Brown / red pigeon visitor in Surrey

Hi, 

We have had this beautiful fellow residing semi-permanently in our Surrey garden for over a week now. I’ve never seen anything like it, and I wonder if it’s an escaped / released pet, or something quite rare. Possibly a tumbler pigeon (but I’ve never seen him do anything remotely athletic)? It doesn’t have a ring on its legs, so I’ve ruled out any racing breed. He seems content but is clearly lost. I refer to it as ‘he/him’, but I’ve no idea if it’s male or female.

He is brown with lovely white feathers. Plump but reasonably toned, with a brown head, pink pigeon feet and the slightest pinky-green burst in his neck feathers, which you probably can’t see in the pictures.

He / she is quite tame, and sits perched on our garage roof most of the time, occasionally strolling around the patio. He definitely walks & moves like a pigeon, with those unmistakable neck movements & bobbing strut. Though he doesn’t talk much, his call is not a coo but more a light, high pitched shriek. He disappears in the evening (I assume to seek shelter and sleep) and is back first thing in the morning when we come downstairs, sometimes standing right by the back door waiting for us. I don’t know that he wants to or would come indoors, but he will stay in the garden all day like he owns the place. We've been feeding him seeds and fresh water each day, which he gobbles up happily, but he shows no interest in going anywhere else.

He doesn’t seem injured or in any distress. Sometimes we’ve found him sitting on the ground or the roof, like he’s taking the weight off one or both of his feet. We think this is a sign of hunger, so we feed him again. He flies but seems to flap quite unnecessarily, and doesn’t look that agile, but I don’t think his wings are clipped. We've noticed (but can't scientifically verify) a decline in other birdlife in the garden since his arrival; like he's staked our garden as his territory and others (even magpies) aren’t coming. Other grey pigeons and doves come occasionally, but not much. Our resident robin, for example, has not been seen since his arrival. We get a lot of parakeets around here as well, and I’ve not seen any this week. He quite bravely shooed off some magpies from his food the other day, and no scrap ensued! Otherwise, he’s a very docile chap, and he seems to trust us as he doesn’t seem fazed when we approach him now, like other pigeons do.

Is he something special, and if so should I do something? I’ve become quite attached to him, but don’t want to contain or keep him as a pet or anything. I also don’t want to invite the wrong attention if he is rare or lost. From what I can gather, the various pigeon organisations and registers in the UK would just consider it a feral bird and be unable to help if it isn’t wearing an identifier, but I can’t help feel he’s something special and potentially lost and in danger. Any advice or help identifying our new friend would be greatly appreciated!

 

Many thanks in advance,

 

Rob

  • Some sort of homing/racing pigeon, or a descendant who's feral. No need to worry about it being something rare. As you say, not a lot can be done re lack of ring.
  • In reply to Robbo:

    Okay, thanks Robbo. Do you think the behaviour I describe is normal? He seems a lot more tame than any feral pigeon I've ever encountered. I've grown quite attached to the little fellow, but don't really want to 'officially' adopt him as a pet. I'm not even sure containing him would be for the best even if I did.

    Rob
  • Yes typical. Pigeons are low down the food chain, so every chance it won't die of old age. There's no reason to consider containing it.
  • This chap has been with us all day every day since my original message, and suddenly this week he’s vanished. We’re very sad & hope he’s not come to any harm, but it was around the time that the temperatures around here suddenly plummeted. Do pigeons like this migrate or otherwise do anything different when the cold winter bites? My online research has so far proved inconclusive. I would’ve thought he was quite happy being fed here every day! I like to think that maybe he’s found a mate somewhere.


    Rob
  • Hello Rob, what a lovely looking pigeon. It was nice that you had him wth you for a while, we do get attached to our featherd friends! I don't know about them moving on when the weather changes, maybe he has found a mate. You will have your happy memories of his visits.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • It looks like it might be an Afghan Pigeon or cross. It doesn't look like a feral and really shouldn't be out in the wild. In which part of Surrey do you live?

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)

     

  • Yes, he is / was a very docile fellow. He used to be there waiting for us in the morning, and then disappear at sunset. We never worked out exactly where he went at night, but he only ever didn’t come one other day during the August heat wave. I used to sit & watch him ‘keeping guard’ of the garden for hours from my Study. He never seemed in any distress as long as he was fed & watered!

    We’re in Surrey near Kingston near the river. I hope he’s alright.

    Rob
  • Keep your eyes open for him. If you see him, send me a message on here. I work at Kingston College and I also do pigeon rescues. He shouldn't be out in the wild.

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)