Residents of Aldelyme Court in Audlem have a couple of unexpected new neighbours. A pair of white doves have made themselves at home in the court's private car park and seem in no hurry to leave.It is thought the doves were released at a wedding held in neighbouring St. James' Church earlier this year.
The release of white doves is becoming quite common at wedding ceremonies and there are even companies that specialise in 'hiring' out birds for such occasions.Normally these 'hired' doves are trained to fly home on release but this pair apparently find Audlem a more homely place to live.
Unfortunately, doves that have not been 'homed' or those that escape into the wild rarely survive the UK winters.There are plenty of bird lovers in Aldelyme Court however and the doves are getting daily meals of grain and bird seed.
The growing fashion of releasing white doves at weddings and funeral doesn't meet with universal approval however.The RSPB warns it could create problems if the numbers are allowed to increase unchecked.The organisation is also concerned for the welfare of domesticated doves which could struggle to survive in the wild
'We would always advise people to use a reputable and professional company and never undertake releases themselves", an RSPB spokeswoman said.The Olympic opening ceremony used to include the symbolic release of white doves but the practice was abandoned after Seoul in 1988 when doves released shortly before the Olympic flame was lit ended up being roasted in the flames.
Most companies that specialise in providing white doves, train the birds in specially built lofts.The doves may undergo months of training to ensure they can navigate their way home after release.Experts say the petite white doves used today can home at distances up to 60 miles in good weather, depending on the time of release as they need to return before nightfall if they are not to get lost
At least the Aldelyme Court doves are sure of regular feeding. The residents may even consider building a dovecote in the car park if the doves decide to stay permanently.
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