Tag Archives: Birds

Day 8 : My Sunday #fms_sunday

And we trudge on!  With a week of photo challenge under my belt I come to day 8:  My Sunday.  Today was a busy day with Mother’s Day visiting, yard work, and grocery shopping.  The morning started out with birding!  I have volunteered for the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas.  My mission is to visit my assigned area (my block) for twenty hours between April and October for the next four years.  Two of my visits have to be nocturnal visits.  I’m on the lookout for birds and especially birds who are trying to or have already made a love connection!  I have to keep my peepers open for singing males, birds collecting nesting materials, fledglings and other such suggestions that breeding is taking place in my block.  Not to sound like a total nerd, but it is super exciting!  Today I saw a pair of Northern Cardinals alerting their fledgling of my presence (score!) and a female Carolina Wren moving her fledglings along (double score!)

Day 8 #fmsphotoaday : My Sunday – Logging birds for the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas #vabba2

A post shared by Melanie Jo Moore (@melanie_jo_moore) on

This is an almost enchanting path located in my block.  I have high-fived myself numerous times that the owner of this property has granted me permission to bird here!  Eeeeee!  So much fun!

Tomorrow’s photo challenge :  A sign!

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Diversity Vs Hypocrisy: It Can Be Rough Being A Shore Girl #Mondayblogs

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My plate has been full lately and my chore cup runneth over, folks. Every time I think things are settling down I take on a new project or event. I haven’t had time to write and I almost thought my inner dialogue had gone on hiatus until this morning. This morning I heard the voice clear its throat and say…

“Are you diverse or are you just a hypocrite?”

Yeah. That is exactly what it said to me.

I know this question has been brewing under the surface for about two weeks now and I know exactly what caused this to boil to the surface. I have all these elements of my past and my soul that melt together and become who I am. I’m a bird watcher. I’m a nature lover. I’m a waterman’s daughter (and also a farmer’s daughter). Look deep enough in my genetic history and you will see that I come from hunters and decoy makers. I’m the granddaughter of small business owners and now the wife of a small business owner. I am an employee of a corporation.  I’ve always known that this makes an interesting combination, but what does this melting pot of genes amount to at the end of the day?

This past week, I’ve been helping my husband at his new shop. The shop is located less than five miles from where I grew up so it’s great to see so many familiar faces. There are also people that I don’t remember but I’m sure I met them along the way as a child. One of those faces belongs to Mr. Brady.

As I said above, I am the daughter of a waterman. This profession goes on back for generations and generations. As a general rule, there were three things that I could almost always find when looking at old census records for my Eastern Shore lineage. The men worked on the water, they couldn’t read and they couldn’t write. Most of them dropped out of school and headed for the boats at a young age if they went to school at all. That’s what they did in those days. Now, I didn’t drop out of school but I can tell you that I did my fair share of labor. I was a small child but I was mighty and I had a great work ethic instilled in me from both of my parents and my maternal grandparents. Are you old enough to push a broom? Then get to it. Before I finished out middle school, I had made motel reservations, cleaned toilets, made beds, vacuumed, gardened, raked, harvested nuts and berries, drove a tractor, drove a truck beside a potato digger (which was a huge promotion from picking up the straggler potatoes behind the digger that got missed). I’ve helped pull in gill nets, baited crab pots (I was probably never very popular with the boys because the smell of bunker is hard to wash off), signed and dug clams, been the lookout for VMRC when maybe we weren’t doing something terribly legal, I’ve scaled gigantic drum fish with a garden hoe, and I’ve sworn I was going to freeze to death while being sprayed with saltwater from crab dredges in the winter. Other girls my age were learning how to apply eyeshadow and curl their hair while I learned how to work hard, take care of myself and that living off the land and the water was a tough job that didn’t necessarily put food on the table (and when it didn’t … you ate chewy old conch – BLEH!)

I realized I was a hypocrite a few weeks ago when I was part of a discussion about chicken houses. I tell you no lie when I say I want them to stay out of my county. I worry about how they will disrupt our environment here on our tiny peninsula. Of course, I’m a complete asshole because I do eat chicken. Over the years I eat smaller and smaller portions of meat and we do have at least one vegetarian dinner a week. The chicken I buy in the store is approved by the better-chicken.org’s standards of humanely raised chicken. Since I have no plans to ever becoming a strict vegetarian, buying humanely and eating less is my way of finding a balance. Our food sources deserve our respect.

Then, I went to a No Offshore Drilling party. This wasn’t an event a sought out myself. My very good (and lucky friend!) Gay asked me to be her date. Trust me. I totally saw the irony as we were all parking our cars in front of a giant blowup oil barrel. I’m going to say 99% of the guest drove, including myself. Even if I rode a bike, guess what greases that chain? This is another moment of hypocrisy for me. I know the oil has to come from somewhere, but I don’t want it off of my coast. Our birds, our marine animals, and the livelihood of many of our jobs depend on our waters not becoming anymore polluted than they already are. 75% of the party was mostly socializing and eating (which may I mention they served hamburgers and hot dogs. Is it wrong that I assumed that a No Offshore Drilling party would serve vegetarian plates?) followed by fifteen minutes of informative ‘why offshore drilling is bad’ video. Again, you don’t have to show me pictures of oil drenched pelicans to get my vote… however they finished up the video with ‘Wind Turbines Will Save The World’ (okay they didn’t specifically say that). Wait. You came here with your giant blowup oil barrel to tell me you want to put giant wind turbines up our coast in the Atlantic Flyway which will surely kill migrating birds? They lost me there. Thanks for the free wine, but I’m not jumping in that parade. Note: As we approached the house the driveway was lined with balloons to signify that you were at the right place. I said to Gay, “They do realize that balloons are dangerous to sea life, right?”

