Pigeon-Talk banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, this is my first time posting and I've been compelled to register due to a distressing situation at my work. I work by pier 15 on the Embarcadero in San Francisco and spend quite a bit of my time outside along the pier; there's a group of pigeons that have taken up residence right outside my workplace and I've gotten to know several individual pigeons over the year and a half I've worked here. Last month or so I starting seeing a pigeon with a nasty piece of string binding one of its feet and toes almost entirely. When I first noticed the bird, his foot seemed healthy except for the string, and I believe had only recently gotten his foot caught. Needless to say, the situation upset me and I was reminded day after day every time I worked (I see him outside every day).

Since I've been a near constant presence around the flock of pigeons, the birds have become very friendly and comfortable around me because of my tendency to feed them bits of cookies regularly, and one of them has even taken to flying over to me whenever he sees me. As I continued to see the entangled bird limp around and suffer I began thinking of attempting to catch it in order to take him in to a vet who would work on a feral pigeon, but since I see him while at work I never have the time nor tools to attempt catching him. I tried to see just how close he would get to me after work one day and by baiting him with cookies he'll walk up to about half a foot away from me before getting too wary.

LONG STORY SHORT: There aren't any organizations around San Francisco that would come to cut the string off the bird, I've never attempted to catch a pigeon and setting up some sort of box trap outside my work seems like a bad idea job-wise. I really want to help this bird and would be willing to pay a trained individual/vet to treat his leg by getting the string off, but I don't think I have the resources to catch him. His leg looks healthy enough that if the string were to be cut off reasonably soon I believe he stands a good chance at being perfectly fine, but the more time goes by he worse the outcome could be; can anyone help me find someone to either help me catch and treat this bird or point me to an individual who would be willing to help an otherwise healthy bird on pier 15 in San Francisco?

Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,797 Posts
Wish I was closer. Must be someone in the vicinity who could help. Thank you for caring and trying to get help for him. If out there much longer, he will lose the foot. I hope someone sees this who can help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply; it's just really upsetting to see the poor pigeon suffering on a daily-basis, especially when it's a problem that, on paper, seems so easy to fix. When I first noticed the bird all it would've taken was a way to catch him, hold him still and snip off the string, but as I continue to see him I notice that the leg is just getting more tangled and creating more and more difficulty for him.

It's a catch-22 as I know that the bird needs help but at the same time is in pain and will resist all of my attempts to help it. I hate to see him try to compete for food with the other birds and I make sure to give him (specifically) bits of food when I can, but I'm just loathe to stand by while he's slowly maimed.

I really do hope that someone in the area sees this and is willing to help. If anyone with the ability to catch or otherwise help the bird is willing to come to the area I'd be happy to show you exactly where he can be found most of the time and assist with things.

The flock to which he belongs hangs out around the outside dining areas of the Exploratorium (in a public area behind a restaurant that overlooks the bay). As such, it should not be hard to find him and if the bird needs any urgent treatment at a vet I'm willing to be responsible for any bills or fees incurred. I've heard less-than-stellar things about some of the animal shelters in the area as pertains to their treatment of feral pigeons. I'm hoping that if I'm able to get help for the bird his prognosis will be positive enough to let him go again after cutting the string and some minor treatment.

Semi-Related Anecdote
: As you may have guessed I'm quite fond of pigeons and enjoy watching/feeding them at work. I've been at my current job for about a year-and-a-half and have made a "pet" out of a pigeon that's been coming to the same spot every day since the restaurant opened. The pigeon is black with some white and has only one leg. She (I'm reasonably certain it's a female) seems to get around reasonably well using her stump as a crutch of sorts and seems to have gotten quite comfortable around people, possibly as a result of losing her leg and needing to find some way to get food without competing heavily. After seeing her every day for quite awhile and noticing that she was willing to get so much closer to me than most of the other birds I talked with a coworker and I proposed we call her "Peg-leg". Fast-forward a few months and I find Peg-leg outside on the tables every day I go in for work and she spends much of the day perched on a table right outside the door that I go in-and-out of regularly. Whenever I walk out or she sees me around, she stares at me intently and often flies right over, landing only a few inches from me. Before you worry that I'm fostering dependency in a wild bird too much, these birds live right outside of a restaurant and have constant, unmitigated access to food from customers, spilled food and others who like to throw morsels to the pigeons; it's unlikely they would ever go away to find another area to feed.

