This is Knuffle:
We found him in the grass, in the backyard, on July 17. He’s been a quiet pet, really. Boring, maybe, but pretty undemanding. He just asks for somewhere warm, and to peek at him from time to time.
Honestly, I don’t know if he’s a live egg or not. I did try to candle him, but there was nothing to be seen at all. A little research tells me that pigeon eggs won’t show anything under candling until they’ve been brooded (kept warm) for nine days, and since we didn’t know the providence of this egg, we decided to assume he hadn’t been brooded at all. So we’ve been keeping him warm for nine days. Maybe not ideal conditions – definitely not ideal conditions – but we had to try something. People who know about birds in our neighborhood told us that 1) pigeon eggs are hard to brood and 2)it’s really not worth it to try. So under the circumstances, even with poor care, we’re the best chance this little guy’s got.
Why Knuffle? The kids named the egg Knuffle, because Mo Willems writes books about a mischievous Pigeon, and books about a stuffed animal named Knuffle Bunny. (That’s the kind of house we live in.) There is a crossover book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, wherein we get to see that Pigeon has a stuffed Knuffle of his very own. What else would we have named this little egg?
Are we sure it’s a pigeon? Of course we are. Because hatching a dove would be a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and without a license, hatching one would be illegal. I’m pretty sure that the birds in the neighbor’s tree are pigeons, anyway. But, even if this does turn out to be a live egg, and turns out to be a dove, the recipe I found online for pigeon milk supposedly works for doves, too, and once it’s hatched, there is a real bird rehabber around the corner who will take a baby bird – he just doesn’t do eggs – so I’ll turn Knuffle over appropriately.
Anyway, it’s been 9 days! Today, we candle! Do we have a live egg? Let’s find out!
The first thing we learned, is that it’s pretty hard to use an actual candle. A plain old flashlight works much, much better.
To me, it pretty much looks like no one is home. The kids, however, are unconvinced. So, we looked up pictures of what we should have seen. There’s not a lot of love for pigeon eggs out there, but we cobbled some info together. It seems that most eggs at this age will have a dark blob on the “big” end of the egg, opposite the air bubble, and a visible network of blood vessels. I don’t see any of that (though you can clearly see the air bubble, to bottom of the right-hand photo).
However, pigeon eggs only take 18-19 days to incubate. So, since Knuffle is such a quiet pet, and doesn’t really take that much space, the kids have convinced me that keeping it warm for ten more days, just in case, isn’t really that huge of a burden. So, I guess I’ll update this post, with pictures, if we have a pip in ten days. I’m not ambitious that we will, but stranger things have happened.
The next thing I learned, is that even if we don’t have a pigeon, I might have hatched a monster. The feed store down the road sells newly-hatched chickens, and I have two kids who are now fascinated by the very idea of raising birds. They’ve tried to convince me that having a hen would be an investment. (I think our chance of buying chicks is just as high as our chance of hatching a squab, but, again, stranger things have happened.)
I love the idea of pigeons. – George Foreman