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Our Christmas tree

Every Christmas we have the same problem. We bring out the tree, the decorations, the lights and the hats and Elmo and Georgie protest – it takes days for Elmo to pluck up the courage to run past the Christmas tree, the twinkling lights annoy Georgie (cue: wing slaps and angry coos), and heavens forbid we dare put on a Santa hat to get into the Christmas spirit!! Elmo HATES them. It’s as if we turn into gremlins when we place them on our heads – Elmo runs a mile, shaking with fear. If we place the hat on the floor Elmo will rush over to kill it.

Last year I attempted to wear one while decorating the tree, jumping about to corny Christmas music and Elmo nearly had a heart attack. So now we can bring out some decorations (but only a few respectable ones) and the Christmas spirit, but we have to make sure we look and behave relatively normal, as if nothing has changed, just another normal day in the calendar year. I guess the neighbours will be glad that we’ve toned down with the amount of lights we put up.

However, I’m seriously thinking that with all this humbug attitude going on I won’t give Elmo and Georgie any special seed presents this Christmas. They certainly haven’t helped so why should I bother?! Maybe the feral flock will be more accepting? :)

Here’s Elmo, our darling clown boy, attacking the Santa hat:

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

I think yesterday’s food experiment went very well, and it seems a lot of people enjoyed it too! :)

I guess this means I need to do some more mini-experiments with Elmo and Georgie. Any ideas?

Seeing as Georgie cannot really see well I don’t think I can do any sight-based tests with her – unless it’s to see how she reacts to different things, e.g. light. We already know that she doesn’t like bright lights shining on her (e.g. torches, camera flash, the little red camera focus light that comes on or any strobe lighting that may be on TV). We also found out that she doesn’t like it when the monitor screen switches from dark to a light background (by opening and closing an application. She’ll flick her wing at the monitor if you do this). She’s such a fussy little thing!

Elmo by all accounts should be a better test subject, however, he’s a bit of a wimp and is easily scared of strange or new things. Even the food experiment was a bit strange for him: you can see how he shakes a bit and is avoiding the new dishes to go straight to something he’s familiar with (the peanuts).

Here’s two videos I tried previously to upload (and failed miserably). The first one should belong in the “My own personal guard” post. Elmo is standing guard at the territory line on the sofa and he’s tolerating my presence. However, he’s keeping an eye on my fingers and camera as I move it about near him. What a sweetheart!

The next one belongs in “Loving that water…“, where Georgie is busy having a bath and Elmo decides he wants one too, however, he doesn’t like it when Georgie moves her tail feathers in his face!

On another subject, the mineral pick-pot I got for Elmo seems to have done the trick. I put it on the kitchen floor between the bin and the fridge, which is the spot where Elmo likes to pick at the wall, and he seems to like it – making a mess by picking out bits off of the block. A very good purchase! Animals always seem to know when they need extra minerals and vitamins and will search for and eat them in the wild, however, indoor animals need your help in providing them with the option. Also important are grit (aids digestion) and oyster shell (provides calcium)!


Today, as I was flicking through some photos I saw one of a pigeon in a pigeon nappy and it reminded me of the bird harness we had bought for Georgie and Elmo a while ago. As I wrote in Pigeon nappies?, it wasn’t a success – Georgie wouldn’t co-operate and Elmo was scared of it – however I was thinking about when we finally take the road trip through Europe and Scandinavia to Finland we will need Georgie and Elmo to be in a harness when we take them out for a stretch when we make pit stops. We cannot risk them flying away accidentally! So I thought we’d give it another go in putting first George in the harness.

And here’s the pretty girl all kitted out:


At first George was not happy with it on, which is understandable since she’s not used to wearing things (what bird is?!), but after the initial walking about like a drunkard Georgie found her harness-legs and didn’t seem too bothered by it. You can imagine our delight!

Here’s her first steps with the harness on:

We were overjoyed with her acceptance and quickly took Georgie outside into the garden. I placed her on the grass and she walked about a bit then decided she wanted to be on me so she flew up into the air and hovered a bit until I placed my hand under her outstretched feet for her to land on. We did this a few more times just to test how safe the harness and lead is and it is now a big success!

Of course we cannot take her out for ‘walkies’ like a dog – and that’s not why we bought the harness – it’s just a safety measure to keep George safe in case she flies up and the wind catches her. Now George and I will be able to sunbathe together in the garden! :)



We now need to try Elmo in the harness, however, since he’s a bit scared of it we’ll need to get him first used to the sight of the harness before we put it on him. After a week or so of the harness near his nest he should realise it is nothing to be afraid of and then we’ll see if he’ll accept the harness on him. Somehow I think he won’t be as accepting! (especially since the harness is blue!)


A while back we posted about Elmo attacking the underside of his nest (in Mood swings) and of being scared of a blue water tray in the garden (in Fly, birdie, fly!). His behaviour got me thinking. … In the old flat I used to wear a big blue bathrobe after having a shower and Elmo was very scared of it. There seems to be a connection here. I think Elmo doesn’t like the colour blue. In some situations he’s scared of the colour and in another he freaks out and attacks the offending coloured object. … I tend to wear blue quite often (my work uniform is blue for instance) and Elmo always attacks me with vigour. … Maybe I need to start wearing more green, which is Elmo’s favourite colour (I guess because it reminds him of all the nice green things he can eat such as lettuce, grass, peas, etc.).

Elmo can be quite intimidating, as demonstrated by this photo:


Imagine waking up to this in the morning?! It’s a look that says, “Wake up now or I’ll peck you!” :D

Today at work I introduced two juvenile pigeons to one another that had been housed seperately until we were sure they were physically fine. One is younger than the other and when I put them together they were at first scared of each other. It was quite sweet how they tried to intimidate the other by puffing their feathers up and lifting their wings ready to wing slap if the other got too close. After a few moments of scared behaviour they realised that neither one was a threat and they relaxed. Then the younger pigeon started squeaking and flapping its wings in welcome and excitement at the older pigeon. In no time both pigeons were squeaking and waggling their wings at each other and gently pecking at each other’s beaks and face. It was so sweet. Two lonely young pigeons now paired together until they are ready to go into an aviary with other juvenile pigeons waiting for release. A good introduction melts my heart, especially when you can see how quickly their behaviours change from scared to friendship (and even love!). Aaah!

I’ve already mentioned that Georgie doesn’t like the light in a camera in the short post Likes and dislikes. I just want to elaborate on this.

Georgie likes to pose in very cute and adorable poses and I often want to photograph her, however, as soon as I press the camera ‘photo taking button’ (whatever it’s called) the little red light goes on as the camera focuses and Georgie sees this and is immediately on the defense! Sometimes she doesn’t notice the red light and I can get the photo, however, if the flash goes off she is very angry/scared and puffs her feathers out.

Here’s an example:


Georgie relaxed on her eggs


Georgie all puffed up after camera flash went off.

All this makes photo taking very difficult because often Georgie moves into a defensive pose before I can get the cute desired photo. Camera shy maybe?