I was able to get away and go to this party because my baby starling was finally eating worms on his own. I’ve continued to help out with baby birds here and there this year. Last week the starling graduated to being outside fulltime and then this week we began to see less and less of him for mealworm handouts. He hasn’t stopped by since Thursday I believe. Even though I feel great about a successful rehabilitation of a baby bird, I know there are people in the birding community who frown upon this. Starlings are not a native species and are quite invasive. They take nesting sites away from indigenous species and have caused severe decline in numbers for such birds as the Eastern Bluebird. Efforts have been made to eradicate the European Starling from this country and have failed. I’ve seen the comments online. A helping hand should not be extended to this creature. I ask you though, how can you say you love birds and then turn your back on a baby that couldn’t control that he was born here? I find that I sort of fit in with mainstream birders until I say how much I love the starling… or the brown-headed cowbird… or a vulture. Yeah, that last one really freaks people out.

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Finally, I come back to my encounter with Mr. Brady. We were talking about my fondness of Kiptopeke State Park and he asked if I went for the beach. I smiled shyly and said, “I like birdwatching.  I love being outside in the woods. The trails are great there for walking and seeing birds. I know that makes me a nerd.”

What at first I thought was Mr. Brady gathering his thoughts on how to be kind to this girl who was obviously a geek was actually Mr. Brady gathering his thoughts on a subject that he perceived we would not see eye to eye on. You see, Mr. Brady is a waterman and this time of year he is fishing for horseshoe crabs. It’s been a long time since I ran barefoot along the docks of Oyster and Kings Creek, so I’ve missed out on a lot of legislative changes over the years. One of those changes has been restrictions on the horseshoe crab industry. The Red Knot pit stops at the Delaware Bay to feed on its journey between the wintering grounds in South America and the breeding sites in northern Alaska. Overfishing of horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay (where an estimated 90 percent of the entire population of the Red Knot subspecies C. c. rufa can be present on the bay in a single day) has reduced the amount of horseshoe crab eggs for the Red Knots to eat and therefor contributed to the reduction of their population. The laws put in effect to protect the horseshoe crab population for the Delaware Bay have also been implemented in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Listening to Mr. Brady tell me about the restrictions from his perspective reminded me of being a child. I was probably eating a super nutritious breakfast my dad bought me at Shore Stop – a hot dog and a Pepsi – surrounded by men eating the same thing. I’m petting someone’s dog – maybe our dog Willie or maybe Marty Spady’s dog Rambo. They were all discussing new laws for crabbing and how the government is trying to kill the waterman. My eyes bounce back and forth among this army of men wearing white waterproof boots until I am distracted by a bird caught in a crab pot sitting on the dock. I run off to remove the bird and free him. Even then, I was trying to find the balance between life and nature.

I gave him the response that my brain refers to on several subjects. “There has to be a balance.”

I’m not sure if he fully understood what I meant when he left that afternoon. I got up from the desk and we waved to each other as he pulled out of the parking lot. Like other birders, I want to fight for the survival of the birds. Like a Shore girl, I want to fight for another endangered species… the waterman. He’s disappearing all the time. A profession that was at once plentiful is now dwindling more and more. The way of life I knew as a child has been decreasing every year. There’s got to be a way to save him, too.

That’s me, folks. A melting pot of contradictions. A Buddhist just wanting to find a way that everyone can live in harmony, man and nature.

You tell me.

Diverse or hypocrite?

FullSizeRenderCobb Island near the old Coast Guard Station circa de 1989 – from left to right: my sister, my dad (note the white waterman boots) and me. The Coast Station was later moved to Oyster, Virginia.  I’m probably excited about birds.

From The Desk Of The Dog: How My Summer Flew Away #Mondayblogs

Doggone it.

Where did my summer go?

I can tell you where it went.

It went to the birds.

That’s right. The birds.

I was so excited that winter went away. I was ready to greet summer with my ears flapping in the breeze. There’s nothing quite like peeing on a blooming azalea bush. I was ready! But then summer came and I had to share it with birds. You heard me right, birds.
First came a baby mockingbird named Chuck-Wee. I’d beg Food Lady to go on a road trip to the beach. She’d say no. She had to feed Chuck-Wee every hour. There was no time for the beach. Finally, Chuck-Wee grew up and started eating worms on his own. Yipee! My summer is coming back.

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But then, my mom brought home another baby mockingbird! Baby-Wee! I waited patiently as Baby-Wee grew and grew. He was a sickly little fellow so it took a long time for him to start acting like a big bird. The time finally came and Baby-Wee moved on to be a real mockingbird.

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I was so excited! Beach! Here we come! Long walks on wooded trails with Food Lady! Yay, summer I love you!

There was no beach because there were baby sparrows…
Food Lady! I want to go to the beach!

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I had given up. I would never go anywhere fun again. Birds. Stupid, stupid birds.

And then it happened! Food Lady got me dressed up and we got in the car!
She rolled down the window and I got to feel the warm breeze on my face as it flapped my ears!

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We went to a new walking place called the Eastern Shore Of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge in Kiptopeke. It was amazing! There was a path through the woods that led you to a giant staircase that took you up to the sky! You could see everything! And then… and then we went to the marsh! Oh, the smell of the marsh was so good! We continued walking through the woods and we found a giant bullet on display!

I sniffed it cautiously and turned to Food Lady. “It’s okay, Cody. This was an Air Force base a long time ago. That’s just for show. Not dangerous at all.”

Whew, was that good news.

“Do you want your picture taken in front of it?”

Do I ever!

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It wasn’t all fun and games. Food Lady wanted to stop and look at birds. What’s with the birds Food Lady!

Once it started getting hot outside, Food Lady said it was time to go home.  I don’t know why she made me leave.  It wasn’t like I was tired.

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We did get to stop at Food Lady’s favorite place! The Machipongo Trading Post! She loves the ice cream! I keep hoping she’ll share with me, but she says I can only have dog cookies.

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I was so close to that Java Jolt goodness!

Summer is leaving us now and the days are getting cooler. I was certain that the autumn air would get us out on the trails more frequently. I was ready to explore in the crisp, fall air.

And now we have baby goldfinches.

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Food Lady says Mother Nature goofed up and brought a late bunch of baby birds. I wish that nature lady would stop goofing up. She’s really making it hard for me to enjoy the outdoors.

