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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all.

My latest chapter has had me emotionally and spiritually tied up in knots for days now.
It had apparently ended so tragically, I didn't have the heart even to post it.

Story begins: upon releasing my trio of patients a while back, within a few days arrived a pair of juveniles feeding on my porch....looked like their first day out and about, actually. They both had striking orange/gold eyes and were filthy (probably didn't have a prime real estate nest location). Awfully cute and geeky though, as they tend to be. So they were amongst the adults, and I noticed one of them couldn't walk on one leg.

I went inside and figured "that's too bad..." then after a few minutes, I though "what the heck, I'll give it one shot...."

So I sprinkled seed on the porch and then my door threshold and then into my entry hall, and left the door open. Two older birds followed the seed inside, and then the injured juvenile followed them. Door closes quickly....they try to fly out my picture-glass front window and I grabbed the juvenile with a towel and put him in a carrier. came back for the otehr two, toweled 'em, and sent 'em back outside...reminding them not to fall for such a trick again (!).

So, Sparkles goes to the avian vet...his lower legbone broken cleanly in half. He gets meds,pain and aintibiotic...and he gets a cast. He gets to stay w/ me for 6 weeks of recovery.

The first week I keep him quiet and warm in the carrier 24/7, then afterwards I put the carrier outside on the porch so he can see his feral buddies each day, and also watch them forage for the seed as I figure he was barely weaned when I got him.

Weeks go by everything good. My foster King Pigeon, Gatsby (aka the "chicken") and he take a liking to each other. Gatsby has run of the house (to my parrots' dismay) and I often find him on TOP of the carrier watching over his little feral friend.

At week 3, I decide to let the guy strecth his wings, so he comes out a few times a day and hangs out w/ Gatsby on the kitchen shelves.



At this time, my GF notices they have developed a game whereby one of them flies fom the shelves into the carrier thru the top door...then the other follows and the first one leaves thru the side door (!) Great fun..so you never know who you'll find inside the carrier sometimes !

Last Saturday comes around...they are both out...I gather them up and put them in their respective cages/carriers. When I arrive back a few hours later, I put Sparkles' carrier out on the porch so he can hang with his homies.

I take a quick shower, come back and am about to put some seed out....

...carrier door is OPEN on the front porch...Sparkles is in the middle of a gaggle of ferals on the steps :eek: Trying NOT to panic...I try to lure him in w/ seed again...but the flock is kinda jumpy and they startle several times...once it sends all of them up to the neighbors roof....a few minutes later, another startle sends all of 'em up and...away. ALL of 'em.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I was absolutely DISTRAUGHT. All I could figure was...I hadn't latched it. Sparkles makes bull-rushes at the door occasionally...when he sees other ferals; and it can knock open rather easily if not latched. Either that.... or the alternate possibility (much, much less likely but still NOT impossible): one of my neighbors unfond of the ferals came up my steps and let him out.....

Nevertheless...there he went...4 weeks into a 6-week recovery. THAT didn't worry me. His flying ability and evasiveness was excellent for a young'un...and he had a clue how to forage. But he had a heavy cast on his leg which was taped up the wazoo, and wouldn't likely come off by itself.
Worse, if it started to shift or slip over time, it could cause HUGE problems.

Stunned and near tears, my Saturday afternoon was no fun whatsoever as I kept trying to draw the flock back and see if he'd come. They didn't...he didn't. Then, right before sunset I was across the street and I saw a streak of white and grey come down on the steps. From afar I could see...it was him...he landed right on TOP of his carrier, still outside !

I entered my house thru the garage and came up my rear steps...and gently opened the front door. He looked up at me. I grabbed some seed and figured I'd give it another try. I was hecka nervous and sweating profusely.
He started eating some of the scattered seed, but didn't seem too interested in food.

Gatsby had taken a position in the dining room window..evicting my conure, Fozzy, from his perch atop his cage (Gatsby likes looking at the ferals outside, this being his preferred spot). I ran down to the garage and grabbed my net (a soccer net affixed to a 20" drum hoop, actually) and came back up. Sparkles was still hanging out, but hadn't followed the seed path to the open door.

All of the sudden, as I was looking away, I hear this flap of wings and he had flown up to the window, in front of Gatsby...and was trying to get IN and back to his pal !!!! He was grasping the window muntins and flapping on the opposite side of the panes from Gatsby.

I stepped out and raised the hoop...if I was careful, this seemed like a pretty easy catch...he was otherwise engaged in getting to his friend and he was right up against the window, at my eye level.

