We'd love to hear what you think of our site. Please let us know by filling in the form below!

 
Social Network Links
Pages

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.

P1060090

Shot white pigeon - 6th April

P1060091

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).

P1060426

Her wound is dressed - 2nd May

P1060613

25th May

P1060989

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

P1060996

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!).


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 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.

P1050944

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!!

P1050948

P1050954

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.

P1050928

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! :)


Saw this story posted on facebook and I just had to share it!

A pigeon perch for two

March 7, 2011 : 8:55 PM ET

By Ted Brewer
One of the pigeons is, neurologically speaking, a bit challenged. The other is kind of peculiar looking. And though they were once ostracized by their respective flocks, they have been inseparable since meeting each other.

Christy and Slippers have both been at Wild Friends for well over a year, but the two had never laid eyes on each other, at least not until they both wound up in quarantine together.

Christy and Slippers
Christy and Slippers

Wild Friends is home to approximately 100 adoptable pigeons who live in two separate aviaries. Christy lived in the aviary reserved for what Wild Friends calls its “special needs” pigeons, a small number of birds whose physical limitations prevent them from thriving in the larger pigeon aviary.

Best Friends took Christy in because of a neurological problem that causes her to hold her head to one side and lose her balance easily. She is normally able to roll over and get back up when she falls, but one morning she was found lying on her side, with her head pressed into the dirt, unable to right herself.“It appeared the other pigeons had been picking on her,” says Best Friends’ wildlife rehabilitator Barbara Weider. “It may have been because Christy was sick.”

Barbara and Wild Friends’ manager Carmen Smith realized Christy was sick when they brought her in that day. They weighed her and found she was severely underweight. She was not eating enough to survive. So Barbara and Carmen had to feed her by tube for several months while treating her for coccidia, a type of parasite. They feared Christy might not make it.

In the meantime, Christy stayed in quarantine, where she could be more easily monitored and not exposed to the outside elements. At the time, temperatures were falling well below freezing at the Sanctuary.

“Some pigeons do very poorly in temperature extremes,” Barbara says.

Like Christy, Slippers doesn’t do well when the weather turns cold. And again like Christy, he’s a loner, perhaps because he has an unusual array of feathers on his legs and feet, which make him appear as though he’s wearing slippers (hence the name). He has no physical problems and lives in the main pigeon aviary, but instead of staying warm with the other pigeons inside their heated nest area, he often preferred to stay outside at night. The caregivers noticed he was fluffed and shivering in the mornings.

Knowing Slippers wasn’t fitting in and was freezing at night because of it and considering that Christy was probably feeling quite lonely in quarantine, Carmen and Barbara decided to try a little experiment. They placed Slippers in quarantine with Christy — just to see how they would get along.

The experiment could not have been more successful. The two bonded almost immediately and now cannot seem to get close enough to each other.

“They are always smashed against each other,” Barbara says, laughing. “They are always cuddling. And if they hadn’t both had health problems at the same time, they never would have met.”

Since they united, Christy’s health has been on the rebound, and she is finally eating enough on her own. Barbara and Carmen no longer have reason to fear the worst. Far from it.

Can’t get enough Wild Friends? Click here for more from the wild side of the Sanctuary.

The special care that the Sanctuary is able to provide is made possible by people like you! You can help create these happy endings by sponsoring one of the residents at Wild Friends. Click here for more information.

Photos by Molly Wald

(Article from: http://news.bestfriends.org/index.cfm?page=news&mode=entry&entry=C437065E-CC9B-0E00-A9FA035BC6087E21)


In the last few weeks at work we’ve had in our first batch of baby feral pigeons of the year. Baby pigeons are found for different reasons, for example, they fall or get pushed out of their nest, cats catch them or building work disturb them. The lucky ones are taken to a pigeon friendly rescue centre where they will receive care and attention, and hopefully they are healthy enough to be released when they are older.

Our first baby was Hooper. He was found on the ground at a Hoopers Department Store by one of the staff. Hooper is now old enough to be out in an aviary with other feral pigeons. He’s flying about strengthening his flight muscles and eating greedily.

