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Pigeons love to bathe. Anyone who has observed pigeons will notice this. And because of this wonderful pastime that is such a delight to watch I’ve written numerous posts about my bathing (and showering) pigeons.

So, what went wrong? Why have Elmo and Georgie suddenly decided that they no longer want a bath? … Sure, they’ll try to have a bath in their tiny water bowl next to their food, but when I go buy a large plastic container for them to have a good soaking in, they reject it!! They’ve even rejected having a bath in the other dishes and containers they used to bathe in. I don’t understand what has happened. When I see Georgie trying to bathe in her water bowl, I’ll quickly get the large dish out and ready but when placed into it, Georgie will simply jump out and walk away. Elmo does the same. … I have to admit, I am completely stumped as to why they are behaving like this.

As far as I can tell nothing has changed, but something, in their minds, has turned their minds away from bathing in the large bowls. I guess I’ll have to leave them to bathe in their tiny water bowls – which is actually quite a funny thing to watch since they obviously cannot get the desired soaking, despite all their attempts.

Here are some photos of Elmo and Georgie in their bathing heyday:

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Elmo in the dish he used to like bathing in

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Georgie happily soaking in the bathroom sink

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Elmo chilling out in the sun

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Georgie bathing in a large bowl


Many of you may know that Elmo sleeps on Richard’s bedside table. He wouldn’t have it any other way. But before Elmo is placed there for him to settle down to sleep he must have a drink!

If Elmo hasn’t had a drink right before bedtime he’ll walk around in circles on the bedside table and won’t settle. This happened one night (probably last year or so) and I said aloud, “I wonder if he’s thirsty?” Sure enough, once placed into the cage that holds his food and water, he went straight to the water bowl and nearly drunk it dry!! It happened another night and we then realised that Elmo had to have a drink before going to sleep. (Don’t we all?)

Some evenings we’re not sure if he’s already had a drink (e.g. while we were brushing our teeth) so Richard will place Elmo in the cage and wait for him to take a sip. Obviously, if he’s already quenched his thirst he’s not interested in the water. But Elmo soon started to teach Richard what he wants. If Richard gives Elmo a kiss before placing him in the cage, Elmo will have a drink (and then expect another kiss and lots of praise!!) – even if he’s already had a drink, in which case, Elmo will take a tiny sip (just to satisfy our request) and then run over for his praise. If Richard doesn’t give Elmo a kiss beforehand, Elmo will not touch the water.

Pretty clever! :)

The other night Elmo was in a trance, completely trusting in everything Richard did, even when placed on his back – as you can see:

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Elmo asleep on his back


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).

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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!

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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! :) ).

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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


It has been a fabulous week of sun and clear skies. After so many weeks of rain and mud it’s a welcome break.

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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.

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Georgie bathing!

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Georgie in the sun

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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.

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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.

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Feral pigeon staring

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

We also had a sweet little robin visit:

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Boy, do pigeons smell when they are wet!! :)

Yesterday, after a lovely bath, Georgie and Elmo stank! I mean, they really stank up the place. I could smell Elmo from the other end of the sofa. You think wet dog smells bad? Try wet pigeon!

It was a sunny day yesterday and I had a feeling that our pigeons might want to have a bath. So I filled up a bowl, placed it on the floor and swished my fingers in it. Sure enough, Georgie came over, attracted by the sound. She’s so predicatable!

Usually Elmo comes over too and tries to have a bath when Georgie’s in the bowl, however, yesterday he was having a nap on the sofa when Georgie was bathing, so he didn’t notice what was going on. But I know he’d want a bath so I asked my husband to gently wake Elmo up and show him the water. Elmo came running over when he saw the bowl, shaking furiously in anticipation!! So cute.

We like to help our pigeons when they have a bath by dripping the water onto their back – it runs off their back and tail feathers onto the floor – pigeon feathers seem to be waterproof initially. This gets them really excited and they splash about and dunk their heads and body in the water. After all this they then sit still in the water – as if to give themselves a thorough soaking. I simply love watching pigeons bathe. It’s so entertaining! :)

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Wet Elmo

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Georgie preparing to splash!

