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The people at the Wild Bird Fund, a non-profit organisation, in New York City do a lot to help feral pigeons and other wildlife in and around the area. It is wonderful to see vets and rehabbers work so skillfully with pigeons. It can be hard to find a vet that knows how to fix broken bones in a bird, and tragically, a lot of pigeons are euthanised because of a broken wing or leg simply because the skills and knowledge – and sometimes other resources (e.g. space and time) – are not there. (And pigeon sanctuaries are hard to come by.)

Please consider donating towards their cause to built a wildlife rehabilitation centre in New York City: Wild Bird Fund

Blog: Wild Bird Fund Blog

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wildbirdfund

These videos show what the Wild Bird Fund is all about:

(Note: at the end of the last video they state that they facilitated “soft release” for the two pigeons in the video. Both pigeons transferred any affections from humans to pigeons prior to release.)


I’ve ordered a few pigeon books second-hand, however, I’ve got a long wait since they’re being shipped from America. Here’s what I’m waiting for:

Pigeon (Animal) by Barbara Allen

Pigeon (Animal)

Pigeons by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, William Muanoz
Pigeons

Superdove: How the Pigeon Took Manhattan ... and the World

I hope they’re good but you never know when it comes to pigeon books. Some people write lovely things, others aren’t so nice.

There are two other books I found that would be amazing to have but they’re a bit too expensive for me at the moment. Does anyone have them for sale for dirt cheap? :)

(Image from: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pigeons-Doves-Guide-World/dp/1873403607/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1306694817&sr=1-1)

(Image from: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Feral-Pigeons-Richard-F-Johnston/dp/0195084098/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306695111&sr=1-1)


After a lovely snuggle with Georgie girl on the sofa (with Elmo’s watchful eye at the territory border) I took Georgie with me to the kitchen to get a glass of water. We walked past something in the corridor that Georgie took offense to and she exploded with anger. Angry pecks and lots of wing slaps! Took me completely by surprise!

And when I saw what it was that Georgie was so angry at I smiled. Of course, it was the lava lamp!! :)

Georgie hates bright lights, especially from torches and mobile phone screens, and she especially hates flashing lights. So a lava lamp must be something terrible to her! It’s big, colourful and full of light!!

I had to take a video of Georgie attacking the lava lamp. She was being very unreasonable. I’m sure the lamp just wanted to make friends.

I’ll have to cover her eyes next time I carry Georgie past it.


Last night Georgie snuck onto Elmo’s nest on the sofa and laid an egg. Yes, you heard me: She laid an egg on Elmo’s nest!! What a sneaky girl!! :D

Here’s the girl caught in the act:

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Luckily, Elmo was on the floor at the time so he didn’t know what was happening (otherwise he would have attacked her since he doesn’t like other pigeons). We removed the egg and Georgie walked away after taking a moment to recover. We’re happy that she isn’t moody about her eggs and she’s now sitting happily on my lap, cooing away.

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However, we did have a very moody pigeon today. Richard put the fake eggs under Elmo to see what would happen (big mistake!) and Elmo was a little git, running about attacking us both in his moodiness. So we removed the eggs and after Elmo had his fill attacking Templeton, the soft toy rat, he’s returned to his normal sweet self.


We love our minicards so much that we decided to order some other products from MOO.

I like to send snail mail and usually seal envelopes with a sticker when writing to my friends so I asked Richard to design something that can be put onto stickers. The sticker book from Moo contains 90 stickers of our own design (4 different designs). I love them! Have a look:

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We’re thinking of also making some postcards with Elmo, Georgie, Dora and our logo on them – maybe with some funny captions – that we can send to friends and to also sell with the stickers. To spread the pigeon love!

We had a thought that it would be wonderful to also distribute postcards with photos of YOUR pigeons on them*. We will, of course (if requested), put the name of the pigeon and your name or the organisations name on the card.

If you’re interested please email photos to me. We’re using recaptcha to protect our email address against spam, so please click here to reveal our email address.

We won’t be able to use all the photos – it depends on the quality and composition – however, please send them to me and I’ll let you know if we use your photo! Thank you!

We’ve been going through our own pigeon photos and picked out a few we think would make nice postcards. What to you think?

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I’ve got loads more photos to go through to pick out the best ones, and hopefully I’ll be able to show you the finished products soon.

* Please note that as we plan to reproduce, edit, and distribute any photos sent in, that by sending in photos you waive any copyright you may have to the original photo. We will not send the original photo to any third party not directly engaged in producing these postcard / greeting cards, and if requested we will incorporate the photographer / pigeon / organisations name into the final artwork.


