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My brave, brave boy!

2214 Views 15 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Teresa
I'd like you to meet Merlin, the main reason why I haven't been around for ages.

It took me three weeks of trying everything before I managed to catch him to deal with a serious string injury that prevented him from standing. He'd come close, but never close enough, especially after I'd tried to catch him with a net and failed. In the end it was a home-made trap baited with corn that did the trick.
His injuries were horrifying. I'm not going to post photos of them here, but it took me 14 hours' work to remove all the thread, which was extremely fine, tramsparent, and wound around his feet in so many loops! Here's the culprit:

As soon as I caught him I gave him a drop of Metacam and started him on antibiotics, and referred to Cynthia's advice on 'resources' before tackling the thread. He's lost two toes, and I've been battling to save the rest. Throughout it all he has been the best of patients, and I've become very fond of him.
Yesterday, when my mother approached his cage he threatened to wing-slap her, so hopefully he's getting better. I'll leave you with a picture of him resting after his treatment, but shortly after that I moved him to another cage with a custom-made foam mattress, where he seems more comfortable.

P.S. For those who want to see the X-RATED PICS, here's a link to the album: http://s333.photobucket.com/albums/m381/Skbllz/Merlin/
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Nice to meet you Merlin, you are one handsome boy.

Thank you for rescuing/releasing him from the horrific string injuries, I'm sure he is very greatful.

He/she may have grown fond of YOU too, since he is wing slapping at your mom but not you.

I appreciate you sharing this.
Hi Teresa!

Thank you for introducing the handsome/lovely Merlin!!

Sure hate to hear about string injuries! So terrific that you were able to catch him/her and remove the line! Looks like thin fishing line, the bane of many a bird!!

All our best to Merlin. I know you will keep us updated on his/her progress!

Sending loving healing thoughts with hugs and scritches

Shi/Squeaks/Dom/Gimie/Woe :)
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Well, hello, there Merlin! What a handsome guy!!

I'll bet he's thinking YOU'RE the magician, at this point!!!
what a lovely boy!youve done a great job with merlin,give yourself a pat on the back,he looks so content in his cage,glad hes recovering
How kind of you to persist and capture him. He must have been in terrible pain. Makes me smile to know that he's feeling so much better, he's on the way to recovery and that there are people like you out there. :)

Thank you for helping him!
He looks very happy! Thank you for rescuing him.

Awwwhh! Wow, you did a great job of catching him and sorting him out. I think I'll give the gory pictures a miss but I can imagine how awful it must have been to have taken 14 hours to get the string off. I bet that pidge is thanking his lucky stars you came along! :D

Fishing line is horrible stuff, I live near the sea and I'm forever picking up dicarded line and even those spiky horrible line weights off the beach. Some people will never learn about littering.

I sincerly hope Merlin makes a full recovery!
Nice job! My friend and I rescued a pigeon like that too at the pier. Its leg got entangled with fishing lines cutting circulation. We got it by luring it with food and catching it with fast hands (my friend). It took us nearly 30 minutes cutting and untangling the lines. The bird was at pain and every time I untangle the string, it moans.
We seem to get a lot of string injuries this time of year. Perhaps it's because the birds are searching more actively for building materials. I've dealt with quite a few, including one two weeks ago, but that was quite an easy job.

It breaks my heart to think of anyone, pigeon, human or whatever, trying to carry on 'normally' from one day to the other whilst suffering terrible pain, when all that's needed to alleviate that is a pair of opposable thumbs and a little time!

Perhaps Merlin knew that all along. Perhaps he knows all sorts of things I can't even imagine, the way he peers at me, over his wing, with a very old, wise look. I don't even have to 'give' him the antibiotic; I just show him the pipette, mimic drinking, and after carefully considering the pipette and me, he drinks it, one drop at the time. And at treatment time he looks calmer than I feel. He's incredible!

Yesterday evening I realised he was going to lose another toe. Feeling unequal to the task, I phoned the vets, but the avian vet wasn't in, wouldn't be in all week. So I had to deal with it (the shaking and the tears came later). I also put a splint on the middle toe, which he had been curling and standing on.

He's very perky today. He's been walking a bit, much more easily than before, and the appearance of the toes is improving all the time. There's hardly any yellow now -- he's been on Baytril and the toes are cleaned and rubbed with a Bacytracin/Neomycin cream regularly. The splint has stayed in place overnight ( I used micropore tape and a shaped piece of card). Unless you think it necessary, I intend to leave the darkened areas alone and just keep applying the cream, as in previous cases they scabbed and fell out when the skin underneath was sufficiently healed.
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Here he is on his foam mattress:

And this is the splint, and a rapidly improving foot:

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Well Teresa you are doing a wonderful job caring for Merlin. They absolutely do know when you are trying to help them. He's very pretty and healthy looking. Sorry to hear he may lose another toe....you are doing the best you can and that says a lot!
Teresa, bless you for rescuing Merlin. I know it was a tedious job but looking at the before pictures vs. the after is pretty remarkable in how well the foot is healing.

The foam is truly wonderful for pigeons that can't stand. We have used one under our Mr. Humphries for a while now and it really makes a lot of difference. I am attaching a picture of how we set up Mr. H's cage. He sometimes likes to lay in his "nest" and that box is also lined with foam. We use a more shallow water bowl, filled to the brim, for easier access for him and put his seed bowl on a slant so he can eat better. I put a triangular makeup sponge at the back of the seed bowl which allows it to stand at a slant and not slip. We cover the foam on the bottom with a layer of newspaper that is covered in paper towels. Seems to give him a better grip. He can stand up about an inch to two inches.

Hopefully, your Merlin will only need his foam for a short period until his feet heal. He is lovely and thank you for sharing his story.


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You've really done a marvelous job of helping Merlin with his string injuries. It is so terribly sad to see how badly hurt some of the birds are and in such great pain. Kudos to you, Teresa!

:D:DYour so VERY WONDERFUL... I always enjoy ALL of your posts .. BUT this ONE.... I love it!!! What a fantastic job you have done.... WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D:D
The foam is truly wonderful for pigeons that can't stand. We have used one under our Mr. Humphries for a while now and it really makes a lot of difference. I am attaching a picture of how we set up Mr. H's cage.
What a lovely set-up, Maggie! Mr. H must have been very cosy in there!
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