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George had another trip to the vets because of the ulcer on her eye (read: August news – part 1). The white dot seemed to grow into a lump on her eye and I could see it bothered Georgie a lot. Poor girl!

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Thankfully, the white thing fell off her eye and she’s no longer got any irritation there. We had her checked by the vet, thinking that we’d get the all clear, however, the ulcer is still there and we were given some different eye drops to see if that would help clear it all up. Georgie was also prescribed antibiotics.

On top of the eye problem, poor Georgie seems to have injured her right leg somehow and it’s at an odd angle. She’s still weight bearing on it but she does have a more pronounced limp now. The vet said they could x-ray the leg to see what’s going on, but that’s something I’m not too keen on because of the risk of anaesthetic in birds. The vet we go to is an avian and exotic veterinary surgery and are very good at what they do, however, I’m still a bit hesitant about having Georgie x-rayed. So Georgie has some pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication to help with any nerve damage in the leg (from her egg laying. Georgie does get temporary paralysis sometimes when she lays eggs). My husband and I will have to weigh up the pros and cons of having Georgie x-rayed and come to a decision soon.

Georgie is her usual self, eating and drinking as normal, not depressed or acting in pain, so at least I know she’s not too upset about all her health issues. I know birds hide their pain and illness very well, and Georgie is cooing and sitting on my lap behaving as if she hasn’t got anything wrong with her. I don’t know if it’s all the medication she’s on or if she’s just a very good actress. I am certainly keeping a close eye on her to ensure she’s not getting any worst.

I took some photos of her right leg but I don’t think they came out very well. You may not see the problem. I know you will all wish Georgie a speedy recovery and good health, and I will certainly keep you updated on what’s happening.


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.


I finally went to visit Dora, the other pigeon who used to live with us. Too long a time had passed since I last saw her, so I’m so happy to have seen her the other day at the wildlife rescue centre where she lives (Folly Wildlife Rescue). Sadly, something happened to her mate and he is unable to stand up properly, so he’s being cared for in the intensive care unit. And Dora is there with him for company and support. Pigeons pair for life and if one becomes ill or injured you should always try to keep the pair together or within sight so that they don’t pine for each other.

Dora’s mate, Pidge, is 20 years old this year (hatched in 1993) but we don’t know how old Dora is. When I visited her she seemed to recognise me – giving me the usual pecks and coos – and she was very attentive to Pidge, with gentle preening around his head. I’m praying that Pidge pulls through and regains full mobility so they can go back out into their aviary. Otherwise I may have to convince my other half to let me bring them home for permanent care. I’m sure we can fit a large cage in the corner that the second sofa currently sits in (unused!).

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Beautiful Dora!

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Gorgeous Pidge

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Lovely couple


Remember Davey pigeon’s foot injury? (See: Davey pigeon in care) Well, it healed up nicely, no infection or other complications, so we removed the stitches and put him back into Dora’s aviary. All the male pigeons came down to greet him and Davey got straight to work in establishing his territory after having been away for a week and a half. :)

Last week it was rather wet and windy so it was a relief to have Dora’s aviary cleaned and given dry bedding (the pigeons love fresh bedding. I love watching them pick up bits of straw to take to their nests). But of course it rained today so the aviary is a bit wet again. The pigeons don’t mind the rain to be honest (they do have shelter in the aviary). I often see them with their wings up to let the rain wash their “wing-pits”. :)

I went over to check for eggs to replace with fake ones and to do a quick visual check of all the pigeons in there. Everyone looked fine and healthy, which was of course a relief after the scare when Davey injured his foot.

I managed to take a few videos of Dora and the other pigeons for your viewing pleasure. As usual, Dora had fun attacking my fingers while her mate, Pidge, thought they were worthy recipients for mating.

Here’s a list of all the current resident pigeons (fancy or disabled) at my work:

  1. DORAfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Pidge)
  2. PIDGEmale - feral pigeon (paired with Dora)
  3. GERTIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Marmaduke)
  4. MARMADUKEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Gertie)
  5. FLEURfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Marmalade)
  6. MARMALADEmale - Archangel breed (paired with Fleur)
  7. MADDIEfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Lord Nelson)
  8. LORD NELSONmale - West of England Tumbler breed (paired with Maddie)
  9. PEACHESfemale - fancy pigeon (paired with Stanley)
  10. STANLEYmale - feral pigeon (paired with Peaches)
  11. SPECKLESfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Horatio)
  12. HORATIOmale - Highflyer/Tippler breed (paired with Speckles)
  13. LUMIfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Turk)
  14. TURKmale - Turkish Takla breed (paired with Lumi)
  15. MOUSIEfemale - racing pigeon (paired with Rudderford)
  16. RUDDERFORDmale - feral pigeon (paired with Mousie)
  17. DAVEYmale - feral pigeon (single)
  18. BUTTONmale - feral pigeon (single)
  19. BIRDIEfemale - feral pigeon (single)
  20. TUXfemale - feral pigeon (paired with Burko)
  21. BURKOmale – feral pigeon (paried with Tux)

Last week at work I was informed that a lot of blood was found on the floor of Dora’s aviary. Trying not to panic (thoughts of dying and dead pigeons flooding my mind), I quickly went to her aviary to see what was wrong. Sure enough, there was a lot of blood soaked into the floor substrate and my eyes whipped about to every pigeon in the aviary to find who was injured.

