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Pigeons travel in many different ways, the underground (i.e. the metro, subway or tube) included! Here are some such pigeons:

Someone must have loved the subway pigeons so much that they made a website dedicated to them: The Subway Pigeon

Richard took Elmo out for his usual after work/evening walk in the garden. Elmo was highly excited because we had come home after leaving him alone for many hours (which sometimes makes me feel guilty. How can we leave him alone for so long?). He pranced out into the garden and did his usual thing: peck at the grass, seed, earth and any other thing that looks interesting. The feral pigeons came down to feed with him. Now this is all something I’ve said before. Nothing new.

However, this day there was an added element: RAIN!

It was raining ever so gently and after being out in the garden for a few minutes a change occured in Elmo. His feathers started to puff out, making him look like a feather duster. He started shaking his head as the rain fell onto his head and into his eyes. Then his body was shaken as he shook out his wings and fanned out his tail to let the rain fall onto his skin and feathers. Elmo was having a bath in the rain!

Of course we were enthralled with the sight and I rushed to get my camera. Then I remembered that I had accidently left it at work. So I rushed to grab our video camera and discovered that its batteries were flat. In desperation I got hold of my mobile phone and attempted to take a photo with it but being the anti-mobile phone user that I am I never really learnt how to use the camera on my mobile so I couldn’t take the photo I wanted. Anyway, next time it rains we’ll chuck Elmo out and record all his silly moments in the rain. :)

After a long hard day at work Richard and I come home hoping to just sit back and relax for the evening. What are we met with upon our arrival? Only just the most excitable pigeon ever who’s been treading through his own droppings and making a right mess. Dear Elmo boy. He’s discovered the window ledge and spends most of his time there looking out into the garden at the feral pigeons, woodpigeons, squirrels, blackbirds and robins that visit the bird feeder. Unfortunately he doesn’t always poo over the side so he ends up walking through his droppings and staining his feet and the ledge. We’ll need to look into covering it with cloth to prevent him making such a mess.

So after cleaning Elmo’s mess (and trying to catch him to clean his feet before he walks through the entire flat) we are greeted by Georgie’s messy cage. Some days it is quite clean but other times she’s decided to redecorate with water and shredded newspaper (I applaud her efforts but ultimately have to tell her that it’s a tad bit outdated). Georgie is always equally happy to see us. She leaps at the bars and as soon as I pick her up she cooes and dances on the palm of my hand. Sweet.

The only other animal I’ve had that has shown the same amount of pleasure and excitement in seeing me when I come home has been my cairn terrier, Nyytti (which means ‘bundle’ in Finnish). She would go bananas and wiggle about in greeting, howling with all her might. Thinking about her makes me sad (since she died four years ago) but also content in knowing how much we loved each other and showed each other this daily. How lovely it is to be able to do that without any misunderstandings, hesitations or uncertainty!

Human beings are very complicated and miscommunication is all too common. With my dog it was very easy and simple: “I love you, Nyytti, and I let you know this by caring for you properly, by giving you affection, by understanding what you need when you need it, and by accepting your faults. And you love me and let me know this by giving me your affections, your desire to be with me, your instincts for knowing my emotions and how to react, and ultimately accepting my faults.” I like to think that Richard and I have this sort of understanding. Naive or just plain animal love? :)

I guess dogs wear their hearts on their sleeves, and I think pigeons do too. Elmo and George show us that they are happy we are home and that they love us and we do the same. Nothing beats that excited joyous greeting when you come home, be it from a dog or a pigeon. And with any luck you may receive such a greeting from another human being.

Just thought I’d post a few photos of some pigeons that I have come across at work:


Sunning themselves after a bath


Feisty little thing! Ready to wing slap me.


Gorgeous racer!


Floyd (for some reason I think of Pink Floyd when I look at him)

We have discovered what looks like a blood blister on one of Elmo’s toes. :(

Since he has a slight limp and drags his left foot a bit when he walks, Elmo has developed slight carpet burns and a blood blister on his left foot.

P1020269We have put a small plaster around the blister to prevent him from aggravating it any more and are keeping an eye on it. We don’t want to have to burst it since it could become infected.

It’s been two days now and it hasn’t gone away yet. If it’s still there by the weekend we’ll take him to the vet to see what advice and treatment they can give.

Short of ripping up the carpeting there isn’t much we can do to prevent him from getting sores on his left foot since he puts more pressure on that foot due to his limp. Maybe we should make little shoes for Elmo?!

Here’s the poor boy with his plaster on:


We had a visitor that really, really, REALLY liked Georgie and Elmo but we thought it was best not to let Minnie have any physical contact with them. You’ll see what I mean from the photo!


Minnie the dog wants to say hello to Georgie the pigeon

Before Minnie popped over for a sniff and to lick her lips (repeatedly whilst staring at Georgie in her cage) Elmo was practicing his disappearing act. We think he may have gotten jealous of Georgie when she played Hide and seek.

We heard a flutter and a thump and went to investigate. Sure enough, Elmo was nowhere to be found. Then we heard a noise and found the poor boy inbetween our desks and the radiator:


How he managed to fall there we don’t know since he’d have to crawl behind the PC monitors and over some stationery containers. Anyway, when Elmo saw us peering down at him he got excited and started cooing and bowing his head for Richard to come cuddle him. I think he may have found a new nesting site! Uh oh!!

Nearly everyone has seen an ill, injured or orphaned pigeon in their life – be it in a city, town, park or a garden. There are a lot of predators, disease and harmful things out there that affect pigeons, and sometimes people don’t know what is the right thing to do when they come across a baby pigeon or an injured or ill pigeon.

