We'd love to hear what you think of our site. Please let us know by filling in the form below!

 
Social Network Links
Pages

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.

P1080698

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.

P1080705

Elmo pecking at the ground

P1080703

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).

P1080700

Georgie in the garden


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).

P1070323

Georgie sunbathing

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!

P1070324

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! :) ).

P1070328

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!! :D


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.

P1060161

Georgie is thinking of having a preen. Elmo's keeping an eye on her.

P1060162

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.

P1060177

P1060175

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.

P1060150

Georgie bathing!

P1060169

Georgie in the sun

P1060183

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.

P1060154

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.

P1060166

Feral pigeon staring

P1060167

Elmo staring. Poor boy looks like he's in jail!

We also had a sweet little robin visit:

P1060180

P1060184


Yesterday the clocks went back an hour to be on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) for the winter (until 27th March 2011, when the UK switches to UK Daylight Saving Time for the summer). While some of us celebrate the extra hour we perceive to have gained that day, it does mess up your body clock for a while until you get used to the time shift.

I personally don’t like going back to GMT. It means the sun sets before I get home – and poor Elmo and Georgie are fooled into settling down to sleep for the night, when in fact we are on our way home and they have many hours still awake to be with us. Time to fish out the light switch timers!

Last winter we put the small lamp in the bedroom on a timer so it would turn on when it starts to get dark outside in order to allow Elmo to see and be free to move about the room to eat and drink, etc. Georgie is semi-blind and we don’t know exactly how or what she can see, therefore we don’t know how important it is for her to have light in order to eat and drink. But since we have established that she can detect light and dark differences we leave the corridor light on for her so she can “see”. Just in case. It wouldn’t be fair to assume she doesn’t need light to be active. I think her body clock is fairly normal to sighted pigeons so I will treat her in the same way. … She does get special treatment because of her disability (as does Elmo!), but there is no discrimination here! Rather, we spoil our two special needs pigeons! :)

We forgot to set everything up this morning so Elmo and Georgie were in darkness when we came home. Georgie was half asleep in her cage, however, Elmo was wide awake on the bed. We leave the curtains open so that they get as much natural light as possible and that the darkness approaches slowly and doesn’t take them by surprise. Elmo’s room is on the east side of the flat so he doesn’t see the sunset, and although Georgie is on the west side of the flat, I doubt that she can admire the sunset. I wonder if other animals stop every now and then to admire the beauty of nature – the spectacular show of sunrise and sunset? I like to think that they do.

P1040803


It has been a record hot summer in Finland this year – the hottest recorded temperature was 37.2 degrees Celsius (on July 29th). I’m hoping that not too many animals suffered from the excess heat – since they’d normally be used to colder temperatures. (For wintertime, check out: Pigeons in Finland and Finnish pigeons).

Here are some photos of the pigeons we saw this summer:

P1040323

At the arboretum in Tampere

P1040345

At the arboretum in Tampere

P1040347

Chilling out in the sun!

P1040343

Must be the warmest spot to sunbathe on.

P1040340

Looking good!

P1040273

Feral pigeons foraging with the crows and ducks.

We had a coffee in the town centre of Tampere and we were joined by some lovely pigeons, who helped themselves to the left-overs:

P1040409

P1040408

P1040411


Today has been very hot and sunny – I just had to go out and lie in the sun with a good book to read. Since I haven’t had the opportunity to take Georgie out in the past few weekends today I set up her outside pen and put her in it with a shallow dish of water for her to bathe in if she wanted. Sometimes Georgie’s a bit scared when I take her out into the garden but not today. She immediately started pecking at the grass and walked about picking up leaves to shake and break up. Then she preened herself a bit and sunbathed for a while too. She was loving the sun! Georgie spread out both her wings as well as fanning her tail feathers out to soak in as much sun as possible. Direct sunlight is so important for pigeons (any living thing really) and I think she missed it.

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 the sunshine that helps vitamin D production is filtered out when going through window glass and therefore the bird won’t receive the benefits. It is therefore beneficial to have a UV lamp to shine on a caged bird (for the required amount of time) especially during the winter months. Since birds can see UV light (feathers reflect it) a lack of UV light can also affect a birds behaviour, particularly its breeding behaviour.

