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.
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.
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).
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:
We’ve had one before (see: Brown pigeon) so it may be the parent of this one. Such a pretty colour!
No sooner had Elmo decided he had incubated the fake eggs for long enough (9 days) when Georgie thought it was her turn and laid an egg! So now she’s all moody and broody while Elmo is back to normal. Go figure!
Georgie lays an egg.
We were blessed with the sun shining throughout the weekend and so we spent most of our time out in the garden with our two disabled pigeons. They love to sunbathe and enjoy pecking at the grass and eating bits of dirt. I hope we have more sunny days so I can take them out often during the spring and summer. We sure need it after the dreary winter!
Looking at the photos I took of Elmo I can see how much he loved last weekend:
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!
Georgie (left) and Elmo (right) enjoying the sunshine
Elmo has a bit of a flap
Pigeons in the garden
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:
Aren’t the manuals appropriate for such a flight-challenged pigeon?
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.
My last post was about the importance of ultraviolet light for indoor pigeons and how Georgie doesn’t like the bright light. Well, she’s still not 100% convinced about the light – preferring the warm rays of real sunshine, even if it is through window glass:
Loving those warm rays
Like a cat, Georgie knows how to make lounging in the sun look like the best thing in the world. When I take Georgie out into the garden she sometimes sunbathes on my hand, which is so adorable.
Elmo also decided to feel the warmth of sunshine and asked to be let out into the garden for a quick stroll:
When we first adopted Georgie and Elmo we lived in a flat with no garden. Since both pigeons are disabled we knew they would always be indoor pigeons, however, I felt uneasy about their lack of access to the green green world. A year or so later we moved to a flat with a garden attached and I was able to take Elmo and Georgie outside under supervision. We bought a large rabbit run as well as a bird harness so that our pigeons could be outside safely. (One of the reasons why: Fly, birdie, fly!)
One of the major disadvantages of keeping a pigeon predominantly indoors is the lack of ultraviolet light (UV light) they receive. This is not something to be taken lightly of. Direct sunshine is required for vitamin D production (which helps the absorption of calcium), which is essential for healthy bone growth and strength. It is not enough to simply put a caged bird near a window to receive sunlight since the UV part of sunshine that helps vitamin D production is filtered out when going through window glass and therefore the bird won’t receive the benefits. Since birds can see UV light (feathers reflect it) a lack of UV light can also affect a birds behaviour, particularly its breeding behaviour.
Experts recommend shining a specialised bird UV lamp on an indoor bird for a minimum of 4 hours per day. Never use a reptile or fish UV lamp (or a plant grow light!) as they don’t have the correct spectrum for birds. An avian UV lamp should have 12% UV-a (for behaviour) and 2.4% UV-b (for calcium). Arcadia sell avian UV lamps: Arcadia bird lamp
In our past veterinary visits with Georgie and Elmo the vet has always asked, “Do you provide UV light?” So I knew how important it was for our pigeons but I had my reservations about one aspect of it. And it’s this: Georgie hates bright lights. And I mean HATES. Here’s what happened when she met a lava lamp: Explosive behaviour (For those of you who don’t know this, Georgie has distorted pupils and scarring on her eyes so she has limited vision. She can, however, see bright lights and movement.)
As I’ve written numerous times before, if my camera light goes on Georgie will back away. If the flash goes off then Georgie will wing slap me! So what is Georgie going to do with a super bright UV light shining on her?!!
But I had to bite the bullet and implement the light for her own well being. Summers being so wet here in the UK it’s not always possible for me to be outside with Georgie and Elmo – and never for many hours a day – so they’re missing out on essential ultraviolet light from the sun.
So I bought a light and turned it on and Georgie started a war campaign against it! And to be honest, I don’t blame her. The thing is BRIGHT!! Hurts my eyes when it’s on!
Georgie doesn't like the new light
Elmo, on the other hand, doesn’t mind the light at all.
Elmo fast asleep
To get Georgie used to the light I have to have her on my lap or shoulder while I sit next to the lamp. (I wonder what health benefits I will get from the bird light?) Sometimes she seems to tolerate it, but mostly she’ll become angry when I turn it on. A minimum of 4 hours is asking a lot for her to tolerate I’m afraid. I think I’ll have to build up to that slowly.
As I’m typing this I have looked over to the sofa and seen Georgie settled down for a nap next to the lamp. Success!! Maybe she’s realised that the lamp is doing her good.
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.
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.
Elmo pecking at the ground
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).
Elmo is moulting and so there are hundreds of feathers in the flat, making their merry way into every nook and cranny. I predict a major house clean today!
As the sun started shining through the window onto Georgie I realised that I haven’t spent as much time this summer out in the garden with the pigeons. Not sure why (have we had bad weather on the weekends here? I truly cannot remember), but I thought I better rectify this immediately so I grabbed the bird harness, quickly slipped it around Georgie and went out with her to lay in the sun. Georgie is always a bit unsure about new surroundings so she stood still for quite a while on the grass but once she was reassured that she was safe she slowly crouched down, spread open her wings and basked in the sunshine. Gorgeous!
When I later brought her back in I put a dish of water down for her to have a bath in, however, Georgie wasn’t yet done with sunbathing. She found a spot by the window and had an extra 10 minutes of sunshine (although without the goodness since the window filters out the much needed UV light that helps vitamin D production).
