I looked outside yesterday and saw a family of Bluejays out by the bird feeder.
There were two adults and two youngsters, all about the same size,
distinguishable only by their behavior. My husband, Ronnie, was a bird watcher
and he taught me many things about our feathered friends, knowledge that brings
me pleasure every single day.
The Bluejay parents took seeds from the feeder and the youngsters chased him or
her, fluttering their wings wildly, screaming as if a cat were after them. This
is typical "begging" posture in the bird world. The parents are trying to get
the babies to eat seed on their own, but the young find it's easier to be fed.
They don't want to be independent just yet, but eventually they will look for seeds and
bugs to their liking and off they'll go.
Spring is the best time to watch for this behavior in wild birds but since
pigeons nest all year, it goes on in our pen year round.
Raising pigeons was Ronnie's favorite hobby - second to cars. He spent many
hours watching the flock and deciding which ones to breed to each other. He knew
his pigeons as well as most people know their dogs. His all time favorite was a
big solid red male who he called Red.
For many years, Red was the best roller in the kit, which is what breeders call
the group of pigeons that fly together, and when he finally passed away, Ronnie
buried him out back with all our other pets. Ronnie often teased me saying
that if it was possible for a human to reincarnate as an animal, he was going to
come back as a big red pigeon.
When Ronnie was first diagnosed with cancer, we discussed what to do with his
flock of 25 to 30 Birmingham Rollers. He reminded me that they are a lot of
work, a lot of responsibility, and that having them would make it harder to hit
the road and go wherever I want to go.
I've only been able to come up with two options and neither of them is
acceptable to me. I could sell them at the flea market, but you never know who
is going to buy a bird or why. Some people keep pigeons to use for target
I could shoo them all out and lock up the pen, stop providing feed, and
eventually the ones that don't starve to death here will go away. I can't do
that. Some of these birds have been here for many years and they were all
raised in "captivity" which means they don't have a clue how to fend for
Many years ago, when money for feed was scarce, Ronnie would give bread to his
flock to get by until payday. It's been so long since we had to do that, these
birds don't even know what bread is.
My only other option is to gather the eggs as they are laid in order to keep the
flock manageable. I can do that, and eventually the flock will diminish, but I
feel sad when I take eggs from under a hen. It isn't my favorite thing to do.
However, since Ronnie passed away early last August, I've thrown out over a
hundred eggs, so it is imperative that I do that.
I love having a flock of pigeons. I think about all the good times Ronnie and I
had while I'm tending to them every morning. They are an essential part of my
back yard and these are some of the prettiest I've ever seen.
There is a big bright red pigeon out there now. He's one that I missed while he
was still in the egg. His face and head are white and he has a small red spot
right on top in the middle. Ronnie told me one day before he passed away, that
if I wanted to talk to him, to come out and sit on the bench by the pigeon pen,
and he'd be there. "Look for a red pigeon. That'll be me."
What do you think?
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"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin
Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.
"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham
"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran
“And forget not