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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi my name is Lisa - we are in the foothills near Clovis/Fresno CA. We have a very active outdoorsy/ animal-loving life with five roaming barn cats. We are more than 30 miles out of town.
A beautiful (Soft grey with brown stripes) pigeon was sitting very still on our patio and would not move away from us, even if we made noise. He has a light green band on his leg.
We tossed bread to him (?) and offered water. He sat perfectly still for over an hour. Then, he tucked down on his haunches. He would not eat or drink. We were afraid a cat would get him so we have him in an animal carrier safely in the house. We do not have any bird seed, but I can give him sesame seeds and oatmeal temporarily.
What does the band mean? Is there a risk of any disease to us by having him in the house? Should I take him to a rescue place or a vet? Do you know of any? Thank you for any help. Lisa (and son Max)

13,047 Posts
It's good that you brought the bird inside.
The bird sound like it's sick or maybe starving. If you have a heating pad, put it half underneath the carrier and set on low.
After the bird is thoroughly warmed, you need to hydrate him and I post the link as to ho to do that in a following post.
After the bird is warmed and hydrated you can feed him. I understand that this is likely an adult bird but if you offer him food and he doesn't eat it, you can do the following which I have copied from another post...

You can hand feed defrosted corn and peas. Run some hot water over them until they are defrosted and slightly warmed. Put the bird on your lap and hold it next to your body. If it helps, you can wrap a towel around it or put it in the sleeve of a tee shirt, with the head out the wrist. That confines them without hurting them and makes it easier to handle. Gently open the beak and pop the piece of corn and peas at the back of the mouth and over the throat. You will need to feed 40-50 per feeding and every time the bird’s crop empties until you know it is eating on their own.

The crop is located right below the throat and with food it fills up like a little balloon. The peas and corn make it lumpy and squishy.
If you will provde us with the numbers on the band, we can help you find the owner.

13,047 Posts
Basic LIFE SAVING steps


It is vital to stabilize an ill or injured pigeon or dove as soon as possible after rescue.
Three basic steps should be followed.

A bird must be warmed gradually to a normal body temperature and be responsive (able to swallow). It is not unusual for a baby bird presented for rehabilitation to be very cold. (If a bird is unresponsive, please seek the assistance of an experienced rehabber or avian vet immediately.)

Give the bird a quick, superficial examination. Unless there is a critical situation, e.g., (severe bleeding) all birds should be covered and placed on a heat source* (see below) for at least 20-30 minutes to bring the body temperature back to normal.

If head trauma is suspected, do not place the bird on heat.

Allow the bird to stabilize in a quite, dark, warm area.
While the bird is warming, take the opportunity to prepare any other items you may need to care for the bird, e.g., International Rehydrating Solution (recipe noted below)


Fluids should be given after, and ONLY AFTER, the bird has been warmed, examined for any injuries & a determination is made as to the severity of his dehydration.
All fluids should be warmed or at room temperature!

Description and degrees, of hydrated and dehydrated birds
A well hydrated bird will be very alert, have elastic skin, bright eyes, moist, plump membrane inside the mouth and well formed moist droppings.

A moderately dehydrated bird will be less than fully alert, have dry, flaky skin, dull eyes, non-formed droppings and have a sticky membrane in the mouth.

A severely dehydrated bird will be lethargic or unconscious, the skin will 'tent' when slightly pinched, have sunken eyes, dry or absent droppings and have dry membrane in the mouth.

Depending on the cause and degree of dehydration, reversing this condition can take up to 24 hours. If the bird is alert, he may be rehydrated by mouth, using an eye dropper and putting drops along his beak every few minutes, making sure the fluids are room temperature or warmed slightly. Initially, a rehydrating solution should be administered. Plain water should not be given unless nothing else is available.

If the bird is not swallowing on his own or fully alert, he must be given fluids under the skin (sub-Q method).
WARNING!! This procedure should only be performed by an experienced rehabber or vet.

Please follow these simple, basic, yet most important steps.
The cells of the body simply don't work properly when dehydrated. Absolutely no digestive processes can take place if the gut CAN'T work. Absorption will not take place, food sits in the gut, undigested, and will eventually kill the bird.

* Heat source suggestions:
Towel lined heating pad, set on low
Towel lined hot water bottle
Low wattage lamp, directing the light into the cage.

* Emergency heat source substitute:
Fill an old sock about 2/3 full of rice. Microwave the sock for a few seconds. Making sure it isn't too hot, place it around the bird.

* International Rehydrating Solution:
To a cup of warm water add a pinch of salt & sugar, mix well. Use this solution to rehydrate by mouth.

* Emergency rehydrating substitute:
Pedialyte, unflavored.

By following these basic steps you have done your best to stabilize your little feathered patient until further assistance is available.

A Pigeon's Dream
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