After the article about the people in my town using a bird of prey to scare the feral pigeons away at the Pantiles (see Local pigeon news posts), I looked into the matter further to see how effective and humane this method really is. I mistakenly thought that using this method was humane because, as I first read, the birds of prey are not trained to kill the pigeons – only to fly about to scare them. How silly of me to believe this! My mistake simply shows how important it is to research something thoroughly before making a judgement.

There is nothing humane with using birds of prey to control pigeon numbers. They state that the bird of prey is only supposed to fly about and scare the pigeons, however, how do you train a bird of prey to not catch and kill a pigeon?

Rather than reproduce what has already been so effectively written, please go to the following websites to read for yourself how ineffective and inhumane this method really is:

And for information on the law regarding pest control: PiCAS: The Law

Pest control companies that use lethal methods are either ignorant of the fact that it is ineffective and inhumane to use birds of prey or they simply ignore the fact and decide to keep their clients in the dark because they are making money from them. It is so sad to see so much greed and speciesism in the world.

I believe I found a clip of the video that inspired the people at the Pantiles to hire out a bird of prey (unfortunately, anyone outside of the UK cannot view the video). In the clip they simply state that they use falcons (a natural predator of pigeons) to scare pigeons in Dubai. They fail to mention whether the falcons actually catch and kill pigeons, so I looked further and found an article about their services as well as the company’s website. Nothing is mentioned on their own website (no surprise there), however, in the article they state that their falcons “never attack birds in the air and are trained to return to their owners for food when they’re hungry”. Believable?


A video of Elmo being loving and wonderful:

And here’s a video of Georgie being horrible to Richard (I don’t know why he let her do this to him):


The following is a very good website with information and advice about pigeon fanciers lung: British Pigeon Fanciers Medical Research

Please read about a condition that may affect you if you work in close contact with pigeons. It is the only real threat to us pigeon lovers. The overall message is to wear a mask and protective clothing as a preventive measure when cleaning out your loft or aviary.

PIGEON FANCIERS LUNG FAQ

WHAT IS PIGEON FANCIERS LUNG?
It is an allergic reaction which affects the air exchanging parts of the lung and causes shortness of breath, cough and feverish illness.

WHAT CAUSES IT?
Sensitivity to Pigeon Protein. The commonest source is the bloom but droppings and other dust in the loft may be important.

IS IT COMMON?
It is more common than people think. World wide studies indicate that from 6% to 22% of fanciers have symptoms following exposure to pigeons. In British Pigeon Fanciers, 31% were found to be sensitised and 16% to have symptoms.

HOW DO I KNOW THAT I HAVE IT?
Breathlessness, dry cough, “flu like” feelings, headache and aching joints, sweating, exhaustion 2-6 hours after contact with pigeons. Weight loss. With high sensitivity, the reaction can occur more quickly and people can be very sick.

A blood check for reaction to pigeon protein would show raised levels.

WHAT DO RAISED BLOOD LEVELS MEAN?
a) The normal body defence systems have responded to contact with pigeon protein.
b) Everyone will tend to make antibody reaction to pigeon protein, but some people make much more than others.
c) People with high reaction levels are more likely to get chest trouble than those with low levels
d) If levels are raised, then there is a real risk of problems.

DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP MY PIGEONS IF I HAVE IT?
The answer in the main is NO, although for some people, unfortunately this is the only solution. It is entirely a personal decision and there are no hard and fast rules about it. WEAR MASK, CAP AND COAT at all times when you are in the loft to reduce the amount of bloom you breathe into the lungs.

IF I HAVE CHEST TROUBLE FOLLOWING CONTACT WITH PIGEONS WILL MY ANTIBODY LEVELS BE HIGH?
YES – Those with severe symptoms have higher levels than those with minor problems.

IS IT FATAL?
NO – if untreated however, it can cause chronic ill health and lung damage and this can eventually be fatal if neglected.

CAN I PASS IT ON TO MY FAMILY?
NO – It is not an infectious disease. (It is NOT the same thing as “Psittacosis” which is infectious )

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I HAVE IT?
Go and see your Doctor. The British Pigeon Fanciers Research Fund covers the cost of a blood test. All that is needed is to send a 10ml sample of clotted blood in a plain container to us, the details for this are on the contact page.

Your Doctor can contact Kenneth Boyd who can put him/her in touch with Dr. Boyd directly, should he/she wish to discuss any matters with him.

CAN ANYTHING BE DONE ABOUT IT?
YES -People react to the condition in different ways. Some have one or two attacks and then have no more trouble. Others have severe disease and must keep away from pigeons altogether. The acute illness can be treated by drugs.