P1050547

Hooper

The second baby pigeon was Valentine, brought to us on Valentine’s Day. Valentine was found on the ground and taken to a vets who then contacted us. Valentine is growing steadily.

P1050598

Valentine

The third baby was Monday, thus named because it was on a Monday when he came to us. He’s another pigeon that was found on the ground. As soon as we’ve determined that he’s healthy he’ll be paired up with Valentine for company.

P1050605

Monday

And today another special little squab was brought to us. I’ve named her Maggie, after the volunteer driver who brought her to us from the vets. Little Maggie is a bit traumatised and scared, and has some small wounds around her beak and face. Hopefully, she’ll soon relax and start squeaking eagerly for the food I give her. Maggie has some interesting colouration and I look forward to seeing her grow up into a beautiful pigeon.

P1050617

Maggie


A friend posted a link on facebook about a man who rescued a feral pigeon in distress 16 years ago and who still has the pigeon living with him. Whilst reading it I was so surprised to see the similarities of Bernie the pigeon to our Elmo. The emotions and interactions are the same. It’s uncanny.

Please read the delightful story, The Charm of a Pigeon, by Raymond P. Buchhol. Those of us who are blessed to share their lives with disabled pigeons will recognise the similarities and identify with many aspects of the story. For those who haven’t any dealings with pigeons or who might be sceptical of what sort of relationship you can have with one, the story will show how wonderful they are and how deep a connection you can have with a pigeon.

I would like to comment on a paragraph from the story:

“Picture yourself, say, on a Sunday afternoon after a good meal, resting on the sofa with this pigeon on your chest, rising and falling with every breath you take. His ash colored eyelids signal all is well. And together you doze. For a moment in space and time, you fold your wings and rest. You gently scratch his head and he grunts that everything is okay. And it is.”

http://www.urbanwildlifesociety.org/pigeons/BerniePijStory.html

I have watched Elmo and my husband in the very same mood and moment many a time. The trust and love is evident. The moment is simply too satisfying that you cannot move. Disturbing Elmo would be a crime. I find it so wonderful that other people have the same sentiments and experiences with pigeons.

Do you think Elmo would love to have a “Passion Cube” like the one that Raymond and his wife bought for Bernie? I do!

Bernie in his Passion Cube

And this photo of Bernie asleep is so like Elmo that they could be long lost brothers:

Bernie asleep


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

P1050470

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! :)

P1050463

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! :)


It’s terribly easy. In fact, if you don’t watch out one day a pigeon may befriend you and you’ll never look back. You’ll be hooked. :)

Here are some stories of pigeons and people becoming friends:

Your stories about pigeons at PigeonWatch

Stories about pigeons on Diamond Dove

On me ‘ead son! Real-life Dr Doolittle nurses sick pigeon back to health – and makes a friend for life

.

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.

P1040952

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

P1040949

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

P1040962

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.

P1040497

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.


I simply LOVE this photo of Mandee, a pet homing pigeon, by the sea:

Mandee by the seaside

It portrays a lovely seaside break – sea, sand and sunshine!! I love the parasol and little picnic basket!! :D (The pigeon nappy is very cute!)

Mandee has been adopted by Cheryl Dickinson, a volunteer of MickaCoo (a pigeon rescue in San Francisco). Here’s her website with stories about her adopted king pigeons: www.cheryldickinson.com/kings.htm

MickaCoo, a division of Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, is dedicated to the rescue of doves and pigeons. They are in desperate need of more pigeon adopters – so please consider helping them by either adopting a few of the many pigeons and doves that need a forever home, or by helping them financially in their search for adopters! Thank you!

I would love to see some of your holiday photos with your pigeons, so please feel free to leave a comment so I can email you back (I don’t like leaving my email address in case of spam).

Thank you! :)

Here’s Elmo on holiday at a caravan park in Cornwall in 2009:

P1100213

Elmo drying off in the sun after a bath