A PIGEON fancier has reconnected with his lifelong passion after learning the manager at the Derbyshire care home where he lives treats rescue birds.
Norman Weaver, a resident at Burton Closes Hall Care Home, in Bakewell, and the home manager Lauri Smith only realised they shared the same interest after a passing conversation.
87-year-old Norman had a flock of 25 racing pigeons in his younger years, including a few competition winners he used to keep in a pigeon loft in his home village, Heage.
Whereas Lauri only started taking in ex-racing pigeons in July last year – and now homes seven birds. She brought one of her newest arrivals to the home for Norman to look at, which he then named Princess.
Since moving into Burton Closes Hall Care Home in August last year, he has also been passing on his extensive knowledge to Lauri about how to care for the birds.
He said: “I’m glad I’ve been able to help Lauri care for her birds. It was nice of her to bring Princess in to see me.
“I enjoy having catch ups about our birds. I love to hear what they’re up to daily.”
Norman has also helped diagnose an injured wood pigeon. Lauri showed him pictures and he noticed the tail feathers had all snapped at the base.
He advised her to pull them out so new ones would grow back – and the pigeon has since started flying again.
Lauri said: “My other half is a vet and it was serendipitous he brought a poorly pigeon home just as Norman moved into Burton Closes Hall. I couldn’t have looked after them so well without his help.
“I was just chatting to him one day and we both realised we shared the same interest in birds. Now every day Norman visits the office to discuss the birds. He thinks of them as his birds and that I’m just babysitting for him.
“He told me what to feed them and that he used to feed his birds with bread soaked in milk to give them energy before the races.
“He’s been extremely helpful with advice about taking care of the injured birds and when it’s time to release them and let them find their way home.
“I didn’t think I would enjoy looking after the birds so much but Norman’s passion for them has helped build my excitement and enthusiasm.”