Then, when she heard my fingers splashing the water in the dish, she was ready for a bath to cool down. And as always, Elmo came over to shiver and shake in anticipation of his turn. He even made these little adorable grunts which I’ve never heard him make before. I think he was very eager for a bath!
Elmo enjoying the water
With Elmo so wet I could really see the new feather growth on his head. He’s been looking a bit scruffy lately with the moult (we were afraid we’d have a bald pigeon on our hands! ).
New feather growth on Elmo's head
I love how the feathers are growing in a neat row!
Once our two pigeons have soaked themselves sufficiently, they flap about to expel the excess water (thus soaking us instead) and go sit quietly on the sofa to dry. We get wafts of smelly wet pigeon drifting over to us.
I admit that I’m repeating the same experiences here. But when Elmo and Georgie have a bath they always do the same thing so there’s nothing new to write about.
I’ll have to start thinking of new material. Maybe I’ll teach Elmo to dance the can-can!!
The sun is up and the curtains are drawn, however, sunlight is seeping through and the room is light. A little feral pigeon is waiting patiently on the bedside table for his mummy and daddy to wake up. What’s this? One of them stirs, turns over. Cue loud cooing and wing waggling from the pigeon. “Good morning, mummy. Good morning, daddy,” he’s saying. No response from the bed. The humans haven’t woken up yet. The pigeon goes quiet again, settles down and waits. Again, one of the humans have moved and the pigeon starts cooing, calling them to wake up. This occurs every time there is movement from the bed. The pigeon is waiting and watching.
Eventually the humans wake up. Cue ecstatic morning greetings from the pigeon on the bedside table. Mummy and daddy greet him back. Having a lie in is nearly impossible when you have a watchful pigeon by your side.
This is how we are woken up by Elmo in the weekend. If Georgie hears us getting up and moving about she’ll jump at the bars of her cage, demanding to be let out. So, the other morning I went to get her and brought her back to the bedroom. I wasn’t ready to get up and start the day just yet, so Georgie was allowed to be on the bed for a bit.
Elmo tucked his head under his body and waited for Richard to give him a cuddle. The head-tucking is a quirk of Elmo’s (a possible side effect from having had PMV as a baby). We find it so adorable.
Georgie is thinking of having a preen. Elmo's keeping an eye on her.
Georgie preening. Elmo decides to hop off the bed.
After a bit of time on the bed both pigeons decide to hop off the bed to start their day. Elmo hides behind the bedroom door – a favourite cooing spot – and calls incessantly to us. Georgie finds a nice spot behind the mirror and coos and dances excitedly when I come down to see her.
It has been a fabulous week of sun and clear skies. After so many weeks of rain and mud it’s a welcome break.
I took the pigeons out on Friday for their first real time out in the garden this year. They each had a turn in the pen in the sun. We cannot trust Elmo nor Georgie out in the garden without some form of protection. Georgie, being mostly blind and unable to fly properly (she usually ends up flying backwards), has a habit of taking off suddenly if spooked – which is what can happen in the garden with the strange environment and sounds. Elmo, being an ex-PMV sufferer, cannot fly properly either. He hasn’t got the flight muscles nor coordination, however, he can fly up quite high for short bursts if frightened and potentially end up in an undesirable place (e.g. over the hedge onto the railway track that’s on the other side of our garden). We therefore have two options when taking Elmo and Georgie outside: 1) put them in the enclosed wired pen, or 2) put a flight harness on them.
When we first got Elmo we used to take him out without a harness or putting him in a pen. We thought that since he could see and was unable to fly properly, he wouldn’t get himself into trouble. We soon learnt how stupid we were and how dangerous the situation really was (read: Fly, birdie, fly!).
What used to happen with Elmo is that he’d spend some time with us in the garden. He’d be pecking at the dirt and grass – as happy as Larry – then suddenly he’d decide he’d had enough and walk over the pebble path back to the front door round the corner of the building. He’d wait there until Richard let him into the flat (which would be fairly quickly since we didn’t like him being out of our view). On one occassion Richard and I were in the garden, lying on the grass, when all of a sudden a little Jack Russell terrier appeared by our heads. It was our uncle’s dog, Minnie. Luckily, we had already put the pigeons back in the flat so there was no danger, however, it really sunk into my mind that had Elmo been free in the garden at that moment, Minnie would have attacked him in a heartbeat. And what if Elmo had gone to the front door at that moment, out of our view when Minnie came over? It’s too horrible to think about. We immediately stopped letting Elmo roam free in the garden and got the pen and harness for our pigeons.
Yesterday Georgie had a refreshing bath after her time in the sun, however, Elmo wasn’t interested in the water.
Georgie in the sun
Georgie falling asleep
When I placed Elmo in the pen he shook like a leaf – he was very excited and I think a little scared of the new environment. I had to bob my head to divert his attention, which worked, because then Elmo calmed down and started pecking at the grass and enjoying the direct sunshine.
Elmo in the pen
A single feral pigeon came down to look for seed on the ground and Elmo was quite curious. He stared intently at the pigeon until the pigeon noticed him, and then the feral stared back. Funny.