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MotherOfPigeonz MotherOfPigeonz is offline
Posted 22nd July 2019, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 4

Preparing for release


Hi! Four weeks ago, I was passing by a flock of pigeons and I noticed a fledgling was standing alone a couple of meters away and was being attacked by two seagulls. Some people were trying to scare them away but they wouldnít give up and the poor bird could not fly. So I brought her home and took her to the vet. She had a bad wound under her right droopy wing. The ďwristĒ joint was a bit swollen. Half of the tail feathers were literally gone. She weighed only 150 gr.
She is doing fine now Ė sheís eating well, she can fly around the house and she put on 80 grams. Sometimes she slightly loses her balance when landing because half of her tail feathers are still short.
She got quite tamed, sometimes she will even fly to us and let us pick her up, although when we do she starts shivering.
After reading all the information about soft release, I think the time for release has come, Iíll just wait for her feathers to be fully grown.
So today for the first time I took her to the place I consider more suitable for release in my neighbourhood - a park with a small lake and a flock of about 30 pigeons which I think spend most of their time there.
I took her inside a card box in which I made some big holes so she can see around her. In the car she regurgitated all the food she ate before and looked quite stressed already.
In the park, I placed the box on the ground and threw some seeds around it. About fifteen pigeons approached her and started eating the seeds and she did the same. Some even tried to get inside the box, because of the food she regurgitated. She didnít look scared though, and when the last pigeon flew away she tried to follow it.
So everything seemed to be going well but after we came back home she looked strange for nearly 6 hours. She was sleepy and didnít want to eat. She came back to normal except for the shivering that has become worse each time Iím near her.
Could this behaviour be caused only by stress? And is this amount of stress normal?
Maybe Iíll give her a break tomorrow and try again Wednesday and see if she still gets that nervous. I donít want to keep her too long that is why Iím a bit worried.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 23rd July 2019, 03:45 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: ************
Posts: 564
Well, the thing is, pigeons are from domestic stock. So if you had her from a young age, she is a pet now. Would you release your dog to a park? Or release a kitten you found that has tamed? That would be no.

She is no longer feral and would live longer and have a better life if not on the streets, and has shelter, regular food and water, vet care when needed, just like any other pet.
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MotherOfPigeonz MotherOfPigeonz is offline
Posted 23rd July 2019, 04:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 4
Thanks for your advice!
I don't think that keeping her for 4 weeks for treatment, even is she got used to humans, turned her into a pet that is no longer able to survive in the wild. She wasn't born in captivity, and I don't think it wouldn't be fair to keep her most of the time in a cage (I live in an appartment, I cannot let her out all the time...) and deprived of the company of other pigeons, since they are highly social animals. That is why I want to release her although I truly got attached to her.
Of course if she does not follow the other pigeons when released or fly to us and doesn't show interest in the other birds, I will not abandon her! I'll try to find her a new home.
But I think I should try to let her live in freedom.
I have no experience though so if most of you tell me she can no longer be released then I'll follow your advise.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 23rd July 2019, 04:36 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: ************
Posts: 564
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherOfPigeonz View Post
Thanks for your advice!
I don't think that keeping her for 4 weeks for treatment, even is she got used to humans, turned her into a pet that is no longer able to survive in the wild. She wasn't born in captivity, and I don't think it wouldn't be fair to keep her most of the time in a cage (I live in an appartment, I cannot let her out all the time...) and deprived of the company of other pigeons, since they are highly social animals. That is why I want to release her although I truly got attached to her.
Of course if she does not follow the other pigeons when released or fly to us and doesn't show interest in the other birds, I will not abandon her! I'll try to find her a new home.
But I think I should try to let her live in freedom.
I have no experience though so if most of you tell me she can no longer be released then I'll follow your advise.
Pigeons are not wild, they are feral from domestic stock. Just because she was hatched out there does not guarantee she will make it after being raised domestically. I have pigeons and would never think to go let them lose in a park.. Four weeks in a young pigeons life is a long time , she was with you as a youngster and now is used to being a domestic pet with regular food and water. The feral out there learn from their parents how to survive, this pigeon hasn’t had that. So there are no guarantees she will make it. Living on the streets is a hard life and they usually live only a few years.

If you can not keep him/her, then contact Palomacy rescue and see if they can place her.

https://www.pigeonrescue.org/resourc...ues-in-the-us/

Last edited by Ladygrey; 23rd July 2019 at 04:43 AM..
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MotherOfPigeonz MotherOfPigeonz is offline
Posted 24th July 2019, 03:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 4
Thank you LadyGrey!
I understand your point, I just hate to see birds in cages. Keeping a feral cat is very different from keeping a feral bird. A cat can wander around, even outside. A fully tamed bird cannot. He will spend most of his life inside a cage, unable to fly properly. That would be like keeping a cat in a cage most of his lifetime. I think most would see it as cruel.
Can't a young released bird learn to find food and shelter with the other pigeons of the flock? Don't they mimic the other pigeons behaviours, even if they're not their parents?

Sorry I forgot to mention I live in Portugal. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there are no shelters here. When I first took her home I contacted a couple of local bird rehabilitation centers but they do not accept feral pigeons. So it won't be easy to find her a new home but if truly necessary I will do my best.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 24th July 2019, 04:23 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: ************
Posts: 564
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherOfPigeonz View Post
Thank you LadyGrey!
I understand your point, I just hate to see birds in cages. Keeping a feral cat is very different from keeping a feral bird. A cat can wander around, even outside. A fully tamed bird cannot. He will spend most of his life inside a cage, unable to fly properly. That would be like keeping a cat in a cage most of his lifetime. I think most would see it as cruel.
Can't a young released bird learn to find food and shelter with the other pigeons of the flock? Don't they mimic the other pigeons behaviours, even if they're not their parents?

