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Our pigeons love summer. The sunshine, the gentle breeze, the vibrant grass. They love to hang out in the garden doing practically nothing, just enjoying the day without a care in the world. A little bit of preening may be on the schedule, a bit of pottering about to peck at the ground, and then a spot of sunbathing to round things up.

I learn a lot from being with Georgie and Elmo. I slow down and relax, take in the glorious day and enjoy it. It’s a lesson I appreciate. :)


It seems that our move up North has the full approval from our animals. They enjoy exploring our new home, especially visits out in the garden, which I ensure are regular occurences to give them a varied and interesting life. No animal should be stuck in a single place all the time.

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Georgie nibbles my hand.

The other evening, after returning home and letting Elmo out of his secure area, Elmo walked with purpose into the kitchen and waited by the patio doors. I usually spend the evening chilling out after a long day at work, but I simply couldn’t ignore Elmo’s obvious gesture that he wanted to go outside. As soon as I opened the door Elmo hopped out and proceeded to preen himself in the cool evening wind (with me sitting by his side). He was so adorable, it was a pleasure to relax with him.

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Elmo rock climbing!

Elmo also enjoys eating dirt. I believe he does it to receive minerals and little stones to aid digestion. Or he may simply like the taste! :D

Georgie and Elmo continue to tease our cat, Hugo, by insisting on having baths in his water bowls. :) But they otherwise co-exist fine, no real drama to talk about. I still (foolishly) hope that one day they will all fall in love with each other and be one big happy family! Wishful thinking, I know, but miracles can happen (right?). :)

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Georgie has a bath while Hugo watches.

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Wet Elmo!

 

 


Richard and I were on holiday recently and we sadly had to leave our two disabled pigeons at home, however, they were in the care of two lovely pigeon-sitters who ensured the Elmo and Georgie had everything they needed. This would usually mean human company as the top priority, however, this time both pigeons were broody and sitting on fake eggs the whole week. So it was an easy job for the sitters to come in and clean and give fresh food and water with Elmo and Georgie snuggled up in their nests (separate! Elmo sadly hates Georgie). I had to warn the sitters that Elmo WILL attack their feet since he gets very protective when he’s broody. I just hope he didn’t scare them away! :)

Upon returning home Georgie and Elmo decided to leave their eggs alone and snuggle up to us instead and so there was a happy home welcoming. And the weather stayed lovely so I was able to take them both out for some more adventures in the garden!

I think Georgie is the Sunbathing Queen!! :)

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I love taking my pigeons out into the sunshine. They really enjoy it and love to explore the garden. I particularly love looking at Georgie in the sunlight. All the little feathers on her head and face shine and are really distinct. They look amazing! And Georgie has such a delicate little face, she’s a real stunner even though she’s not very colourful.

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Since Elmo can see normally, watching him explore the garden is a joy. He peers into the grass to see if there are any clumps of earth he can peck at and eat, he’ll pick up different twigs and shake them about in his beak, and he’ll play with the long pieces of grass. Elmo often ‘tells’ me when he wants to go outside by standing near the front door. If I haven’t noticed him there he’ll fall alseep, and I’ll find him in that position later and take him out for a play in the garden.

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Here’s Elmo playing with a stick:

Georgie preening in the garden:

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This year we’ve been blessed with a wonderful sunny May Bank Holiday weekend (in the South East of England at least), and I’ve certainly been taking advantage of it and had a wonderful time out with Elmo and Georgie in the garden.

It’s such a pleasure to know that my disabled, indoor pigeons are gaining so much from being in the sun. And I know they enjoy it too because of their behaviour. Georgie wouldn’t stop sunbathing – stretching out her wing and tail feathers to maximise their exposure to the sunshine. She was loving it! … When she started panting I knew she was a bit too hot so I gave her a drink of water and put her in the shade to cool off.

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Elmo simply wanted to stand on the picnic blanket and preen by my side. He kept stepping closer and closer to me in between bouts of preening until he was right against my leg – which he then started tickling with his beak (as if he was preening it).

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I really do hope this summer will be a sunny one so Elmo and Georgie have more goodness in the sun!

Earlier last week I saw a lovely brown coloured feral pigeon in our garden:

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We’ve had one before (see: Brown pigeon) so it may be the parent of this one. Such a pretty colour!


