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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I befriended a pair of wild woodpigeons and have been feeding them on my balcony for over 7 years. They know my face, my voice and their names when I call out for either of them to fly over from the neighbouring trees. I’ve developed quite a relationship with them, Scruffy (the male) and Regi (female) are really special - they adapt easily to change of feeding spots or times, they often notice which room in my house I’m at (watching me from the trees); Scruffy would bring sticks to let me know when nesting has begun, he would call in the mornings right in front of my bedroom window, to wake up his food providing human, knowing that after two or three “coo”-s, I’d open the blinds and rush to him…

Every summer I would travel to my home in Bulgaria (where I’m originally from), there’s been years when I was gone for over a month, when I return - the pair would come back, as well within a day or two! I haven’t had many chances in my life to go on holidays, over the last few years I would leave for no longer than a couple of weeks (together with my whole family once per year), feeling confident that both birds adapt quickly to feeding themselves as wild birds do, there’s a small pond around the corner for drinking water, taking care of their nest on their own, etc.

Scruffy is extremely territorial, I would often help him chase off other territorial woodies, poor thing used to be terrible at defending himself, his feathers would get roughed up, hence his name, but he’s really resilient and got much better at it over the years. The pair were thriving, successfully raising several broods a year. I’m sure I’ve been feeding many of their grown up “babies”, too.

This year, I left for 2 weeks (now I wish I could have stayed, but I had absolutely no choice). Regi came back to me the day after I returned, looking well and asking for food every other hour, from 6am till 7pm. It’s day 4 now and no signs of Scruffy! The longest it’s taken the to come back to me in the past has been 2 and a half days, back in 2014 when I was away for over a month. I don’t believe there’ve been predators in my particular area, until a couple of years ago - I saw one sparrowhawk once in 2018 and another hawk-like bird once in early 2019. There are lots and lots of woodies and many other garden birds of all sizes in my area and other people who feed birds in neighboring blocks. There’s also a big park closeby. I struggle to imagine out of all of them, the hawk to have gotten exactly my Scruffy.

I’m completely heart-broken at the idea of never seeing him again! Do you think there’s a chance he may still return? Even though his mate has been back without him… Could he be sick somewhere in need of care… I’ve been walking around with my binoculars, calling out for him… Is there anything else I could do? I can send photos describing all the markings that distinguish him from other woodies…

I apologize for writing a novel! Any comment or piece of advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!



>> https://www.flickr.com/photos/zoryburner/albums/72157682157738846
 

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No one can know the chances of returning with wildlife. This pair has been seen by you for 7 years and you never have seen their youngsters? They possible could have 7 progeny out there that you are scaring away..lol. But such is life with pigeons, as the male does do that , his kids or not.

If he is gone missing all of a sudden from that many years, then something has made it so he can’t or won’t return. The list being a long one and only guesses. I’m sure you have thought of all of them already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for your messages! Still no sign of him, I’m so sad! I still can’t believe it! :(

I haven’t seen exactly where they nest over the years, but I’ve seen many of the pair’s youngsters. Twice or sometimes even 3 times per year I’d see Scruffy feed baby woodies, squealing and chasing after him. I’ve seen him many times get food from my feeder and pass it on to the fledglings. He’s brought babies to my balcony, as well, but once they’re grown enough and able to feed themselves, the parents seemed to chase them away themselves, encourage them to find territories of their own, I guess…

I’m sure that some (possibly many) of the younger woodies hanging around the area could be my pair’s kids or grandkids :)

What puzzles me at the moment is I’ve had a new visitor over the last month that is very similar to Scruffy, by appearance and also character/behavioral patterns (using Scruffy’s favorite perch for waiting for me to put food in the feeder and many other little things) … I’ve spent so much time watching “my” birds, learning distinguishing marks and personalities, that this new visitor seems so oddly similar, but he’d chase anyone away from the feeder, esp Scruffy. Over the last weeks before I went away, that other bird tried to “steal” the territory from Scruffy, chasing him quite a lot. Regi shakes every time he’s around now, she even makes short noises, so I can help keep him away from her… This bird could easily be one of their grown up kids and I wonder if it’s possible for him to have successfully chased away Scruffy and “won” the territory. I don’t know if such a thing happens with woodies – a “rival” chasing the male to the point of him leaving his mate behind?
 

