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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
Was wondering if anyone may be able to provide some insight to the injuries my little feral pigeon friend that died this morning.

2 months ago I returned from a holiday to discover that there were Pigeons nesting on my balcony in the bowl of the drain on the balcony floor. The parents were attentive and present. After they found their legs they would often try and hide in any dark corner especially when crows were about (I live on the edge of Wimbledon Common) so I placed what looks like an aircraft hangar made in wood, in which they immediately took too and made it their home. They seem to enjoy practising small training jumps off the roof too when the flight training began. The following two months have been a sheer joy watching these two little ones, Henny & Penny grow up and photographing their everyday activities. They began flying about 3-4 weeks ago, and have been returning everyday for a hello and a roost on the balcony rails, Parents would occasionally visit too.

I reversed the hangar and placed it in the corner behind a plant as it was no longer required as they had left the nest and roosting at night elsewhere. Last night when I came home I could see a tail of a pigeon sticking outside the 'hangar' so thought that will teach me for not putting it elsewhere and now a hen is nesting in there again so I left it well alone. This morning when I came outside to fill the water I noticed there was no sound but could still see the tail feathers, so I peered over and could see the pigeon was dead. Then on closer inspection I noticed it was my little Penny, I picked her up and had a look at her and noticed that one of her eyes didn't look great (mine weren't either at this discovery). I couldn't see any signs of puncture wounds but the feathers around the eye were mattered.

I had seen Penny about 4pm the previous eve first sleeping on the rail then a little while later drinking from the water bowl, her feathers looked ruffled and she seemed a little weary, had a wee chat to her and her right eye was fine. I am not sure what happened over the next couple of hours didn't hear any fighting, next observation was the one above - noticed what I thought was a hen nesting.

Logically it looked like an attack (possible crow?) as the outer eye lid looks very damaged, and yet the eye itself does not appear to have any lacerations/scratches? the rate at which she deteriorated would indicate it was injury/shock, but was wondering if there was any disease that could have contributed to this and was the last stage of the illness. Is it possible another Pigeon could have attacked her there are a few bully boy pigeons about that try to push them off the railing and have a go pecking them sometimes.

I have attached a photo of the damaged eye - any thoughts insight would be gratefully appreciated.

It is nature but full of sadness for the little one that managed to make her way back to her little hangar to die.
 

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I am so sorry that Penny died, it must have been a terrible shock to you, we become so attached to the little darlings.

The problem is that when a pigeon gets ill, or injured, or weak, or dies the other pigeons will peck at it, specially its eyes, it is a way of protecting the flock from disease. So Penny's injuries might not have been the cause of her death or even inflicted before death.

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Many thanks Cynthia for kind words and answer. Makes sense. I did notice that there was a lot more 'liquid' droppings at the edge of the 'hangar', but like a small chick that backs out of a nest she had done the same.

Would like to leave with an earlier favourite image of Penny with Henny. ( I am sure Pigeons have a bit of Penguin in them :)

Thanks again.
 

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I know you are sad about this one's death but I really can't understand why you didn't

interviene. She likely didn't need to die. I hear folks say things like this all the time...Oh

the poor little bird, nature is a cruel thing or we best let nature take it's course.

Actually, we interfer with nature every minute of every day on behalf of mankind. Why

not for a little creature that can't do for themselve?

I just don't understand how you could watch her die and not do a thing. It really makes

me sad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Charis,
I think you may have misunderstood the original posting events. I was totally unaware that anything had happened until it was too late. I went to bed that night excited that a hen had chosen to come to make a nest again on my balcony and produce some more little cuties. I had not approached the nest in the evening as I did'nt want to frighten her off as it was getting dark. It was only in the morning did I discover to my horror that it was'nt a nesting hen and that it was Penny and that she 'was already dead'. I am so upset that this little one was outside all night injured or ill and I was totally unaware thinking it was a nesting hen - if I could have intervened I would have done so in a milisecond without a doubt. My observations of Penny looking a little ruffled the day before are recollections 'after the event' and nothing appeared unusual and she certainly did'nt have any eye injuries so had no reason for concern. The photo of the damaged eye was taken after I discovered her death and I took it and posted it here to try and glean some understanding of what happened if possible (first time I have used this site). My feeling is that she may well have been poisioned or ill and the damage to the eye seems to fit what Cynthia suggested. There also has been a lot of activity on the balcony lately with quite a few territorial males bringing twigs especially very early in the morning and battling for possession. At times even trying to herd Henny and Penny off if they happened to be there visiting. There is one particular pigeon that is almost all black/slate grey and very very large that I have named Raven who is quite agressive and has had a few fights with the father. There is also 'a lot' of crows about at the moment. But again if I had known I would have intervened in a second to help this little joy. She is now buried under a tree in a glade in the common that I chose when I saw a pigeon fly up out of the undergrowth.
 

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I'm sorry for your loss, she was a pretty girl....

fp
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for the kind thoughts. Still devastated by the loss of Penny, the skies seem empty. Still upsets me not to know what happened to her and kicking myself I did'nt look into the nest the night before. The thought she came back to her 'safe hutch' sick or injured after leaving it 4 weeks prior is so upsetting I could'nt do something. Her little sibling Henny still visits daily amongst the friends I have befriended, he is so sweet but was definately the baby of the two. Sometimes when he turned up for some seeds and was getting bullied by some of the other males he would disappear and return 10-15minutes later with his sister Penny to help out on distraction techniques to get to the seeds. I have learnt a lot from my first little family and reading the threads on this site but does'nt lessen the sadness. At least the pigeons that visit here seem to know that it is a pigeon friendly balcony and will continue to visit especially little Henny.
 

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Thank you for the kind thoughts. Still devastated by the loss of Penny, the skies seem empty. Still upsets me not to know what happened to her and kicking myself I did'nt look into the nest the night before. The thought she came back to her 'safe hutch' sick or injured after leaving it 4 weeks prior is so upsetting I could'nt do something. Her little sibling Henny still visits daily amongst the friends I have befriended, he is so sweet but was definately the baby of the two. Sometimes when he turned up for some seeds and was getting bullied by some of the other males he would disappear and return 10-15minutes later with his sister Penny to help out on distraction techniques to get to the seeds. I have learnt a lot from my first little family and reading the threads on this site but does'nt lessen the sadness. At least the pigeons that visit here seem to know that it is a pigeon friendly balcony and will continue to visit especially little Henny.
I missed this thread somehow I guess. I think you did the right thing all around. In the dark, there was no way to know that the "nesting" bird was NOT a nesting bird and if you HAD approached the nest and it WAS a nesting bird and if flew off into the night out of fear, you would have worried about that too. Don't blame yourself. We can't save them all and we all do what we can for the ones that we can help.
 
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