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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, all. I am an American living in Bangkok with my Thai wife. A year ago, a pigeon couple, whom we've namd Big Pidgee and Little Pidgee, moved into a flower pot on our sixth-floor balcony while we were upcountry. We allowed them to stay, even providing a roomier flower box and fresh water.

I have a thread detailing our experiences with them and the dozen eggs they've laid to date here on another Board.

Photos of all can be found here, here, here, here and here. When looking at the pages, click on any photo to enlarge it.

One egg from the recent, sixth batch hatched six days ago (this past Sunday), but the other egg must be unfertilized. It's not hatched. We're keeping it there for a few days longer, though, just to be sure. (The Unhatched Egg thread in this Forum was pointed out to me and is how I learned of this Board.)
 

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Hello and Welcome to Pigeon Talk,

Thank you for allowing the birds to stay and providing them with room/board, and sharing your adventures and pictures with us of your pigeon family. They sure do provide alot of entertainment, don't they?

Please feel to browse this forum and make yourself familiar with it, as there is alot of information here.

I appreciate you sharing on the other thread, sometimes only one egg will hatch, it makes you wonder..... I suspect it is probably not fertile, given that all their eggs hatched in the past, as sometimes it can be caused by disease, something to consider also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
D'oh! Looks like I have a double "http://" in the links in my OP. Sorry about that. I'll try again.

The photos are here, here, here, here and here.

The thread detailing our year-long (as of this past Tuesday) experience with the pigeons is here.

I fixed the links in the OP, too. When looking at the pages, click on any photo to enlarge it. I'll post photos of George, one week old today (Sunday) soon.

After the first batch, we replaced the flowerpot with a roomier flower box. The second batch of eggs was laid before the first pair of squabs left the nest, and the way the squabs were clambering around and squeezing into the flowerpot with the parent, we were afraid they'd break the eggs! We change the box every two batches, filling it about two-thirds to three-fourths full of dirt. Big and Little Pidgee like the end of the box by the wall, and we make the dirt in that end a little lower, but they still "landscape" it to their liking anyway before flying in twigs for a nest.

Bird flu is endemic in Thailand, but these pigeons seem healthy. I don't think the unhatched egg in the present batch is due to illness. We see some really ratty pigeons on the streets here sometimes, but we live in a neighborhood full of resources for ours. As you can see from the photos, they must get lots to eat. They're a beautiful pair of birds, and the squabs always turn out nice looking. Next door to our condominium is a mansion with beautiful grounds and no dogs or cats. We see lots of birdlife there -- our bedroom overlooks the grounds -- and suspect that's where the squabs end up when they leave here. They really seem to appreciate the water we leave out for them, though.
 

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Thanks for the fixed links, Sam, and WHOA .. you are an EXTREMELY patient person on that other list .. I think I would have threatened bodily harm to some of those folks by now

Since you are in a bird flu area, it would be really helpful for you to totally educate yourself. Pigeons are not susceptible to the avian flu that has decimated other types of birds in Asia .. how you're going to convince anyone of that is up in the air, but the facts are there if you care to go looking for them .. start here ..

http://www.purebredpigeon.com/avianflu.htm

This one is a bit rough, but the message is the same .. pigeons aren't the avian flu culprit: http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/the_invincible_flu-immune_pigeon/

http://www.albertaclassic.net/chalmers3.php

Just Google it .. you'll find more including from the CDC here in the US.

Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
That's good to know about bird flu. That's the first thing my wife's relatives asked about when the pigeons first arrived.

The funny thing is we're not allowed to have pets in this building, including birds. But we're not keeping them; they're free to leave anytime. Of course, we're not exactly encouraging them to leave either, hehehe.

My wife's grown niece keeps a couple of doves caged at her home and likes watching our pigeons. Our guys have so much fun flying around, I wouldn't ever want to try to catch them. They do have a good set-up here, with the mansion grounds next door supplying abundant food and us supplying water and a safe place to shelter. We're entering the rainy season again now, so they've been getting a bit damp, but where the flower box is, it's pretty sheltered from the usual direction of the wind and rain.

