When we moved into our house in 1996, it was a new build with a barren “garden”. Foolishly, I purchased two pine trees (both under two feet tall), now one of them is taller than the house!
Embarrassing as that may be, it is a haven for wildlife. Last year, Wood Pigeons nested and raised two chicks (called “squabs” – an ugly word, I’ll carry on calling them chicks…), then the same nest was used by Collared Doves, another two chicks. This is a nest quite low in the tree – about 15 feet high – which offers a great view of the chicks as they develop.
This year, I discovered two Collared Dove eggs in January, it was mild, and the nest must have been further up the tree as we couldn’t see it. However, there was a cold snap in February and both chicks were discovered on the ground, unable to fly. I couldn’t get them back to the nest, so took them in and tried to feed them but sadly, both died within a couple of days. Maybe the cold got to them.
On the 1st of March, we discovered another egg – an obvious sign of a chick hatching, this time a Wood Pigeon who had re-used the original nest. Looked like just one egg this time, and sure enough, this bird has developed and as I write is 34 days old -basically the time it should fledge.
Further up the tree are more collared doves, another pair of Wood Pigeons building another nest (might even be the same parents of the current chick), Blackbirds and Magpies right at the top. The Magpies have obviously hatched, I have discovered one egg shell.
Anyway, back to our Wood Pigeon chick. He’s getting adventurous, and practicing flapping his wings. As the nest is now on its third brood and has never been repaired or extended since the first, it’s getting smaller. So as the chick gets bigger, what happens? He falls out.
Luckily for him, Alfie our cat doesn’t care, just sits there watching this daft bird on the ground, so I can go and collect him. With a ladder propped against the tree, and the bird in a bucket, I can get him back to the nest, with parents watching, who return to feed him after his ordeal.
That was Wednesday. He came out twice more on Thursday, once on Friday, and managed to stay in the nest over the weekend before falling to the ground again yesterday (Monday). I’m seriously thinking of installing a lift for this adventurous bird.
In just those five days, it is amazing how much he has grown.
So, I’m hoping that today will be the time he finally works out how to defy gravity and learns how to fly.