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It was a funny sort of day the other day. It started with heavy rain, so much rain that I thought I’d need to wear waders to get to my car. Then it stopped and the sun came out and all was glorious. But wait, here comes the rain again. I was home for lunch and when the rain stopped I decided to let the pigeons out for a wander on the wet ground.

As soon as Georgie felt her feet in the water she started swishing her beak in the water and I knew what she was wanting – a puddle bath!! :D

So there was Georgie having a whale of a time when I noticed Elmo shaking. He was looking at Georgie intently and shiving all over – he wanted a bath too!!

It was such a joy to watch the two of them bathing so close together without any fighting – they were simply concentrating on the water – water that I was scooping up to drip over them and swishing around their feet. I don’t think they’ve ever had a “wild” bath before – it’s always been tap water – so I’m glad they had a rainwater, puddle bath. It felt like they were going back to their roots as feral pigeons. :)

With the weather being a bit on the wet side (did someone say we’re experiencing a drought in Kent? LOL) we haven’t been able to take Elmo or Georgie out in the garden for a good old sunray-soak. But there was a break in the rain this weekend so Richard decided to try Elmo with the harness in the garden. (Georgie is sitting on eggs and left a note on her cage ordering us to leave her alone.)

And, predictably, Elmo tried to run away from the harness. A bit hard to do when it’s attached to you, but Elmo gave it a shot. With a little bit of love and reassuring, Elmo calmed down and we were able to have a little walk in the garden. A few feral pigeons even came down to see what all the fuss was about. :)

Of course, Elmo only tolerated the harness for about 5 minutes before he wanted to go back inside. But at least he got a few minutes outside before the rain started up again.

I love this first photo of Elmo. He’s looking down at the harness as if to say, “What in the world is that?!!”




Despite not having the strength to fly properly (lack of flight muscles for sustained flight), Elmo likes to flap his wings to exercise:




Richard took Elmo out for his usual after work/evening walk in the garden. Elmo was highly excited because we had come home after leaving him alone for many hours (which sometimes makes me feel guilty. How can we leave him alone for so long?). He pranced out into the garden and did his usual thing: peck at the grass, seed, earth and any other thing that looks interesting. The feral pigeons came down to feed with him. Now this is all something I’ve said before. Nothing new.

However, this day there was an added element: RAIN!

It was raining ever so gently and after being out in the garden for a few minutes a change occured in Elmo. His feathers started to puff out, making him look like a feather duster. He started shaking his head as the rain fell onto his head and into his eyes. Then his body was shaken as he shook out his wings and fanned out his tail to let the rain fall onto his skin and feathers. Elmo was having a bath in the rain!

Of course we were enthralled with the sight and I rushed to get my camera. Then I remembered that I had accidently left it at work. So I rushed to grab our video camera and discovered that its batteries were flat. In desperation I got hold of my mobile phone and attempted to take a photo with it but being the anti-mobile phone user that I am I never really learnt how to use the camera on my mobile so I couldn’t take the photo I wanted. Anyway, next time it rains we’ll chuck Elmo out and record all his silly moments in the rain. :)

It’s raining now; overcast and grey, light rain falling steadily. A moment ago there were 7 wood pigeons in our garden, snapping up the peanuts I had thrown down earlier, however, they all burst into the sky in a quick rapid movement as a squirrel scared them away, claiming the remaining peanuts for itself.

Georgie, Elmo and Miss Minnie Malcolm are not getting along so they are each sat in their respective areas of the living room: Georgie on my leg preening herself, Elmo asleep on Richard’s chest and Minnie by Georgie’s cage on the cabinet (in a minute she’ll hop into Georgie’s cage to steal the seed).

Our pigeons may not be getting along with one another now, but they are warm, dry and safe from the dangers of the outside world. Sometimes I think of all the dangers that wild animals have to endure – especially since man appeared on the scene. Once upon a time wildlife’s biggest problems were predators, bad weather and food shortages. Now they not only have those age old problems but an abundance of others: most man-made!

When you think about all the man-made dangers it’s a wonder that wild animals have survived at all. You’ve got rubbish that animals can get caught in or injest and die from; cars and other vehicles; urbanization; gardening practices that can injure or kill animals (e.g. using a strimmer, putting down poison); pesticides and other poisonous chemicals being dumped into the land and ocean; millions of domesticated animals, e.g. cats and dogs, that hunt and kill wildlife; as well as activites of man that directly kill and maim wildlife, e.g. hunting. What a lovely world! :(

It amazes me how resiliant wildlife can be. Feral pigeons included. Mankind has tried its best to make this world so uninviting but the good ol’ feral pigeons have fought back and continue to populate the world. And how have they done this? By being able to breed all year round, to nest and live anywhere, to have both parents able to produce crop-milk and feed their young, and to have a diet that isn’t picky (fish and chips? Yeah, why not!).

Although it will be incredibly sad to loose all those rare and wonderful species at least we know that some animals will be with us for longer than others (before they too eventually disappear… along with us humans). Doom and gloom? Definately! But that’s just the rain affecting my mood. :)

I’m happy to have my pigeons safe and sound in our flat, cuddled up to us as we read or watch a movie. It’s the same scenario as someone with a dog or a cat. Nothing strange. … But pigeons are way cooler! :D