Tuesday 5 August 2008

A tale of love, death and barley

A pair of pigeons were at one time frequent visitors to my garden. There's nothing particularly unusual about seeing pigeons in London - they are, after all, one of the city's commonest birds. However, I grew fond of this pair. They were clearly mates and were always together.

Then, one day, the neighbour's cat caught one.

I tried not to be too sad. It is a cat's nature to catch birds and I would rather they hunted pigeons than endangered species, but I couldn't help but feel a bit sad for the bird that remained. Every morning he still visited my garden, but on his own.

Last Friday, I scattered barley for the birds in my garden as a Lammas offering. I had been given the barley as a sample after going on a tour of a distillery, so putting it out it as food for wildlife seemed appropriate for the time of year.

Cheaper birdseed brands often contain plenty of barley, but it is really only pigeons that enjoy it. If you want to attract a variety of birds to a birdfeeder then it is best to choose a mixture with seeds that are more widely eaten. However, it isn't surprising that the barley I put out attracted quite a few pigeons that day.

Over the next few days, I realised that my regular, lonely pigeon must have found a friend that day too. He still visits my garden every morning, but he is no longer alone. Once again, I regularly see a pair of pigeons on my lawn.

I just hope they keep a better eye out for the neighbour's cat in future.

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