For the past fortnight we have enjoyed the company of a racing pigeon in the garden. He, or perhaps she, “flew down”, as we have learnt is the correct expression, one afternoon and was happily perched on the wall when we returned from work. His favoured position since has been either huddled on the wall, or on top of Caroline’s greenhouse, dropping down when we have come out to feed him. We haven’t been able (or brave enough) to pick him up, to check under his wing where he was from; equally, he has not been afraid either of us or, it seems, the hoodlum rooks and ravens who live in the Church tower and bully the smaller songbirds, eating the peanuts and monopolising the feeders. Feeding time has, however, seen us stay in the garden just in case. Although he should have gone for corn, his favourite was the small black sunflower seed in the wild bird food.
We have no idea why he flew down, where he had started from, nor where home is. He had his green racing band on, and the knowledgeable member of the Fancy that Caroline called told us he might stay a few days or a few weeks. We reported his arrival with us to the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (their website allows you to report a stray pigeon), and secretly hoped he might stay. He hasn’t. This morning, after two nights of heavy rain, he has gone. We feel quite bereft, and hope that we hear, one way or another, that he has made it back to his loft.