Two possible causes for the blood came to mind: 1) a toe nail had broken at the quick or 2) a rat had bitten one of the pigeons through the wire. Where there is food there will inevitably be rats, and while I haven’t got a problem with wild rats at all (meaning that I don’t mind if they are about), aviaries do need to be rat proof to protect the pigeons in them. Dora’s aviary is rat proof, however, it doesn’t have a solid floor, only wire (something I would like to change), and the rats have started to dig underneath, trying to find a way to the food. As I stood in the aviary I noticed that a wire panel had seperated from the frame and a hole had appeared. My heart stopped. Had a rat gotten into the aviary and attacked one of the disabled pigeons? As I searched for the source of the blood my thoughts were running wild with dread. “Please, please, let them all be safe,” I prayed.

Then I saw Davey with blood on his foot (Davey came to the wildlife rescue centre in 2010 with a broken wing and he cannot fly). Upon inspection I found that the pad on his left foot had been sliced open, possibly from a rat bite or from cutting it on the wire of the seperated floor panel. The 20 other pigeons in the aviary were all unharmed.

So Davey was brought into the Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U.) for treatment. We cleaned the wound and attempted to bandage it, however, it kept bleeding. We booked an appointment at our local veterinary surgery for them to suture the wound. Here’s the result:

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Foot stitched up

Davey pigeon is on pain relief and antibiotics, and thankfully the wound is clean and healing nicely. Here’s the boy after his trip to the vet:

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Davey pigeon in care

I managed to fix the floor panel after ensuring that there were no rats in the aviary, as well as checking for any other holes. Davey doesn’t have a mate so there is no one pining away for him while he’s away from the aviary. He seems quite content in I.C.U. – cooing and dancing for the female pigeons he can see in the other cages. He’s got a very loud voice and I can hear him talking when I walk past I.C.U. :)

I’m sure, in a week or so, Davey will be back in his aviary.

Ps. My pigeon is quite ill but still very feisty. (Read about it: Personal rescue)


Many of you may already know that I work at a wildlife rescue centre, and as a result, I have cared for many injured and orphaned pigeons (in fact, woodpigeons are the second most common animal we have brought in – over 410 this year! – hedgehogs being the first). My love of pigeons was sparked from hand-rearing the orphaned feral pigeons, and both Elmo and Georgie were first taken to my work before we welcomed them into our home. So while I’ve helped rear and rehabilitate hundreds of pigeons, I don’t often find ones that need rescuing.

In the past few months, however, I’ve found two feral pigeons that needed rescuing. One was walking slowly across a road in town and the short steps it was taking caught my attention. I could see that something was wrong, and as I approached the pigeon it didn’t have the strength to fly away. I picked it up and took it immediately to work. The poor pigeon was painfully thin and sadly died the same day. I had found it when it was at the end of its life. It is always sad when a rescued animal dies, however, at least the pigeon was in a safe and warm environment in its last hours.

The second feral pigeon I found was standing one morning by my car as I was preparing to leave for work. It didn’t fly away when I approached it and was clearly in need of rescuing. Once at work, I could see that the feral was thin and had a puncture wound by his right wing. He’s in a warm cage and receiving the medication he needs, and hopefully, in a few weeks, he’ll recover and be released. Fingers crossed.

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The second feral pigeon in need


Baby pigeons are brought to my work for different reasons: human interference (e.g. building or tree work), cats taking them out of their nest, or bad weather causing them to fall out of their nest. Sometimes the babies are unharmed and only need to be hand-fed until they are old enough to feed for themselves, other times the pigeon squabs are injured and need special attention.

We had one such latter case last month. A little woodpigeon that not only had a hole in its crop but also a scalped head (with the scull showing). :(

Poor little thing. He was very hungry and begged me for food. We feed baby pigeons on Kaytee Exact Hand Feeding Formula in a liquid form, however, if there is a hole in the crop then all the liquid food pours out. So we had to switch to emergancy feeding: defrosted peas and sweetcorn and balls of Kaytee Exact. Being solid, the food thankfully stayed in the crop. It does depend where the hole is, though; if it is further down in the crop then the food will fall out, however, if it higher up then the food has a chance to stay and be digested (as was the case with this little woodpigeon).

At first we thought we’d ask our vets to stitch the hole up, however, after assessing the size and location of the hole, we decided that it wasn’t necessary and that it would be better for it to heal naturally. The vets were concerned about the scalp injury, however, we reassured them that it wasn’t a problem at all and that it would heal quickly (we’ve had quite a few scalped birds before). We decided to take photos of the woodpigeon because it can be quite dramatic to see the quick healing.

