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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

My name is Thomas, I found a baby pigeon in Toronto huddled under an underpass with a broken leg a few weeks ago. There are other dead babies that often get trapped under this bridge. The Bird was hardly responsive to me approaching it; so I took it since it would have died. I have been raising the baby for about 3 weeks now with my mother. I tried to splint the leg a while ago but that did not turn out well and caused a lot of stress on the bird so we left him alone. Now he can walk/run around on both legs; albeit with a limp. He/she still favors one leg when standing. Pigeon is a lot stronger now and is starting to fly around, self-feeds a bit, and will drink water somewhat regularly. The problem is that we don't know what to do with the bird so that it can successfully be released into a flock. The local wildlife "rescue" institution was mentioning the euthanasia option when I asked about it; so I don't trust them at all.

We are both working, out-of-the-house all day. There is also a cat here. It is an apartment building so the options are limited. Does anyone have any advice/experience/ideas that they could share with us? It would be most appreciated. Also any questions to clarify the situation?

thank you,

- Thomas
 

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Could you pls post a photo? Thank you for helping him. Sadly some "rescues" just euthanize birds. Our first pigeon was a young critically injured feral who flew into a fan. We got her fixed up and adopting her because the local "rescue" has a very unkind vet who jyst euthanizes birds. Phoebe the rescued bird was our beloved family member for eight wonderful years.
 

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You can either try and get him adopted by someone that keeps pigeons, or otherwise you will just have to keep him. Most people that keeps pigeons as indoor pets, keep them in a large cage during the day and let them out for excercise a couple of hours each day. Pigeons don't care much for human company (unless human imprinted), so being without human company won't affect them. However, he will be lonely and therefor it will be nice if you can adopt another pigeon for him. A handicapped pigeon will do fine.

Do you have a balcony? This will be perfect to turn into a permanent home for him and a mate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your responses. I was hoping to find a person in Toronto, or even the province of Ontario, who already has many pigeons; and would be willing to take on an extra pigeon. I would be willing to pay for the bird feed costs. I know there are people out here who race pigeons and so forth. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Yes there is a balcony. He pretty much hangs out there all day when the weather is nice. But this is not my apartment and I am being pressured to find another home for him.

-Thomas
 

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When you bird is ready to go it will let you know. Find a flock of other birds, hold your bird up so he can see them and let him go. With a bit of luck he will fly right to them. Don't worry about the leg, pigeons survive on one leg although it is tough.
 

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Is the leg crossed with the other one somewhat? If that is the case then he won't even be able to walk or hop well. Just releasing a bird in the condition would be very uncaring. But you did say that he could walk alright, so maybe just the angle of the picture.

Anyway, you don't just find a flock of birds and let him go. It should be a soft release. A new flock may not accept him and he is just a young bird who doesn't really know anything yet. They could even hurt him. Others have done just that, only to have their bird badly pecked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you everyone for your timely responses. I really appreciate the input.

Is the leg crossed with the other one somewhat? If that is the case then he won't even be able to walk or hop well. Just releasing a bird in the condition would be very uncaring. But you did say that he could walk alright, so maybe just the angle of the picture.

Anyway, you don't just find a flock of birds and let him go. It should be a soft release. A new flock may not accept him and he is just a young bird who doesn't really know anything yet. They could even hurt him. Others have done just that, only to have their bird badly pecked.
It was turned inward a bit, yes. Initially the bad leg was limp from his heel IE "reverse knee" down. It would just flop around and he would scratch it up and trip over it with his other leg. Now that is not a huge problem. He is perching on both legs, walking on both legs etc. Just with a limp.

I agree that just letting him go into a random flock would be a bad idea. Yes I was thinking about finding a flock to introduce him to. I was reading about the soft release process. I guess it involves a lot of scouting and incremental steps. I still need to finish building a cage to do that. Is there anyone with experience doing it that could share some advice with me?

He spends a lot of time on the balcony. He will fly short distances and peer over the railing from the tenth floor; but never flies off. I wouldn't say he is tame, but he definitely is very friendly at times. Which makes me worry about his chances in a wild flock. This is why I was more interested in someone with other pigeons taking him.
 

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If you are letting him out freely, then you will lose him eventually, whether he is ready or not. Not a good idea.
 