They even have a designated sex area: The left side of our balcony, the other side from the box. They will have sex only in that area, nowhere else. When it comes mating time, they may both be perched on a rail near the box when Big Pidgee will hop down and go over there, followed by Little Pidgee -- or sometimes they'll go simultaneously, as if sort of unseen signal has passed between them -- and have at it. When they've finished their business, then they return to the rail. It's quite funny. (I believe I included a couple of shots of them mating in one of my links; could have been better, but I was trying not to frighten them.)

We're curious about that unfertilized egg we have. Could that be a sign of age in the pigeons? Or just one of those things? The parents were mating constantly this last time, right up to the same day the first egg was laid in the latest batch. It certainly didn't go unfertilized for lack of trying.
 

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Siam Sam, I blew a couple hours reading the entire thread. your pictures are awesome, and it's really fun to watch the ways the parents' genetics came out in the sets of squabs.

I hope someone here can identify what was up with the last set's (Holly and Mickey) wacky head bare patches - it's almost as if they got pecked and wounded and it's healing up. very odd.

Big Pidgee is a gorgeous coloring, even if his wife's a little plain, and it's come out in some really nice varieties of young birds. :) Glad you're enjoying them!
 

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Hi Siam

Loved your blog. They are fascinating creatures. I had exactly the same happen to me. I was away visiting family over Xmas and a pigeon couple laid eggs in our flower bog on the balcony. It was fascinating watching them grow up. Their behaviour is just like yours, which isn't unexpected.

I was hoping for mine to lay another batch of eggs, but that hasn't happened yet (4 months on). Unlike your's though the squabs do stick around. Perhaps that is because I feed them. They ate all the green off my pot plants when I was away for a week and not feeding them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I hope someone here can identify what was up with the last set's (Holly and Mickey) wacky head bare patches - it's almost as if they got pecked and wounded and it's healing up. very odd.
Yes, those marks on Micky and Holly -- and Holly's bump, causing us to start calling her Bumpy Head -- were a mystery. We never saw the squabs pecking hard at each other, or the parents pecking at them. Big Pidgee was good at chasing away any other pigeons who came around. Whatever it was did not seem to bother them at all. It certainly didn't seem painful to them when we touched it.

In my thread at the other Board, I wrote:

"Wednesday morning, and Mickey and Holly are 40 and 39 days old. That bump on Holly's head is not going away, and she has some sort of protuberance sticking out of both earholes; it actually looks like bone! Mickey has one protuberance sticking out of only his left ear. Neither squab appears bothered by any of this; they jump and fly around healthy as can be. I can no longer catch Holly, so I can't inspect it further. I did when it first appeared, before she started flying, and it's definitely a bump and not a ruffled feather or two but did not appear to be painful for her when I touched it.

"We've now taken to calling Holly 'Bumpy Head' regularly. The wife expressed concern that she may not be able to find a mate looking like that, but I said not to worry, she'll just shake her little ass in front of some guy pigeon, and that will be that."


They ate all the green off my pot plants when I was away for a week and not feeding them.
Haha! I should explain to the readers in the US that "pot plants" are what Americans refer to as "potted plants" and not what they usually think of when they read "pot plants." So no, those were not some stoned little squabs. I know this term from my British friends here. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I now have a new folder for photos of George.

Monday, April 20
Here we have Big Pidgee taking a snooze while guarding Little Pidgee like he always does when she's preparing to lay her eggs. She laid the first egg of the latest batch the next day.

Wednesday, April 22
Here is Big Pidgee with the egg the day after it was laid. And Little Pidgee with it later here.

Thursday, April 23
The second egg was laid this day, and here they both are. Sadly, only one hatched.

Sunday, May 10
George hatched this day, and here he is with Mama. (The sun gets a little bright this time of the year in the morning.) You can see him better here. and later that morning, Big Pidgee arrived for the Switch and met his new son for the first time.

Wednesday, May 13
George is 3 days old here with Father.

