Matilda's List - An international list and directory of pigeon friendly veterinarians and rehabbers.
MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue - A division of Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue dedicated to the rescue of doves and pigeons in the San Francisco Bay area.
People for the Preservation of Pigeons - A blog that supports pro-pigeonism, strives to eliminate pigeon persecution and prejudice, and promotes the positive portrayal of pigeons in society.
Pigeon & Pet Chat - A forum where members can discuss all things about pigeons; whether they are pet pigeons, wild pigeons, fancy or homing pigeons.
Pigeon Aid UK - A site that provides advice for those who have picked up a sick, injured or baby pigeon and need guidance.
Pigeon and Dove Rescue - A website aimed at providing help for anyone that has rescued a pigeon or dove by providing details of pigeon friendly rescue centres, vets and guidance on how to care for orphaned, sick or injured pigeons.
Pigeon Angels - A forum dedicated to the support & care of all pigeons, feral or fancy, that find themselves in jeopardy.
Pigeon Blog - A bona fide urban pigeon telling it how it is for the pigeons of London.
Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS) - PiCAS specialises in the provision of non-lethal, holistic and sustainable bird control systems, which will result in a permanent reduction in bird numbers.
Pigeon Control Resource Centre (PCRC) - An online resource for anyone with a pigeon-related problem. All information and advice provided on the website is geared towards completely solving pigeon control problems by the use of humane and non-lethal control methods.
Pigeon Protection - Website aiming to provide accurate information about pigeons and pigeon control in all its forms and to prevent pigeons from suffering and dying as a result of human actions based on misinformation.
Pigeon Tales - Interesting blog following the lives of a family of feral pigeons living with the author.
Pigeon-Talk - A global forum open to all pigeon lovers.
Rescue Report - Wonderful blog about fostering and adopting pigeons (from MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue).
Urban Wildlife Society - Their mission is to promote appreciation for all animals, particularly pigeons, that share the city and suburbs with humans. The website is filled with information and articles about inhumane pest control and offers advice on alternative measures.
Wild Bird Fund - Website for the non-profit organization that provides assistance for wild birds, including feral pigeons, in New York City.
Pet pigeons - what we mean Explaining what we mean when we talk about keeping pigeons as pets. In brief: We mean keeping tame, imprinted or disabled pigeons that would not otherwise survive in the wild.
I’m happy to announce that the problem of Elmo’s unhappiness has been solved!!
Elmo is broody!!!
I’d like to thank everyone for your comments on yesterdays blog post directing us towards this conclusion!!
Last night Richard placed two fake eggs in Elmo’s nest and Elmo IMMEDIATELY sat on them. It was like he has been waiting these past few weeks for Richard to lay them for him (I bet Elmo is thinking, “What took you so long?”). The only reason I originally dismissed the idea that Elmo was broody when we first started noticing his moodiness is because Elmo was attacking Richard as viciously as he was attacking me. In my mind that didn’t add up (why attack your mate?). But having now read back a few of my previous notes about Elmo being broody, this was what he did the last time he was broody. I just didn’t remember it.
I feel bad for Elmo that it took us this long to figure things out. We won’t be making that mistake again. Elmo is now sitting on his eggs and although he is still attacking me, he seems settled and content to be finally incubating. He’s no longer pecking Richard’s fingers and has been twitching happily to him. I am so relieved!!
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.
Elmo in his 'tent'
So you can guess what happened next. … We got Elmo his very own igloo nest and he LOVES it!!
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.
Elmo has finally had enough of Georgie stealing his nest and food. When she wants to lay an egg Georgie prefers to do so in Elmo’s nest, even though he doesn’t like her and will attack her if she gets too close. But Georgie doesn’t stop trying and has succeeded many times (please see: Valentine present, Sneaky George, Sneaky George part 2).
So Elmo is taking revenge. He’s now stealing her nest!! I caught him in the act:
Sometimes I feel that the only thing I write about Georgie is about her laying eggs. Since it is such a common occurance I decided to count how many eggs Georgie has laid in her life so far. I keep a record of her egg laying in my little pigeon notebook (see: Pet Pigeon Book).
The first egg Georgie ever laid – back in the day when we thought she was a boy! – was on the 17th October 2008 (when she was 1 year old).
Georgie with her first egg!
Here are the numbers:
2008 – 2 eggs
2009 – 16 eggs
2010 – 7 eggs
2011 – 8 eggs
2012 – 20 eggs
2013 – 2 eggs so far
All together that makes 55 eggs.
Last year Georgie laid 10 pairs of eggs, almost a pair a month, which is definitely not what I want for her since egg laying is so energy and calcium draining (please read my previous post: The problem of chronic egg laying). I hope 2013 is the year she takes it easy (although we’re not off to a good start with 2 eggs already). I’ll have to try harder not to encourage the behaviour, but it is hard since Georgie is the one that comes to me for affection. How can I deny her a cuddle when I’m all she has?
