One of the restrictions of living in our rented flat is that we aren’t allowed pets, which is a shame as we would love to have a dog, but I guess we’ll have to wait until we move somewhere larger.
But this doesn’t mean that we have to go without the company of animals altogether, because our garden backs onto a small woodland area that is home to plenty of wildlife.
There is a large rookery of noisy crows in the tall pines, several pairs of collared doves that regularly feed on the piles of bird seed we leave on the roof of our shed, a few families of squirrels (one of which built a drey in the tree that overhangs our garden) who keep us entertained with their high speed antics among the branches and we’ve even had a feuding group of hedgehogs fighting all night on the patio.
However, the most recent addition to our acquired menagerie is not quite so wild.
In fact, he (she?) is particularly relaxed.
One day a couple of weeks ago, I came home to find that a directionally-challenged homing pigeon had landed in the garden and showed no sign of wanting to fly away, even when approached by myself or Rhonda.
We fed him some bird seed (why do I always think of gender non-specific animals as male?) which he gratefully accepted, then we watched with amusement as he waddled around the patio quite happily before settling down for a rest in his dinner.
Relaxed he may have been, but not so much so that I could actually grab hold of him, to allow me to read the details on his leg rings, of which there are three.
This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I was informed by several people that when lost homing pigeons are reunited with their owners, they are usually, um, how can I put this?… “retired with extreme prejudice”, because it means they have lost the knack of navigating their way back home. So, despite the insistence by the lady I spoke to at the Homing Pigeon Association that I “throw a bath towel over him, read his rings and call the owner, who will come and collect him”, we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and gave him refugee status in our garden for as long as he wants to stay.
Now, being English, with our inate tendency for anthropomorphic personification where animals are concerned, I had to give our new avian friend a name.
So I christened him Brian.
Some of you may have guessed the reason for this, but for those of you who aren’t already fans of the internet’s most popular and opinionated pigeon, let me explain.
Brian Pigeon is a blogging phenomenon, a London street pigeon with his own website, which I have followed with some amusement ever since I discovered it a few years back.
I never intended to pinch the great bird-of-the-people’s moniker, but Brian was the first name that came into my head and, once I’d given voice to it, I just couldn’t see him as anything but a Brian.
(To make up for this bird-brained faux pas, the least I can do is provide a link to the original Brian’s page, so here is Brian Pigeon’s blog, give him a visit.)
And since then Brian has shown absolutely no inclination to leave his new residence, keeping us company when we’re out in the garden, giving meaningful looks at his feeding spot two or three times a day, then flying up onto our roof to catch the last of the evening sun before retiring to his new quarters in the now-abandoned squirrel drey, in the tree that overhangs the patio.
It is rather nice to have a friendly face waiting for us each morning, I just hope that the profusion of neighbourhood cats don’t see this as an opportunity to take advantage of Brian’s innocent nature and alfresco dining schedule, because I don’t think he’s all that clued up on predators.