, I know that Georgie thinks I’m her mate and hears what she wants when I talk to her (whatever I’m saying to her is lost in translation). When I see Georgie responding to Elmo’s pigeon talk, I know that she understands him and mistakingly thinks that Elmo is talking to her when he’s in fact cooing to Richard.

So I’ve been wanting to find Georgie a pigeon mate to give her the full pigeon interaction that I cannot give her (e.g. preening, proper pigeon cooing). However, previous experience has taught me that other pigeons don’t know quite how to react to seeing her eyes and her slightly non-pigeon behaviour (Georgie’s movements and reactions to other pigeons is different because of her limited vision). Both Dora and Minnie tried to peck Georgie’s eyes at first.

At one point I was worried that male pigeons wouldn’t be attracted to Georgie because of her eyes. I needed to know how other male pigeons besides Elmo (who doesn’t think he’s a pigeon at all anyway) would react to Georgie, so we took her once to Dora’s aviary to see what would happen. Most of the male pigeons came down to dance and coo to her. Whether it was to say they liked her or to show her who’s boss, I don’t really know. One male was quite insistent and pushy (he kept bumping his chest against her), and in the end Georgie told him to back off with a swift peck!

So what am I getting at here? Well, a few weeks ago a feral pigeon came to my work who I thought might just fit the bill for Georgie. He is disabled (dislocated/broken wing), tolerant of people (he had been living with the couple who found him for about 8 months), and is desperate for a mate. When I heard that this pigeon, called Button by his carers, needed a mate and a new home I thought he would be a perfect match!!

I brought Button home last weekend and couldn’t wait to introduce him to Georgie, however, I knew that I had to take things slowly and not force the situation. Richard and I put up a small room divider to keep Elmo from attacking Button (which is Elmo’s first reaction to any pigeon intruder) and we let Button get used to his surroundings.

Here’s the handsome boy stepping out of the travel cage to explore:

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Button takes his first steps

And here’s Button on top of his travel cage cooing his head off:

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Button cooing

A lot happened that weekend, however, it’s getting late now so I will write about it another day.