They turned up a few weeks ago, sitting on top of the greenhouse watching my husband locking up the hens for the night – two snowy white birds and one muted grey. I was looking out from the kitchen window and noticed they didn’t seem at all bothered by humans. Later that evening, they were on the ground hoovering up the last of the mixed corn we’d put down for the hens.
The next morning, they were up on the roof of the taller section of our house. As soon as I put some food out, the larger of the two white birds flew down for a better look at what I was doing. I didn’t want to frighten her (at the time, I thought she was the mom of the other two – this proved to be a bad assumption), so I went back into the house and watched from the window as they ate. Later, I joined them in the garden. They were quite happy to peck about while I sat on the back stairs.
After about a week, I discovered they couldn’t resist sunflower seeds. They were feeding very close by my feet when I decided to hold out some food. I was delighted when the ‘mom’ approached and ate from my hand.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and two more white birds turned up, one notably smaller than the others. My original trio went a bit nuts – fluffing out their neck feathers, fanning their tails, and spinning in circles trying to get the smaller bird’s attention. When that didn’t work, they started pecking at her and pulling her feathers. If you haven’t guessed, I’m hosting three boys who obviously don’t spend much time around girls. Their behaviour is atrocious.
I do love having them about. They wait for me every morning to go out to feed them, and they’ll sometimes come look in the kitchen window when they’re ready for lunch. We usually have extra guests for dinner as the two other white birds and another trio of brightly-coloured (and very shy) pigeons often turn up for food.
I’m keen for the original three to stay, so I’ve ordered a dovecote for them. My hope is that they’ll feel happy and secure enough to sleep there, as I have no idea where they go after dark and I often worry about their safety because they’re so tame. In the meantime, I’m learning what I can about looking after pigeons. I’ve no idea if they’re racing, carrier, or homing, but it doesn’t matter. They’ve brought a lot of joy into a bleak time.