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Thank you so much for your messages! Still no sign of him, I’m so sad! I still can’t believe it! :(

I haven’t seen exactly where they nest over the years, but I’ve seen many of the pair’s youngsters. Twice or sometimes even 3 times per year I’d see Scruffy feed baby woodies, squealing and chasing after him. I’ve seen him many times get food from my feeder and pass it on to the fledglings. He’s brought babies to my balcony, as well, but once they’re grown enough and able to feed themselves, the parents seemed to chase them away themselves, encourage them to find territories of their own, I guess…

I’m sure that some (possibly many) of the younger woodies hanging around the area could be my pair’s kids or grandkids :)

What puzzles me at the moment is I’ve had a new visitor over the last month that is very similar to Scruffy, by appearance and also character/behavioral patterns (using Scruffy’s favorite perch for waiting for me to put food in the feeder and many other little things) … I’ve spent so much time watching “my” birds, learning distinguishing marks and personalities, that this new visitor seems so oddly similar, but he’d chase anyone away from the feeder, esp Scruffy. Over the last weeks before I went away, that other bird tried to “steal” the territory from Scruffy, chasing him quite a lot. Regi shakes every time he’s around now, she even makes short noises, so I can help keep him away from her… This bird could easily be one of their grown up kids and I wonder if it’s possible for him to have successfully chased away Scruffy and “won” the territory. I don’t know if such a thing happens with woodies – a “rival” chasing the male to the point of him leaving his mate behind?
In captivity wood pigeons can live till in their teens.. even to 20.
But in the wild it is probably half that. So yes , the young male could of taken over the older males territory.
 

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Thank you so much for your messages! Still no sign of him, I’m so sad! I still can’t believe it! :(

I haven’t seen exactly where they nest over the years, but I’ve seen many of the pair’s youngsters. Twice or sometimes even 3 times per year I’d see Scruffy feed baby woodies, squealing and chasing after him. I’ve seen him many times get food from my feeder and pass it on to the fledglings. He’s brought babies to my balcony, as well, but once they’re grown enough and able to feed themselves, the parents seemed to chase them away themselves, encourage them to find territories of their own, I guess…

I’m sure that some (possibly many) of the younger woodies hanging around the area could be my pair’s kids or grandkids :)

What puzzles me at the moment is I’ve had a new visitor over the last month that is very similar to Scruffy, by appearance and also character/behavioral patterns (using Scruffy’s favorite perch for waiting for me to put food in the feeder and many other little things) … I’ve spent so much time watching “my” birds, learning distinguishing marks and personalities, that this new visitor seems so oddly similar, but he’d chase anyone away from the feeder, esp Scruffy. Over the last weeks before I went away, that other bird tried to “steal” the territory from Scruffy, chasing him quite a lot. Regi shakes every time he’s around now, she even makes short noises, so I can help keep him away from her… This bird could easily be one of their grown up kids and I wonder if it’s possible for him to have successfully chased away Scruffy and “won” the territory. I don’t know if such a thing happens with woodies – a “rival” chasing the male to the point of him leaving his mate behind?
I have a couple of feral pigeons that are nesting in a small gap between my sliding windows (about 5-7 cm gap). They've made it their home and have used it for over a year. There is one pigeon from their flock who's very aggressive and tries to invade their nest and their private feeding area (even though there is an "official" public feeding area for the rest of the flock) almost every day. He fights with the cock several times a day almost every day. Luckily, the cock is a tough bird and he manages to keep that bully away, and every time I hear a scruff I go and scare that aggressive bird away (the cock knows me by now and doesn't run). When the hen is alone, she's overpowered by that bird and it's lucky I'm there to drive him away (he usually shows up with his mate, who isn't aggressive at all and doesn't participate in any fights). I've come to depend on the male pigeon because I can't be there all the time, and they also all get up really early, which makes it a pain to get up every 10 minutes to separate a fight. When he's gone and the hen is left alone, I always wish he'd come back ASAP and relieve me from my duties.

So who knows, maybe Scruffy was chased away by another pigeon when you were gone, as you said yourself he wasn't that good at fighting. I hope he's safe and that he'll return soon, please let us know.
 
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