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It comes with the job of being an animal care assistant at a wildlife rescue centre to fall in love with some of the animals brought in. You can’t help it – not when you’re looking at a small badger cub (that looks like a panda!) or at the open gape of a baby magpie, begging for food. You resist the urge to cuddle the baby wildlife or sneak them home under your jacket. That wouldn’t do at all!! Not when they’re meant to be released back into the wild when they’re ready.

However, occasionally you come across an animal that isn’t releasable, no matter how hard you’ve tried to get them up to scratch. It could be that the animal has a deformity that will hinder their success in the wild or they have become imprinted on humans. In these cases you really only have two options: euthanasia or keep it in captivity. (Releasing such an animal is tantamount to animal cruelty since they would most likely die of starvation or get into trouble around human beings.)

These two options are not something to be taken lightly. Keeping a wild animal in captivity can cause it to be distressed if its captive environment isn’t suitable, however, euthanasia is final and not an easy decision to make.

In the case of Malcolm the tiny feral pigeon, euthanasia is out of the question.

Here’s his story to date:

Baby feral pigeon that fell out of its nest at a railway station.

Admitted to a rescue centre on the 22nd October 2009.

Railway station staff named the pigeon ‘Malcolm’, however, its sex is unknown.

Was ill on two separate occasions and therefore was isolated from other pigeons. During this time Malcolm became very tame.

Went into an outside aviary on the 8th January 2010 with a group of young feral pigeons to learn how to be a pigeon.

Malcolm’s status on 11th March 2010: imprinted to humans, tame and non-releasable.

Weight on the 11th March: only 260 grams

Here’s the special little boy (his neck full of peanuts!):


I would LOVE, absolutely LOVE to have Malcolm living with us. He is such a sweet little pigeon (he’s so small it’s amazing) and just loves to be in the ICU with the staff instead of being in the aviary with other pigeons. Unfortunately having three pigeons in the house has proven to be a bit too much for me, I’m sad to admit. … … But maybe I’ll give it another go!! :D

Here’s a video of Malcolm having a bath with me splashing the water:

Ps. I think that Malcolm may have been pushed out of his nest since he’s unnaturally small and was ill. Parent pigeons are quite intuned with any oddity in their babies and will reject ones that aren’t viable in their eyes.


Let me out of this aviary!