Thursday, August 30, 2012

G for GIFT of LIFE: Pigeon Diaries


Amidst all the usual news, that I mostly found rather grueling, in today’s newspaper, one that caught my eye was about the arrival of the Painted Storks in our city Zoo.

The Painted storks, so named because of their vibrant pink tertial feathers and monochrome markings, are migratory birds that travel from the cooler Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh to Delhi during early autumn. A number of other migratory species like the Teal, Coot and the Dabchick are expected to reach Delhi from Siberia, China and parts of South-eastern Asia by mid September.

The Painted Storks typically breed during December and are expected to stay on till February.

Torrential rains of the last few days have considerably plummeted the mercury, encouraging the storks to take up residence at our Zoo a little earlier than usual.

They are being gregariously welcomed and generous efforts are on to make them comfortable at the Zoological Gardens. The ponds are getting filled up with generous portions of stork-dinner-a variety of local fish. One interesting fact about these birds is that they refuse to build nests from the twigs of trees that they stay in. The Zoo officials are graciously catering to their whim and getting them twigs from other nearby trees!!


This little news item made me think how amazing the ways of nature are.

This GIFT of LIFE – that’s one gift that makes our earth unique.

How extraordinarily different every life form is and yet, is gelled together somehow…

A few months back, I was lucky enough to be able to document such an event. A complete cycle of life…

I consider it a gift from nature.



You often see these birds, the common domestic pigeon scattered all over the cityscape.

Sadly, these very peaceful birds are considered nothing less than a form of city pest.


One day, sometime last June, I found a pair of them busily gathering twigs on the windowsill of one of our bathrooms. Now, all our doors and windows are in pairs. A net-structure that opens inside (and for most parts remains shut to keep out mosquitoes and other insects) and one in glass or wood that opens outside (that mostly remains open). Before I could get myself to brush off the twigs, the industrious little pair had already set up a beautiful nest on the shelf, in between the two sets of windows.

They looked so proud that I just didn’t have the heart to shoo them away. I’m glad I didn’t because in the ensuing days, I witnessed one of the most beautiful events in nature …the Gift of life on earth.


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It was a practical lesson in natural history for me! I watched, fascinated, as I saw both Mr. & Mrs. Pigeon take turns to incubate their precious pair of eggs, just like the books said. Once they hatched at around the 18th day, they  fed their little babies pigeon milk and regurgitated grains. I would often put out some rice and cereals which promptly disappeared.





( You can identify Papa Pigeon by his darker neck band)


In just 35 days, my perfect little pair of eggs had turned into this perfect little pair of pigeons!

They had now begun to accept food from me, rice grains. They were all ready to fly away. But for days, I watched them hesitate to move away from the safety of the nest. I began wondering if I was actually disturbing the natural order of things. Was I just reinforcing their fear, providing them with ready food and delaying their flight?

Or may be it was not my fault at all. They were scared because the ground looked so far away from that height.

What a thought! Acrophobic birds!






One of them was braver. It’d step out right till the very edge and spread out its wings as if to fly. But for over four days, that was all the progress it’d made.

And then, with utmost determination, I stopped feeding them. The mother pigeon had long gone away and no longer came back to feed them. My heart broke and I felt I was starving them to death. But I stuck to my resolve (with cruel encouragement from my husband!)

And then, one day when I was back from work, they were both gone! Just like that. They disappeared.

I ran down and checked with the gardener and the caretaker. No, they hadn’t come across any dead birds. Nor had they seen Sheru, our resident colony dog feast on one since morning!

So finally, my little pair of eggs did spread out their wings!



P.S:  Since the last couple of days, a pair of pigeons has been cooing and cuddling on the very same window sill. Were they my pair? In all probability they were. The domestic pigeon can be trained to be very successful messengers – homing pigeons.

This time though, I have begun to regularly open and shut the outer window, sending out a clear message that this particular surface isn’t a safe place for a nest. The sill is now clean, after a lot of effort and I don’t think I’m ready to ‘let it out’ again!



I’m glad to link ‘A GIFT of LIFE- Pigeon Diaries’ to Mrs. Nesbitt’s ABC WEDNESDAY:G. There are ‘G’s gallore at this Great meme. Do gallop over if you don’t want to miss any…





Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

Great to be able to see the birds grow and set off into the world. But be careful, our uncle died last year and it was from pigeon poo that got into his lungs. Apparently it's quite common.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Molly the Airedale said...

What a great story! Dad rescued 2 baby pigeons in a cupola that was being destroyed and thrown to the ground. He brought the baby birdies home. One died and the other one lived. We named him Walter. He was quite the character until one day, he decided to head out on his own! Walter was the neatest birdie!

Love ya lots,
Mitch and Molly

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! What an experience you had ~ amazing ~ birth is always a miracle to me ~ thanks so much for sharing this post ~ (A Creative Harbor)

PS ~ I am saying 'Life is the gift' .

Roger Owen Green said...

that's a GREAT story about the GIFT of life, and GRACIOUSNESS.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Lorenza said...

We have lots of them around here!
Kisses and hugs

Panchali said...

You are an animal/ bird lover...loved the pics and your amazing play of words!!

Unknown said...

We have never seen baby pigeons before but I have been adopted by a pair of crows that have been with me for years and which I feed when the weather is bad. Have a great Thursday.
Best wishes Molly

Pat said...

what a lovely experience!
Nice to have once before you reclaimed the space :)

Maggie Mae and Max said...

What a wunderful story, it made us smile. :)

Woofs and Licks,
Maggie Mae and Max

Unknown said...


eastcoastlife said...

That's a warm and fuzzy story. You had added two new births to our world. Happy weekend!

the booker man said...

isn't it so very super cool to get to watch baby birdies hatch 'n grow? :)
every spring since we moved into our house, a mr. 'n mrs. birdie build a nest in one of mama's hanging flower baskets on the front porch. even though mama gets a smidge annoyed with all the extra poo around (heehee), it's really funsies to check on the little baby birdies!

the booker man

pee s -- that's miss asa's special place! when mama 'n daddy first got asa, she was super awful scared of everythingie cuz of the mean person who had hurt her before. mama 'n daddy showed asa that her crate was her safe 'n secure place, where nothingie or nobuddy could evarrr hurt her. asa likes her crate so much that mama 'n daddy just leave it out & open so asa can go in there and relaxify whenevarrr she wants!

Unknown said...

Hey thanks for following us. Dem baby birds kinda ugly yeh?


Jim said...

what a wonderful thing to do for this pair of pigeons and something you could document. I don't think you hurt them in any way, just gave them a 'nudge', instinctively speaking.

I bet those Painted Stork are a sight to see! and how nice of the zoo staff to cater to them....I guess that would be their job but from from a different angle than they are used too.
Great post. Thank you.

Cotton said...

Chasing pigeons is fun!:)

Chicco said...

Hello dear friends, I'm back now!
I missed you, it's nice come to your blog again, i love your photos :)

Have a nice week.
Woof, woof,


Remington said...

AWESOME post, my friend!

lenalima said...

Acho lindos os pombinhos, infelizmente são comparados a ratos voadores por causa da pragas!

Arran, Arthur and Mum said...

How cool that you got to experience that. Life can be hard for city birds so i is sure they were glad of your help.

Oskar said...

What a fantastical story!

Nubbin wiggles,