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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone.

There is a male feral pigeon that comes by. I noticed at some point that he was having difficulty with his left leg. Getting a closer look I could see that it was turning black. The right leg was also slightly discolored. As time went by, the left leg got worse, and during that time I continued to try catching it until at some point I did. The bird had traces of blood on it suggesting a wound that closed, and when I examined his leg and toes I could find no string like I thought I would. I let it go thinking perhaps it has some thing to do with his injury. Now few days later, his left toes appear to have hardened, but his right leg is turning black too. I am at a loss, what could be the problem?
 

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Are you sure there's no string or even human hair around the leg? Sometimes you need to check with a flashlight and magnifying glass. If he loses both legs then he probably won't survive. Something must be cutting off the blood flow to his legs and toes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I could try to catch him again. I really looked a couple of times very close at his toes, but not with a magnifying glass, and felt each one carefully. I imagined that at least, whatever it is, it would have a bit of it dangling out and not be fully and perfectly wrapped around a single toe. If you know this is possible, I intend to certainly try and catch him again. I thought perhaps that the wound somehow damaged the flow of blood to his legs, or perhaps some disease that got through the wound. If such things are possible, please also let me know.

Also note that I have lived in the area that I currently live in for very long, and not once did I see a pigeon with blacked or damaged toes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for responding. At least now I know it could be an infection. I shall see if I can get a picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I managed to get the following pictures. The camera I have is not very good, but I hope this is sufficient. If not, I shall be trying again, but I might take a while this time.

97851

97852

97853

97854

97855
 

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It's really strange that both legs are affected in the same way. Are you on Facebook? There's a Palomacy Help Group for pigeon and dove rescue with lots of experienced members.

Try catching him again and put up a post on that site. He might eventually lose both feet. Looks like the blood circulation is already cut off.
 

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I see Canada has a group on FB: Canada's Pigeon and Dove rescue adoption and appreciation group.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The pigeon eventually lost his legs up to where the red part starts. He now walks on two stumps, and his health and cleanliness appear to have improved significantly after his legs fell off. I still wish that I knew what got him.

Some observations:
  • During the time the legs were still attached, the pigeon could not walk at all, and short distance travel became incredibly difficult on him. So stay close to him while he is eating to continuously draw food closer to him as he eats it. The creature might drag himself for few centimeters sometimes using his wings. Also his back feathers, and his bottom become dirty from the dropping. Keep the place clean, and keep obstacles away. The wings start to take a lot of beating during this period because of their use to dragging and keeping balance while on the ground, and their collision with nearby obstacles as the pigeon is trying to land exactly where he wants to be. Where food is placed, should be in a wide open area. Also an above ground wide soft thing for the pigeon to perch on is useful for when he is not eating. Beside movement, landing might have been difficult. I watched him as he circles around back and forth until finally landing. A soft thing to land on might be useful.
  • During said time, it is very difficult for the pigeon to fend off other birds of his kind, and he actively avoids any encounter. After the legs fell off, things became easier, but he still needed a safe place. Not all pigeons are the same, they have different personalities, and some can be aggressive, and some can learn.
  • The pigeon did lose his mate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Beside the first time, I could not bring myself to try again. I was also worried that if I take him to some doctor that they kill him by one law or another.

At the moment I keep an eye out for him. He comes by for food and water, and perhaps peace from other pigeons. For the time being he appears find except for his possible loneliness and the stuck dropping on one of his stumps which I have been trying for three weeks to get him to clean off by placing some bath water. Winter will be the next major challenge.
 
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