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As promised, here’s an update about dear Pidge, the 20 year old feral pigeon who our Dora has bonded to.

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Poorly Pidge

Some of you may have read my last post about my visit to Dora at her home at Folly Wildlife Rescue, but if not, please do so: Visiting Dora

I received an email from the hospital manager about Pidge’s visit to an avian vet who checked him over and concluded that Pidge has arthritis in his ‘elbow’ joint which has fused together, so Pidge is now using his leg as a prop, which would certainly explain why Pidge is unable to stand up properly anymore.

The darling boy will now be living permanently indoors with his mate, Dora, for company. Since Pidge also likes people, he’ll be happy to receive a lot of love from the rescue centre staff and volunteers.

We wish him well and send him all our love!!

Here’s Pidge a few years ago flirting with me:

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Handsome Pidge

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Pidge and Dora and their two babies (on the left)

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Pidge and Dora attack my fingers

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Happy couple!


There are many pigeon friendly organisations, sanctuaries, vets and rescue centres that will help you if you find an orphaned, ill or injured pigeon. There is also a lot of information on the internet on what to do as the first step, such as this post: Pigeon Rescue: what to do with injured, ill and orphaned pigeons

For a world-wide list please visit this forum: Matilda’s List

For a UK list: Pigeon Friendly Rescue Centres in the UK

Organisations that can help:

Websites and forums that have good information and advice:

There are also many Facebook groups of pigeon friendly people who can advise you on all things relating to the pigeon (you must have a Facebook account to see these groups):

All the above organisations, websites and centres can help you with your query if ever you come across an injured, ill or orphaned pigeon. The best thing to do is to rescue the pigeon, keep it safe and warm, and immediately contact your nearest pigeon-friendly rescue centre or organisation who can take the bird from you to give it the medical care it needs.

Editors note: I am also able to give advice, however, please don’t rely on me in an emergency as I may not be online every day. Thank you.


Humans don’t have the monopoly on motion sickness. Many species can become ill from travelling in a car, something that I never really thought about before – so when my semi-blind pet pigeon, Georgie, started to throw up during car journeys, I was a bit surprised. My poor girl – it must be worst for her since her vision is blurred already from her scarred eyes. (Read up on the causes of motion sickness: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Motion-sickness/Pages/Causes.aspx).

Elmo, on the other hand, is a trouper in the car. Nothing in the car fazed him. When we drove down to Cornwall (a 6 hour journey for us) Elmo was quite content in his travel cage – eating, sleeping and cooing happily. No motion sickness for him. (We didn’t take Georgie with us because we already knew she didn’t like travelling. She had to stay with a pet sitter.)

There doesn’t seem to be much online about motion sickness in birds – only the usual instructions on slowly introducing longer car journeys to help the bird get used to the motion (which I don’t think would work with Georgie because she vomits after 10 minutes of being in a moving car) – and some people suggest giving ginger or camomile tea to sooth the gut. I haven’t tried those on Georgie yet since we haven’t had the need to take her anywhere lately, but one day I’d like to take her on holiday with us so we need to have a plan in order.

I would really appreciate hearing your experiences with motion sickness in birds – particularly pigeons – and if you know more about the science behind it all, please let me know! :)

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Elmo in his travel cage

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Georgie hops into my case when I'm packing


We’ve recently had a few people (racing pigeon people by the looks of it) contact us on our YouTube account who are critical of us and our two tame, disabled pigeons, Elmo and Georgie.

We have been told to get homer pigeons instead since they are smarter and better looking than Elmo and Georgie (who are feral pigeons).

How superficial!! As if we care what pigeon is the best looking or the smartest. We love our pigeons because of their loving nature and amazing character.

We have also been told that our pigeons are not as happy as we think they are because they are ill.

Let me first state that neither Georgie or Elmo are ill. They both were affected by disease when they were babies – 11 years ago in Elmo’s case and 4 years ago in Georgie’s case – but are now perfectly healthy. However, according to one man (who has 34 years of experience keeping racing pigeons), our pigeons are not happy, we are spreading disease and we should euthanise them.

Our pigeons are very happy. I may not have decades of experience, but I do know my two pigeons. Georgie I have known since she was a baby; I’ve cared for her and learnt to read her behaviour and needs. Elmo is an open book. We can see the contentment and love in his eyes when he’s snuggled up to us – there is absolutely no doubt in our minds.

I find it hard to understand how anyone who views our videos of Elmo and Georgie can possibly think that they are unhappy. For someone who has 34 years of experience keeping pigeons he’s not very perceptive.

