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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

It has been a while since I posted anything, but something happened this morning that I thought I would throw out here. But before I do, I want to say that, even though I know pigeons are quite intelligent, I do not believe they think as a human does, nor do I believe that they can perform any complicated reasoning, however, listen to this:

As I was throwing out the feed for the pigeons, I felt a tap on my right ankle. This is not unusual because there is always a few pigeons around my feet to get the seeds that drop before I throw them out to the flock. After at least another minute, I realized that I had been feeling the same tapping on my ankle repeatedly. Curious as to what was happening, I looked down at my right foot. A pigeon was standing there and as I looked down I saw it tap my ankle with its right wing. Not like a pigeon slaps your hand, as many do, but more like it was just opening it's wing with enough force to hit my ankle. Then after it saw that I was looking down at it, the pigeon attempted to walk away, but fell over instead. I reached down and picked it up only to find that both its feet were tied together with string. Not tied in knots like someone had purposely done that, but the regular type of string emcumberments normally found on pigeons. It took about fifteen minutes to cut and undo the mess of string that was wrapped around both the bird's legs and feet (mainly because I was alone with no one to hold the bird as I worked on it). Anyway the string was removed and the bird released. My problem with this whole thing is that I certainly looked like the pigeon was intentionally tapping on my ankle to get my attention. Like it knew that I could free it's feet. Another thing is that this bird was not a regular member of the flock because I would have noticed it as it flopped around eating with the other birds. The string was too tight to be been there only a short time. It had been there for some time. Perhaps it just stayed on the overpass, like many do, because it knew it was injured and would have trouble eating with the flock. I don't know. All I do know is that it looked like that bird came there intentionally to get me to cut the string from it's feet. I can not fully believe that a pigeon has that high a reasoning power, but it it seems like too much to be a coincidence.

I though I would share that with you folks. The bird is OK and was last seen eating with the rest of the flock. Strabge stuff, these pigeon happenings.


Take care, All, and happy pigeoning.


Mike
 

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All I do know is that it looked like that bird came there intentionally to get me to cut the string from it's feet. I can not fully believe that a pigeon has that high a reasoning power, but it it seems like too much to be a coincidence. Mike
Well, pigeons DO have an uncanny ability to pick people who will help them when in trouble. I've seen dozens and dozens of birds who ended up with me that literally sought out a particular human who could, would, and did help the bird. I have no idea how they do this, but they do. I've had people bring me pigeons that came up to their patio doors and pecked and wing whacked the glass until someone came and let them in and helped them.

To me, your experience is wondrous, but also an experience that I know happens all the time. Just read the posts here on Pigeon-Talk .. so many of our members were literally sought out by a pigeon that needed help.

Just tonight I got a call about a banded racing pigeon that has been roosting in a garage for the past few days .. it took up residence just a few houses down from my friends at the Lily Sanctuary parrot rescue, and they got called about the pigeon. My friend, Ven, went on down .. got the band #, caught the pigeon (easily), and all is well. I've already sent an e-mail to Foy's as they sold the band, and will go pick up the pigeon tomorrow from my friends and tend to it until the owner is located. The moral of this story is that the pigeon picked a safe roosting place with pigeon friendly people who also knew the local bird rescue place ..

Pigeons are very smart cookies when it comes to judging humans (IMO).

Terry
 

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Wow, that happen to me a couple times, my friends always say that I find injured or sick pigeons all the time, and most of the time they come home, I was feeding my birds one day in my back yard, and noticed a new pigeon there and was not eating, I noticed right away that was sick or have something, anyways he noticed that I was close and start flying not too high, so I waited, went inside made some time, and when I came back, he was there again, so this time I was quicker and when I saw him he had a big hole he was not able to eat, is when I found this website, I didn't know what to do, but I clean him and close the hole that way he was able to eat a little bit, it didn't last, he die during the night, it was late when I found him, but how he knew about my back yard? I found another pigeon outside from my house very sick, I remember that after she was healthy she was still visiting my house and sleeping inside my house, she was leaving in the morning and coming back around 5pm everyday, so someone at home have to be at that time waiting outside for her, one day we forgot the time, and when I left she was right there in my door still waiting I was opening the door and she was coming inside, she had a big box with holes and that was her bed, she did that at least for a month until she left the house.

