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Need Help - Baby Pigeon, Lousy Nest

1073 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  altgirl35
Thank goodness I found this forum and I hope you can help us. We have a pigeon and baby nesting on a beam on our back patio. Last weekend we discovered the nest had fallen (wind maybe?) and we found one baby alive, but the other could not be saved. I put the baby back in the nest and we put the nest back where it was so the mama would return, which she did hours later. Not sure the age of this baby, but its eyes are not quite open yet.

All has seemed well, but the wind blew down the nest again this morning. Again, we located the baby (how far of a fall can it survive without broken bones? This would have been a 3-10 ft. drop depending on if our trash cans broke its fall first). The problem now is that the nest is pretty beat up and won't hold the baby securely anymore. We put the nest in a small very shallow box and put it all back up on the beam (with baby) where the mama will return. We have used strapping tape to hold the box steady for now.

Don't know if the mama will come back to this odd set-up, or if there's something else we can do? We just cannot leave this baby to fend for itself, but we don't know what to do. Build a new nest? How? Find someone to adopt the baby? We have several indoor cats, so don't want to bring it inside.

Please help! Thanks in advance.
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Well, I would say the first thing is to just keep watch and see what happens. If the babies eyes aren't open, then it's probably only about 3 or 4 days old, if that.
This is a pigeon? Not a dove?
Mom & Dad might or might not take to the new dibs. Just have to watch and see.
IF they don't, then the only thing to do to save the baby is to hand raise it. If you tell us where you are, then maybe someone is close that can take the baby, if it comes to that.
I will say, at this age, the parents usually sit on the baby 24/7......so if they don't come back soon, the baby might not make it. A lot depends on the temps where you are. Even in warm weather, a baby this age can not regulate it's own body heat.
Lovebirds, thank you so much for your quick response!

Honestly, I don't know if it's a pigeon or a dove. The mother (I'm assuming) is large, with light coloring around the neck and head, but that's all I can tell you. Both parents must look a lot alike because I always thought it was just one parent doing the sitting. Someone has been on that nest 24/7 except for quick forages for food & water (?) as we've seen it vacant only once or twice. Last weekend it was at least an hour or two before she came back after the nest fell, but she did come back. Hopefully the box won't scare them away. I would try to rebuild or repair the nest if I knew how.

We live in Fresno CA. Right now mid-80's during the day (and windy) and 60's at night.

At what point do we make the determination that we can't wait for the parents anymore?

Thanks for your help! :)
I would say that if no one is sitting on the baby by dark, I personally would bring it inside, if only for the night. If you could put the baby on a heating pad, on low and maybe put it back early in the AM and see if Mom comes back. If you can see her sitting on the baby after the box and all, then I would say that things should be ok. If she comes back once, she'll keep coming back...........
Like I said, it's not normal for a baby this age to be left alone and especially over night.
I don't know who we might have near Fresno.......we do have quite a few members in California though and hopefully they'll be on sometime tonight to give their ideas.
Any chance of getting a picture of the bird, baby and/or nest?
OH, and just FYI........Mom usually sits overnight until 10ish in the AM. Then Dad takes over nest duties until 4ish PM.....then Mom comes back for the evening and overnight again. This is not set in stone of course, but it will give you a pretty good idea of who's Mom and who's Dad.

PS: And by the way.......I won't be around tomorrow, so hopefully some of the other members will get in on this thread.
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Well, 6:30pm CA time, and still no sign of parents sitting. We have a wildlife rescue organization here but they are unavailable at this hour. The baby seems to be doing very well and is acting pretty spunky. The eyes are fully opened and it's chirping and wiggling around quite a bit. I'm attempting to attach a picture. There is almost nothing to the nest anymore.

If we bring it inside for one night, do we need to do anything for it besides set it on a heating pad on low? I assume inside a box or something secure. We can close it up in our bathroom so the cats don't get to it. Is it in danger of starving or dehydrating if it hasn't had a parent since early this morning?

I was really hoping they would have come back by now. :(


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Hi Birdnewbie! Thank you for your concern for this little one and all your efforts to help. That is almost certainly a baby Mourning Dove, and as such, would be taken in and cared for by the local wildlife rehab facility or person.

Keep the baby safe and warm this evening (it's too late to wake it up to eat now) and see if you can get it to the wildlife center in the morning.

If there is going to be any delay in getting the baby to a caretaker in the morning, then you can thaw some frozen peas and/or corn and feed the warmish pieces of that to the little one. In a pinch, pieces of soaked (in water) dry dog or cat food can also be fed. If there is going to be a significant delay, then we need to get you going on handfeeding techniques and obtaining some baby bird forumla (Kaytee Exact).

Thank you so much for your responses! The baby had an uneventful night last night and seemed to sleep comfortably in a box on a heating pad (on low). We have tried to get some water & food (bird seed ground to a fine powder, mixed with warm water to make a runny paste - instructions from a friend of mine) in this little babe, but have only been able to get it to take some, not all.

I was finally able to get in touch with one of the volunteer rehab people that takes care of pigeons & doves, and after some begging (she already has 50 in her care!) she is willing to take this one in as well. We are delivering the baby before noon. He/she seems to be doing fine, still has lots of energy and spunk. We will donate the bird seed we bought and give her some money in hopes it will help her efforts.

We talked a lot about how wonderful it would be to keep this little one and try to raise it, but we know our limitations as parents and had to admit the baby would be in better hands with an expert, at least this time. It has been a rewarding experience with just the minimal involvement we have had these past several weeks (from watching the parents build the nest, to finding a safe haven for the baby). We are disappointed that we won't get to watch this one grow up and away, but maybe we will get another opportunity in the future.

Thanks again for your help and kindness. We honestly couldn't have gotten the baby through this without your advice. Your forum is a wonderful place and I will come back again and again to get advice and learn more about these wonderful birds! :)
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Thank you so much for the update, Birdnewbie! I'm glad you found a place for the little one and that you enjoyed your "close encounter" with a little columbiform!

We'll look forward to any further updates and/or seeing you back here on Pigeon-Talk again.

mourning doves are notorious for making horrible nest in sometimes horrible places, next time if she makes a nest there and it falls down you might want to try nailing a little wicker basket or even a berry basket to the same spot they were in, or make a little shelf up there and you will be able to watch the next clutch grow
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