After she had sufficiently baked herself in the sun I splashed some water on George and she walked over to have a bath to cool down. As usual she looked quite comical with her feathers sticking out in odd ways. Georgie sat in the water dish and puffed out her feathers and had a bit of a snooze. By this time I was very hot from sitting in the sun and envied her. I wish that I had a pool to bathe in to cool down! It is times like that that I really miss Finland – the Land of a Thousand Lakes!! Oh, to be able to go to a lake and have a swim whenever one wants! What freedom and joy!

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera on me to take a photo of George enjoying the sun, but you can all imagine how sweet she looked as she played in the grass and then in the water. What a darling girl!

Here’s a photo I took a while ago. I think the colours and shapes are very nice. Reminds me of lazy summer days.

P1030063


Elmo’s blood blister has almost completely disappeared!! Hooray!! :D

In other news, today has been sunny and warm and perfect weather to let our pigeons out into the garden for some sun, however, my lovely husband was strimming the hedge and mowing the lawn, so we couldn’t have them out. So Georgie sunbathed on the floor in a sunny patch (so very cute) and after she felt like a toasted bundle of feathers I put a shallow dish of water down for her to cool down in. She loved it and was splashing to her hearts content, which attracted Elmo’s attention. He slowly walked up to her, shivering and shaking in excitement! He wanted to have a bath too!!

After Georgie had her fun in the water I put her on the sofa to dry off and put Elmo in the dish of water. He immediately started splashing about and didn’t mind my fingers at all as I splashed water on him. Sweet!

Here’s the evidence:

P1020707

P1020701

P1020700

P1020714

P1020718

(Please ignore what I’m saying in the video clip. I was on the phone at the time!)

After the gardening work Richard and I slowly roasted in the sun with a cool drink in hand. We have to enjoy these few sunny moments we get – who knows, this could be the only hot day all summer!! … Now where’s my lollipop?

Ps. I have to share this photo with you because it was so unexpected to see this little fella sitting in the garden. What an adorable fox cub! :)

P1020691

P1020689


The last few days have been lovely, sunny and warm. A taster for the coming summer?

P1010907Our growing flock of visiting feral pigeons came down one afternoon while we were in the garden with Elmo. He didn’t seemed bothered by their close presence and carried on eating seed from the ground (as were the ferals!). We kept a close watch just in case Elmo decided to fly off with them (which he wouldn’t be able to do properly due to his disability, however, he could still get into trouble if he flew over the hedge).

The ferals are slowly trusting us and flying down to eat if we keep still and don’t move a muscle. They are still jumpy but we hope they’ll one day get over that. I think the fact that Elmo is in the garden with us helps since they can see that we aren’t harming Elmo so therefore we won’t be harming them. Pigeon logic! :)

P1020039This morning we had to go out into the garden to lie in the sun and enjoy the bird songs (courtesy of the robins, blackbirds, jays and woodpigeons!). We had no choice, the sun was calling us! I put Georgie in a pen with her nest, food and water. She enjoyed preening in the sun and was happy for the two hours we were out there. She just did what pigeons do best: eat and preen!

P1010993Elmo walked about, eating seed, dirt and grass, with us lying on a mat in the sun. We have three robins that visit our seed feeder and they came down while we were there, not bothered by us at all. Elmo didn’t even notice them, even when they chased each other about. Chaffinches, dunnocks and blackbirds also visited.  At one point we heard some comical noises and then saw a courting wood pigeon in the tree. Later a jay was making some very weird sounds.

P1020004After about an hour of us being in the garden Elmo decided he’d had enough and walked to the front door with Richard running after him to bring him back. After Elmo did this a few more times we let him into the flat, however, we weren’t ready to go back inside so Elmo had to entertain himself inside while we continued to enjoy the sun. Later I set up another pen with a bowl of water in it in the garden and took Elmo out to have a bath. He enjoyed that very much and later sat by Richard to dry off.

Here are two videos of Elmo in the garden:

One more thing: this morning before we went into the garden I noticed Georgie swishing the air with her beak in a sunny spot in the living room and I could see that she wanted a bath. So I put a towel on the floor and a bowl of water and here’s what happened:


Today was such a lovely sunny day that I decided to show some pigeons sunbathing: