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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Location: Melbourne Australia

So yesterday morning I stepped out my front door and right there in front of me was a currawong (a medium large bird like a magpie or crow for non-Australians who might not know) that had pinned down a dove and was ripping into it.

The currawong flew away to wait on the fence when it saw me and the dove got up and tried to hide behind one of my pot plants. I just didn't have the heart to leave it there to be killed as soon as I turned away so I put the dove in a cardboard box and bought it inside. It seems to be a Spotted Turtle Dove, but maybe not fully adult as the band of spots isn't fully developed yet.

I wiped the blood with some towels but it was in shock so I put a heat pack in there and left the box in a quiet room. By the evening it seemed to have come out of shock and was trying to fly away whenever I came near.

I couldn't really take it to a vet because they are meant to euthanise non-native species and that's what happened the last time I found an injured dove (that one had a broken wing) and it still seems alert and like it could survive. I know from reading ecology papers that the doves aren't really the kind of introduced species that causes much harm to native species because they really just live in urban areas and eat the seeds from the grass we plant, so I want to try to help it if I can.

I tried to release it because it seemed a lot better but it seems that the currawong had ripped out too many of the feathers that it needs to fly. It can fly a bit, but only short distances and not very high. Not enough to escape a cat or find shelter from the weather. It also seems pretty uncoordinated.

It has a wound under the wing but that stopped bleeding pretty quickly and looks reasonably ok. I'm trying to keep everything clean so it won't get infected. But the currawong had pulled a heap of feathers out of the wing on that side and also some around the neck and most of its tail. The wings themselves don't look broken or anything.

Last night once I realised it couldn't be released I put some water and seeds in the box but I'm not sure if it ate any.

It was still alert and active today and the box was getting dirty because I couldn't change the papers at the bottom without it trying to fly away and risking injury. So I got a cheap large bird cage with a sliding tray to clean and moved it in there. The cage is covered by a blanket.

I have put water and some canary seed I bought in there and although I've seen it near the feeding trays I can't tell if anything has been eaten. When I come close the dove flies to the back of the cage to avoid me, so I'm trying not to intrude on it too much and am just hoping it will eat some food.

I'm wondering what more I can do to help the dove and ensure it eats. I've never kept any birds or anything. And if it does eat and survive, how long will it take for the feathers it needs to grow back so it can fly?
 

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Can you post a photo of the droppings? This will show if he is eating or not. A normal dropping will be brown and firm, starvation droppings will be bright green and creamy. Also a photo of the dove. If he is a fledgeling, he probably can't eat by himself yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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97101

Thanks for responding. Here are the pictures. I think he probably has eaten some food, or at least tried to, because there was a fair bit of seed spread around that I didn't spill myself.
 

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He is very young and looking at the droppings, he is eating. You can put some layers of newspaper on the bottom of the cage, the wire will hurt his feet. Also put a brick inside for him to perch on. Every morning you can just remove the top layer of newspaper to keep things clean. Just slide this out from underneath the food and waterbowl. Check the seeds, he is probably only eating the seeds easiest to pick up, so always make sure there's a big variety available.

Keep him until all the feathers have regrown (might take a month or so) and he is flying and eating well. You will need to do a soft reĺease, meaning he needs to spend time in an outside aviary to get used to the area. He will also need a backup food supply when released. He never had the chance to follow his parents around to show him where to find food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks heaps! I have given him newspaper and a brick now. I will sort out an aviary in a few weeks if he's still doing well and make sure I do the soft release and leave food for him once he's ready.
 
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