Pigeon mums don't quite make the cut

Pigeon mums don't quite make the cut

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I am just so glad my mum’s not a pigeon. No offence to the pigeons but I’ve been watching one of them and I don’t think I would have made it with a mum like her.

This year the children painstakingly painted a bird house hoping to have some of them make it their home. 

However ignoring the birdhouse totally (and rather rudely) one day, a lady pigeon laid an egg in our Tulsi planter.

The ‘nest’ was just two or three haphazardly placed twigs. Such careless parenting, I thought. Even if one doesn’t have the dexterity of a weaver bird one can certainly do better than this. Check out the picture below and you’ll know what I mean. Perhaps, hearing me rant and rave she dutifully placed a few more twigs after laying the egg. Some mother, this!

I was pretty outraged on behalf of the unborn offspring but then I thought maybe pigeons just didn’t make nests (at least it was better than laying your egg in someone Else’s nest), or maybe this one was exceptionally lazy. Or, thought I (when in a charitable, non-judgemental mum-to-mum frame of mind) maybe she was a single mum – which would explain a lot, including the absence of any kind of a father figure hovering around the ‘nest’.

She would periodically fly away presumably in search of food, leaving her egg totally exposed to crows and mynahs. That might have been forgivable, but she also took off each time we went even close to the balcony, heartlessly deserting her egg. While such shoddy mothering annoyed me no end she seemed pretty satisfied with it. So much so that the next day she went and laid another egg!!

The eggs would have long gone had I not taken over her mothering duties. It was I who tiptoed into the balcony, I who told the maid to stop watering the poor Tulsi, I who left piles of grains for her and I who shooed away myriad predators including two excited, clueless but very curious children and their bunch of bird crazy friends. One of them wanted to stroke the bird, another wanted to ‘just touch’ the egg and yet another wanted to check if she would eat from his hand. Whew!

All I didn’t do was sit on those darned eggs to hatch them. No sir! That easiest bit was all madame ‘real mum’ did. For over three weeks she sat on them when the fancy took her, while we waited, looking out each day for the new arrivals. 

Yesterday, finally, we saw some activity beneath her wings and out peeked one tiny pink headed chick. The kids (mine, not the pigeon’s) literally went berserk oohing and aahing. H ran to call his friend, an aspiring vet, and N chucked her books, while I rushed for the camera. There really is no sight more wonderful, more heartwarming than that of a newborn baby – human or bird.

And today there was another one. The mum in the pigeon finally seems to have awakened. She is refusing to leave her chicks now even when I go out into the balcony or when I sit right next to the planter. When I trained the camera on her for a longish time she moved over in a proprietorial manner to take the chicks under her wing, hiding them from view like they were all hers, like I had no hand in their existence! But I couldn’t help going Aww!!! I just wanted to hug all three of them.
Check out how they feed. At first, given her mothering history, I thought she was eating them up. But she was just feeding them. I wish I could upload the video but for some reason that’s not happening.

I am now waiting eagerly to let my (almost) first set of twins fly the nest with a little help from their pigeon mum.
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22 Replies to “Pigeon mums don't quite make the cut”

  1. awww!!! Loved the way you described this!!!

    When I was in Noida I had found an egg hidden behind th washing machine….i very carefully dug it out and kept it in the open. The Bugging mother pigeon did not even try to move it…I guess they are kind of detached till the babies are out…may be because we human tend to throw the eggs away???

  2. The photos are sweet, Tulika.

    πŸ˜€ Little do you know what you've let yourself in for! If pigeons are a regular at your place, soon you'll be scraping off sh*t all over the place. That's what the dumb birds do. Lovely to look at, charming to watch, hell to handle! πŸ˜€

    1. Oh I know Vidya. Mercifully they seem to come around to our balcony only when they're hunting for a Place to lay eggs otherwise they're not around so often. I used to hate them for the mess but thankfully it hasn't been happening. I just hope I haven't spoken too soon.

  3. Tulika, that is awesome, those pigeons do love planters, i don't know why? The pictures are lovely indeed, so cute and fluffy, No wonder they needed your help. Just adorable.
    I too had written a post about my experience with pigeons as a short story.
    Superb!!

  4. What a sweet and endearing, yet at times humourous post Tulika: very lovely indeed. It is fun to watch baby chicks grow and them being fed, etc. I hope you get to watch them fly with your video camera working at that point! πŸ˜‰ <3

  5. What a sweet, adorable, loving story you have shared here, Tulika. You have proven once again that you are a kindhearted and excellent mother – for humans and birds πŸ™‚

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