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We wish our darling, funny boy a very happy hatchday! Elmo is now 13 years old! :)

HAPPY HATCHDAY, ELMO DEAR!

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Elmo enjoyed his birthday treats (with Georgie trying to join in) and had some exercise in the garden. He loves it out there! :)

For those of you who are not familiar with Elmo’s story, please read the following short bio:

Elmo is a feral pigeon and hatched in 2000. He was found as a baby with paramyxovirosis which he recovered from but was left with permanent damage (such as balance problems and inability to fly properly). He was living indoors with a lady and became imprinted on humans, craving their attention.

In 2008 Elmo was brought to a wildlife rescue centre for rehoming after his owner was unable to continue to look after him.

Due to his unique nature Elmo had to be rehomed to a household that could give him the attention and care he needed, since Elmo doesn’t like other pigeons at all and wouldn’t be happy in an aviary. The staff at the rescue centre knew that since we already had an indoor pigeon, we most likely wouldn’t mind having another one, so when they asked us if we could adopt Elmo it didn’t take us long to say yes!

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Being inspired by the post Planting Greens For Your Pigeons and Doves on The Rescue Report – and knowing how much Elmo loves lettuce and cabbage – I decided to grow some greens for Elmo to eat.

Elmo is very attracted to anything green – in fact, my green work uniform always puts him in a good mood towards me. As soon as I change into my normal clothes he reverts back to pecking me with gusto! It’s amazing. One minute I’ll be in my uniform and Elmo wants to feed me and hang out with me, the next minute I’ll change and Elmo will view me as the enemy. I don’t know what he sees when he looks at me in the uniform. Strange. :)

So when my husband and I were at the garden centre I had a look at different salad/vegetable seeds available to plant. Since I’m not very good at keeping plants alive I didn’t want to buy anything that would be too complicated to grow (my fern and two cacti are still alive but I think it’s pure dumb luck), so I chose a cress growing kit to start with.

Elmo watched me “plant” the seeds with interest and after a few days (after careful watering) some growth could be seen.

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I was excited. Soon ideas of sprouting seeds and beans as well as growing a lush garden of salads and other greens sprang into my mind. I was to be the queen of the garden! I had visions of Elmo gorging himself on the fresh food with enthusiasm and appreciation. It was to be a magical new era for us.

Sadly, this was not the case. The cress grew beautifully and I was as proud as anything. I placed the cress in front of Elmo and he simply glanced at the cress and walked away. He wasn’t even intrigued. Not one bit.

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As you can imagine I was heart-broken. After all my hard gardening work and fretting over the seeds – waiting, wishing, hoping for a strong crop – Elmo didn’t even want to try it. Is it because it was cress? Would Elmo prefer something else? I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to go through all that work a second time if he’s not going to appreciate it. :D

I have to say, though, the cress went beautifully with the cream cheese on the sesame seed bagel I had for lunch. :)

Maybe Elmo would have tried the cress if it was in a bagel?


Georgie‘s food and water is in her cage on the chest of drawers in the living room. When she’s hungry she usually tries to fly to her cage – and fails miserably since she’s not a very good flier; generally flying backwards. So I have to pick her up and place her in the cage so she can eat and drink.

If, however, I’m out of the room and Georgie decides she wants a snack, she’ll first try to get to her cage, end up on the floor, then swiftly walk over to Elmo‘s feeding station (that’s on the floor) and steal his food.

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Georgie stealing Elmo's food

You may ask why Georgie’s cage isn’t on the floor too so she can access it easily? Well, firstly, it can get a bit cold on the floor so her cage is higher up, and secondly, there is no space to put her cage on the floor (it fits perfectly on the chest of drawers). Georgie knows she’s not allowed to take Elmo’s food – he’ll attack her if he finds her in it – but she’s crafty and determined, and will try her luck! :)

I caught her in action yesterday:

To test her determination I once blocked the entrance of Elmo’s feeding station. Georgie, not to be outdone, jumped over the side!! :D


We received a wonderful Valentines present at work this year: a little pigeon squab!! So of course I had to name him “Valentine”. It was love at first sight. Actually, it was love at first squeak! I could hear him through the box he was transported in. A little “squeeaak, squeeaak”. The volunteer driver said that the baby had been talking to him throughout the journey.

I peered into the box and there sat a fat little dumpling, yellow fluff on his head, light grey feather quills sticking out like a pin cushion:

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Valentine pigeon. 14th Feb 2011

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14th Feb 2011

Valentine received lots of love and attention, was fed and put in a cosy nest in an incubator and he’s been steadily growing into a fine looking feral pigeon:

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Valentine on the 18th Feb

We’ve kept talking and cuddling to a minimum because we want him to remain as wild as possible so we can release him when he’s ready. Valentine has a teddy bear to cuddle up to though, so he’s got some soft comfort when he’s not being fed.