I will not engage in further conversation with these people since I have found them unwilling to listen, so I won’t get upset and drawn into a protracted argument, however, it does upset me to a degree to know that there’s someone out there who thinks I should put my pigeons to sleep because, according to them, they are unhappy and diseased.

:(


There are a few words used by pigeon lovers on the net that makes us smile and tut at the same time when we see it posted: “Oops” babies! :)

These words announce the discovery of baby pigeons that have slipped our birth-control vigilance. We smile because we are delighted to see little babies but tut because we know we should have checked more carefully but somehow we slacked and missed those eggs. Sometimes, pigeons will go to great lengths to hide their eggs from us so the babies remain hidden for a long time (Dora hid under a hutch: Dora’s first babies).

Now why on Earth would I be writing about “oops” babies?! … Have you guessed yet? :)

Dora’s aviary was having a major clean. A hutch was lifted and underneath we discovered these little critters:

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Baby field mice

Ok, so they’re not pigeons but they are sooo adorable! 8 little field mice and 1 big fat mamma mouse! Next to the nest is a big pile of peanuts. After our shock and a quick photo, we placed the hutch back to leave the family in peace. We’ll check on them later when they are old enough to fend from themselves: then the fun begins! Catching them all up and releasing them. I’m not sure if the mother mouse can get out of the aviary since the wire is quite small, however, mice are quite capable of squeezing through small spaces so she may be coming and going easily. Whatever the case, she’s obviously finding life with the pigeons a breeze: plenty of food and bedding around and no predators!

In other news, Teresa (a disabled pigeon) is still not using her legs properly and we have been unsuccessful in finding a cause (read: News about pigeons in Dora’s aviary). I put her back in Dora’s aviary to see how she would cope, and the male pigeons swamped her – cooing and dancing on and around her, making it impossible for her to escape from their unwanted attentions. They stood on her wings and basically penned her down. I quickly removed her and knew that she would not be able to live in the aviary in her condition. So I set up a smaller pen outside and gave her two other white pigeons for company and they are all getting along fine. No fights or unwanted behaviour.

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Teresa (left) and a friend

The other two white pigeons are youngsters that were orphaned and ill, but are now fine and growing up beautifully.

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Teresa (left) and co in their outside pen

Birdie pigeon is looking much better now that her feathers have grown back:

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Birdie girl

And Tux and Burko have decided that they want to nest in the hanging basket instead of the hutch I provided:

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Burko (left) and Tux (right)

Dora and her mate, Pidge, are doing very well. Dora’s sitting on a fake egg and being very demanding. As soon as she sees me (from across the field) she’ll cling to the aviary wire to let me know that she’s expecting me to come over with peanuts. Woe betide me if I come empty-handed!!

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Dora and Pidge

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Dora's aviary


We’re so happy to report that Georgie is back to normal! :D

She’s eating as normal, poops are normal and there are no signs of any infection or illness. Georgie is still on the thin side but she’s putting on weight again (we’re weighing her every day). We are very relieved and happy. Thank you all for your well-wishes and love. Georgie appreciates it too!

Here’s some photos of our darling pigeons, Elmo and Georgie:

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Feather-wear!

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Doesn't Georgie look stylish?

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Where's your head, Elmo?

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There it is!! :)

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Elmo with my ratty, Templeton.

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Relaxed and sleepy!

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A wing out for comfort.

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Sleepy boy!

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And that famous "sitting on wing" pose that pigeons love to adopt.


I’d like to introduce you to a special little fella who I’ve named Mr Tippler.

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He’s a Highflyer Tippler breed and he was found in a garden, lost and ill, and was then brought to the wildlife rescue centre (where I work) for care. He’s been with us for over a month now and is still ill, however, he’s receiving his medication and is being support fed, and he’s gradually putting on weight.

At first Mr Tippler absolutely hated the sight of me and would attack me viciously. Even though he was so thin and weak he still had the energy to tell me off! But after Mr Tippler realised that I am the bearer of food and good will, he started to warm to me, and now he greets me enthusiastically when he sees me! Love it! :)

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Mr Tippler was found about 70 miles away from his home. I found the number of his owner stamped on his primary flight feathers and called the number to let the owner know we had his pigeon but that the pigeon is ill and not ready to be returned yet. The owner thanked me for letting him know but said we were too far away to arrange collection and that I could keep the pigeon. Fair enough, I guess.

So we’re caring for our special little guy and willing him to get better. He’ll be at my work for a long while I think before he’s ready for his new home. I must say the highlight of my job now is to be greeted and have my fingers nibbled by friendly Mr Tippler! :)


On the 29th Dec 2010 (in Egg free at last) I wrote: “George has in fact filled out very nicely in the past month. She feels really chunky and solid, which I’m very happy about since she has always been a bit too slight and thin. I hope she doesn’t loose her “pregnancy” weight!”

