Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pigeon Post

It's been a while since I shared an update about our two lovely wood pigeons, Pidgie Pigeon (the male) and Leg Pigeon (female, limping pigeon). Pigeons mate for life and this pair has graced our garden for the last four years: maybe longer, because I only became aware of them after we chopped down their habitat, a Leylandii tree.

This year I've had a few causes for concern. Firstly there was a lone male pigeon who quickly realised I was feeding the two pigeons every morning and decided he would like to take over their pitch.

You can see he was one mean customer:

The Intruder
Pidgie Pigeon

We had pigeon handbags for a few days with the intruder repeatedly dive-bombing poor Leg. J got quite impatient with me wailing about the intruder. "The pigeons need to sort it out themselves," was his riposte. In the end, they did, protective of their patch.

You may think pigeons are a gregarious bunch, often seen pecking away in numbers. But our pigeons are very protective of their little circuit of gardens with feeders. They chase away any other pigeons who try to encroach.

The other cause for concern is, not to put too fine a point on it, they don't seem to be mating. I don't think we've had the patter of tiny pigeon claws this year.

Previously, I've seen them with twigs in their beaks, and they've exhibited typical mating behaviour.  This year they have been like an estranged couple, hardly ever flying together and Pidgie sometimes chasing Leg away. It might be their age: wood pigeons can live to age twenty and we have no idea how old this pair is.

Leg Pigeon (left), Pidgie Pigeon
 A small drama last week:  one of the pigeons got chased into the house by Molly the cat. I wasn't there so J didn't know which pigeon it was. J is an unreliable witness and to him both pigeons look the same.  I suspect it was Pidgie as Leg is a lot more flighty. Anyway, whichever pigeon it was sat shaking on the top of a cupboard. Fortunately, when J opened the double doors of the conservatory, it flew to safety and sat on the garage roof quaking.

There was a similar drama last year when Pidgie inadvertently hopped into the conservatory. He flew around desperately, banging into the windows, and then perched in terror. J gently wrapped him in my fleece and carried him out. He then staggered across the astroturf, looking stunned, just as Molly came gadding round the corner. We both screeched at Pidgie and he managed to summon enough energy to fly away.
I know people regard pigeons as pests but these two are pigeon role models. They don't leave any droppings in the garden (or house, on the two occasions they've been in) and they don't peck at my plums. I throw down a handful of seed for them in the morning and it's entertaining to watch them run towards me, as fast as their little legs can carry them.

So next time you see a couple of pigeons in your own garden, see if they return the same time tomorrow. They're very fixed in their patterns. Then you'll start to notice them and you'll get a lot of enjoyment from these delightful birds.

Who, us? We're on the fence 

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