Another pigeon had a baby in my house, we had a big plant between the main door and the door that goes outside, so she found that plant and had eggs, one of the babies die, but one survived, she was feeding the baby and the father, until we start taking care the baby, he learned how to fly, and right after he left with his parents.

other pigeons die, others survived, but I always find them, or I should say they find me, so I think the other pigeons told her that I have a lovely pigeon in my house and I will take care of him or her.

They are so smart, more than what will think, and I think is a gift, that animals find us attractive.
 

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Mike...I love your story. It is just amazing.:)
 

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Yes, I believe pigeons are smart, and you certainly have a good example of one such bird. He knew you were a friend and would help untangle him from the string. Thank you for sharing.
 

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I do think this pidj asked you for help, and it is so wonderful, thanks for sharing this story..:).humans think we know it all sometimes but then things like this happen....great to hear from you Mike.:)
 

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Mike..........What a wonderful story. You saved his life!!!! Pigeons are smarter than most people think. My house pigeon sends me messages all the time. He lets me know when he wants to take a bath, eat, drink. Best of all he lets me know when he wants to be hugged. He gets on my shoulder and pecks at my cheek until I pick him up with both hands and hold him close to me and he will fall asleep in my hands.

Thanks so much for helping & saving this bird.

Louise
 

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I think pigeons know who can help them. The first pigeon I ever had, I found walking down a sidewalk in a strip mall. She was so young - didn't have all of her feathers, still had yellow down attached to the feathers she did have. She had pretty bad injuries on her head and beak (obviously feel out of the nest), but they looked a few days old. She was literally, just walking straight down the sidewalk looking at everything. When a box was put on its side, she just walked right in. It's like she know that someone was there to help. She was the best pigeon in the world, I still think about her every day (she passed away almost a year ago). It's funny, I had parrots before I had her, but I never noticed birds in the sky until she came along. She is the reason I could never be without at least one pet pigeon!! Pretty amazing that one "scrawny, beat up, feral pigeon" changed my life!!
 

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I think pigeons know who can help them. The first pigeon I ever had, I found walking down a sidewalk in a strip mall. She was so young - didn't have all of her feathers, still had yellow down attached to the feathers she did have. She had pretty bad injuries on her head and beak (obviously feel out of the nest), but they looked a few days old. She was literally, just walking straight down the sidewalk looking at everything. When a box was put on its side, she just walked right in. It's like she know that someone was there to help. She was the best pigeon in the world, I still think about her every day (she passed away almost a year ago). It's funny, I had parrots before I had her, but I never noticed birds in the sky until she came along. She is the reason I could never be without at least one pet pigeon!! Pretty amazing that one "scrawny, beat up, feral pigeon" changed my life!!
my eyes are teary...sniffle...:):)
 

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Curious as to what was happening, I looked down at my right foot. A pigeon was standing there and as I looked down I saw it tap my ankle with its right wing. Not like a pigeon slaps your hand, as many do, but more like it was just opening it's wing with enough force to hit my ankle. Then after it saw that I was looking down at it, the pigeon attempted to walk away, but fell over instead.
That is wild. Then he walks and falls to show you whats up.

Long while back while watering my plants there was an injured pij on the side of the house. Not sure if he was going to take off when I would try to catch him I went in my house to get a towel. When I went back out to catch him there he was at the door. Wrapped his wing kept him for awhile and let him go.

Sometimes these guys would fly into the patio door to get our attention to go out and feed them. Not hard but just enough to get our attention. Then you got the other pigeons standing around egging this pij on.

There definately not stupid.
 

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Those are wonderful stories. I don't have anything as wondrous to tell, although I find a lot of injured and sick pigeons they have never come to me, I just come across them, this often happens when for some reason I have wandered off my normal route.

But I do have a "pigeon communication" story. Many years ago, when I only had 5 rescues in the aviary, I noticed that one cock bird was on a perch, straining his neck to make eye contact with me. Then he flew to the hardware wire, looked out and once again made direct eye contact. I knew nothing at all about pigeons, but the message that I got was "twigs! I need twigs!". So I gathered a handful of twigs and put them in the aviary. He was delighted and immediately started to take them back to his lady on the nest. The only time he has made the same sort of eye contact since then is when the supply of twigs in the aviary has run out...and he doesn't only communicate his need to me, he has done the same with John.

