Friday, July 11, 2008

Pure & Innocent

All this week my little mind has been totally preoccupied with all things that are feathered.

Well, no, 1970s hairstyles are not on my mind. But doves are!

I am having so much fun being the caregivers for Pure & Innocent! Once you meet their precious, timid little personalities, you will clearly understand why my mother's suggestion of those names are so fitting for them! :-)

Pure (who can be nicknamed Purity or even Pureheart or anything with "Pure" as a root) is the female, and Innocent is the male. I think Innocent is a good-fitting male name because wasn't there a Pope Innocent? I think there may have even been more than one.

These doves are SO NICE!!! When I got home on the first of our days together (which could last up to 25 years, I found out), I let them rest in their cardboard box in the bathroom with the lights out so that they could take a little nap. When I went to pick them up an hour later, they were each nestled down and sleeping. Their little eyes popped open, but they each stayed calmly seated, even when I reached in to pick them up. They were so cooperative and gentle when I transferred them to the small cage. Innocent didn't even want to get out of my hand! He just wanted me to keep holding him.

A very funny thing (for me, but not them) did happen when I placed them in the cage. I did not think about the fact that the wooden perch pole I had stuck between the rungs was not stabilized. And so the pole started to spin freely, and the birds had to almost run with it just to keep from falling! It rolled just like a log in water! It was like they were on a treadmill. When I stabilized it with my hand, they both looked at me like they couldn't believe I would play such a prank on them! I felt horrible!

Indeed, they are most definitely male and female. They look a bit different. The female looks more like a hen, and when she sits down, she spreads out (as if to cover a nest) whereas the male sits taller (and has already acted protective of her).

It is rare to hear any noise from them, but if you close all the windows and listen VERY CAREFULLY you can sometimes hear a faint peeping sound. So sweet! I haven't heard any cooing sounds yet. I suspect that they are probably full grown in size but still very young since their voices have not developed.

Pure & Innocent make perfect pets for someone who likes to sleep in! But when I hear the gentle rustle of feathers, my excitement has been waking me up much earlier than normal!

My bathroom has been a little aviary room for them. They get so excited when I let them out of their cage and let them fly around the bathroom. I have these white plastic shelves on my wall that they love to perch on. The shelves are at 3 different levels, so they have a lot of fun with them. The shelves are made of plastic, so I can easily take them off the wall and clean them with soap and water.

Yesterday I prepared the new big cage for them! I had covered the whole wooden cage in non-toxic, pet- and kid-friendly shellac to waterproof it and make it easier to clean, and yesterday it was finally dry. On the bottom of the cage, I placed down a large, clear sheet of transparency plastic (cut to the hexagonal dimensions of the base), and then covered that with 7 pieces of white computer paper.

To transfer them, I decided to take the risk and walk out of the bathroom with each perched on my hand. I transferred them one at a time, and thankfully they were quite well behaved. They didn't fly or try to leave my hand when I walked out into the living room, and when I motioned for them to enter the cage, they were quite cooperative!

Then last night I put new perches of various sizes, colors, textures, and levels in their cage.
I also bought them a small yellow mirror, and it was that which enticed them to want to fly up to see themselves. They had several false attempts first, but finally they started navigating the placement of things. It is a challenge for them to know which direction to point themselves and their wings in order to land precisely where they want to (without crashing into other stuff). The good news is that they are now maximizing the entire space that the cage has to offer. They go up and down from top to bottom. Just perfect! This is allowing them to get a little wing exercise when they need it. :-)

At the pet store yesterday, I bought cute little bird diapers and leashes. Sometime soon this will allow me to walk around the apartment, doing my normal activities, while keeping them on my shoulders (and my carpets clean).

Last night when I started to turn out the lights and walked to my bedroom, I heard all this fluttering of wings. In the back of my mind I wondered if one of them wasn't moving to be next to the other one because it was time for bed. Sure enough, when I came back, Innocent (the boy) had flown to be beside Pure. They were cuddling up next to one another for a good, cozy night's rest.

Today I carried them from their cage in the dining area to the bathroom. I'm a bit more nervous about carrying Pure, so I had a firm grip over her wings. Innocent is a little calmer, so I knew that I could just put him on my finger and carry him, trusting him not to take off.

Once in the bathroom, I gave them both baths today! I completely dunked their whole bodies (except for their heads) into water that I felt was the perfect temperature. Now they are preening and cleaning like crazy. They wiggled around, of course, but when it was over they quickly realized that it wasn't so bad. ;-)

Love & Feathers,