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wpost wpost is offline
Posted 19th July 2019, 06:20 PM
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Injured wild dove: How long to hope for recovery?


Hello,

My family and I have been caring for an injured wild dove unable to fly for two and a half weeks now. We want him to regain flight and freedom, so we have not tried to tame him or give him reason to lose his fear of humans. We have not lost hope, but it has been two weeks with no apparent improvement in his wing.

If he never does regain the ability to fly, we would happily adopt him permanently and help him overcome his fear of us. In the meantime we are leaving him mostly alone so that he retains his healthy fear of two legged folk and would be safe in the wild.

My question is, how long should we keep hoping that he recovers? We don't want to begin taming prematurely and make him un-returnable to the wild, only to discover later that his wing simply needed more time to heal.

The details:

On July 2 a white-winged dove appeared in our back yard, unable to fully extend his right wing or fly. He can walk and forage just fine, and showed no obvious signs of distress, at least not to my untrained eye. Inspection revealed two wounds on his chest under the right wing. We can only speculate that he barely escaped a cat.

I have searched but cannot find a nearby wildlife rehabilitator or wild bird-friendly veterinarian. That did not surprise me as we live in Honduras, where even human services can be stretched thin. Any care will have to be done by ourselves as best we can. I have found the excellent information here on this forum to be a great assistance; thanks to all.

He seems content to be left alone to forage in the yard during the day alongside the many wild birds that regularly come. The yard does not have cats during the day but does at night, so we bring him inside at dusk (in a laundry basket covered with a bedsheet) and release him in the morning. He does not trust humans so this twice daily contact is stressful for him, but neither does he like being in the basket all day and is happier outside. The basket has wild bird seed mix, which he eats, and water, which he drinks. I also place water and seed outside during the day.

After two and a half weeks he appears no more able to fly than before but otherwise seems as active and healthy as the birds that come daily to forage. He suns himself in the morning, rests in the shade in the hot afternoon, and flicks his tail disdainfully if he catches me looking at him.

So to return to my question, how long should we continue to root for this feisty little guy's freedom before we deem him flightless for life and adopt him?

Last edited by wpost; 6th August 2019 at 03:30 PM.. Reason: Removed external link
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bootface bootface is offline
Posted 20th July 2019, 01:25 PM
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It’s not safe to leave him in the yard. Regardless of predators, if he does decide to try to fly some he could escape and not be able to fly well enough to survive. If he ever will be releasable, he’ll need to regain his strength in a safe environment.

How much range of motion does he have now? He may be able to regain some use with physical therapy.
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wpost wpost is offline
Posted 21st July 2019, 03:08 PM
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That is a good point about the need to fully regain his strength before being allowed to fly away; thank you for bringing that up.

When he is startled he sometimes does not unfurl his right wing at all but more often unfurls it about halfway compared to the left wing. I don't recall him unfurling it at all when we found him, but my memory of that is not clear. I wish I had thought to take daily videos for comparison purposes.

Physical therapy is a good idea. Searching this forum and the web for "pigeon physical therapy wing" I found:

- https://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f6/vi...ngs-50099.html
- http://www.exoticpetvet.com/instruct...-in-birds.html

I'll follow that advice unless someone has different suggestions for this bird's specific case. Having received physical therapy myself I know how painful and stressful it is be even when the therapist is trusted and of one's one species, but I suppose there's nothing to be done about that other than try to be reassuring.

Assuming success, how would I judge him ready to be released? Is it as simple as noting that he fully extends his wing and seems as healthy and lively as free doves?
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 21st July 2019, 07:43 PM
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Just being able to extend a wing does not mean he can fly well enough to evade predators.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 22nd July 2019, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpost View Post
That is a good point about the need to fully regain his strength before being allowed to fly away; thank you for bringing that up.

When he is startled he sometimes does not unfurl his right wing at all but more often unfurls it about halfway compared to the left wing. I don't recall him unfurling it at all when we found him, but my memory of that is not clear. I wish I had thought to take daily videos for comparison purposes.

Physical therapy is a good idea. Searching this forum and the web for "pigeon physical therapy wing" I found:

- https://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f6/vi...ngs-50099.html
- http://www.exoticpetvet.com/instruct...-in-birds.html

I'll follow that advice unless someone has different suggestions for this bird's specific case. Having received physical therapy myself I know how painful and stressful it is be even when the therapist is trusted and of one's one species, but I suppose there's nothing to be done about that other than try to be reassuring.

Assuming success, how would I judge him ready to be released? Is it as simple as noting that he fully extends his wing and seems as healthy and lively as free doves?
It is hard to give advice when the exact problem is not known. The wings may need to be wrapped and secured to the body to rest it. If it is a recent injury. In any case there needs to be a rehab situation where the bird is secure and can’t hurt himself further. Have you searched for wildlife sanctuaries or rehabber?
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wpost wpost is offline
Posted 22nd July 2019, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladygrey View Post
It is hard to give advice when the exact problem is not known. The wings may need to be wrapped and secured to the body to rest it. If it is a recent injury. In any case there needs to be a rehab situation where the bird is secure and canít hurt himself further. Have you searched for wildlife sanctuaries or rehabber?
As I mentioned in my original message, I did search for but could not find a nearby wildlife rehabilitator or wild bird-friendly veterinarian. Your broader point is well taken, however: how can anyone give me advice given my inability to diagnose and describe the precise problem? It seems all I can do is follow the good general advice given here and on other threads and let nature take its course.

Thanks everyone for your advice, and please join me in hoping for a happy outcome.
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cwebster cwebster is offline
Posted 22nd July 2019, 06:46 PM
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When our beloved feral Phoebe had a broken wing, she required stitches plus about a month in a small cage to keep her wing immobile. She could fly after she healed but was not releasable because she couldnt fly well enough. Hope your dove does well. Thank you for rescuing him or her!
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 23rd July 2019, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpost View Post
As I mentioned in my original message, I did search for but could not find a nearby wildlife rehabilitator or wild bird-friendly veterinarian. Your broader point is well taken, however: how can anyone give me advice given my inability to diagnose and describe the precise problem? It seems all I can do is follow the good general advice given here and on other threads and let nature take its course.

Thanks everyone for your advice, and please join me in hoping for a happy outcome.
General advice may not be what is best for the dove.
Contact the roatan wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center.

Last edited by Ladygrey; 23rd July 2019 at 04:19 AM..
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