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Wet Georgie

After their bath it’s time to flap about to expell the water. Flap, flap, up, up! A few of these and they’re ready for a nap. Sit in a corner and wait to dry off. Then, once they feel dry enough, simultaneous preening. Preening to pigeons must be like yawning to humans: it’s contagious. Watch one pigeon preen and another will be doing it too. Soon the whole flock will be in the middle of an intense preening session.

When Elmo and Georgie are both nice and dry they are very glossy looking. And they return to their usual lovely-smelling selves. :)

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"What's up there?" wonders Elmo. Ed and Ted (the penguins) are also intrigued.

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Flapping time!


Georgie didn’t lay a second egg so obviously I didn’t get a video of her laying the egg. Oh well, maybe next time.

Georgie looks lovely (she’s feeling really chunky) and her health is good. I give her some vitamin D and calcium supplements in her water a few times a week, however, recently she’s decided she doesn’t like the taste of it. When there aren’t any supplements in the water Georgie will guzzle the water down. When there are Georgie will take little dainty sips. This is very annoying because no matter how many times I explain to her the benefits of vitamin D and calcium, Georgie still doesn’t want to drink the water and will only sip a little when she’s thirsty.

Elmo, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to mind the taste and he’ll dunk his head in the water, take big slurps and emerge with a (sticky) wet forehead. He cracks me up! :D


Georgie did something she’s never done before: She had a shower!

Ok, you may be a bit confused now because you’ve seen photos of Georgie all wet. But that was because she loves having a bath, but she’s never liked having a shower. Until now, that is.

On the weekend (maybe it was the Saturday but I cannot remember) Georgie decided to fly into the shower whilst I was in it. Failing to gain the height she needed to get over the rim of the bathtub (yes, England loves the old “bath n shower combo”) I helped her into the tub and she walked straight under the shower and enjoyed a couple of minutes of direct shower rain. Then she walked out of range and tried to fly out of the tub. Again I had to help her and she walked away shaking her head and flapping her wings to dry them.

Here’s the wet little punk (she’s going for an Archangel feather-do!):

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Naturally, after a shower one has to dry off and the best way to do this is to sunbathe:

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And after you’re all warm and dry, a little snooze tucked away in the corner of the sofa:

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I never tire of seeing pigeons having a shower. They are just too adorable!


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)!

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I don’t think I give Elmo and Georgie enough opportunities to have a bath, as was demonstrated when Georgie started shivering when she heard the shower go on – which is actually very strange since she doesn’t like to be under the shower. But it just goes to show that Georgie knows what the shower means: water = bath time!!

I first tried to get George to have a bath by putting her in the spray free end of the bath-tub, however, instead of enjoying some light rain on her Georgie proceeded to try to jump out of the bath. So after I had my shower (and got dressed and all that), I put a bowl of water on the floor for Georgie to have a bath. And she sure did! Splashing and swishing and spraying me with water!! She loved it! :)

Elmo saw what was happening and waltzed over, shivering and staring intently at the bowl of water. He really wanted to get in but Georgie was in the way. I splashed him with my fingers and he just shook even more with desire and anticipation. Georgie seemed oblivious to what was happening – she didn’t even register his existence, so intent and happy she was to have a bath!

A few times Elmo got really close to the bowl and when Georgie turned around her tail feathers moved into his face – I’ve never seen such a look of indignation and outrage on his face before!!

After George had her fill I let her flap about to dry off her feathers a bit and she then sat on the sofa for her ‘quiet time’, which she does after getting wet. I think she likes to be on her own to dry off. Elmo jumped into the bowl and had a wonderful time soaking himself (and me too!). Then he decided that the best place to dry off on was Richard’s keyboard. No matter how many times I tried to shoo him away Elmo just kept going back to the keyboard. So I let him. No point getting attacked over it.

I never get tired of watching pigeons having a bath. Which is why I’ll keep talking about it.

But I really don’t enjoy the smell of wet pigeon – it’s a bit much! :)

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