I just have to ensure that Georgie is healthy enough to handle the egg laying. I have already taken away her nest to discourage nest building, but with the absence of her nest she goes looking for another:
Like any creature on the planet Elmo has days when he’s not ‘feeling it’, if I may use an expression of mine. Sure, we’re all entitled to feeling a bit blue and moody, but when Elmo is in such a mood it worries us since it’s harder to find out why he’s in such a mood. But this mood may only last a day and the next morning he’ll be his usual clownish, attention-seeking self. So we often don’t know the reason behind the behaviour change.
When Elmo is moody he won’t coo to us, nor react to our head-bobbing (a behaviour that often elicits head-bobbing in return, as well as a pigeon strut). He’ll peck our fingers – yes, even Richard’s! – and basically keep to himself – yet, he’ll remain in our company (never going off into a corner).
Now, since birds are notoriously good at hiding illness, such behaviour change can cause alarm. I am aware of this so I am always on the look out for any other signs of illness (e.g. changes in droppings, appetite, feather condition, etc.). Thankfully, I haven’t seen any other signs to worry me that Elmo would be ill – if he was he’d be whisked away to the vet in a heartbeat!
Over the weekend Elmo had one of his mood swings. Since Georgie is incubating her fake egg we thought maybe her broodiness was rubbing off onto Elmo. So Richard placed the other fake egg into Elmo’s nest and that evening Elmo sat on the egg and accepted our offerings of straw to cosy up the nest. The next morning, however, Elmo had rejected the egg and wasn’t interested in it anymore so we took it away. Shame, we thought he’d enjoy being broody again, but we were wrong. (For the story of Elmo’s broodiness, please read the following posts: Elmo is broody!!, Moody Broody Elmo, Broody day three and Eggless Elmo.)
Two years ago Elmo nested on the fake eggs and here’s a video of it:
After a day of Elmo ignoring us it was nice to have him showing some interest – which happened when Richard had his dinner of chicken and rice. Elmo went a bit mad with desire! He wanted some chicken and rice!!
Ok, maybe I should explain, Elmo isn’t a vegetarian. He likes to eat rice, but only if it is coated with some sort of meaty sauce. I kid you not. He’s special that way.
I’m a vegetarian so I find Elmo’s carnivorous/cannibilistic appetite a bit confusing. (Secretly, I think it might simply be the spicing, not the meat that Elmo likes.) The first time Elmo showed this interest we decided to take a video of it for proof:
Sadly, I didn’t take any video of Elmo’s recent meat cravings. I wish I had – his behaviour was hilarious! Elmo was staring at Richard’s plate with such an intensity that I had to warn Richard to move the plate before Elmo jumped onto it. Then Elmo watched Richard’s every move as he ate – begging with his eyes to join in. When he was allowed to peck at a few meaty grains of rice Elmo couldn’t believe his luck. You’ve gotta love him!!
Elmo was being so ridiculous yesterday. I’ve never seen him in such a state. He was utterly jealous of Georgie!
I let Georgie incubate the fake eggs for longer than usual to prevent her from laying another set of eggs too soon since she’s had some health problems with the previous pairs of eggs (see: Vet trip and Updates on Georgie and Elmo) so Elmo hasn’t had any real contact with her or seen her for about a month. Yesterday Georgie decided she’d had enough (and frankly, so had I! I wanted my cuddly pigeon back) and left the nest to join me and you should have seen the look on Elmo’s face!!! He was livid. He couldn’t handle all the attention I was giving Georgie.
Now Georgie is my ‘mate’, while my husband is Elmo’s, so it’s only natural for me to reestablish my bond with Georgie. But Elmo wasn’t impressed. Since I’ve been home more often during the daytime Elmo has decided he likes me and has been bonding with me as well. I think, with Georgie out of the picture for a month, Elmo thought he was top bird!
So when Georgie started to cuddle with me last night on the sofa Elmo raced over and was visibly shaking with jealousy and anger at the sight of me cuddling Georgie. It was hilarious!! As soon as I looked down at Elmo he’d twitch and coo to invite me to cuddle him, but if I ignored him to cuddle Georgie he’d peck my arm to get my attention.
I’ve never seen him this jealous before. Usually Georgie is jealous of Elmo when I give him attention, so it was funny to see Elmo jealous of her! (see: Jealous Georgie!)
I now have two needy pigeons vying for my attention.
Recently I looked through all the photos and videos we have of our Elmo and Georgie and I found some that I hadn’t yet shared with you, so I would like to do so now.
