Thursday, August 27, 2015
The Tale of Petie the Pigeon
My sister and I went out to extract Petie. We tipped the pot so Petie could walk out, which he did. But with his baby wing feathers he still could not get back up to his parents and his nest. Instead, he wandered around the patio saying something that sounded very much like, "Petie, Petie," which is how he gained his name.
Eventually, Sarah and I decided something more needed to be done. Bella could be trusted to leave Petie alone, but Betty would have been much too fascinated by a young bird flapping disconsolately around the patio, unable to fly. It was high time to let Betty out into the yard, and there was no sign of Petie finding himself a refuge. Instead, he would walk toward Sarah when she checked on him, mournfully telling her, "Petie!" He was all too clearly asking for human help.
The ladder was brought out to the patio and set up beneath the nest. I carried out a good-sized box to ferry Petie back up to the roof. He was already standing in the vicinity of the ladder, happy to have us coming to his aid. I knelt down near him, expecting a struggle, a flapping of young wings and scrambling of feet to escape. But no, Petie let me come right up to him. I put my hands around him, pulled him toward me, and tried to ease him into the box. Then there was the anticipated flapping and scrambling. It was clearly aimed not at me but at the box. Petie did not want to go into the box. Not at all. Hands were just fine. Not a box.
In the end I simply lifted the trusting young bird in both hands, lifted him well above my head to Sarah on the ladder. She in her turn lifted him above her head, up, up to the roof and his nest. At the last moment he gave a big scramble and jumped onto the roof tiles. Home at last!
A little while later we could hear and see that Petie was once more being fed and properly taken care of by his parents. During the following days we kept an eye out for Petie, worrying when it became clear that there had been a nighttime raid on our pigeon population (probably an owl) and later when we had a terrific deluge of rain. But Petie apparently survived both disasters because there was always a particularly dark young pigeon that seemed tamer and more intelligent than the rest. A pigeon that would stay around and cock his head to listen to us when the other birds flew away.
The picture here is of Petie after his wings were fully fledged. As you can see, he is asking Mama (or perhaps Papa) for food, and by this time he could follow them around the rooftop to press his demands.
These days he is on his own in matters of food, but we find that there is still a dark young pigeon that looks down and listens to us when we talk to him. A handsome young pigeon that seems surprisingly tame...