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Want to know more about Cody and From The Desk Of The Dog?  Follow these links:

 The Original From The Desk Of The Dog

From The Desk Of The Dog:  Tell Me Where It Hurts

Poop All About It

From The Desk Of The Dog:  My Crummy Christmas

From The Desk Of The Dog:  Goodbye Winter! 

That Dog Won’t Hunt

Yum, Plastic! 

Feral Goddess: Christmas Inventory

Ah, it’s that time of year where you desperately stuff all of your holiday cheer in a box and move on with winter.  I followed my mother’s superstition this year and did not take down the Christmas tree until after the sixth of January.  I don’t know about you folks, but I like to keep bad luck at bay.  This last week I’ve been keeping the house at frigid temperatures to ‘preserve’ the tree for as long as possible.  The Fraser fir seemed to still glow with green health.  That was not enough to help me sleep though.

I have a history with house fires, and let me tell you, all it takes is to wake up with your parents whipping you out of bed in a smoked filled room once… you are done for.  Every little thing is a potential fire hazard.  I frequently quadruple check the oven and the candles before leaving the house.  Needless to say, the aging Christmas tree was worrying me.  We have baseboard heat at our house and the tree was in a corner with its back surrounded by the heat source.  The beau may have not noticed, but every day the tree crept further and further away from the wall.  I was starting to freak out.

The sixth finally passed and the first day I had time to undo the evergreen festival of lights was Saturday.  As I started taking down ornaments, I tried to take a mental inventory on what I had.  As the years have passed, I need my ‘filler’ ornaments less.  Special decorations have started taking over the tree.  I find myself every year, wandering the aisles of Michael’s or another crafty store asking myself, “Do I have that bird ornament?  I think I have this bird ornament.  Can you have too many bird ornaments?”

My love of everything bird is communicated well in my tree.  There are birds everywhere.  It’s not perfectly decorated, but it is our tree.

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I decided the best way to take inventory is to catalog and share on the blog.  Then come next year, when I spend fifty dollars on birds for the tree … one of you lovely readers will clear your throat and say, ‘Bitch, no more birds.  It’s out of control.’

001 Collage (1)The Repurposed:  The cute little turkey is part of a matching set the beau gave me our first Thanksgiving together.  When the tree went up, I stuck them in the tree and they have been Christmas ornaments since.   The bag of coal, Melanie bookmark and Mel star came from an Angel Appreciation party I attended years ago.  A woman I knew through work through a huge brunch at the local country club to thank people who had helped her that year.  I felt so special to be involved in such event, I kept my table markers and goodies.  The Happy New Year headband was from New Year’s Eve 2010.  Tracy and I partied it up at Kelly’s Gingernut Pub in Cape Charles.

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The caption says it all about these three.  I’m sure there’s more of these to come.

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I feel kind of bad for the beau, all these silly birds.  He has a few that are special for him.  The reindeer (for deer season), the king of beers, and a Napa Auto Parts ornament.

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I wonder all cardinals became the official bird of the holiday season?  I support redheads of every species, including the feather sort.

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My pigeon Pesto would wing-slap my ass for this.  Doves may be his cousins, but you could always tell he thought they were idiots.  We all have those relatives, don’t we?

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Of course a lady with red hair, fair skin and green eyes is going to have Irish ornaments… and a German pickle.  There is a rumor going around the internet that the legend of the Christmas pickle is a bunch of made up hogwash.  We don’t have children, so I practice the tradition of having the beau hang this one early in the game.  Then I can spend the rest of the tree trimming saying lovely things like, “I found your pickle!”, “I’m tickling your pickle,” or “Your pickle just rubbed my arm while I had these balls in my hand.”

The beau, the poor, poor beau.

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The rustic collection displays some of my favorite wild birds.  How lucky I was to find the rustic Canada Goose and Mallard.

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I love these three!  They look like real birds hanging on to the branches… well kind of.

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Cross our fingers, we’ve not had a cat in the tree incident yet!  We don’t want to give them any ideas.

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It’s true.  That sparkly shit is all over my couch.

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My mother agreed to make me a tree topper bow this year if I found a ribbon I liked.  Micahel’s had a whole shelf of glittery green, red, gold and silver ribbon.  I wanted something different.  That’s when I spied the Happy Holiday’s material.  Brown and tan, looks like burlap.  I LOVE IT!  It’s good to be different.  Learn how to make the painted bulbs here.

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What?  I think the jellyfish is a holiday creature.

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After all of this hard work, I now know that I have plenty of room for more birds!  HA!  Watch out stores, I’m coming to fill my basket with birds, birds, birds!

Update From The Lost Practice Of Christmas Cards: 

After sending out nearly 30 cards, I received 10 back.

Feral Goddess: The Lost Practice Of Christmas Cards

When I was a child, I would watch my grandmother sit down after Thanksgiving and start preparing a mammoth pile of Christmas cards.  I’m not sure how many she sent out, but it always seemed to be a million.  I was young, it could have been a million or maybe only twenty.  She never failed to be punctual and thorough at this holiday task.  In the following weeks, the decorations would start going up, the tree would be lit and Gram would receive tons of lovely holiday greeting cards.  She would tape them around the door frames of the house much like you would hang stockings at the fireplace.

My mother practices the tradition and has a list of die-hard Christmas card recipients.  Over the years though, I feel like she has began to let this list get shorter and shorter.  It’s no fun sending Christmas cards out and never getting them back.  It’s like being the only letter sender in a pen pal relationship.  To me, it is the sign of a dying practice.

BUT WAIT!  Can I contribute a small amount and help bring back the beloved tradition of Christmas card exchange?  Can I defy the odds?  Can I battle against an entire generation who is constantly glued to a gadget and clueless how to converse with another person unless it is in text, email or Facebook post?

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I’m sure as hell going to try!

Friday night, I sat on the floor and carefully filled out these cute little Christmas cards on our coffee table.  Look at the little guy in the earmuffs!  He’s so frickin’ cute!