Cynthia
 

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Mike, great to hear from you. I'm a believer that pigeons seek help and seem to know that the place/person they choose is safe. We have taken in many pigeons that walked into businesses or up to people for help.

We have doves that come to our house for safety when they are sick. Sadly though, the canker they have is usually so far advanced that saving them is very hard. They get under our deck or come in the garage. We have had a crow climb the steps to our back door for help. We looked out the kitchen window one morning and there was a beautiful white pigeon in our garden. Although there is a huge feral flock less than 1/2 mile from our home they don't come over the house or in the yard. Katie, as we named her, is happily living with the rest of our pigeons. I don't know how she found us. We even had a cockatiel land on our aviary.

Sometimes our aviary pigeons will also let us know they don't feel well. They come up to us and stand, waiting for us to notice them.

I really enjoyed reading of your adventure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hi, again,

I want to thank you all for your comments and stories. I have an amazing feral flock that never ceases to redefine the meaning of trust and friendship between humans and birds. Just this morning, as I was preparing to cross the street after feeding the flock, one bird refused to leave my hand. Each time I would gently shake it off my hand, it would hover around and return to the hand. This happened several times, when I finally realized that this bird wanted something. Not knowing what it was I began to massage its crop between my thumb and index finger. After a few minutes of this, I began to stroke its back, followed by scratching the top of its head. As soon as I touched the top of it head, the bird crouched down into my hand as turned its head a bit to the side, then it closed its eyes. All the other birds were walking around the feeding area while this one got petted for at least a good five minutes. I missed the walk light to cross the street, but that's alright. I hope this scratching becomes a regular thing as I loved doing it. When the light turned green once again, I gently tossed the bird into the air and crossed then street, which, gave the flock the signal that I was leaving. They then flew away as they do each day when I cross the street after feeding them.

I can not imagine going through a day without the few minutes I spend with these wonderful birds. It is a great experience and those who never have the opportunity to share their lives with the lives of one or more pigeons are really missing out on something grand.

Take care, All, and happy pigeoning.


Mike
 

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Yes! They are brilliant

Thank you for sharing that wonderful story, I know the feeling it gives you.
I have experienced a similar situation few times myself.
Just last week, as I was feeding in a tinny park close to my apartment in Manhattan where members of about 5 flocks gather when they see me there. A very cute pidgie came flying and literally sat (as a mother over her eggs) next to me on the bench and looked at me right on the eyes. I knew her from previous feedings and call her "Teary Eyes" because she has marks coming down on both eyes and they look just like white tears over her grey color face.
Well, I offered some special seeds just for her, thinking she wanted one on one attention, but she did not want to eat! I looked more closely and there it was, in pain due to an almost invisible threat tied many times around both her delicate feet. My neighbor was with me, so she held the birdie up as I took all the threat of her, very carefully. One amazing thing that I realized is that I had taken threat off her mate (a big very dark male) a week earlier.
I usually kiss them on the head before I release after a "foot operation" like that (I get to do this about once a week), and they always stay around and continue eating. Some go up on a tree and look down but come to continue eating after a few minutes.
On the other hand, I have had a pigeon come to me (when I was alone in the communal backyard of our building) very sick, terminally, and passed away on my lap (I do not know what was wrong with her). I would like to believe that she was looking for a safe place to die, and somebody that would shed a tear for her. May be wishful thinking but I like to think it, pigeons have feelings too
Aren't they amazing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update to "Can a Pigeon Be This Smart!"

Hi, everyone. I just thought I would let you know what happened to the bird I was talking about in this post. About a month after I cut the string from it's feet, the left foot fell completely off just above the toes. It was obvious that this was going to happen because the bird's feet just keep getting worse and worse after the string was removed. I would have caught him to medicate his feet, but he was not going to let me do that. It is funny that he let me pick him up when his feet were so entangled that he could not walk, but he would not let me close enough to capture him after that. He came to breakfast each day after I freed him and I made sure he got plenty to eat. For the few days just before his foot fell off, he was in bad shape, hobbling about amid the flock which would push him over and out of the way every time I threw him some food. But he did get enough and, after the foot came off, he recovered quickly and can now walk quite well on his stump. His right foot has healed but is covered with scars where the string had cut into the foot.

