Sunday, December 9, 2012


Note: This article was first published in Animal Scene magazine issue of December 2010

Everytime we arrive home from the office, we are greeted, not only by our two dogs but also by Twinkle. They are expecting pasalubong in the form of Milky sticks, the favorite treat of our pets.

For Tisoy, our 3-year old spitz/pomeranian, and Epoy, our 7-year old pekingese, that’s fine because it is made from chicken meat. But a milky stick for Twinkle? That’s cannibalism of sorts for a rock pigeon.

We sometimes call Twinkle a dog because she acts like one most of the times. And instead of a bite, her weapon is her beak. In fact, Twinkle is very inquisitive because she smells objects especially things that are new in the house.
Twinkle, our pigeon, mingling with Epoy and Tisoy

When there seems to be a commotion like sudden laughter or even a loud sneeze, Twinkle would come flying to check. And when the noise comes from our bedroom, she would knock by hitting the door with her wings.

When our doorbell rings, of course, our dogs would bark. For her part, Twinkle would hastily glide down from the second floor and look thru the screen door. If she feels that no one was minding the gate, she would fly to the screen door as if wanting to open it.

When we have guests in our living room, Twinkle would perch on the top of the stairs to keep watch like a hawk. Often, she would alight on my shoulder as a way of showing off to the visitors.

Feeding by the divider window

And once a guest comes up to the second floor to use the bathroom, Twinkle would emit a cooing sound like a warning. And when the guest doesn’t mind her, Twinkle would launch an attack by pecking on the guest’s feet.

Upon hearing the sound of eating implements being set on the dining table, Twinkle would immediately position herself by the divider window. She relishes sinangag or pandesal in the morning. For lunch or dinner, we give her cooked rice.

What’s amusing is the lizard that normally joins Twinkle during meal times. It’s surprising to notice that Twinkle makes it a point to leave some crumbs for her lizard friend. Talk of peaceful co-existence.

Converting the dish bowl into a private swimming pool

Aside from the grain mixture called concentrate, we also feed Twinkle with uncooked rice and chopped lettuce, the native type. For aid in digestion, she gets to peck on the soil of a big pot in the terrace.

And if Twinkle was ignored during mealtimes, she would come to the dining table and feed on the plate. Or maybe she would roost on the backrest of the chair and drop an atomic bomb.

Speaking of droppings, that’s the primary headache that she gives us. Wiping the floor with a rag is no sweat. But the big problem is cleaning the electric fan where she occasionally roosts and also the computer table.

One of Twinkle’s dirty antics was to drop a bomb when a dog is sleeping near the sofa. Another is the playful pecking on the dog’s tail or feet. There are also times that we, the humans, are not spared of her pecking.

Twinkle's nest by the master bedroom door

It may look silly to have a pigeon inside the house. But it was not our choice. When she made her maiden appearance in our driveway on the Christmas eve of 2007, she chose the cabinet in the garage for her temporary home.

But after the New Year, the winged stranger gatecrashed our home to claim the second floor, right beside our bedroom door. In the short adjustment period of one week. Epoy would continually chase Twinkle while Tisoy would paw her playfully.

The fear that the dogs might harm the pigeon vanished after the honeymoon period when their true colors surfaced. The dogs are actually scared of Twinkle. Perhaps our dogs don’t relish the idea of being massaged by a sharp beak.

In the almost 3 years with us, Twinkle normally mingles with the dogs. When the dogs go out to the garden to answer nature’s call, Twinkle would follow suit. She would gallivant in the garden and sometimes fly to the roof.

Availing the soil of the potted plant

Another fear was that Twinkle might join the flock that we regularly see in the horizon. But a racing pigeon enthusiast said that Twinkle doesn’t have the attitude of a pigeon anymore. So it is safe to assume that Twinkle is more like a dog now.

Although she has a drinking bowl of her own, she uses the dog’s bowl for a swimming pool when the weather is warm. She’s also fond of collecting items like the rawhide bone, paper bills, ribbons and coins.

Being a female, Twinkle observes a feminine cycle. She lays 2 eggs in a span of 3 days then nurses her nest for 18 days. From 4 to 6 times a day, Twinkle leaves her nest for short breaks of 5 to 10 minutes during the nursing period.

We still do not know why Twinkle lays eggs even though she has no mate. Some people say it is because of the food and some say it is the nature of the female pigeon.

Posing for the camera

During these times, Twinkle becomes extremely irritable. When the dogs bark expect them to be attacked when they exit the bedroom. Twinkle also doesn’t like to be touched hence with an attempt, she goes into a stance like a fighting cock.

However, Twinkle is tame when being fed. It is all right to hand feed her with uncooked rice. But cooked rice that would stick to her beak makes her lose her temper. With pandesal, it should be served in bite sized pieces unless you want to hear her growl.

But amid the duty to her nest, Twinkle doesn’t miss a house guest or a commotion especially when the dogs exhibit agitation. She’s also on the lookout when we are using the camera since she is a natural model.

Gallivanting on the window ledge of the master bedroom

At the end of the nursing period. Twinkle becomes active again to exercise her rights and privileges as a superior citizen of our home. This period lasts for 5 to 8 days when she wreaks havoc and sows fear in the hearts of Epoy, Tisoy and the rest of us.

As I write this article, Twinkle keeps on alighting on my computer. And when reprimanded, she goes under the computer table and pecks on my toes. That’s her way of saying that she wants to be cradled by my feet.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home