Sorry I forgot to mention I live in Portugal. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there are no shelters here. When I first took her home I contacted a couple of local bird rehabilitation centers but they do not accept feral pigeons. So it won't be easy to find her a new home but if truly necessary I will do my best.
Well in the end it is your decision. And pet pigeons do not have to be in a cage all the time, they can have aviaries outdoors, roam in the house when your there. If she sometimes flys to you and let’s you pick her up, then she will not do well out on her own IMO. He or she has never flown free and only knows security and regular nourishment, that is the similarity with adopting a once feral kitten. How they are housed is irrelevant.

Just beware that if you let her outdoors and she flys up in a tree you won’t be able to get her back , and that will be that , unless you find her later and can pick her up because she has not found food or water, in which a predator usually gets there first. And if you decide to make her feral again she would need her full set of tail feathers anyway, and those can take awhile to grow in, which means more time at home with you.
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 24th July 2019, 07:33 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,135
Do you have a balcony? If so, you can close it up for now to make it predator proof. Let him spend time there, put down his food and water in there. Give him time to get familiar with the area and when you think he is ready, open up and let go. He will need a place to return to for food and water and shelter.
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MotherOfPigeonz MotherOfPigeonz is offline
Posted 29th July 2019, 02:13 PM
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 4
Thank you, Marina B and LadyGrey!
I've been taking her to the park I told you about inside the improvised cage so she can be near the other pigeons and interact a bit with them. Hopefully, at least she won't forget she's a pigeon... She really looked interested in the other birds and tried to escape the cage whenever they approached to eat.
So today I took the risk and took her out of the box to see how she reacted. She flew with the other pigeons to the other side of the lake but as soon as I threw some seeds to the ground they all came back again.
It was a bit difficult to spot her among 30 pigeons but there she was... shaking and vomiting again This time it wasn't in the car, I assume it was caused by stress.. Also, I realized she's much smaller than the other pigeons.
Well, I couldn't leave her behind.. She flies quite well and seems to follow and mimic the other birds but I just couldn't leave her.
So I decided to keep her. I cannot find a new home for her. Nobody wants a feral pigeon so I'll have to keep her in my appartment. I would really love that at least she has company all the time but getting another pigeon (even if it's of he opposite sex) is a bad idea, right?
She (he?)started cooing and biting my hands hard whenever I put them inside the cage I don't think she would tolerate another pigeon in the cage unless they were a couple.
Do you think the best option is to keep her alone or should I give it a try?
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Marina B Marina B is offline
Posted 30th July 2019, 12:37 AM
Join Date: May 2011
Country: South Africa
Location: Lamberts Bay
Posts: 2,135
So she is now around 2 months old? She might turn out to be male as well. He views the cage as his territory, that's why he attacks your fingers. Rather let him come out of the cage and then do the cleaning up.

This doesn't mean he won't accept another pigeon as a mate. It will be cruel to keep only one pigeon. They mature at around 4 - 5 months old. If you are unsure about the sex, rather get another female. Two females will get on, two males won't. You will just need to do the introduction slowly. Seperate cages next to each other for a couple of weeks.

You can also offer him chopped up raw unsalted peanuts, pigeons just love them. First put some in his foodbowl for him to get used to them, and then let him eat the peanuts from your hands. If you are going to keep him indoors, then you will need to give him vitamins especially calcium with added Vit D3. Try to get liquid calcium to add to the drinking water.

It will be nice if you can adopt a handicapped pigeon, one that can't fly.
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Ladygrey Ladygrey is offline
Posted 31st July 2019, 04:17 AM
Join Date: Dec 2016
Country: ************
Posts: 564
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherOfPigeonz View Post
Thank you, Marina B and LadyGrey!
I've been taking her to the park I told you about inside the improvised cage so she can be near the other pigeons and interact a bit with them. Hopefully, at least she won't forget she's a pigeon... She really looked interested in the other birds and tried to escape the cage whenever they approached to eat.
So today I took the risk and took her out of the box to see how she reacted. She flew with the other pigeons to the other side of the lake but as soon as I threw some seeds to the ground they all came back again.
It was a bit difficult to spot her among 30 pigeons but there she was... shaking and vomiting again This time it wasn't in the car, I assume it was caused by stress.. Also, I realized she's much smaller than the other pigeons.
Well, I couldn't leave her behind.. She flies quite well and seems to follow and mimic the other birds but I just couldn't leave her.
So I decided to keep her. I cannot find a new home for her. Nobody wants a feral pigeon so I'll have to keep her in my appartment. I would really love that at least she has company all the time but getting another pigeon (even if it's of he opposite sex) is a bad idea, right?
She (he?)started cooing and biting my hands hard whenever I put them inside the cage I don't think she would tolerate another pigeon in the cage unless they were a couple.
Do you think the best option is to keep her alone or should I give it a try?
First off , a pigeon that you can catch is either sick or a TAME PET. This is not a feral pigeon.. he USED to be a feral squab.

he sounds like a male if he is cooing and defending his area.

If you get another pigeon you have to introduce slowly away from his cage when out of it.

After quarantine,

Another cage next to his is where you would keep the hen until he got used to her, but male pigeons can be bossy and they drive the hen to lay eggs by grasping the back of the neck or head and dragging them sometimes..basically being an irritant. It’s just what they do, I find that males calm down as they mature.

Last edited by Ladygrey; 1st August 2019 at 07:47 AM..
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