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He will eventually fly off, or get grabbed by a predator. He could fly off, get lost, and not be able to get back. He doesn't know how to live in the wild on his own. You will lose him one way or the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We have been intentionally keeping him a bit hand-shy. Trying not to coddle him too much. He seems wary of other people that come over; but will extend some friendship to me and my mom. I am not sure how old the bird is now; maybe 6-7 weeks. He might be delayed in his development though. I don't know. He still doesn't eat by himself very well. He tends to wait until we are around, or there is a hand nearby to trigger his pecking. And for some reason he was far more skilled at eating larger peas, lentils, seeds etc when he was ~4-5 weeks. He would gobble down everything in front of him. Now he has become awkward and constantly drops/fumbles his food. Can't pick up a pea at all anymore. He gets a whole assortment of soaked grains: mostly barley, hemp, lentils, peas, oats, corn. It's a struggle to use the syringe feeder at all now. Hard to get the crop full. Lots of fighting/fussing.

Drinking has gotten better. He wouldn't drink at all by himself until maybe 2 weeks ago. Before I had to constantly dip his beak. Now he can search it out for himself, generally.

He has been doing 3-6 meter flights and some hovering. Should I be teaching him to fly or something like that? Sorry I have no idea.

And how do I find a safe colony of birds to release him with? What kind of factors should I be considering? I was thinking a nice park with lots of people feeding them. I am basically going by these guidelines here: http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f23/to-release-or-not-to-release-10874.html

thanks,

- Thomas
 

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You can always try a soft release from your balcony, but then you must first close it up so that he can't leave, but will be able to get used to the outside surroundings. Put his food and water on the balcony with a perch high up in one corner for him to sleep at night. Keep him there for another month or so until he is able to fly well and eat well.

When you think he is ready, just open up and let him leave by himself. You will have to keep on providing food and water for him, for he might return.
 

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He doesn't need the seeds soaked. If he could eat larger seeds before and isn't now, then he is just getting picky about what he prefers and doesn't like as much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So as an update: bird is doing well. Leg seems to have healed up with little noticeable effect on his locomotion. This is not my apartment and there is a time constraint to have him relocated. I cannot find any private person who keeps pigeons who would take him on with their other birds. As a final recourse, I am trying to find a wildlife "refuge" to take the pigeon, however I do not trust these institutions and I would like to fact-check some of the things I've been told with the members here.

Basically the bird has become (unavoidably) tame. So all these wildlife refuges focus on "rehab and release" since the ministry of so-and-so prohibits them keeping the animals long-term. Any government-approved(IE legal) sanctuaries either release or kill the bird based on their subjective judgements of the bird's fitness, as far as I understand. Now, our pigeon seems to me to be very tame. He readily will perch on your head/shoulder/arm. They are telling me that he will get to spend time in an aviary away from people and learn how to be part of a flock, fly etc. and then be released.

I want to know if a tame pigeon can really be re-wilded? The director of one center I spoke with said it is no problem. I am skeptical given the bird's present propensity to fly onto people's shoulders and whatnot. I don't want him being released only to be too friendly with humans and get killed by some jerk.

I hope that makes sense.
 

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Once put in with other pigeons and not handled by people he will wild up again. When released, they will be a small flock, and they will be safer than a lone pigeon or even a pair released. Also, he wouldn't be as friendly with people that he doesn't know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok, thank you for your response. I have located one man up the street who keeps pigeons. He says he used to race them and now he keeps fancy birds. He offered to take the bird for me. He is very close to me whereas the bird rehab/release place is 3 hours drive away.

Now my ethical problem is whether the bird would want that or the wild release? He seems very bonded to people. He doesn't like his cage but will sit on you happily all day.

In any case I will see how the pigeon does there for the short term.

I will be checking out his setup in a few hours.

Any thoughts/comments appreciated, thanks.
 

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I think if there is a place that would do a release with others that the bird would be happier. Just because he keeps pigeons doesn't mean his set up is nice or where she would want to be. She may also be segregated from the other birds if they are fancy birds and he doesn't want them breeding with a feral. Who knows? I don't know him or his situation. I would think about all of it if I were you. I can understand it if you didn't want to travel so far, but I have done that when taking in a rescue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
He has a large walk-in coop and also lofts attached to his roof, plus an walk-in section of yard on the ground that is caged. He has some other wild rescue birds he showed me, that he has taken in that bonded with his flock and had babies. It seems like most birds were free to mingle but he kept some special ones in their own areas(?). I'm not sure. However, they all would seemingly fly around together. He will segregate him temporarily because he wants to make sure there's no diseases present. I already know he's healthy but nonetheless he will be introducing him with other youngsters in a seperate enclosed outdoor section of his backyard about 12'x4''x6'. It's his first time with pigeons since the days before his accident and me finding him. I think it's good for him to socialize now. And now he has a much larger/nicer space to stay in. Before he had to stay in a tiny cage most of the day when no one was at home here. I will treat this as a stepping stone for now. I will see how he does with these other youngsters in this new environment and then consider taking him to the release center in the near future. Will see how his "tameness" plays into everything. I hope he does well. What do you think? Thanks for your advices.
 
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