We had a visitor yesterday. He announced his arrival by tramping around on a length of corrugated plastic roofing. I noticed he was ringed, double ringed in fact. So he was clearly an important visitor. I spent ages trying to get the numbers on the 2 rings, especially the ‘inside’ parts. When his legs were visible, he was too far for me to make out the numbers. When he was close (some corn helped), he was too plump for me to get a glimpse of his inside leg. In the end, once he had happily made himself at home and strolled into the house, I lay drown and photographed his undercarriage. Undignified for both of us, but by zooming on-screen I got the full numbers. So if anyone out there owns J03547 (Jersey prefix?) with a phone number 739776, I’ve got your bird…

Homing Pigeon Dorset 1

He was very tame, but slightly reluctant to let me touch him. He ate corn from my hand, though, and lapped up some fresh cold water. He seemed in excellent condition. He settled down on a low roof for the night, a very safe roost and I assumed that by this morning he would have continued on his way. Not a bit of it: he’s still here. Maybe I made life too comfortable. I checked online, and apparently in these circumstances it is good to welcome the visitor, feed it (seeds, corn, strictly no bread) and give it water. If it’s still around after 48 hours, withdraw the gratis bed and breakfast arrangement and in due course the message will be got. You hope. Meanwhile, I had the perfect opportunity to take some head shots, having noticed the iridescence of the vivid green and purple colouring in watery evening sunlight. The green in particular was startlingly bright, very like the exotic and glorious sheen on a cuban emerald hummingbird (see http://rollingharbour.com for examples). And this on a ‘mere’ Columba…

Homing Pigeon Dorset 2 Homing Pigeon Dorset 3 Homing Pigeon Dorset 4 Homing Pigeon Dorset 5 Homing Pigeon Dorset 6 Homing Pigeon Dorset 7


  1. What a lovely visitor! Imagine trying to read the numbers off his legs without catching him! I’d have enjoyed watching you. My grandfather used to keep racing pigeons, I must have inherited a soft spot for them. Amelia


    1. It was lovely. Then he got seriously demanding. I couldn’t leave any doors open or he’d come in and stomp round the house, shitting freely. If I shut him out, he tramped around on a bit of corrugated roof for hours. In the garden he took to following me round, and if I bent over to pick up a weed, he’d fly onto my back. Love turned to hate inside 48 hours. This morning I popped him into a recycling box plus some corn, tied it up with baler twine and drove him 5 miles away, releasing him on the edge of a village. Then I felt mean…


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