Both Elmo and Georgie had a shower and bath this morning. We then took them out to dry in the sunshine and I must say it was such a lovely morning, so relaxed and peaceful. Our pigeons took the lead and showed us how to have a lazy Saturday out in the garden, preening and soaking up the suns rays. Pigeons know best! ;)

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Georgie (left) and Elmo (right) enjoying the sunshine

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Georgie girl

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Elmo boy

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Elmo has a bit of a flap

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Pigeons in the garden

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"For you."

After coming back into the flat Elmo wanted to spend some time on the windowsill preening and watching the other birds flit about in the garden:

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Aren’t the manuals appropriate for such a flight-challenged pigeon? :D


We’ve had some lovely sunny weather lately and, seeing how it can disappear so quickly, I’ve been taking Georgie and Elmo outside whenever the sun shines in the garden. They both love the sunshine and have been preening, pecking at the grass and dirt, and just enjoying themselves in the heat. Of course, the direct sunshine is good for their bones, feathers, and general health, but I think they just like the heat and the light after a dark winter.

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Georgie

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Georgie

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Georgie yawning

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Elmo

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Elmo

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Elmo


My pigeons feel very vulnerable when they go through their annual moult. Elmo in particular. He’s looking very disheveled and I’m sure he feels that way too. It must be uncomfortable also. They’re preening a lot and pulling out all the old feathers and unsheathing the new ones. To be honest, Elmo is acting in such a way that I can only describe as “I’m feeling ugly. Leave me alone”. He’s very moody towards me and doesn’t want me around him. :(

Georgie is being a bit nicer to me but she’s now in the later stages of her moult and possibly wanting reassurance from me. I don’t know if birds in the wild feel the same as my pigeons do but I imagine they must also feel vulnerable during a moult. It takes energy and time to grow new feathers, and when they don’t have a full compliment of feathers they may be more vulnerable to predators.

As I’m writing this Elmo is on the sofa falling asleep. I want to go over to give him a kiss to reassure him that he’s loved but I’m not sure he’d be happy about that. Usually when I nod my head to Elmo he’ll respond with a nod and then run to his nest to coo to me. But lately he’s not been responding to me and simply stares. … I guess I’ll just have to wait until he’s feeling pretty again before he’ll let me cuddle him.

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Elmo

The above photos shows the few feathers on Elm’s left wing that he tries to preen but only succeeds in fraying and breaking. This may be because of the angle that he’s not able to reach them properly (since Elmo has coordination and mobility problems).


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:

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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. :)

Georgie preening my arm:

Elmo preening my husband’s arm:

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I love living with pigeons!

:D


What a glorious day it has been today! Since the sun decided to make an appearance I quickly set up the run in the garden to give Georgie and Elmo a chance to be out in the sunshine.

And they loved it! It’s been a while since they’ve been outside and they enjoyed every opportunity to soak up some rays (the sun started to play peek-a-boo behind some clouds) and to peck at the grass and earth.

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Pretty Georgie

Since both Elmo and Georgie are disabled and cannot fly properly, we put them in the run for their own safety (not at the same time otherwise Elmo would attack Georgie!). I also had Georgie on the grass outside of the run for a while (when it was Elmo’s turn in the run) and kept a very close eye on her in case she decided to flap into the air and be carried away by the wind.

Elmo is usually a bit scared in the garden but today he was a champ. He saw a bit of dirt and started pecking at it and then preened himself in the sun. He wasn’t bothered by anything.

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Elmo pecking at the ground

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Elmo in the run

I took a little video of Georgie but she wasn’t sure about the camera (you can see her backing away at the sound of the camera in the beginning and end of the video).

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Georgie in the garden


We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas this year. We certainly did. Elmo and Georgie helped decorate the tree by flying up to the top to place the baubles and the star. … Just kidding. Our two pigeons cannot fly that well.

We placed Elmo and Georgie’s presents under the tree and they were certainly intrigued by the shiny packages. :)

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Georgie and Elmo's Christmas presents

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Georgie taking a closer look!

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Elmo is curious too!

Here’s the boy opening his present:

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We thought it was the perfect gift for Elmo because it moves about and is soft so he can preen it (or peck it if he so pleases!). Elmo sure had fun with the yappy puppy!

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Georgie received a soft cuddly hedgehog to have in her cage so she can preen it (since she loves to preen fluffy things). Sadly, Georgie doesn’t like the camera so she rarely lets me take any video of her.

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After we had all opened our presents and there were boxes, wrapping paper and bubblewrap everywhere, Georgie decided to have another look in case we’d missed anything. She loved the bubblewrap!

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We wish everyone a Happy New Year!