Friday, May 15
George, aged 5 days. By now, we're pretty sure the other egg's not going to hatch. That's a feather stuck to it in the photo, not a crack. Of all the squabs I've handled -- the first few batches I never touched, fearing the parents would reject them if we did; we now know Big and Little Pidgee don't really care if we've touched them -- George is so far the most okay with it. Reactions from others when we've petted them have ranged from "Oh no! This is it! My time is up!" to "Oh, crap. Okay, go ahead and do it if you must." But George is seemingly completely at ease. Pecks at my finger a little to see if it's something he can eat and looks around. He's in my hand here and here. Then I stepped inside briefly, and the wife took this shot; it's fuzzy, but we wanted photographic evidence of the first pigeon actually to make it inside our home.

Sunday, May 17
And that brings us up to today. (Sort of; it's after midnight here and technically Monday now.) George is 1 week old now. Here he is with Big Pidgee. And in the afternoon, after we did our weekly balcony cleaning. And with Little Pidgee after the Switch in the late afternoon. In these last two shots, you can see the beginnings of feathers, or at least feather shafts. That's the whitish streaks now appearing.

All of the photos of George in this post can be seen on one page here. Again, click on any photo to enlarge it.

Poor Big Pidgee was a bit put out today. I moved the flower box over to the other side of the balcony so we could clean around the box's usual area. If he's still watching after eggs or young squabs, he'll stay around in the afternoon; once the squabs are older, the parents will often leave them alone in the afternoon for long stretches. It looked like he was going to stay in the box with George, so we put down a little Dettol disinfectant on the floor and were going to wait five minutes before washing it away like we usually do, as per the instructions. But Big Pidgee decided he wanted to know what we were doing with his prized living area, so he hopped out of the box to come see. He and Little Pidgee are often extremely concerned about what we might be doing there. I did not want him to get into the disinfectant, so I had to shoo him back. He did NOT like that. He grunted at me, and I swear it looked like he was scowling. I had to shoo him a couple of times. Gently, but he was not a happy camper. We washed the Dettol down quickly and moved him back over. But I got my hand too close, and he gave me a wing slap.

We've decided to remove the unhatched egg on Wednesday, just to make absolutely sure it's not going to miraculously hatch somehow. George will be 10 days old, and that will be more than a week after the last day of what we we figured was the window for the egg to hatch (assuming this one was the second egg laid; if it's the first one laid, then the window will have ended even longer ago). I keep having visions of what would have been little Gracie popping out shortly after I've disposed of the egg.
 

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Well, I must say that this thread has turned out to be most entertaining........I too spent a good bit of time going through the forum that you posted. Humans can be such idiots sometimes...........loved ALL the pictures.
I've seen what you see happening, a hundred times in my loft. Something about watching it in nature without much human intervention is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing all these babies with us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for your kind comments. Looks like pigeons moving into balcony flowerpots is a much more common phenomenon than I would ever have imagined.

Monday morning here, and Little Pidgee left George alone to go find some breakfast earlier this morning. 8 days old now. I can see little gray feathers starting to appear from the feather shafts. He's now entering the phase where he'll try to stand and "click" at me when he sees me in the window. But when I went outside to give him a little pet -- I never try to touch the squabs when the parents are around; they clearly want to be left alone -- he didn't snap at me when he tried to rear up. He did peck around my fingers, looking for something to eat maybe, but again he was fine with being handled. We're wondering if lack of a sibling is altering his behavior pattern.
 

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Haha. Sam you had me hosing at that comment about the pot plants. Yes indeed they are what Americans call "potted" plants. I can just imagine the pigeons if this was not the case.

I've looked at a few of your pictures. How big is your balcony roughly?

Here is a video you might find interesting.
http://www.facebook.com/v/127947330073
Hopefully it loads properly. It starts off with my squabs, Bangers and Mash both at 28 days getting fed by Dad. As Dad is here Mash starts to show off and practises flying by doing her helicopters. Bangers is getting some food from Dad in the right. Afterwards Dad rewards Mash with a quick mouthful of food.

They hadn't properly flown at that stage. A few days later I still hadn't seen them fly and I came home to find poor Bangers all on his own in the flower pot in the corner. He looked very lonely and I figured Mash had finally perfected flying and had flown the coup. I thought she might return when it started getting dark. As I've also found out, the pigeons do not fly at night. Anyway as it started to get too dark it occurred to me that perhaps she had fallen off the balcony. I'm on the 3rd floor (4th floor for Americans) and there is a generous layer of bushes directly below my balcony. There are also quite a few cats on my building so if she was down there she probably wouldn't have lasted too long.

