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I came back from a quick trip to the shops and thankfully it looks like the snow is melting already from the rays of the sun. I cleared a patch of snow in the garden so that I could place some seed on the grass for the feral pigeon flock and they happily came down for a meal. And it seems that Elmo was happy to have a moment out in the snow too:

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With the weather taking a turn for the worst – cold, windy and lots of wet white stuff falling from the sky – Georgie and Elmo have made the wise decision to hunker down for the day in the warmth and safety of our home. Georgie peered out the window this morning to “see” what all the fuss was about and turned round to let me know that she didn’t need to have another experience out in the snow.

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Georgie

So she got fed some pancakes instead! :)

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Pancakes!

Elmo didn’t want any, the silly boy. He decided the floor was comfy enough to nap on:

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Elmo


When it snows many of us pigeon people like to make sure that the feral flocks have enough food to ensure they survive the cold weather.

I do this whenever there is snow and every time the pigeons treat my snowy garden with suspicion. They know what my garden looks like normally, so this change of scenery makes them wary. Last time it snowed I thought it would be better to put the seed on a tray on the snow for the feral pigeons, but the pigeons were suspicious of the tray and wouldn’t fly down. So I had to stomp the snow down to make a flat surface and put the seed on the cold ground.

This year I cleared a small spot in the snow and put the seed on the grassy patch. Did the pigeons come down to eat? Did they?! … No, they stared down at the food and simply waited. Finally, one pigeon flew down and circled the patch in the snow for about 5 minutes, then flew back up to the roof to join his friends, leaving the seed untouched.

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Grassy patch in garden

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Suspicious ferals on the roof

Short of actually clearing all the snow away from my garden, there’s not much I can do to entice the ferals down. It’s their choice, and when they get hungry enough, they’ll fly down for sure. Thankfully the snowy weather doesn’t last very long here.

An hour later and the seed is still untouched by the pigeons, although a little robin has helped himself. Maybe our snow-woman, Gladys, is scaring the pigeons away?

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Gladys, the snow-woman

Previous post about snow: When it snows…

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The hedge


After about a week of coldness and threats of snow, it finally snowed.

Elmo checks it out from the warmth and safety of his home:

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The next day it snowed some more so we went out to see what Elmo would think of it:

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I love this last photo of Elmo hopping out of the snow. :)


Yesterday morning there was a flurry of snow outside, which in my eyes means that winter is officially upon us. I have been trying to ignore the other signs that have been thrust upon us (drop in temperature, shorter days, etc.), however, yesterday the white landscape was a visual signal that it is now time to snuggle down.

So snuggle down I did. With my pigeons, of course. There’s nothing better than wrapping up and warming yourself with a toasty pigeon on your lap. Georgie is particularly good at it – in fact, she insists on being the first to warm me when I return home from work. If my hands are cold I simply place them under Georgie for a quick warming. :D

And once I’m all wrapped up and toasty there’s nothing else to do except knit something. Often Georgie will try to take the needles from me – sometimes she succeeds and shakes it about. Like so:

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Georgie on my lap

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Georgie girl

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Relaxed Elmo

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Elmo in his nest


I always worry about wildlife when it snows unexpectedly – for them, not so much for us. Although, who knows if they can predict when snow will come? Maybe they are prepared for the cold snap. Even so, I worry. Especially when I look at my two pampered pigeons resting snuggly on the sofa without a care in the world.

This morning we awoke to a white world:

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Our garden under snow

So the first thing I do is bundle up and go put out some fresh food for the wildlife that visit our garden. I can see from the tracks in the snow that foxes and cats have already sniffed about for any scraps of food. They’ll receive their dinner later but for now the birds must get a helping hand.

Peanuts, seed, defrosted sweetcorn and bread are put out for the pigeons, blackbirds, blue tits and robins that frequent the garden. (I sadly didn’t have time to stock up on fat balls and other yummies this week, so I had to raid my cupboard for anything edible for the birds.)

From the warmth of our home I take photos of the birds I see in the snow. I notice some long-tailed tits (occassional visitors) and a rarer visitor, a song thrush!

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Our resident woodpigeon

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Our other resident woodpigeon

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Songthrush

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Our resident robin

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Our resident robin

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Blue tit on the peanut feeder

Previous posts about snow in our garden (with photos of our pigeons in the snow!):


In the spirit of the current weather:


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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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.

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-12°C means little to this little guy :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0mvHXKg2bI