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I’m sad to report not everyone on my list is receiving this particular card.  This box held fourteen cards, which I thought would be plenty.  As I placed a stamp on each sealed envelope, I thought of another person who I wanted to give a card.  The beau stopped and stared at the holiday madness taking place before him.  I’m sure that he thought I was insane with my posts scattered everywhere, addressed to everyone.  I am the biggest scrooge on Earth.  I am the first to admit I am ready for the Christmas season to be over at the first seasonal commercial, which now airs in August.

“Don’t you judge!  I am on a mission!  My grandmother sends Christmas cards.  My mother sends Christmas cards. I will single-handedly bring back the Christmas card.”

“I believe you.”  He smiled and picked up a card to admire the incredibly cute birds.

“I wonder how many we’ll get back.”

“Well, you’ll know who to cut off the list next year.”

Should I?  When next year comes around should I only send to those who sent to me?  This is going to bring on a world of pondering in three hundred and sixty five days.

Twenty four cards are ready to be delivered to their new homes.  Homes that may be surprised.  Homes that have wondered why old Scrooge McMel needed their address.  Homes that will hopefully love whichever version of the bird card they received.  (Of course I had more bird designs!  All of my Christmas cards had birds on them!)

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There they go!  Bye-bye little bird cards!  Yes, my mailbox is covered in ivy.  I know it drives the mailman mad but it fills my need for a cottage garden look.

It feels like the most simple gift I can give.  A gesture that tells people I still think of them during this insane time of year.  I hope it touches some souls and encourages others to reach into their roots and pass on a tradition most of us have witnessed in our childhood.  I’ve stepped up to the plate.  Let’s see who is ready to join in my own little holiday cheer.

Pigeon Frickin’ Crazy

No one is born a pigeon fanatic.  It’s like most other obsessions, you just don’t wake up one day and say, “Hey, I’m going to buy every snow globe I can find.”  An unexpected event coos you into opening your heart to something a little crazy.  For me, that was Pesto.

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I was about to be on vacation for three weeks.  I had to burn up two weeks of vacay in April so I wouldn’t lose it.  My office had been sprouting newborn babies like crazy and I hadn’t been able to take any time off.  I also had a four day conference to attend, which fell smack in the middle of my fourteen days.  I have to admit, I was a little excited to have some much needed me time.

That’s when I met Denise.  She had driven to our animal hospital with a baby bird she had rescued.  There had been a sibling that didn’t make it.  The babies had been rough housed out of the nest by neighborhood boys if I remember correctly.  It was very obvious that the whole ordeal was very upsetting for Denise.  My memory is a bit fuzzy here, because the minute I saw Pesto I wondered what in the hell is that?

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Day One:  Love At First Sight!

I assured her that we would check that little feathered alien out and give one of the wildlife rehabilitators a call.  Everything would be fine and if she would leave her information we would gladly pass it on.  In all of my eleven years, I had never seen a baby pigeon.  Baby pigeons remain in the nest until they are thirty to sixty days old.  They are full of feathers by then and closely resemble the adults, which is why immature pigeons are hardly ever seen.

That afternoon, our most seasoned rehaber stopped by to pick up that sad little bunch of feathers.  She confirmed Denise’s suspicion, that he was indeed a pigeon.  I started to hand over Denise’s information when the rehaber mentioned that she had her hands full with baby critters, so another rehaber would actually be taking the baby pigeon.

Now, I will tell you that everyone has a special talent when it comes to baby critters and everyone has something that will meet certain death if you try to play mommy dearest to that species.  I can kill a baby bunny just by looking at it.  BOOM!  Dead!  Kittens, I’m about 50/50.  My true talent is in baby birds and occasionally puppies.  The rehaber the pigeon was going to had a not so hot track record with baby birds.

“Um, you know.  I’m on vacation for a bit.  How about I take him?”  I don’t know what came over me!  I was about to have three weeks of me time and I just opened my big mouth.  I’m not sure if it was because I was already forming a bound with the little guy, or maybe I felt like I owed it to Denise to make sure that this little one made it.  Whatever it was, I was packing up supplies and taking home a scrappy eight day old baby pigeon.

A FACEBOOK LEGEND WAS BORN.

That is no exaggeration.  I began frequent updates on the life and times of the little birdie… and still to this day, people ask me about him.

March 29, 2010

Melanie Moore tackles a new first. Baby pigeon. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope the orphaned bird gods are smiling on him.

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March 31, 2010

About 10 days old. 140 grams. From what I understand is that we are entering a ‘growth spirt’ and soon I will not be able to mix pigeon formula fast enough to keep up.

April 1, 2010

After today, I am off until the 19th. I’m super excited for some ‘me’ time, but I’m wondering how many days will go by before I miss work Hopefully the pigeon will ease that feeling.Image

April 2, 2010

Day 1 of vacation … woke up at 6:30 am Good news… pigeon gave me a bit of a scare last night, but seems to be full of himself and ready to go again. So at least that was a pleasant early morning surprise.

April 3, 2010

Reaches a new nerd status as she joins an online Pigeon Rescue group.

April 5, 2010

Has released the pigeons name, Pesto.

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I’m sure you are asking yourself, “Pesto?”  It was a name choice that does make us a little uncomfortable if anyone is making something with ‘pesto’ for dinner.  I had actually considered naming him Ralphie those last days of that first week.  I didn’t want to commit to a name to early and jinx his delicate pigeon soul.  My new online pigeon friends in the help group were concerned about his patchy feather group.  They suspected he had Trichomoniasis (aka The Canker!).  They recommended checking his mouth and throat for ulcer-like lesions.  This should be easy, because pigeons are compliant little birds.  They also told me that cleaning his face during feedings should be easy, and if you take a gander at that photo above, it was quite apparent that my baby pigeon wasn’t having bath time.

I prepared myself with a penlight and began to delicate pry open that little beak.  As I was just starting to make a little headway, I leaned closer into his face and Pesto wing slapped the shit out of me.  It was the equivalent of a pimp’s bitch slap.  Just one quick WHACK!  Then he eye balled me with a look that said, ‘Try that shit again.  I dare you to open my beak.’  I realized that he was no Ralpie.  I named him from the Looney Tunes spoof on the Goodfellas called the Goodfeathers.  Pesto Pigeon was based on Joe Pesci’s feisty character.