First, let me just say that pigeons do not carry millions of diseases that humans can contract. That is just scaremongering, mainly from pest control companies (that are out to make money) and ignorant people (who either hate pigeons or are afraid of them). All living beings carry disease – humans included! – and some do pass on to other species, however, if everyone just used a bit of common sense, such as good hygiene measures (e.g. wash your hands after coming in from outside), then this myth that pigeons are infested with disease that will kill you and your family wouldn’t be as big of a problem as it is. You can contract disease from a dog or a cat but are they hated as much as feral pigeons? Makes little sense to me.

A pest or vermin is defined by people as any animal that is unwanted or destructive, such as rats, mice, pigeons, foxes and racoons, but this term could very well be attributed to cats, dogs, parrots and songbirds, depending on which country and area you are in. ‘Pest’ and ‘vermin’ are not synonymous with ‘disease’.

The following website supplies good points on the subject (particularly the last paragraph): Pigeons and disease

Ok, back to what to do when you come across an injured, ill or orphaned pigeon.

First, after you have correctly assessed that the pigeon is indeed in need of rescuing (a broken wing or foot is pretty easy to recognise, however, read the following about Recognising a sick pigeon and Rescuing a baby pigeon), you need to safely capture it and place it in a box, cat carrier or other secure container (make sure there are air holes!). Put an old towel, cloth or tissue paper in the box so that the pigeon can grip onto something and to also keep it warm.

After you have the pigeon in a secure box and put it in a warm, safe place (not outside!), contact your local animal rescue centre or wildlife hospital and ask if they can help. Unfortunately, some places do not treat pigeons (since they may consider them as pests) so you need to find a pigeon friendly rescue centre. The best place to find your local rescue centre is to search for it on the internet or look in a phone book. Your local vet or pet shop may also know of an animal rescue centre in the area.

You can take the rescued pigeon to a veterinary surgery, however, many will simply euthanise the bird unless you are willing to pay for its treatment and care. Ask before handing the pigeon over. Some veterinary surgeries will transfer the pigeon to a wildlife rescue centre.

Please read the information on these websites as they contain good instructions on pigeon rescue and first aid: Pigeon and Dove Rescue, Pigeon Aid UK and Pigeon Recovery.

The following link contains a list of wildlife hospitals, sanctuaries and veterinary surgeries around the world that are pigeon friendly: Matilda’s List

This website lists pigeon friendly places in the United Kingdom: Pigeon Friendly Rescue Centres in the UK

The main thing is to not panic. Find someone who can give you advice and help you and the pigeon. Hopefully you’ll feel good about rescuing a pigeon in need. :)


Editors note: Due to various commitments I am unable to check messages and comments frequently, so if you have an injured or orphaned pigeon please search the internet for your nearest pigeon friendly rescue centre or vets that can give you advice and help (some helpful links are already on this post).


Feral pigeon caught in netting. Photo courtesy of Dave Risley.


Baby feral pigeon – few days old


2 baby feral pigeons – few weeks old

Skip ahead to 50 seconds for one bossy pigeon: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/dany_skippi123/459921

Another bossy pigeon:

This pigeon is determined to have his lunch. No cat is going to stop him!:

Richard and I are of the opinion that children should grow up with animals in their lives.

We believe that a child’s life is enriched when it is spent with a loved animal. Yes, it is a fact that many animals have a shorter lifespan than humans and will die whilst the child is growing up. Although it will be painful to loose a beloved pet, the joy, love and beauty of sharing your life with an animal is too rewarding to miss out on.

Both my husband and I grew up with animals during our childhood and we have both experienced the joys of playing with and caring for wonderful animals and the heartache they caused us when they died. Sometimes the heartache is too painful to think about but death is something nobody can avoid. One day Elmo and Georgie will leave us, which will break our hearts.

I hope that both Elmo and George will still be with us when we have children. If they aren’t then we’ll have more pigeons and animals in our life for our future children to learn how to respect other living creatures, how to care for them, to learn about life and death, and to experience all the lovely things animals do.

I have begun to search for children books with pigeons as the main subject. Here are some I found (all of which I haven’t read… yet):

My favourite animals to care for (besides pigeons of course) are rats, gerbils, guinea-pigs and dogs. I also want to care for donkeys at some point (I’m a big donkey fan!!). But pigeons are number one! :)

Hopefully our future home will be filled with a variety of animals.

I have to say that one thing I really cannot stand is seeing children chasing pigeons. I didn’t even like to see it when I was a kid myself. I guess it is exciting and fun for some kids to chase a pigeon but all I can think about is the poor pigeon that is trying to find food and doesn’t want to be bothered and chased. I believe in respecting the life of animals. Children can have fun with pigeons in other ways such as feeding pigeons in a park or in a garden. I saw the following link on a pigeon forum and thought it was great that a website aimed at kids have written about not pestering pigeons (as well as other animals). Have a read: Don’t Pester the Pigeons!

I am very happy because today we have received paintings of Georgie and Elmo! :D

I asked an artist friend of mine, Ciara Healy, if she could paint our pigeons and she replied “of course”. She came round to see them and immediately fell in love with them.

Here’s her work:

Pigeon portraits

Displayed proudly in the living room

Georgie portrait

Georgie girl

Elmo portrait

Elmo boy

Ciara has really caught the mood of our pigeons and we are thrilled to have her artwork in our home. Wonderful portraits!

See more about Ciara Healy at: http://www.ciarahealy.com/