I whipped the net at him and got a piece of him, but he sprung up and around the net. I grabbed his tail with my free hand and brought him down to the porch shelf...as I was grabbing his body with my other hand...suddenly...all I had was a handful of tailfeathers as I watched him streak out of the portico and bank a hard right down the block and into the sky.

...without even thinking, I heard myself saying "HOW could you MISS ???!!!"
He was right there, afoot away with very few exit possibilities. But he was also a slippery one...particularly evasive for a baby.

So, I saw him again Sunday on the neighbor's roof..he came down briefly for some seed with the flock but wouldn't get anywhere near close enough to my porch...nor was I gonna try anything like that again. I resigned myself to just trying to rebuild some trust that mine was a place he could get some food amongst the flock, and safely....and I could work out some plan another time. He could fly OK and was alert, but he couldn't really walk well and the cast was cumbersome and caused great effort to get airborne.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday passed with no sign of him. And of course, as if on cue...the weather turned from sunny and warm to foggy, windy, and grey. Even worse....it appeared that "my" flock...the most local couple of subflocks...had never been his flock to begin with....so he didn't hang with them.

By Wed., all I could wish for is that he had passed quickly...I had no reason to hope or believe otherwise....and had not seen him anywhere in the 'hood...street or roofs. And of course, I was hating myself...for my initial carelessness in not checking on his door to my stupidity of my catch attempt; believing I should have been more patient ...maybe not tried such an aggressive catch but rather let him decide if he was gonna hunker down for the night near his carrier, then tried a grab in the dark; or maybe I should have used Gatsby more to advantage, and placed him somewhere Sparkles could actually get to him ...(hindsight is a cruel thing....and is always 20-20, isn't it ?)

In those 3 days, every time I would hear or see a pidge alight in front...I would hope it was him...but I never saw the signature white leg. I left the carrier on the porch, but by Wed., it was causing me more sadness to gaze upon it, than hope. I was gonna bring it in Wed. night and not put it out anymore.

Wed. afternoon I went to coach soccer. I arrived back at about 6:45 PM...the evening was chilly and foggy. As I pulled into the drveway and parked, I peeked around the corner as I had spotted a few birds on the steps. I saw there were two or three on the porch...one sitting on the carrier...but really..many of the ferals had taken to doing that out of their own curiousity...so my hopes were almost nil. More out of being automatic than anything else, I went inside and peeked out the window to the porch. 3 ferals outside, one on the porch shelf and two on the porch floor. Didn't look like him. But I opened the door and dropped some seed. The two on the floor, they were adolescents and hopped to it...then the one on the shelf, who was fluffed and disheveled, hopped down to the seed. And there it was...

THAT BIG OL' CLUNKY CAST !

He was hobbling badly and looked exhausted..but he ate the seed ravenously. I turned to my daughter who was doing her homework. "Holy crap....it's him !" I said. I ran for more seed and opened the door wider, dropping the seed inside and out. I now grabbed Gatsby in his cage and put the cage on the floor of my entryway...in front of the open door and in clear view of the ferals. Then I walked back to the window and just sweated it out, hoping they'd follow the seed inside.

Sparkles went first. We could hear the "peck, peck, peck" of his beak on the hardwood floor, along with the scratching of the feet. The two others followed. He looked ragged..wasn't moving well and was filthy and fluffed. But in he came. I sprinkled more seed up to Gatsby's cage and beyond the door. When he got beyond the door edge, my daughter said 'you can do it now...he can't turn around in time'...and I quickly but carefully closed the door. I heard the two other ferals startle and flap away; in the back of my mind I hoped I hadn't accidentally caught any part of them in the door. Sparkles made NO attempt whatsoever to turn or take off...he just looked up at me, as if saying "OK, well...there it is, then."

As I heard the sound of the door close and latch, I felt my heart just open up and also felt this huge weight lifted from my shoulders.

This was a third chance...absolutely unimaginable to me...and here he was again.

I picked him up...he tried scampering, but didn't try taking off, so I knew he was exhausted. Checked him out, no injuries...just skinny and tired as h#ll. First thing we did was remove the leg cast...it took about 10 minutes...it would have NEVER come off by itself...it was on way too secure.

Then I checked if he was warm...he was...and gave him a dose of medicam followed by 5cc of formula...then a bit later started him on cipro.

Night was a little worrisome...I was concerned he might just expire from exhaustion...his eyes hadn't been very alert and he was fluffed cosntantly. he was quite OK with going back into the carrier and he spent the night in the laundry room, snuggly-warm with high heat. I checked on him a few times thru the night...he always responded with hard cooing, as in "hey...back off, bud" in pigeon-talk.

This AM, he had breakfast and got back to his old games with his King pal. he was relaxed and happy enough to show me some nice wing-stretches, and he gave himself a nice, long preening session, too !!!