You may remember when I wrote about the tabby cat that visits us (back in November 2011: Elmo meets a cat!). Here’s photos of the cat relaxing on our sofa with an unimpressed Elmo on her back:
The cat (which I believe is female) doesn’t care at all about our pigeons – she’s only interested in us – and we’ve had a lot of fun in seeing Elmo chase her away when he decides she’s taking too many liberties on the sofa with us!
Before Elmo came to live with us he used to live in a household with many cats, rabbits and other birds (for the first 8 years of his life). He used to sleep on the bed with an elderly cat and also had play fights with the rabbits. Elmo now only has to put up with Georgie’s presence (and the occasional visit from the cat) and I’m sure he feels like the king of the home. Elmo probably has lots of precious memories of his previous life. I wish I could have been there to see him as a baby and to watch him play with the cats and rabbits. Sadly, I haven’t been able to get hold of any photos of Elmo from his previous life.
Now that I start work in the afternoons I spend my mornings at home with Georgie and Elmo. Elmo used to always attack me and consider me a threat to his relationship with my husband, but now he’s getting used to my company and requests cuddles and attention.
Here’s Elmo when he discovered Georgie’s empty nest and decided to nest in it himself:
Sometimes, however, Elmo remembers that he’s doesn’t like me (in principle) and will attack my fingers:
In the video you can see Georgie in her nest being all moody and attacking the nest. She does this sometimes before she lays eggs. Silly girl.
Most of the time, though, Georgie is loving and likes to preen my arm. It tickles at first but then Georgie gets really excited and starts to pull at the hairs and skin, which can hurt. Elmo also likes to preen arms. It’s their way of telling us they love us. In the wild a pigeon will preen its mate around the face to strengthen their bond and as a sign of affection. It’s lovely to see and we are honoured that our pigeons preen us.
I’m happy to report that Georgie’s health is back to normal now. She acquired a limp about a month ago after laying an egg, then she laid another set of infertile eggs shortly after, which caused her to become very weak and unable to stand up for long. Our avian vet gave me medication to give her every day to tackle her limp and we upped her calcium and vitamin D supplement intake to boost her strength. It’s taken her a while to recover from the strain of laying eggs so closely after the first set, but we’re so happy to have her back to normal.
I took a photo of Georgie’s chest feathers when she has been sitting on the fake eggs. The feathers are all out of place because she pushes them out to expose the brood patch so the eggs are against her skin.
Georgie's ruffled chest feathers
I realised I had forgotten to tell you about Elmo’s new sleeping arrangements. He used to sleep on the bedside table in our bedroom, however, when we bought a new bed we didn’t realise how much higher it was to the old one – so unfortunately Elmo hurt his foot one day when he lept down from the bed (which he recovered from). And since the bed is higher he no longer is able to jump up onto the bed like he used to do when staying home alone. So we decided that he would be better off if he stayed in the living room on the sofa. He now sleeps there and when we are out for the day, he has the run of the living room, which is bigger than the bedroom so he has more space to explore than he used to.
Yesterday I found Elmo in Georgie’s empty nest. I guess it is payback for all the times Georgie has snuck into his nest.
Elmo in Georgie's nest
Georgie is fast asleep on my lap and I can hear Elmo calling to me on the sofa. They are such wonderful birds but they are often quite demanding with their attention-seeking desires.
With the sun shining so gloriously, I took Elmo and Georgie out into the garden to enjoy it:
Elmo likes to sleep a lot. He’s at that age (coming up to 12 years old this year) that he nods off at any opportunity (in between chasing toes and attacking toys – tiring stuff that is!). So this week I’ve caught Elmo taking a nap in various locations. It seems he’s trying to find the perfect spot.
First I found him on the fluffy mat:
Then next to the window:
And today I caught Elmo taking a nap next to Georgie’s nest, the silly boy:
Georgie is sitting on (infertile) eggs again (she laid a new pair this week) and for some reason Elmo decided to sleep near her. I have no idea why since he hates Georgie. And as you can imagine, Georgie was not impressed with the close proximity. She’s very protective over her eggs and doesn’t like to be disturbed. So she quickly told Elmo off:
After yesterday’s egg laying drama (please read: Valentine present) Georgie is happy sitting on the egg in her own nest. I guess we’ll get a second one tomorrow, although last time Georgie only layed one egg.
I do end up missing Georgie’s company and attention when she’s incubating but I know that it’s probably better for her psychologically to go through the motions than to interrupt her broodiness. She’s such a sweetheart (and sometimes a real pain!) and every day I’m in awe of my pigeons. They are amazing creatures and although their continuous pooping can be a real pain in the backside sometimes, their love and affection towards us is so inspiring.
So far we have captured on video Georgie laying an egg three times. Last year she had layed one in Elmo’s nest, but that time he was on the floor so he didn’t know it.