How to have a bird-pet without a cage

Okay, this sounds interesting and have been tried in reality–no fiction involved. A real life story that has been happening in my house for the last 8-9 years. I thought to write about it as it flashed it in my mind only now.

Living in a village or even a small town gives you a lot of opportunities to see how domestic birds like doves, pigeons, parrots, mynas, crows, and sparrows makes their nests at various places. Right from the removed/felled bricks in a wall, to ceiling fans, abandoned houses, grooves, windows, and almost everywhere. I have seen it right from my childhood.

As it would have happened at that time, we noticed that some doves are trying to have their nests in the veranda of our house. Moved to try something new, we picked up a plastic bucket and hung it from a hook in the roof, which was placed there to have a swing for children.(!) We waiting for few days before noticed that the doves have started gathering straws and other material they need or feel to make the nest comfortable though they had a solid base made of plastic. It was totally experimental but we had a knack that it should work quite nicely.

When it enjoyed the nest in that plastic bucket

A few days later, we noticed that the doves are settled quite nicely and they were preparing to have their home in that bucket. As the days passed, we noticed that they laid eggs and dovelings were expected. Again a few days passed and we noticed that dovelings have arrived. Now, we started noticing how they fed the young ones. We noticed that one of the dove-couple stayed in/around the bucket while the other went for collecting food or just to have some time free from the duty of taking care of the children.

The parent-dove sat on the window of our kitchen–the doveling flew there and then ate the food

Then we got to notice how exactly they fed the children–mouth to mouth, just like almost all the birds do. Then came the time when the dovelings grew in size within a few days and had their wings ready to be tested for their amateur flight. We noticed that they sat on the edges of the bucket but did not glide in air–reluctant like any other child. Then the parent doves, they used a trick. They stopped bringing the good to the bucket but sat elsewhere–like on the window of our kitchen, on the boundary wall, or even on the wing of a fan. When the parent-doves sat there, they cooed and invited the dovelings to come over there and have the food–this was like a typical bait system. The young ones had to come and in the process, they learned how to fly.

As they grew convenient in flying, we never saw them back. Because we never tagged the doves, we never knew which one of them returned but our bucket-nest never remained empty! However, in the process, we learned so many things about how they raise the young doves.

Some Attacks on the nests:

  • Once, a falcon, known to attack doves and pigeos attacked the bucket. However, he could not get hold of it. Now, why the falcon failed, makes an interesting observation. Falcons have a sharp eye and they seldom fail in their attack. However, the position of the bucket was close to the roof, so there was little space above it, which means the falcon can’t escape it quickly (birds of prey like it to be quick). He could not attack it from below because he feared his own security and could not sit at a lower level around houses. At the same time, being a bird of prey, the falcon can’t have too much time waiting at the spot of the attack to attack again–so the question of second attack was out-of-question.
  • Then once, I noticed that a myna, one of the smartest domestic birds, stuck on the bucket and trying to eat the eggs or perhaps to destroy them (it’s hard to know their intention). However, due to my intervention, the attack failed.
  • Cats. They are always there. Though cats could not attack the bucket because it was hung high, but they did eat two of the dovelings when they started flying. They could not have anticipated that the cats in our house were not belled. One morning, we awoke to a horrid realization when we saw some wings and some blood on our stairs. Incidentally, I had clicked those dovelings a day earlier.
They were attacked and eaten by a cat the very next day when they flew and sat on stairs

Why I wrote this:

The reason I wrote about this is two fold: one, a simple feeling of sharing something which is good. The other one is to be open to more options than having birds in cages. I have seen a lot of birds flying free and enjoying the life–a bird in a cage in never a good sight. Though, we did not received variety of birds, but we enjoyed lots of them around our house and without having the need to cage them for any reason.

What say you!

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