He is still weak and tired, but I think we are on our way again....





 

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WOW!!! I was on pins and needles!! I was afraid of the ending, but kept reading...................all I can say is Sparkles is one HELLUVA lucky pigeon and you are one HELLUVA great great person.............WOW!!


WAY TO GO!!!!!​
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am thinking of changing his (her?) name to Milagro.....
 

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Hi Jay3,



That's quite an adventure!


Best if any convelesing Bird is kept in a Cage...untill recovered...where, ideally, they then get some indoor free-fly time under observation ( days, weeks ) to assure us of their fitness, prior to release.


Broken Legs particularly...since it is far better for them not to be flying (taking off and landing ) while the Leg is mending...



Phil
l v
 

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What an adventure!

OH MY GOSH...like Renee, I was afraid to keep reading but couldn't stop myself. Didn't even answer the phone.
That's one lucky bird.



 

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Now I know the complete story, they are so smart George, and they know when people love them and take care of them... you are such a great person... and the pidgie so lucky.
 

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Yay!!! (You're such a good writer, it was a great story, well-paced...)

BTW, I think you've earned a slug of that Campari I see on the shelf next to Milagro.

Is SF Santa Fe? San Francisco?
 

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Whew!! Talk about suspense!!! What a huge relief for you BOTH that he came back and you were able to get him. When you say this:

And of course, I was hating myself...for my initial carelessness in not checking on his door to my stupidity of my catch attempt; believing I should have been more patient ...maybe not tried such an aggressive catch but rather let him decide if he was gonna hunker down for the night near his carrier, then tried a grab in the dark; or maybe I should have used Gatsby more to advantage, and placed him somewhere Sparkles could actually get to him ...(hindsight is a cruel thing....and is always 20-20, isn't it ?)

Oh man, do I KNOW what you mean! The first time I did that same thing, thinking I'd latched the carrier and hadn't. . .and this was for a feral cat. The second time was with a group of pigeons I was moving into a new aviary, and as I set them down, the carrier (different carrier) flew open and a few escaped before I could close it. They ended up coming back, luckily. As for making "aggressive" catches, at the time it seems like the only thing to do because you have to make the decision in a split second, and really, if you DO stop and think about it, the chance has passed to catch them. Several times I've made the lunge-and-net move, only to scare the pigeon away over the rooftops. Again I've been lucky that they have all come home. I wouldn't have done anything different in your situation, it sounds like you did an awesome job. :D
 

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Jaye, when I read the word 'tragically' in your first para, I was expecting the worst.

I'm so happy that it turned out to be a happy ending!

Hope Sparkles/Milagro regain the full use of her leg soon. :p
 

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That was an amazing story. And a wonderful end. And more nail biting than a Steven King movie. I'm glad it turned out okay. He sure is lucky, and you sure are persistant. I think he's probably just happy to be back where he is safe, fed, and warm. Good job!
 

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I have to say, I need a tranquilizer after reading that story, so nail biting!

Wonderful outcome, just shows you never give up on them. Best of luck to this lucky piggie. :)

Janet
 

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I am so happy that Sparkles' story has a happy end. I think I know what what you must have been through, I still have nightmares- sometimes months or years later- about pigeons that badly needed help and that I "mis-caught" and never saw back, and I am still feeling bad about what they became. What a wonderful rescue story, Sparkles sure deserves the nick name "Milagro"!
Myriam
 

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Whew...that was a heart stopper. :p

I'm so glad the third time was the charm and all ends well.

Thanks for sharing.
 

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I had to scroll down to the bottom before reading right through, just to make doubly sure that there was a happy ending. Thank goodness he came back before weakness overtook him! Well caught!

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
BTW, I think you've earned a slug of that Campari I see on the shelf next to Milagro.
let's put it this way...that Campari bottle was FULL the day before she initially escaped...(!)



yes....in SF. Inner Sunset. Where's your 'hood ?

Update....she's looking better, eating well, pooping well. She's using the leg well....tends to stand on the good one more often than on both, but she can push of and alight using both...as well as grasp the stick perches.
 

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Nice story!

Very nice indeed... It also sounds like you've got a competent, pigeon-friendly vet.

Just curious? How do you ever manage doing all this in S.F. with its (self-righteous) pigeon-hating population?

Whatever. Props to you for keeping the faith and keeping 'em flying!

 

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Wow!

What a scary and yet wonderful little story! I was deffinatly on the edge of my seat the whole time! I am so glad it worked out well! You are wonderful! Lets keep that door latched from now on or keep those pesky feral-haters away ;)
 
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