Reading about Sucharita’s window zoo reminded me of the aviary that I seem to have started in my balcony … much to my dismay, I might add. So, instead of hogging her comments space, I decided to devote a blog on it.
Since March, 2007, the ever-fertile pigeons seem to have adopted our balconies as their foster home. Yes, it’s balconies in the plural because every time we shoo them away from one, they make themselves comfortable in another. Going so far as to try & build a nest on the top of the book-shelf in the balcony attached to our bedroom which S uses as a study corner.
Last March when one pigeon couple decided to settle on an unused flower pot kept in one corner of the balcony attached to our drawing room as their home, I finally gave in & decided that they could stay. Within days, the lady had laid not one but two eggs !!! I was a little worried that they might get over-protective & try to claw our eyes out if we approached their nest, like crows usually do. However, my maid (Amma, as we mutually call each other) reassured me that pigeons being much gentler creatures than crows will not prove very troublesome … and yes, she was right. As the eggs hatched & the scrawny babies came out, this small aviary turned out to be a major tourist attraction. All guests to our home, especially kids, were fascinated by the pigeon family. We too went so far as to shoot their activities on our handycam. :-) S and I also fed the parents with grains & pulses which they happily devoured after the first few days of wariness. However, the travails of that family ended rather abruptly & sadly when a ruffian crow, who had been flying around since the day before & had been shoo-ed away by me a couple of times, killed the babies early one morning. By the time we woke up, the ruffian’s deed was already done & there was blood & gore (feathers, actually)all over the balcony. Not only were the parents, who kept cooing all day & a few days afterwards on our balcony, heartbroken but so were S and I & we promised ourselves not to attach ourselves to anymore pigeon families.
Only a few days later, another (or perhaps the same) pigeon couple tried occupying some space in the balcony to build their home. I tried to make a small shelter for them by using old sari boxes but they seemed to be threatened by it. Since then our balconies have been the favorite mating-grounds of the pigeons though most of the time we shoo-ed them away.
Then again in March, 2008 Amma discovered a happy pigeon mother with two eggs tucked beneath her sitting behind the washing machine in our kitchen balcony !!! After some discussion about how their home would affect the operation of our washing machine, we decided to let them stay there. This time, since they were away from the prying eyes of other creatures, the babies survived & as I write this, they have flown their nest & are flying all around. So far, we have been able to keep away other amorous pigeon couples off our balconies but for how long … I don’t know. SIGH !!! :-)