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By April 7th, Pesto’s feather situation was starting to improve with his canker medication.  Unfortunately, the food dreadlocks continued to be a problem for this messy child.

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Pesto says, ” Holy crap!  I have wings!  I’m getting feathers!  And I still have these awesome food dreadlocks!  I feel so good I could wingslap someone!”

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April 8th 2010

Have to stop obsessing about the appearance of pigeon poop.

Sadly on April 9th, I had to travel to the big city of Baltimore for the conference and leave Pesto behind.  Toot volunteered to watch him while I was gone.  I dropped him off and demonstrated how to use his ‘pigeon bottle’.  I left some tiny seeds that I had been trying to get him to start eating and a shot glass.  (You laugh, shot glasses are handy for teaching baby pigeons how to eat on their own.)  I kissed him on his feathery head and cried every time I saw a pigeon in the big city.

And as all children do, they act up the minute you leave.  Pesto decided he was going to self-wean.  He went on bottle protest.  He turned his nose up at seed.  I almost had a stroke in fear that I would be planning a funeral when I got back to accommodate Pesto’s 139 Facebook followers.

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Thank goodness that little booger started stuffing his face with seeds!  Toot sent me this picture with an update that he had given up his hunger strike and was chowing down.

I was so glad to see that sassy little bird when I got back!

Photos from April 14, 2010

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‘You talkin’ to me?’

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Walking the beat.

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Coming up on his one month birthday and he is the cutest damn thing on Earth!

April 14, 2010

Melanie Moore thinks Pesto has been outsmarting her. Sneaky, sneaky pigeon.

April 15, 2010

Have only three more days to make the pigeon independent enough to not have to commute with me on Monday to work. I can’t believe I survived almost three weeks without work.

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April 18, 2010

Going to tell Pesto there’s no bedtime formula tonight. You are a big bird and you are scarfing down seeds. It’s time to be a big bird and drop the bottle act. We’ll see how this goes.

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May 1, 2010

Trying to make Pesto more independent today. The results…. so-so.

May 2, 2010

I was so concerned about wee little Pesto spending time outside by himself… until I saw my poor helpless little pigeon beat the crap out of two cardinals this morning that came near his food.

May 6, 2010

So proud of Pesto. He was a big boy and slept on the porch last night!

May 7, 2010

I was pleasantly surprised when Pesto started ‘cooing’ today. Which he followed up by biting me.

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“I see you in there!”

May 11, 2010

I was greeted with unfamiliar bird poop on the porch this afternoon. Could it be? Was Pesto inviting friends over?

May 12, 2010

Melanie Moore thinks her pigeon is a maniac.

The day of the maniac post, he was using the row of crepe myrtles in my yard like they were a flying obstacle course. It was hilarious.  I knew we were all in trouble when he learned to fly a straight line, because he was FAST!

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May 15, 2010

Will lecture Pesto this morning on the importance of not poking babysitter’s eyes out in my absence. It’s one day… you can behave like a big boy, I know it.

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May 18, 2010

Melanie Moore believes she has found Pesto a roommate!

The seasoned wildlife rehaber stopped by work one day and asked, “Do you still have your little pigeon?”

“Pesto?  Yes.  He’s probably at home in some sort of trouble as we speak.”

“I have an adult pigeon with a foot injury.  Would you be interested in caring for her?”

“Sure!  It’s just the pigeon influence Pesto will need!”

May 19, 2010

After scrubbing down Pesto’s living quarters, I sat on the porch and watched him sifting through the grass.  He was slowly joined by a dove, a cardinal, a sparrow and a grackle. I heard a mocking bird run through 7 different songs. It dawned on me, why do I pay for satellite when I have all of this for free. So DirectTV is officially no more at midnight.

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May 21, 2010

The injured pigeon has arrived. Pesto can’t make up his mind if he should ignore her or treat her as if she is an alien. I hope my ‘ this is your time to return the pigeon in need good deed’ pep talk worked.

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May 22, 2010

Francis, the new roommate. Hopefully Pesto will learn some pigeon traits from her while she’s camping out with us.

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May 22, 2010

Pesto, at 9 weeks old. So handsome! Starting to get his flashy turquoise and purple feathers!

May 22, 2010

totally forgot to do a pigeon poop check before going to Food Lion.

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Pesto loved taking showers in the drizzling rain, and so attentive to detail! Look at him washing those little pigeon pits!

May 25, 2010

is proud that Pesto has expressed interests in literature. When I try reading to myself, he sits right in the middle of my book. We have compromised, if I read aloud he will sit attentively on my knee. We both agree Eat, Pray, Love is turning out to be a great book.

May 26, 2010

Get Low and I were totally amazed that when we returned from our walk, Pesto was flying out above the field like a madman. Then we realized he was being chased by a hawk. Pesto eventually gave the hawk a run for his money, but it terrified all of us.

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May 31, 2010

will be spending most of the day sitting in the yard with a coffee can full of rocks and a wooden spoon. Operation Scare The Hawk will be in full effect. He showed up again yesterday and raided a brown thrasher nest.

A sad fact of life is that hawks think pigeons are a true delicacy.  When the hawk showed up near my house, the rumors in the neighborhood of me being a lunatic increase.  No hawk was going to eat my little pigeon!  Pesto spent nearly a week on lockdown on the porch and was not a happy camper because of it!

June 5, 2010

is hoping to be the proud owner of a very angry looking plastic owl before the day is out. Dammit, Pesto and I will reclaim the yard.

June 5, 2010

Finally found a plastic owl at Eastern Shore Outfitters. Pesto and I are heading out and taking back what’s ours.

June 7, 2010

The Sheriff. Restoring order to neighborhoods with unruly hawks.

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June 7, 2010

Oh the picture to break a mother’s heart. Pesto won’t let me sit on ‘his chair’ but it seems that it’s just fine for Francis to share it with him.