Anyway, when I noticed the other male bird with the string around its leg I started to notice that Peg-leg and the injured bird seemed to be very close to each other quite often and eventually realized that they're most likely mated. Although I find it adorable, the sad fact of the matter seems to be that a pigeon that's already lost one leg and a toe (Peg-leg) is mated to another pigeon that's in the long and painful process of losing its own leg.

So if anyone is willing and able to help, I'd really like to make sure that Pegleg's mate is able to keep his leg and is saved from having to experience a long, painful loss of his leg.

P.S. Here's a photo of Peg-leg: http://s29.postimg.org/9nxdl7ht3/pegleg.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,797 Posts
Oh the poor thing. Life is hard enough for them without such a handicap. Please do check back as someone in the area may come in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,494 Posts
They will lose the toes with string around them if the string is not removed.



I walk everyday several hours through city (making photos) and keep a (telescopic and pliable) hand net in my knapsack specially for such pigeons. Unfortunately, as such wounds usually doesn't affect their vitality, they're hard to catch. Is good to throw them some seeds and try to come from their backside when they eat and are not aware.


Also I keep a nail scissors at me for any situation (some birds need immediate intervention) though in most cases is better to take the birds home, where the operation of string removal can be done in clean, quited and safe environment and where the wounds can be cleaned with betadine and the bird given Amoxicillin for preventing bacterial infection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They will lose the toes with string around them if the string is not removed.



I walk everyday several hours through city (making photos) and keep a (telescopic and pliable) hand net in my knapsack specially for such pigeons. Unfortunately, as such wounds usually doesn't affect their vitality, they're hard to catch. Is good to throw them some seeds and try to come from their backside when they eat and are not aware.


Also I keep a nail scissors at me for any situation (some birds need immediate intervention) though in most cases is better to take the birds home, where the operation of string removal can be done in clean, quited and safe environment and where the wounds can be cleaned with betadine and the bird given Amoxicillin for preventing bacterial infection.
I think I actually will buy myself a net just in case I decide to attempt to catch him myself, as a fishing net seems like something that I would have a good chance at catching him and containing him with. Any suggestions for how to carry the bird home? I take public transportation to work and although I have a car it would be extremely difficult to park in the city and would require a special trip.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,494 Posts
Maybe a proper (not hand) net would be more helpful, but with small meshes so the bird to not get caught in them.

For transportation, you can put him in a hand bag or knapsack with a cloth (a shirt etc) on its bottom and surrounding walls that will absorb the shocks of movement.

Trasportation is stressful for birds and it alone can kill a weakened one or damage a healthy one so you should not make movements that will lead to bird'getting hit or stunned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,797 Posts
Please be very careful with a net, as their wings can be easily broken with a net. It has happened. A box trap, or eventossing a large towel or sheet over the bird is often better if possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,791 Posts
I have caught several pigeons who were in such bad shape that they couldn't avoid capture.

I have had no success with deadfalls (boxes or laundry baskets with one end supported by a stick which is removed by tugging on a string). I have had limited success with fishing nets.

Since I'm an old man with bad lungs, I have found that my best technique is to enlist the help of one or two volunteer bystanders to ease the bird into a corner, against a large tree, against a wall. Usually the bird flies off. Some eventually lose the toes or foot.

If I can get the bird "cornered" before he is aware that he is cornered, I throw a large towel, or my jacket, over him, and give him a few seconds to calm down. I've carried many pigeons home inside my shirt, with one hand on the outside of the shirt cradling the bird, sometimes while slowly peddling a bike and steering with the other hand. I've carried pigeons home wrapped in a kitchen towel or some such thing, on buses, streetcars, subways, and trains in and around Cologne and Düsseldorf, Germany, without anyone the wiser (unless I perceived them to be pigeon-friendly). I've used small pet-carriers, baskets, cardboard boxes, my backpack (with the pigeon carefully positioned in the top of the backpack, arranged so no crushing is possible).

