||Five years old|
||La Vista, Nebraska, USA|
is our rescued rock dove (commonly known as a pigeon) Skye Ratt.
We found him five years ago after a storm had blown him out of his nest.
He was in the middle of the road and a crow was trying to make a meal
of him. My wife yelled, "Stop the car," got out, chased the crow off,
and put the pre-fledged pigeon in a shoebox. We hand fed him until he
got the hang of eating on his own and taught him to fly by pushing him
off the back of chairs. We thought he would fly away when he learned
how to fly. When he didn't leave, we looked "pigeon" up on the web and
found out that they attach themselves to people, so we became his flock.
He keeps himself incredibly clean. One evening when I was taking a bath
he was sitting on the edge of the tub and suddenly dove in head first
just like he was a penguin. After being fished out of the water he
waded back in and took a proper bath. Ever since that day he has bathed
every ten days or so, usually in the cats' water dish, but sometimes in
the sink or tub. He noticed that we humans wash under our "wings", so
he holds his up for us to wash under.
We have three cats, and if one is in our lap and Skye Ratt wants attention
(he always does), he'll chase the cat away, settle in, coo, and fall
asleep. He is the best bird we've ever had, very demanding of our
attention, but also independent. We've taken him camping where he'll
fly from campsite to campsite, and sometimes fly away for an hour or more.
He is well thought of by our neighbors and been featured at school and
church nature talks. Since his rescue he has assisted in the nursing of
two injured mourning doves and another pigeon. He enjoyed the company,
but after their recovery we released them back into the wild. House
pigeons can live up to 35 years and we look forward to many more
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