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June 11, 2010

found Pesto and Francis roosting beside each other, wing to wing last night. Hoping that maybe today I can get an okay for take off for Francis. Then, we’ll see what happens when the porch door is open and Francis is offered freedom.

June 11, 2010

I don’t want to overly alarm anyone, but Pesto is under the weather today. He has another trichomonias infection and he has roundworms. (Francis is likely a carrier of both.) I’m treating both of them now. Pesto ate much better tonight than he did this morning. Francis’ release has been delayed two weeks for deworming schedule, but foot checked out great.

June 12, 2010

Pesto Update: Last night before I went to bed, I checked on him and he coo’d and bit me for waking him up. His appetite seems improved this morning.

And for anyone wondering… when you deworm a pigeon… they do poop out worms like a dog.

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June 13, 2010

Today, Pesto seems more like his feisty demanding self He ate his breakfast without too much fuss, and it seems that food is easier for him to swallow today. Although now it seems Francis is doing the ‘sore throat swallow’, so I guess it’s about to break bad in her today. Looks like I’ll be kissing pigeon butt to eat seeds and lettuce all day today too.

June 15, 2010

is happy to announce that Pesto zipped around the yard this morning. It’s the first time since Thursday that he has done any of his mad pigeon flying stunts.

June 17, 2010

is glad that Pesto seems to still be getting better. It’s hard to gauge his energy level, since the porch is on lockdown with Francis. PS I’m officially the crazy pigeon lady. Our household welcomes a third pigeon tonight. Younger than Pesto but fully feathered. (S)He’ll be isolated from Pesto & Francis until their medical problems are cleared up and we are certain the new one isn’t bringing any cooties to the table.

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The new baby!

June 18, 2010

The 7 day countdown begins for the release of Francis! I’ve been smuggling Pesto off the porch for some much needed outdoor time, he’ll be relieved next Friday! The new baby is hanging in there. Working on getting the new one rehydrated and starting her on meals. Still touch and go with that one.

June 19, 2010

Pigeon update: Pesto and Francis are still hanging in there, patiently awaiting next weeks release. The wee little pigeon stopped eating again. After a session of sobbing in the floor, I collected myself and began to force feed him peas and corn. I’m just not sure about the outcome of this little guy.

June 22, 2010

Shamooki hates people… and she hates other cats … but she thinks the world of birds… and nobody better mess with her baby pigeon.

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June 22, 2010

is glad baby pigeons can’t repeat what you say… such as ‘No, no, no, bad bird’ ‘Please just hold still for one second’ and ‘if you’d just take one minute and listen to what I’m telling you this would go a WHOLE lot smoother.’

June 23, 2010

packed Francis in a carrier last night and will be doing the same for Pesto shortly, so they can spend the day inside. I feel grey hairs sprouting up all over my head worrying about the temperatures on that porch.

Saturday morning, where are you?

June 24, 2010

is happy to announce the wee little pigeon has lived a week, and therefore is named. Charlotte Elisabeth.

June 25, 2010

Woohoo! The porch door will be opened tomorrow morning! Francis will be free to come and go as she pleases. Even if she comes back at night to roost, I figure that’s at least 14 hours less pigeon poop I have to clean up. I’ll be camera ready, so pictures will be posted.

June 26, 2010

Breakfast is out for Francis and Pesto, who both seem quite anxious this morning like they know what today is. Going to feed Charlotte Elizabeth, the dogs and the cat, walk the dogs, and get ready to open up the porch.

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June 26, 2010

Pigeon release update: After an hour and a half of patiently waiting, Francis finally walked off the porch after several encouraging attempts from Pesto. They walked around the yard and grazed for about ten minutes together. At that time, something startled both birds. Pesto, of course, flew to me and Francis flew off. I’ll keep everyone posted if we have any Francis sitings during the day.

June 26, 2010

It seems someone we know has withdraws. I’ve spent most of my afternoon consoling a lonely pigeon.

June 27, 2010

Have had no Francis sitings. Pesto seems a little more cheerful this morning. Introduced him to Charlotte Elisabeth yesterday for a few minutes. At this point in time, he’s not interested in replacing Francis.

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June 28, 2010

A second introduction of Charlotte Elisabeth to Pesto did not go so well. I brought her out on the porch so I could clean her carrier. It seemed Pesto was going to ignore her again, and then suddenly he decided he would chase her around the porch and try to beat her up. Apparently he is still not quite ready.

June 29, 2010

just walked outside to find Pesto doing the tight rope walk across the powerline.

June 29, 2010

gave Charlotte Elisabeth a bath today. The water part appeared to be frightening, but she loved the hair dryer.

June 30, 2010

stood in awe with her mouth wide open! I just got home and Pesto was nowhere to be found. I walked around the yard calling him when a tiny speck across Occohanock Neck Road flying at great speeds caught my eye. And I be damned, here comes Pesto. All proud of himself that he had been on an adventure this afternoon.

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July 1, 2010

watched Pesto and Charlotte Elisabeth for about an hour as they tried to make friends. There is progress, but we are not quite 100% there. Charlotte weighed in today and has almost doubled her weight from 2 weeks ago. She’s GIGANTIC! Hopefully some Pesto and Charlotte photos to come.

July 10, 2010

will spend the day admiring the looks of two pigeons wandering around the yard together(yes, Charlotte is hot footing around now!) and scrubbing the porch down with bleach water. Pigeon raising is such a bitter-sweet experience.

July 20, 2010

working on the long list of pigeon rules and care for their babysitter. Hopefully he will survive caring for them while I’m gone on the Richmond Roadtrip.

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Charlotte Elisabeth, starting to look like a real bird!

July 25, 2010

has returned from a wonderful road trip. However, yesterday the pigeons struck out on their own and did not return to roost last night. Charlotte showed up here right before I got back, but still no sign of Pesto.

July 25, 2010

I’m sad that I don’t know where Pesto is. Charlotte still seems exhausted and quite hungry. She has spent most of the afternoon eating or sleeping. Will keep all of Pesto’s followers updated.

