ALFIE the dove was found when he was just a few hours old. In fact, he still had egg shells stuck on his feet. It was raining heavily that night and the wind was howling when his nest blew clean out of a large pine tree. His sibling, sadly, didn’t make the lengthy fall. Huddled next to his dead brother, Alfie had little chance of surviving when the owner of the property found him and called a qualified bird rehabber, Vanessa Papas to assist.
Out of all garden birds, the humble dove is arguably one of the most overlooked birds in terms of care. Many believe they are tough as nails and easy to rear. Truth is, like all orphaned birds they need very specific care, meticulous feeding and around-the-clock attention.
In January, the sweet dove celebrated his third birthday. Although he is free-flighted (which means he is not caged and able to fly freely inside as well as outside as and when he wants) he never ventures far away from ‘home’. Always carrying a stick in his beak, he has built himself an impressive collection of nests in every available crook and cranny from a book shelf to the inside of a kitchen cupboard.
Although clearly broody, Alfie is picky in the love stakes and not interested in any birds who try and woo him away (yes, he is confirmed to be a male). He is fiercely jealous when another dove tries to visit his domain – even the pretty ones get the cold shoulder!
Doves have a predicted life span of just one-and-a-half years in the wild, which is pretty sad since their lifespan in captivity can exceed 20 years. Fortunately, Alfie has the best of both worlds, so here’s toasting to a long and happy life!
Did You Know: According to www.dovesoflove.com Doves and pigeons, both male and female, produce what is called ‘crop milk’ for their babies.
Pics Vanessa Papas