For the past few days, he has been hovering in front of me, obviously wanting to land in my hand, but he never did. It was like he knew that with only one foot, he could not hold on against the others who also ate from my hand. Today, as he was hovering, I grabbed a handful of grain from the feed bag and reached out and held my hand under him as he hovered. He immediately dropped into my hand and was eating as fast as he could beore the other birds joined him and pushed him off. The next time, after he dropped into my outstreched hand, I pulled my hand in against my chest with him leaning against me. From this position, the other birds could not push him out of the way and he ate until he could eat no more. I am so glad he survived. From now on I will make sure he gets his fill.

While I have you here, I want to tell you what happened a few days ago. A friend who only comes with me on a few occassions while I feed the birds was with me. When we approached the flock, none of them flew to my hand, which was not normal behavior for that particular flock. I could only assume it was because they did not recognize the stranger (to them) with me. After a moment, I pointed my right index finger to the one who always comes to my hand first and said, a bit loudly, "You!" Then I held out my left hand, tapped it with my right index finger, and said, again a bit loudly, "Hand!" To my friend's amazement' and mine, too, the pigeon immediately flew up and landed in my hand. Needless to say, he ate well that morning. My friend is still talking about that.

Things like this happen on an almost daily basis. I have never had a relationship with a flock of pigeons, or any other birds, or most people for that matter, as strange as this one. After the food is all gone, several of them still come to my hand and let me rub their backs or heads or massage their crops. Sometimes, when there are too many birds eating in my hand, I will actually pick one up as he falls off the hand and hold him there while he continues to eat.

People who see me feeding these creatures probably do not see that that this is not just a bird feeding session. These pigeons are interacting with me and show total trust. I guess if you feed the same flock for years, they actually get some affectionate feelings about you, even if they are feral.

Let me also so this. These birds do not ever land in front of anyone other than me. I see many folk walk by as I approach the feeding area, before the birds see me coming, and they stay put on the bridge. But, when they see me, they fly around, swirling and diving and gliding in formation. They just can't sit still knowing that breakfast is soon to be had.

There birds have changed my life, and I can not imagine a day without feeding them on my way to breakfast.

Oh well, that's about it. Take care and happy pigeoning.


Mike
 

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Hi Mike,

This is wonderful, is so easy to love them, and you obviously have a big heart, they already found you and decided to be your friend, you are not only feeding them, you are giving them attention and love so they just give you back what they receive.

Thank you for sharing these stories, is so nice to hear about people like you in this forum, it make my day.
 

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Those beautiful stories make me cry. I love them :)
 

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Mike,

Thanks for sharing these stories. Wonderful!

Unfortunately, if I happen to "drop" something a pigeon is interested in, i have to look away, walk away and ignore them as if nothing happened. I study the clouds, billboards, whatever. City regs don't permit feeding pigeons. Too many people become quite aggressive about it. I had one guy yell out quite loudly "Ich habe ein Handy. Ich rufe die Polizei!" (I have a cell phone/mobile. I'll telephone the police).

Drawing attention to myself will counteract my attempts to monitor and rescue.

Several German friends have commented that Germans (in general) dislike pigeons more than the French dislike pigeons, or are less tolerant of pigeons. (There may be some subtlety in the actual phrases used, a difference which I missed, hence the two interpretations).

Larry
 

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Wow Larry, that is what happen to me where I work, I feed them but I just walk and put some food and ignore them like it was not me, but they know me so they fly and arrive just next to me, and it is obvious that something happen, and the bad part is that everybody knows me around my work, because I work for the building office and we own the 3 buildings around, so the tenants are walking all the time, I was catch by one tenant today, but he didn't say anything, he even start talking to me and the pigeons next to me, it was funny, I know he saw me but he didn't say anything, I just need to be careful, but again, the pigeons are happy when they see me, even when I'm not able to stay there, too bad that we always find people that hate pigeons, but I try to be careful only around my work, if I'm in a different area I don't care I learn that people are just people and the only one that can say something to me is the police. =)

Ivette
 
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