July 26, 2010

PESTO IS HOME!!!! After 48 hours of being MIA he flew back in and he is not talking! So glad to have that feisty bird back in the yard!

THE TRUTH IS REVIELED ON FACEBOOK!

Message from Amanda Rogers on July 27, 2010

question..where about do u live?..bc my sis is workin up past morleys for kuzzins a tomato farm n she just sent me a pic of a pigeon sitting on her foot. she said he showed up last wk nis really friendly w ppl n tries to come inside..i thought of u..ill have her post the pic

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July 27, 2010

Almost died laughing. Pesto is trying to go global, well, at least cover the neighborhood. I just found out that he’s been hanging out with Ashley Rogers Rosen at her work, which is about 2 – 3 miles from my house.

July 28, 2010

pulled a chair up to the side of the field and waited. I was so excited to see Pesto fly in now that I know which way he’s coming from. And I waited… and I waited … and I waited. Finally, an hour later, I came inside to take Get Low out… I come out … and there he is… that sneaky little pigeon.

July 29, 2010

wonders if Pesto knows I know. He’s out there pigging out on his dinner, I imagine it burns lots of calories to visit all of the neighbors. A little concerned about Charlotte, I haven’t seen her since yesterday afternoon.

July 30, 2010

is brewing a pot of coffee and is going to sit out in the yard. Will see pigeons flying in tonight…. okay… will try REALLY hard to see those sneaky devils flying in.

July 30, 2010

wins the crazy pigeon lady of the year award. Nominated because she spent the afternoon blow drying her pigeon on the front porch after his bath. I mean really, why else would they put an electric socket on the porch.

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July 31, 2010

has realized that raising a pigeon is very much like reliving your youth through your mother’s shoes. At some point this evening, Pesto sneaked in, ate his dinner and headed back out to spend the night somewhere else without a word. Did spend about half an hour with Charlotte today. More turquoise feathers coming in, she’s beautiful.

August 1, 2010

Much like last Sunday, Charlotte showed up around noon, gobbled down lots of seeds, and then settled in to roost on the porch. She’s been out there snoozing for about an hour now. We don’t seem to be her full time home anymore, but I guess we are still the place to recover on Sundays.

August 2, 2010

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing that bird flying home.

August 3, 2010

noticed this afternoon that Pesto smells like he’s been working on a car (expected since he spends a lot of time with the mechanics at Kunzzens) and old lady perfume (unexpected). I really think there is another piece to this puzzle.

August 4, 2010

watched the clock with worry tonight. “He’s late, he’s been coming back between 7:20 – 7:30.” A few minutes later I spot him, he comes in and zips right past me going straight for the porch. “No hello?” Right then, the sky opens up and a downpour starts. I suppose he was well aware he was racing the elements tonight.

August 5, 2010

Just when I thought that baby pigeon season was over. I made a fair trade with one of the wildlife rehabers, I traded her a laughing gull with a broken wing for two baby pigeons.

August 5, 2010

Pesto must have not watched the weather this morning before he ventured off to his daytime life. He didn’t make it home before the storm, so hopefully he found a dry place to camp out for the night.

August 6, 2010

with every introduction of a new baby pigeon, I realize how lucky I was that Pesto had the appetite of 30 pigeons, and didn’t care if it was his mother or McDonald’s, but wanted someone to fill his breakfast order this minute.

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August 6, 2010

Around 5 pm, Pesto finally showed up to visit Ashley at her work. Hopefully, weather permitting, he will fly home this afternoon.

August 6, 2010

What a crazy pigeon day. Saw Charlotte this morning (the first time since Sunday), the baby pigeons are FINALLY eating, and Pesto has resurfaced leaving many of his friends asking ‘Just where does that pigeon go?’

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The August Babies

August 8, 2010

finding out the wonderful thing about raising a pair of pigeons is they are content just to wing slap each other. Looks like I might make it through this without a black eye.

August 9, 2010

An oddity, Charlotte came home to roost tonight. I can’t remember the last time I saw her and Pesto camping out together. The babies are becoming more rambunctious. Who knew that pigeons were masters at headlocks. If all goes well, name release on Thursday.

August 10, 2010

Pesto is pulling an all-nighter … and it seems the sneaky devil talked Charlotte into coming home again tonight and posing in his sleeping perch. Imagine my surprise when I realized it wasn’t Pesto sitting there.

August 12, 2010

AND … the names are out! I’m so excited we have made it through the first week! Augustine is on your left, and Julien is to your right.

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August 12, 2010

apparently the night Charlotte spent the night really ruffled Pesto’s feathers. He’s been spending the night down at Kuzzens hanging out with his mechanic buddies and Ashley.

August 13, 2010

just got back from dropping off some pigeon goodies to Ashley at Kuzzens. It appears Pesto is taking that up as his residence for the time being. As I was pulling out of the driveway, I felt someone staring at me. Up in the rafters of one of the buildings, I could see Charlotte, leaning down to get a good look at my car. That makes two sneaky pigeons.

August 13, 2010

just rec’d a pigeon update from Ashley. They have discovered a pair of eggs on a shelf in the garage where Pesto and Charlotte have been hanging out. There is great suspicion that the eggs belongs to them. I guess that would explain why Pesto was not coming home.

August 14, 2010

took some more pigeon food down to Ashley. We did visit with Pesto for a minute, where I lectured him on minding his manners and being polite. Before we left we made an interesting discovery, the pigeon I thought was Charlotte in the rafters yesterday, is not Charlotte at all. It seems that Pesto has picked a significant other ‘outside of our flock.’

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August 15, 2010

raising a pair of pigeons is GREAT! They are eating seeds at barely 3 weeks. I just put some in their cage so they could get use to them being there. I come back later and they are all gone…. the kids are super competitive.

August 16, 2010

s sad… The baby piggies stuffed themselves with seeds and now their crops are suffering the consequences. Have been spending the afternoon doing frequent runny formula mixes w apples sauce and crop massages. Ug, I hope they feel better tomorrow.