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE – WEAR MASK, CAP AND COAT WHEN WITH YOUR BIRDS.

CAN IT BE CURED?
The only true cure is to keep away from pigeons altogether. Only a few people have to do this because the condition varies very much in its severity and most people only experience problems from time to time, which if treated, does not progress.

HOW MUCH CONTACT WITH PIGEONS DO I NEED BEFORE I AM LIKELY TO GET IT?
The answer is not known for certain but studies, so far, indicate that the occurrence of disease is related to:

  • The age of the individual
  • The number of birds kept
  • The average weekly exposure to pigeons
  • The number of years in the Fancy
  • The individual’s own inborn reaction. (some are very sensitive and others are not).

IF I REDUCE CONTACT WITH PIGEONS WILL THE DISEASE PROBLEM IMPROVE?
YES -This is very important until the illness settles. Sometimes treatment is needed. Attacks can often be prevented by avoiding excessive contact with the bloom or dust e.g. by avoiding cleaning the loft personally or by wearing a mask, cap and coat.

IS PIGEON BREEDERS DISEASE MORE LIKELY?

  • With racing pigeons or with show pigeons - NO
  • In overcrowded lofts – YES
  • In poorly ventilated lofts – YES
  • With deep litter – NO
  • With more than normal contact with pigeons – YES

e.g.

  • Study of eye signs.
  • Use of eyeglass to examine pigeons.
  • If many youngsters are hand reared.
  • Hand and mouth feeding of squeakers.

IS THERE ANY PROBLEM RELATED TO PIGEON MANAGEMENT THAT MAKES IT MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE PIGEON LUNG?
e.g.

  • Separated cocks/Separated hens
  • Paired cocks/Paired hens
  • Pigeons on natural/Widowhood systems
  • Different strains – e.g. inbred, outcross
  • Short/Middle/Long Distance birds

NO

N.B. Fanciers using the “Widowhood” system may be more at risk than those using the natural system because the loft is fully enclosed.
PEAK INCIDENCE – END OF RACING SEASON/MOULTING SEASON

IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE FEEDING OF THE PIGEONS WHICH MAKES THEM MORE LIKELY TO CAUSE A REACTION IN MAN?
None found.

WHAT MASK SHOULD I WEAR?
CAUTIONARY NOTE:

  • All Fanciers should use a mask when cleaning out.
  • Pigeon fanciers with symptoms of Pigeon Lung of any degree should use a mask, cap and coat every time they are with birds, even at Shows and Marking Stations.
  • Fanciers with pigeon Lung should be very careful after an absence from the birds (e.g. after being on holiday). An increased reaction may be experienced on their return to the birds. A mask is essential.

The pigeon bloom, which is the main source of inhaled pigeon protein, is an extremely small dust particle (<5 microns). It is, therefore, important that the correct filter mask is used. Any mask used must comply with the appropriate European standard (or equivalent – in other countries)

The standard is EN149:FFP1 (S) for disposable masks and EN143:1990 for the Replaceable Filter Mask.

Please see our dedicated mask page, for detail of specific masks.

(From: http://www.pigeon-lung.co.uk/faq.html)


I miss Dora. It’s become very busy at work; with all the baby birds to feed (every 20-30 minutes) and the constant cage cleaning, I haven’t really had time to spend time with Dora and the rest of the pigeons in the resident pigeon aviary.

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Dora and Pidge (in the background)

A few weeks ago I went over to say hello to Dora and she gave me lots of pecks and wing slaps for coming too close to her nest and fake eggs. Her mate, Pidge, was happy to see me though and tried to mate with my hand. Again. He gets confused and I think that’s why Dora tells me off. She thinks I’m stealing her mate from her!!

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I’ve been observing the new pigeons in the aviary (before the busy period began) and Lumi (which means “snow” in Finnish) has paired up with the Turkish Takla pigeon, Turk.

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Lumi (left) and Turk (right)

They make a very pretty couple, and here they are romancing, with Pidge interrupting them:

Lumi came to my work after she had been caught by a cat and had extensive injuries on her head and body. She healed up nicely, however, she lost her left eye. Turk was found in a garden and picked up because he’s obviously not a wild pigeon. He must have become lost from his flock and aviary, however, since he didn’t have any form of identification on him (no tattoo on his wings, microchip nor ring with numbers on it) we couldn’t find his owner.

Here’s what Lumi looked like upon arrival:

I know I keep saying this, but one day – one day!! – I will have an aviary of my own with lots of disabled and unwanted fancy and racing pigeons in it. And then I would have to open up a sanctuary for pigeons! I’m sure I would receive a lot of support from all the pigeon lovers around the world! :)