Today another baby pigeon (a bit older) arrived so once we’ve established that he’s healthy, he’ll be put with Valentine for company. That way they will both retain their pigeon identity and be releasable. :)

I’ve been feeding Valentine a bird rearing formula in liquid form, however, I wanted to provide him some solid food to aid his growth, so I gave him some seed from a jar:

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I got the idea when I saw the following website: Bottle Feeding A Baby Pigeon and I have to say it works a charm! :)

Valentine new immediatly what to do when he felt the seed against his beak and started gobbling it all down. He became very excited and flapped about in joy:

We all love this little fella and are eager to see him grow up into an adult pigeon. I’m particularly interested to see his colouring because at the moment he’s very light grey with only a bit of black on the wing tips and a bit of white near his rump. He’s very beautiful. I’ll keep you updated on his progress! :)


No, we didn’t have pigeon on the menu! (Many people jokingly suggested it! For shame!) However, we did try to incorporate pigeons and birds in our Christmas decorations. We’ll try to go all out next year, but for now we are happy with the few purchases we made:

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I have to admit that yesterdays Christmas card was Photoshopped – because there is no way that we could have orchestrated a peaceful photo shoot with Elmo and Georgie standing together on the Christmas tree. So with a bit of magic, Richard put the following two photos together.

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We think that Elmo approved of the tree.

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Georgie wasn't too sure about the tree.

Georgie is still on her fake egg, and she seems happy so I didn’t take it away yet. She didn’t want to celebrate Christmas with us – she is too dedicated to her egg to leave it.

Elmo, on the other hand, got what he wished for: pine nuts and lots of love. We didn’t have to get him anything else – he is one happy pigeon! :)

Last year Georgie was more interested in Christmas. Here she is sneaking a peak under the tree to see if she’s got any presents:

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And I got what I wanted for Christamas: a wonderful pigeon necklace! Thank you hubby!! xxx

Pigeon in Flight Pendant Necklace by SunshowerCreations on Etsy

I threw out lots of seed and peanuts for the birds in the garden on Christmas Day, and immediately the woodpigeons that roost in the big tree on the other side of the hedge came down to gobble up all the food (with a feral pigeon to join them):

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I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and have given their pet pigeons or their local wild ones lots of love!! Merry Christmas!


It snowed quite a bit last night and this morning we woke up to a white-washed world of coldness and peace.

The fox had obviously visited (as you can see from the paw prints in the first photo) and throughout the morning I watched blue tits, great tits, coal tits, dunnocks and robins visit the feeder (I had to go out to clear the snow off of it first). I also left a tray of seed for the pigeons but they didn’t come down to eat. Even the squirrels seemed reluctant to approach the seed tray, so I then had to stamp out an area flat and spread the seed on the ground for them.

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Elmo was very restless this morning and he seemed excited about the change in the landscape. Richard held him up to the window so he could see out and Elmo was shivering a bit as he looked curiously at the snow. We could see that he wanted to go out to explore this weird stuff, so later Richard put the harness on Elmo and took him out. As you might already know, Elmo doesn’t particularly like the harness and so he wasn’t impressed with having to wear it – he tried to run away from it when he was indoors and kept pecking at it. Only once he had relaxed did Richard take Elmo out into the garden.

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Once out though, Elmo didn’t seem to understand that he’s too heavy to stand on the fresh snow so he freaked out a bit when he kept sinking into it and had to be quickly rescued (as you can see in the video).

When Richard took the harness off of him, Elmo quickly came over to me and sat next to me on the sofa. It was quite funny actually to see how quickly Elmo took refuge in me rather than Richard. I think Elmo was upset with Richard and so he came over to me for comfort. … Don’t worry, he forgave Richard a few minutes later – but only after Richard had thoroughly apologised with head bows, cuddles and peanuts.

The squirrels, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy burrowing in the snow and leaping about. It’s so lovely to watch. I also love watching dogs play in snow – they have so much enthusiasm and joy – and they really seem to appreciate the fun in rolling about in the wonderful stuff.

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I have to admit, I get very home sick when it snows this much in England. It takes me back to white Christmases, sauna, ice skating, skiing, sleighing and snow-ball fights! Although Finnish winters can be very brutal in its darkness and coldness, there is a special beauty and wonder in seeing the world blanketed and muffled on a crisp morning – especially if you’re by a lake and have the opportunity to walk across it. Ice swimming is an activity that everyone should try at least once in their life! I’ve only ever braved ice swimming twice, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is definitely something I want to do again. I just have to figure out how to entice my husband to join me. (A bit about ice swimming: Ice Swimming Safety)

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What seems to be day 11 with the common cold (but more realistically: day 4) was spent on the sofa with everything I could possibly need around me so I wouldn’t have to get up too often. As you have guessed, I didn’t make it to work today either.

So, what did I have? Tissues, check. Cold medicine, check. Glass of water, check. Book, check. Mobile phone, check. Warm fleecy blanket, check. TV remote controls, check. Camera, check. Lip balm, check. Pigeons, check. All set for a day of complete rest and recuperation, however, it was no picnic I can tell you.

At least I could observe the animals in the snow in the garden. Here’s what I captured:

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I did throw seed onto the ground for the birds, but as you can see in the above photos, one chose to eat from the dispenser. Silly woody!

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Been at home with the common cold to keep me company. Oh, and of course Georgie and Elmo have been trying their best to keep my spirits up. Georgie insisted on snuggling up to me, cooing in her content loving way, and Elmo even dared to sit on my knee at one point.

There was a smattering of snow outside so I had to drag myself out into the garden to empty the frozen water bowl and fill it with some fresh water, as well as fill the seed dispenser so the little birds could have their lunch. The feral pigeons and the squirrels also came to snack on the seed I threw out for them.

Now I must go continue to recover if I’m ever going to make it to work this week!