Boy do I regret saying that. Georgie stopped eating on that day and for days refused to eat her seed. So I tried popping some peanuts down her throat, however, she simply vomited them up later. :(

Not wanting to cause her to become even more ill, I decided not to force-feed her anymore. Sometimes, giving food can cause more problems. A vet visit was scheduled, and Georgie lost all that lovely weight she had gained.

Basically, Georgie stopped eating for about 4 days. On the fifth she wolfed down some granary bread and had a go at her seed – but not in her cage! She refused to eat from the seed bowl if it was in her cage – so we put it on the sofa and she had a field day – swishing seed left and right and making an awful mess.

An important message regarding ill birds: Since birds are very good at hiding any illness you often won’t notice anything until it has progressed quite far. So if you suspect anything is wrong with your bird, contact your avian vet immediately, otherwise it may be too late.

Sometimes I forget this. Georgie was acting normal and looking fine except for the simple fact that she wasn’t eating. And when she did start eating, she wouldn’t eat when in her cage. It got very frustrating.

However, after the visit to the avian vet we felt better about Georgie. In fact, on that day Georgie had eaten a lot of seed from her bowl in her cage, but vomited it all up on the journey to the vet due to car sickness. It was nice to see that Georgie had eaten, but upsetting that it had to come all out.

The vet said that Geogie most likely had an eye infection when she was a baby due to mycoplasma bacteria which scarred her eyes (the cloudiness) and distorted her pupils (it’s so nice to finally have an explanation for Georgie’s eye condition). This bacteria is laying dormant in her body until her immune system is compromised, such as when she’s using a lot of energy to produce and lay eggs. So the mycoplasma took the opportunity to attack Georgie’s system which made her lose her appetite. She’s on antibiotics and we also bought some vitamin and mineral supplements to give her on top of the calcium and vitamin D that she already receives (to boost her health).

At the moment Georgie is eating well but she’s still thinner than she should be and feels very light. We’re keeping a close eye if anything changes. I cannot bare to think of what would happen if the worst happened. Georgie has become such an integral part of my family and heart.

It’s always scary when your animal becomes ill. It can be hard to know what to do and when to act, however, a good vet that you can trust is really the best, as well as support and advice from good people in the pigeon rescue field!

Today Georgie was annoying Elmo and Richard so much because she kept walking over to Elmo’s side on the sofa to get some peanuts, however, she wasn’t swallowing any – just pecking at them and throwing them about. It seems they were all the wrong size for her liking! In the end, Richard popped a few into her mouth and she seemed grateful to be given a helping hand. She’d never have come to a decision on her own. (I guess this means I have to go search for smaller sized peanuts.)

Here’s the mess Georgie made on the sofa on the day she decided to eat again:

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Been ill for the past 4 days and haven’t managed to post anything. Thankfully, I had some drafts that my hubby could quickly proof-read and then post on my behalf, however, yesterday he had to write a post himself when he discovered that there weren’t any more of my drafts left. I think he did splendidly.

Georgie has also been ill and she’s seen the vet and received her medication. She’s eating again but she’s lost weight. We’re keeping a close eye on her.

Elmo is fine – just going through a little moult so there’s feathers everywhere.

I’m afraid that’s it because my energy is running out.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be much better and can write something proper.


So yesterday I talked about how I am sometimes surprised to see Georgie so sleek and healthy after a full day of being around injured and ill pigeons. I thought I should show you a few rescued pigeons. The following 3 pigeons are all doing fine (so far), and we are working on getting them in tip top shape.

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Popeye (as named by his finder), a feral pigeon with an eye infection.

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Tiny-tot, a baby feral pigeon that is a bit underdeveloped and not growing as quickly as he should.

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This white pigeon was caught by a cat and has extensive injuries to the face and chest, which are now healing well.

This last pigeon was shot with a BB gun and unfortunately died a few days later after she was admitted. Her wounds had been cleaned and she received the medication she needed but the infection and injuries were too much for her.

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White pigeons/doves make easy targets for cruel people.

It is amazing how some people think shooting pigeons is alright. Many don’t die immediately from the shot, rather they fly away with a wound that quickly becomes infected, leading to a slow death. These shot pigeons are often caught by cats or sparrowhawks because of their injuries. The few lucky ones are picked up by concerned people, however, many don’t survive because their weakened state and infections are too far gone. I just hope that more people begin to see how unacceptable animal cruelty is. Lead by example and show compassion. Pigeons are amazing animals and deserve to be treated with kindness.