Anyway I went downstairs and started rummaging through the bushes. They are pretty thick bushes but eventually I could make out her silhouette below all the greenery. I can only imagine that she had attempted to fly and had not made it very far. As the bushes very pretty thick it was quite a mission to shepard her out and catch her again, traumatised as she was. In the end I caught her and took her upstairs again to be reunited with her brother. And the thanks I got was pretty much the same as what you've had. Her and Bangers didn't even acknowlege until it got really dark and they were too scared to sleep alone so they huddled up in their usual place. Perhaps he was jealous of her early excursion. She would have been 32 days on that day. I'll have to check how this ties in with your squabs ages for first flights. Perhaps something like this happened to Snowy when she dissappeared first time.

Anyway love your posting. At least now I understand why Mom had her head down Dad's throat of late. Although it's been 4 months since the original eggs were laid and I know they haven't had any more since. This is mainly as Mom and Dad have always arrived together on my balcony so no body could be home looking after eggs. (And they have been here almost every day).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks. We have a very slow Internet service, and it takes forever to load videos. Will check that out later after it loads. Our balcony is not very big, but as you can see from the photos, we have a concrete verge at the bottom, about 5" high. We've found by the time they're hopping up on that, they're about ready to fly. In fact, I remember one batch -- was it Sammy? -- I first saw him fly when it looked like he slipped off. His flying ability may have surprised him that that time, too.

We like it when they do helicopters, too. :D

Tuesday morning, George is 9 days old, and we went ahead and removed the egg when Little Pidgee was out for breakfast. We noticed yesterday that both of the parents were starting to ignore it. Covering up the squab while leaving the egg exposed. Sitting over on the rail, leaving the egg exposed. We didn't open it, though; but it felt very light, like it was hollow. Not that these eggs weigh a lot anyway.

George tries to raise up now when he sees and when alone, but unlike the previous squabs, he doesn't try to snap at us. Petted him a bit this morning, and he's fine with it.

Some decidedly gray feathers appearing now.
 

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Sounds like the egg was a dud. As far as I can tell the easiest way to check is to shine a torch (American flashlight) through it.
On my balcony there is a 5cm (2inch) gap at the bottom before the railing starts. The reason I mention this is that from the pigeon's point of view it is quite easy to see me inside my flat and whenever they see me they get a little scared and they do the strangest thing. They turn around and rest on their bellies under the railing. That way they can make a quick get away if I am to attack them or something, but to them it is almost as if, if they can't see me they are safe. They'll lie there for awhile and slowly turn their heads to see if I am still there. If I am they'll quickly turn back and look out onto the world. When they fly up and are perched on the top of the balcony they will do a similar thing. They will either move so that the frame of the door is between them and me and they can't see me, or they will move right to the edge so that they can hide behind the curtains. It is sort of like if I can't see you, you can't see me and I'm safe.

Mom and Dad are in the flower box and Dad is cooing away. (They can't see me from the flower box so it's a safe place). They do this every day, but no more babies....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
As you can see from some of the photos, such as this one, once our squabs do get up onto the concrete verge, they like squeezing between it and the lowest rail. There's something about being squeezed under like that that seems to provide some sense of security. And they always choose that same same spot, close to the flower box and near that outer green wall behind you can see in the photo. The parents like to roost on the rails above, not on the verge, but they like that same area, again we think possibly because it's a bit enclosed and feels safe.

George is 10 days old now (Wednesday morning). Alone again while Little Pidgee went to breakfast, so I picked him up. I'm getting the distinct impression that he likes me. He seems not to be the least bit afraid or put out. Stares around him; nibbles on my finger in apparent hopes that it's some sort of beak he can plug into and be fed. On the other hand, the wife said that late yesterday afternoon while I was away, George did rear up and snap at Little Pidgee when she came back from somewhere and that Mama had to soothe him a bit. Is this because of a lack of a sibling? Could he think he's ... human?
 
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