Monday, December 29, 2008
Fan tail pigeons
I am looking after the large old Queenslander stately home again for a couple of weeks over Christmas. The owners have now acquired some pets - two beautiful white fantail pigeons who have their own dovecot and the free run of the garden. They look exactly like the ones in this picture. It seems the owners kept them in a netted area with the dovecote for a while until they got used to it and realised that there was no reason for them to fly away. They seem to fly off somewhere for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but apart from that they are usually walking around the garden near the dovecote or sitting on the roof nearby. They have enjoyed their new home so much that they have produced a fledgeling which is now three weeks old.
In the last few days this rather ugly little pigeon has been sitting at the door of its dovecot space looking out. Yesterday while I was on my way out for a walk I noticed it walking around on the lawn under the watchful eye of its parents. When I came back I found it sitting under a bush - not very safe at all. After phone calls to the owners and to the pigeon breeder it was determined that the bird needed to be put back in its nest.
I went and found a large step ladder in the shed and after some experimentation got it on level ground. Armed with a teatowel I approached the little chick with some trepidation. It got up and ran away but not very far and fortunately it didn't really struggle once I got hold of it and carefully placed it back in its rather scabrous nest. I noticed small black mites (lice?) crawling over it. The pigeon breeder gave me the name of a place 'Bernie's Produce' where I can go and buy some pigeon lice powder. So I will go out today and procure some of this.
It seems the fledgeling will keep jumping out of its nest for the next few days and I will have to keep putting it back in until it starts to learn how to fly properly. I am hoping that it might take a break from these attempts until the owners get back at the end of the week.
The other slight disaster yesterday involved my topping up the water level in the pool which was getting low. I put the hose on at 4 pm on Sunday - the Council designated pool topping up time but then completely forgot about it until at midnight when I suddenly remembered and leapt out of bed. The pool is now very full, but at least it didn't overflow. I hope this water usage isn't going to cause a problem. Better than a broken filter from having too low a water level I suppose! The joys of housesitting - and probably homeownership I would say. I'm glad I don't own a house.
There are no screens on this house and I have been eaten alive by mosquitos after the return of Brisbane's tropical climate after 8 years of drought. I might stop taking multi vitamin tablets until I move out as I have noticed that when I don't take them I don't get bitten.
The house is a really lovely place in summer, much better than in freezing winter in spite of the mosquitos and the necessity to keep a close eye on the garden. Most of the garden is taken care of by an automatic sprinkling system linked to the rainwater tanks and bore water. But there are numbers of potplants and staghorns on trees that need attention.