Hey all you Pigeon fanciers, or at the very least, those of you out there who have grown fond of our pair we call "The Jerseys", I finally have an update for you.
"Update? Say what?"
The last blog about them can be viewed here. But the jist of it is that Jersey 2 went into Toronto Wildlife Centre on April 21st due to a chemical substance about his feathers.
I am thrilled to report that 68 days later he was released back to his home... our neighbourhood.
Jersey 1 has been seen almost reliably daily between 11 and noon for weeks now. She's been well taken care of while her friend has been away.
We had some bully Pigeon issues as a massive bird had been following her around for days. He would constantly chase her, bite the back of her neck and just would not stop. She wasn't given a moment to eat and he stressed her quite a bit. It was infuriating to watch and it was hard not to want to give this guy a swift kick (but I'd never do that). It took a few days to get her to come to hand even with this goon about. He did manage to flush her a few times and it kept her from coming back during those visits. Eventually I got her on hand to eat and I pulled her into me as close as I could, something she's not been that comfortable with in the past; but it stopped the other from hitting her. He would stand on the ground and look up at us. She got to eat in peace but as soon as she was done and left my hand, he was on her again. I don't know what his deal was but within 2 weeks all this nonsense was done. Angie did get to see it with her own eyes one day and she was just as P'Od about it too.
So, ya, with her coming in as regularly as she has been, I was happy I could time my arrival back to our yard with Jersey 2 and chance that Jersey 1 would be present for his release.
It could not have played out any more perfectly than this!
I walked up the side of the house. I opened the gate. I was thrilled to see Jersey 1 sitting in the tree by the back of the house. She watched me rather intently, noticing the box in my hand. I'm sure she was thinking "wow, there must be a lot of food in there!" as she's quite used to me coming out to feed her. A few other Pigeons came to the grass as I set the box down but not her.
I spoke softly to Jersey 2, hoping he would remember my voice. I told him he was home. I told him his friend was waiting for him.
I opened the box and he quickly hopped out. In my past experiences, Pigeons are the slowest to ever leave their carriers (boxes) at releases. Twenty minutes isn't unreal. So having J2 jump out in 2 seconds was unusual but also appreciated. Let's not build the suspense here, let's just do this! Thanks buddy. :)
He was on the grass. A dozen or so other Pigeons were pretty much surrounding him. Probably all were like "hey, you're not food!" J2 scanned the area and almost immediately spotted his friend up in the tree. He took flight and landed on the branch next to her. J2 quickly burst out in a spree of coo's, puffing his chest out and doing silly circles on the branch. Talk about showing his happiness to be free and with his friend once again. Talk about a perfect ending!
Here is a short video of the reunion. I am so glad I was able to capture these first moments. Then about 30 minutes later here.
I had 2 hours to watch them before I went to work. They were both here that whole time. I watched as J2 would come to ground, feed, drink and explore.
Back home again.
One of his favorite branches.
Among his people.
The sky has never been bluer. The sun has never been so bright as it is right now.
Good preening session. Notice his right eye is red.
His left eye is black.
But then I had to leave them and go to work.
The next morning I was anxious to get outside and see what was going on. J2 was already here and quickly came to my hand for a feed. This surprised me a little because I was the one who grabbed him and took him away. He was handled in care as they washed him more than a couple times. As tame as these birds may seem, they are still wild birds. They have their limits. I was thinking all what has happened to him would break that trust. But it was like all was forgotten.
Then as per norm, about 11 am I look out the window and there is J1 with J2 next to her. That lifted me more than the coffee in my veins.
Of course I went out and had a visit with them.
I am so happy he is back. I am so happy to see them hanging around together again. And it's great to know so many others are just as happy and they've never even met the pair!
Honestly though, I am not sure if they are a mating pair. They seem more like siblings. I mean look at them, they are so unique compared to all the others that come through here. They must have come from the same nest. I think I've mentioned in the past that there was a 3rd, who was mostly white and had no eye spots but that bird has not been seen in months now.
Whatever the case, I hope both of them are with us for a long time to come.
Now if I could just go back 10 years and tell myself in 2007 that you will fall in love with some Pigeons one day. 2007 me would never believe it.
Have a great Canada Day long weekend! I know we sure will.
Last bit, as per norm with Angie and I, we made a donation to Toronto Wildlife on behalf of the Jerseys. Sure we are already monthly donors and I do a fair amount of driving for them throughout the year; but nothing is free in this world, his care over 2 months and a week adds up. This is not a bragging statement, just a reminder to others that TWC is a charitable run organization and every dollar given helps.
If you suddenly feel warm and fuzzy after this blog, and would like to make a donation, click here. You can always tell them that "The Jerseys" sent you. Or Rob and Angie Mueller since they might have no clue who The Jerseys are. They are also having a sponsor a wild baby campaign, nothing is too small, which goes to the animals. You can sponsor an Opossum, a Turtle and others.
My latest nest blog is out, you can view it here. It's really short.