Pigeon Tales

July 29, 2011

The Story of Emma and Pete (part 1)

I think it is time to tell the first part of  the story of Emma and Pete again:

One day, on a sunny morning in March 2008, a pigeon appeared on the balustrade of our balcony on the higher levels of the appartment building. There was something about this pigeon that made me wonder who he was. Normally I would have chased him off – as I usually did – because of my ignorance, because I did not like them pooping everywhere, because they made so much noise  in the early morning that you could not sleep any more and overall I did not like pigeons very much… But this one – it was different.

He somehow reminded me of another pigeon who regularly visited our balcony for a few minutes. We called him Mr. Whitecap, because he was light grey, with white wing feathers and a white cap. And he had one badly crippled foot that made him limp. But nevertheless he appeared again and again for about 5 years and then disappeared. I respected and admired this bird for coping with this injury and apparently having a strong will to survive. How little did I know then…

And now this new pigeon appeared on our balcony, looking very similar to our Mr. Whitecap whom I somehow missed and I was suddenly sure that he, the new one, was an offspring of Mr. Whitecap. He did not have this white cap but he was the same light grey blue barred pigeon, his wing feathers were white and he had at least a few white spots on his head and a really beautiful face and very intense eyes. I just had this feeling…

He – the new pigeon – let me observe him while I was inside but as soon as I opened the balcony door he was gone. So he was really a shy one. I was eager to know what would happen next.To be honest – nothing really happened for a while besides that he appeared one day and then was gone again for several days.

But one day he appeared again and with him came a tiny little pigeon lady, a dark grey one, with no special markings besides a sweet face and with somehow slanted eyes which were reminiscent of Asian eyes. I  had started to observe these birds closer, noticing more details about them and somehow they suddenly became more and more interesting for me. I really cannot say any more when this change of mind happened but there was clearly a change.

Pete, as I called him in the meanwhile, and Emma, his mate, still appeared only sporadically. Obviously they were a couple and both very shy. At the very moment I opened the balcony door they were gone. One day I observed them how they kissed each other and started the courtship mode. It was so interesting to watch this and I found it very sweet.  So touching. I knew I could not chase them away any more if this should become an option.

In the meanwhile I put my plants out on the balcony again while the weather had become warmer. Also our pigeon couple seemed to get more accustomed to our presence and did not take off immediately any more when I openend the door. But they still flew away as soon as I came nearer than about 3 meters. And then one day, when I was watering my plants, I realized that Emma had silently built a “nest” behind a large planting pot with chlorophytum, that I had placed on another very large planting pot, that was filled with earth, just beneath the long leaves that were hanging from the pot. And she had laid 2 eggs. So what to do now?

As I did not know how long she was already sitting on these eggs I decided to leave her where she was and tried to do everything a bit more comfortable for her i.e. I placed some more planting pots around her in order to protect her from further disturbance and view. And I had still no idea what would come next. Oh my – if I had known before…

Things took on and then one day – on the 9th of April in 2008 – the first egg hatched and out came something tiny, with golden-yellow “hair”, a big head, huge feet, some strange huge eyes which still could not see, a wonderful living creature that changed our lives completely. This was Willy, our “first born”….

And then, two days later, little Joey climbed out of his egg shell….

This was also the birth of my diary, the Pigeon Tales,  the documentary about everything that happened from now on and that you are about to read….




  1. This turned up when I was searching for something else about late fledging, and now I know the start of your pigeon journey. Very glad to have read the beginning. How wonderful, and gorgeous pictures. Pigeons are very addictive! Anyone who wants to read my dove/pigeon blog can find me at http://faithsdoves2.blogspot.co.uk I’m on Blogger

    Comment by anniefaith — January 11, 2013 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  2. Petra I can hardly see the keys to type because of the tears. This is such a sad, but beautiful, story, beginning you absolute ADORATION, DEVOTION, and LOVE of pigeons. Pete is waiting for you with open wings at the Rainbow Bridge, and please reflect on the happy time he had at your home. Aging in birds is evident as I have seen, my really old male actually got pale gray feathers around his beak instead of tan. He also got tired during the day and nodded off next to his wife on the perch. His passing was awful for me, like you with Pete. I sobbed when I found him, and went to bed with the pillow over my head. I could not cope. He had been with me for over 10 years and was my second bird. I did not think I could go on, but I did. Perhaps “Pete ” is up waiting with my ” Mr. Cupper” and you and I will meet each other in person( not only on FB) when we are reunited. I am so happy that you shared your pain, you are not alone. The gift of love that we get from these precious souls, and that we give to them, cannot be duplicated with anything else on this Earth. Thank you for your stories- I cry, get sad, but am SO grateful to know you through your writings.

    Comment by Donna Smith — January 25, 2013 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

    • Donna, you made me cry as well because what you said about finding your beloved Mr. Cupper lifeless is something that was spared to me. So I rather could imagine that Pete was not caught somewhere where he was eaten by some other animals – a thought that was deeply distressing and making me sick – but rather that he had a place where he could just fall into the eternal sleep. Pete was always very careful and he had a lot of experience with the life outside. It took him about 3 months to gain confidence until he dared to eat some of his favourite seeds from my hand.

      So when he did not return I was absolutely sure that he was dead. I tried to cling to various other ideas – I think it is normal in a situation like that that you don’t want to face reality. I don’t know whether it is really normal to mourn a pet (he actually was not even that because I could never touch him) that much. But it was the same terribly pain when I lost my cat – I wept for a week.

      Buddhism says that you need to let go all of your fears as well as all the emotions, that you have to become balanced towards all and everything but how can you do so if you feel such strong and pure unconditional love towards a creature? I think it is a kind of love you hardly feel for a human because humans always expect something in return. Only if you can feel the same for a human I think you have touched the realm of devine love.

      Comment by pigeonwriter — January 26, 2013 @ 11:02 am | Reply

      • Petra In Pete’s case because he was so intelligent and behaved differently prior to disappearing I think you are right: I believe he knew he was dying shortly ( A vet once told me my mouse knew and he just gave in while I had him at the office being helped) and he went off to a safe, private, hidden plave in a wooded area to pass peacefully. Please know that I understand totally your feelings, and while it hurts terribly, can you even IMAGINE NOT having a had such a special soul as Pete in your life??? Sending love to you and the wonderful feathered beings that you spend your life giving happiness to……<3

        Comment by sixdoves3 — January 27, 2013 @ 3:51 am

      • Donna, you are so sweet. I cannot imagine any more how it has been without our feathered angels. They brought us so much joy and they taught us a lot of things about life itself. If asked I would never ever be without them. And Pete truly had a very special personality. The balcony was never the same after he was gone although we received so many additional gifts instead in the meanwhile. HE WAS THE FIRST. You never forget about the first – do you? He was the one who opened our perception, our hearts and souls. I feel blessed to have had him for a few years. And I still have Emma on the balcony, his mate and Lucky, his successor, a true personality and a strong pigeon man also and so beautiful too. Emma is so happy with him and therefore I am happy as well.

        Comment by pigeonwriter — January 27, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

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