Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Update on our Scottish visitor
It has been slightly cooler today after a few days of high heat and humidity and I suspect our visitor has flown, beginning her long journey back to her home loft. I guess she has at least 400 miles to fly, possibly more.
I contacted the Scottish Homing Union to seek advice as I was concerned that the local woodpigeons were beginning to bully her though she continued to feed, sharing the station with them and with the collared doves. She, and they, gave way to the harrying starlings and I can understand why. They're not fussy who or what they land on and the shrieking and bickering is enough to give any self-respecting creature a headache.
The SHU advised that stray pigeons can take about a week to regain body weight and muscle before they attempt to continue their journey. That we could not catch her was a good sign as it meant she was strong. Then they said that she would probably start to fly off in the early evenings and attempt to get home, which is a classic sign of an experienced bird.
This has confused me a little (not a difficult achievement!) because I asked Janie of 'Janie and Steve's Utah Trails' for some information. (Thank you Janie!) Steve used to raise racing pigeons when he was a teenager. He said that birds were released for racing in the early morning so that they had all day to fly and stragglers might arrive days or even weeks later but that as far as he knew they would not fly at night.Our visitor certainly flew in the evenings – from our roof to roofs two or three houses away (not a great distance) and then she would return to our house. It's now evening here and there has been no sign of her so I'm sure she has departed. I hope she makes it home – we'll never know. I gave the SHU her details and a couple of photographs so I suppose there's a slim chance that we might hear – I'd like to think so.