Dermisol cream was applied every day to the hole as well as the scalped head. Antibiotics were given to fight off any infection. The crop hole healed up nicely and we were able to switch to liquid Kaytee Exact. I didn’t take photos of the hole because it was too hard to keep the pigeon still. Trying to take a photo of his head was hard enough! He kept “beaking” my fingers for food and flapping about (which is why my hand is in the photos – to try to keep him still for a second).

And here they are:

27th July – 2nd day with us:

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28th July – With the dermisol cream on his head:

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2nd August – Skin regrowing:

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3rd August – The scab fell off:

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9th August – The skin has grown back over his scalp:

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15th August – Completely healed, needing only new feathers to grow back:

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This little woodpigeon is now ready to be in the aviary for flight practice and muscle toning. :)

We are of course so happy for his speedy recovery and happy that there is such a good cream as dermisol cream to help with healing!


As many of you may know, I work at a wildlife rescue centre. The animals we receive are either injured or orphaned (or both) and need our help to recover and grow up for release. It is hard, continuous work. Feed, clean, feed, clean, medicate, feed, clean and more cleaning. The wildlife in our care depend on us and we have a responsibility to ensure they are clean, comfortable, stress-free and receiving the best care we can provide. The ultimate aim of all this: release back into the wild in tip-top condition for best chance of survival in the big bad world!

Sometimes we receive horrible cases of cruelty: pigeons and doves that have been shot! :( :(

Pigeons (ferals included) are protected by law in the UK. It is illegal to kill any bird unless a licence is held or if the person (or pest control company) isn’t following the criteria of the general licence. Please go to the following websites for more indepth information: PiCAS: The Law and Is it legal to shoot pigeons?

It is hard to see these beautiful birds with shot wounds, knowing that the bird is suffering because of a fellow human being. On the 4th April we received a white pigeon that had a horrific infected shot wound in her chest. The hole was very large! The photo is shocking to look at and I have to admit, I didn’t think the pigeon would live.

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Shot white pigeon - 6th April

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6th April

We immediately gave her medication to fight the infection and relieve her of any pain and kept her in the intensive care unit (I.C.U.) for observation and care. Every day her wounds were checked and cleaned and medication was given. She wasn’t happy about the situation and soon became quite restless. She wanted to get out but we couldn’t put her in an aviary where flies could lay their eggs in the open wound. So the dear girl had to stay in her cage in I.C.U.

Slowly, very slowly, the wound started to close up (as you can see in the photos).

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Her wound is dressed - 2nd May

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25th May

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All healed! - 14th July

One day a thin feral pigeon was brought to my work and he was placed in a cage near the white pigeon. The male pigeon started cooing, calling, testing her reaction. They couldn’t see each other easily, only through thin slits at the side of the cages, but they could hear each other and they began to flirt. First the male pigeon said his piece and waited. Then the white female pigeon responded. The male pigeon twirled and cooed joyfully in response to what she had said. You get the picture! Sure enough, the two fell in love. I made the mistake of putting them opposite each other one day and they had an unobstructed view of one another. They cooed and danced all day (no kidding, ALL day!), the little flirts!

The day we could put the two together in an aviary was a very happy day for them. They started kissing and prancing about like the newly-weds they were. They were released together on the 15th July. What a wonderful result!! :D

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White pigeon and her new mate the day before their release - 14th July

Ps. Now you may be wondering why I hadn’t named the white pigeon. I try not to at work for two reasons: 1) the animal is a wild animal and not a pet, and 2) not all the injured and orphaned wildlife live to be released, and since giving the animal a name forms attachment it can be tough on us humans if the animal dies. Sometimes, though, it is hard not to become attached to an animal, and equally hard not to cuddle and talk to the animal, but when it comes to working with injured/orphaned wildlife, you have to remain distant because you want the animal to remain wild so that it can be released (since you cannot release tame or imprinted wildlife!).


Occassionally we receive fancy breeds of pigeons at my work – some have been injured but some are unharmed, having either escaped or become lost. In general, fancy breeds of pigeons don’t do well in the wild because many have exaggerated features and reduced ‘street-wise’ instincts, and are therefore easy targets for sparrowhawks, cats and people with pellet guns.

Here are the ones we’ve had so far this year. Although I have searched the net and through my pigeon breed encyclopedia book, I found it difficult to find out what breed of pigeon they all are. So please look kindly upon me. And help me out if you know I’m wrong.

All of these pigeons are doing well in their new homes:

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No idea what breed but maybe a Turkish Takla (tumbler)? I haven't seen it fly though.

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Juvenile Indian Fantail that was caught by a cat.

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Lahore pigeon

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I'm guessing Antwerp breed?

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Haven't identified this one. Mixed breed?

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Garden Fantails

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A type of highflier or tumbler? I'm leaning towards a Szegediner tumbler (Hungarian highflier), but truthfully, I have no idea.

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Archangel breed

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West of England Tumbler

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Any ideas? She's pure white with feathered feet.

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Apricot colouring but is she a specific breed?

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He has a high forehead so I think he's a fancy breed. Which though?

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Same with this one. High forehead and lovely colouring.

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Garden white pigeon (a.k.a. white dove).


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.