For those of you following the Pesto drama, I’m expecting that we should know something on the eggs by August 28th.

August 17, 2010

Happy to report the baby piggies seem to be feeling better this morning. Back to being rotten little birds ( hopefully without rotten little crops.) I forgot the rule of pigeon raising, no matter how cute…. NEVER EVER believe what a pigeon tries to talk you in into.

August 17, 2010

Gus and Jules are ecstatic that I got them some teeny tiny seeds so they can got back to eating on their own like big pigeons. They are totally digging being independent. If I can get them cleaned up tomorrow, an updated picture will be posted. (Baby pigeons are COMPLETE SLOBS)

August 18, 2010

wonders why Jules and Gus thinks the best place to poop is in their water bowl.

August 19, 2010

Talk to me, coo to me, bow to me, listen to me. And I’ll teach to fly with me, and I will love you like no other. – Quote from pigeon website

August 20, 2010

I think that Jules and Gus wish to live in their carrier forever. They come running out to see me, to eat and then they go running right back in their carrier.

August 22, 2010

Gus and Jules – almost a month old.  Gus is on your left, Jules to the right.

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August 23, 2010

is a little concerned. Pesto came home tonight. I hope his eggs and significant other are okay.

August 24, 2010

People can tell me all they want that pigeons don’t understand English… but I’ll show you one that does.

August 24, 2010

I am sad to report I am not going to be a pigeon grandmother. Messaged w Ashley today and it seems Pesto and friend have not been sitting on the eggs… so I guess they were duds. It’s certainly nice to have Pesto back home, and he seems to be taking some parenting responsibilities with Gus and Jules.

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From left to right, Pesto, Jules and Gus.

August 27, 2010

if the neighbors didn’t think I was a complete lunatic before now, that would have this morning. Pesto decided to join Get Low and I on our morning stroll. I looked down at that crazy pigeon strutting along beside us and said ‘This is absolutely ridiculous.’

August, 30, 2010

had an exhausting day. I don’t even feel like I had a day off yesterday. Highlight of the day, coming home to see Gus and Jules flying circles above the house. They are getting to be such big boys.

September 1, 2010

tried to have a sit down talk with the pigeons tonight about the upcoming weather and the possibility of a hurricane… since everyone was present tonight. Pesto continued to stuff his face, Charlotte ran around like a mad woman, and Gus and Jules groomed themselves. I think our chat went well.

September 2, 2010

Woo-hoo! I have four pigeons locked down on the porch! And to think they were accused of not listening yesterday!

September 3, 2010

heard from Ashley that a hawk was hanging out down at Kuzzen’s while Pesto was visiting today. As of her message at 3:20 p, Pesto was fine. Hopefully he steered clear. On another note, Gus and Jules did a magnificent five minute flying display this afternoon, though I fear one of them may need glasses.

September 5, 2010

One is the loneliest number even in pigeons. Gus took off with Charlotte this morning while Jules was stuffing his face. Now Jules is pouting on the porch he missed his chance for adventure.

September 7, 2010

smiles when all four pigeons come home at night. (It’s a circus, but entertaining all the same.)

September 8, 2010

Tonight is the first night my wee littles are camping out somewhere else. Pesto and Charlotte are here, but Gus and Jules have decided to spend the night out

September 11, 2010

Last night makes 3 nights since Gus and Jules have been home. I’m starting to wonder if maybe they headed back to their birth place.

September 16, 2010

is laughing at pigeons again. Ashley reports that one day this week she got to see Pesto, Jules, Gus … possibly Charlotte and a fifth mystery pigeons. They are seriously into flock numbers now.

September 18, 2010

CRAP! Pesto just sucker punched me in the eye!

September 26, 2010

thinks Emmy probably realized why no one goes to the big city with me anymore. It’s not the stores or the restaurants … it’s pigeons. I had my face glued to my window every time I saw them. “Look, pigeons! More pigeons! Pigeons flying! I see pigeons!”

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The twins, hanging out on the roof.

September 30, 2010

just chatted with Pesto. He has stayed on the porch all day. I hope all his pigeon buddies are safe and dry wherever they are.

October 2, 2010

Mom picked up some pigeon food for me in Virginia Beach today.  I wish I could have seen the look on the clerk’s face when mom was explaining to her that Pesto was a genius pigeon, not only could he read, he was bilingual… and he would know if she bought him the wrong pigeon food.

October 6, 2010

is upset with the chilly weather (for obvious reasons), I guess all of my pigeons are sticking together at night so they can huddle up and keep warm down at Kuzzens. It’s a tad bit lonely with no pigeons at all.

October 26, 2010

is very excited! I’m pedaling down to take Ashley some pigeon food and to see my pigeons tomorrow. I haven’t seen them in weeks since they took up winter residence down at Kuzzens. I’m so excited!

October 27, 2010

just got back from visiting Ashley and Pesto. He looks GREAT! He’s actually grown a little taller and he has packed on some winter weight. When I pulled up on my bike he was sitting in her lap and eating seeds. I’m so glad to see him happy. Thanks Ashley and all of Pesto’s Kuzzens buddies for taking such good care of him!

October 31, 2010

dreamed of Pesto last night. I wonder if he dreams of me.

By the end of October, I had to accept the fact that Pesto and the gang had become exactly what I wanted them to be, real pigeons.  In the very beginning, when I joined the online pigeon help group, I got a lot of slack for not making him an indoor pet.  I admit, the thought of him getting eaten by a hawk was beyond upsetting, but I could not deny Pesto his right to be an amazing and free bird.  I look back now and can’t imagine him missing out on all the adventures he had, couped up in my house.

I still hear updates from time to time, I get questions from loyal fans regularly, and occasionally I even get a little empty nest syndrome. Would I love to cuddle up on the porch with him in my rocking chair, have him nibble my fingers, coo in my ear?  Of course, but I wouldn’t trade it for him to have the life he has had, just as he has wanted it.

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That’s right.  My apron says, ‘I’m that crazy pigeon lady your mama warned you about.’