You can check out Mickacoo and Mickaboo (pigeon and companion bird rescue and adoption sites) located in (or near) San Francisco, for more advice or maybe to acquire the assistance of a local volunteer.

Larry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I agree with the last post. If you can corner him & lean over him to prevent an upward escape you can go for it & simply push his body to the ground to hold him or use a towel or jacket.. It's a knack & about 50% successful at best if you're used to pigeons ! It's knowing what he can withstand in the grab without hurting him. Hopefully some others can help to corner him. Good Luck.

I think it will become aware of a net, & more likely to fly off. if he's getting within a foot of you I'd go for dropping a coat on him myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Unfortunately the pigeon's main spot is one that's literally feet away from the vast pacific ocean, and also only a few feet from a barrier that overlooks the ocean. Backing the bird into a corner doesn't seem like too likely of a scenario unless I were able to find him in another area or "chase" him away from where he usually is. Despite this, I do think I have a good chance at catching him using a wide, thin-meshed telescopic hand-net, which I've recently ordered. Unless any other opportunities come my way I'll most likely attempt to net him in the next week with the help of a friend or two. When I do decide to go for it, I'll make sure I contact a nearby vet to avoid being in a situation where I have the injured bird but don't know what to do with him or realize that I'm out of my depth as far as the string.

Thanks for the advice so far! I'm feeling a bit more confident about the prospect of actually being able to take the bird in for treatment myself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,797 Posts
Good luck! And just be careful with the net.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey, I wanted to check back on this thread and let you all know how things went.

Great news, I FINALLY managed to catch the string-foot bird at my work after months of trying! After being so concerned about the poor bird and researching quite a lot about string-foot injuries I was inspired to start rescuing string-foot pigeons. It took me awhile to learn and I needed a few weeks of practice before I was able to confidently catch a pigeon with my bare-hands, but I learned eventually. I practiced by feeding large groups of pigeons (dove/pigeon seed mix) in a park and then every once-in-awhile quickly grabbing and then releasing one so as to get more familiar with how they'd react, how I needed to hold them and to lose any nervousness I had about grabbing a feral bird.

After I got some practice in, I managed to catch and rescue four pigeons in only about two weeks! The only place that would treat them was Wildcare, in San Rafael, so I gave each of them rides up there and have participated in each release so far (and I check-in on the others via phone regularly so that I'll know when to come get them). It's become a really satisfying hobby and I actually have quite a talent for it; I've only missed a single grab since I caught my first.

So, after having rescued four pigeons, I was eating on a bench while taking my break when the string-footed bird I made this thread about landed about two feet away from me on the same bench. One of the things I learned quickly was that it's FAR easier to catch a pigeon when there's many other pigeons around because they throw caution to the wind in favor of competing for food, and there happened to be an abnormally large number of pigeons around on that day. I threw some sesame seeds from my food onto the ground in front of me and sure enough he dove in with the other pigeons. I waited about a minute and positioned him by sprinkling the seeds in particular areas and then waited for the perfect moment before I pounced. It went perfectly and I was soon holding him against my chest, trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do with him until my work-shift was over. I have a very sturdy and large backpack and had previously used it as a temporary transport for injured pigeons, so I decided to keep him in there for the next few hours until I could take him to get treated. Before you worry too much, I make sure to have several pieces of clothing packed into the same compartment underneath the bird to ensure that the bag doesn't collapse on him, which gives him some padding to sit on and a good amount of dark, warm space to calm down in.

I brought him home inside the backpack carefully, transferred him to a cat-carrier with a towel inside it and rushed him up to Wildcare after work. I brought him in early enough that they have high hopes for his recovery and he will almost definitely be able to keep his leg! I'm really happy to finally have caught him and as a by-product I now rescue pigeons on a semi-daily basis (I use a seam-splitter to cut string off in mild cases and take serious cases up to Wildcare for the professionals).

Thought you'd all like to hear about the happy ending to this thread; thank you all for the advice! Here's a picture of the poor little fella and his leg after I transferred him to the cat carrier:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,494 Posts
Thank you for bringing these good news! And congratulations for your effort to save so many birds!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
Nice to hear you finally had success in catching the bird :)
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top