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Hi all,

I have a pet pigeon that I rescued when he was young. I've had him in a house for the past couple years, but I am about to move to an apartment within the next year and I have some concerns....

A) the noise - his coos really carry! Do you think this would bother neighbors in an apartment? How do I quiet him down/soundproof? He doesn't do it when he is out of his cage but he can't be cage free 24/7.

B) I am not strictly sure it is legal to keep a pet pigeon in Michigan. I'm terrified that when I go to talk to a landlord about renting the conversation will go like this...
Landlord: "Do you have any pets?"
Me: "Just a bird."
Landlord: "What kind of bird?"
Me: "A pigeon."
Landlord: "It's illegal to keep pet pigeons in Michigan."

And he'll call the DNR or something and they'll take him away from me.

I can get pretty creative to deal with the sound issue (eggcrates on the walls, extensive time cage-free with the use of a flightsuit to deter against spontaneous birdie bombs, etc.), but I am really anxious about any legal issues - and I am having a terrible time finding information on actual laws in my state! I did find some information that said it was legal to keep pigeons because they were introduced to North American by settlers and thus all pigeons in North American now are descended from domesticated pigeons and not technically wild so we are free to keep them as pets. Is this true? He didn't even really come from the wild, I found him in the middle of the city in a parking lot, wounded and unable to fly.
How can I be sure I can keep him without fear of legal issues?
 

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Not sure about apartment rules but pigeons arent all that noisy, compared to a barking dog. Re ferals, it is very hard to tell by looking if your bird was a lost domestic or a feral, i would imagine, so it is whatever you say it is. I dont know of any laws protecting pigeons from capture, sadly, as people who capture them tend to harm them, as nuisance birds or as targets. I dont think any law enforcement people would care if you adopted a feral pigeon. Our first pigeon was a seriously injured injured feral, Phoebe. The local wildlife rescue just euthanizes pigeons so if course we adopted her. Thank you for rescuing your bird. Just make sure you live somewhere pets are allowed. Pigeons are quieter than parrots too. A lot of people keep homing and racing pigeons everywhere so i doubt there are laws against keeping a pigeon in Michigan.
 

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Pigeons are not a protected species, so there are no laws that you cannot keep them as pets. Now your landlord can say that he doesn't want any pets or pigeons in his/her apartments, and he has that right. So I would just ask first to make sure. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to get rid of the bird or move.
If he does make a lot of noise and other tenants complain, then you may have to make a choice also.
 

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Jay3's understanding accords perfectly with that of my vet and myself (although we're in Canada, I once lived in Michigan, and my understanding is that it's the same across the US and Canada).

My experience with this is that I didn't ask my landlords (who over time were different employees working for a large rental company) if they were OK with me keeping pigeons because (i) I was afraid they'd say 'no', and (ii) I figured I could always move if they found out I had them and didn't like it. I think I asked generally about birds and they said it's OK if to have caged birds who were quiet. But I never actually told them I had birds, not only because I was afraid they'd refuse them on grounds of species membership, but also because my birds were never confined to their cages (which they do use as climbers / "trees") but out on plastic runner that I put over the carpet in their rooms. Just to be safe, I would make sure that my birds were boarding at the vet and I cleaned the runner and covered up their cages whenever the landlords came in. I kept this up for about 7 years, not only with my pigeons, whose coos I did think could carry, but even with my magpie, Maggie, who would from time to time squawk pretty loudly. I was always afraid that the neighbors were going to complain about the birds - especially about Maggie - but it never happened.

Then, after 7 years, I had a landlord who both found out I had the birds and wasn't OK with my having them. I had to buy a house and get us all moved in within less than a month in order to avoid having to board the birds at the vet (as the landlord gave me a month to get the birds out). I was thinking of buying a house some time soon anyway, and it really did help us all to have more space, but having to do this within a month was pretty crazy (I took 2 weeks to buy a place listed such that the buyer could take possession in 2 weeks - my realtor said it was the fastest possession she'd ever seen). If I'd needed more time I could have boarded the birds at the vet, but I know it isn't easy on them to board, so I really didn't want to do it. Still, because there are so few homes for non-releasable birds (all of mine had wing injuries that left them unable to fly well enough to be released), I absolutely would have boarded them if I'd had to - or rented another place where they were OK with pigeons & a magpie. In fact I was able to find another rental place (1/2 of a duplex) where the landlord (who personally owned it) was explicitly fine with my having the pigeons and magpie (although I found mouse poison in the house and I was scared to death that I wouldn't be able to find and clean it all up in a way that would be safe for the birds). It would have been harder for us to first move into the rental and then move into a house (even if I'd been able to find a rental other than the duplex with the poison), but I absolutely would have done it if I'd had to. (I'd to anything I possibly could to keep my family together).

Knowing what I know now, if I had it all to do over again, I'd probably have tried harder to initially find a rental place where they were explicitly OK with my having pigeons and a magpie. As I recall the way I found the guy who said I could have them was by searching on Kijiji for a place that was listed as pet friendly, and then calling and asking. If I wasn't able to find a rental that explicitly let me have the birds and had to rent, what I think I'd do is just move into a place without telling them that I had the birds (as I actually did). Since I was able to go 7 years without a first detection, I'd be confident that I could go at least a few years before getting detected, at which point I'd move and stay until I was detected again, move again until I was detected yet again, and so on, for as long as I needed to rent rather than own :).
 

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I live in an apartment and have 2 pet pigeons. My female is very quiet but my male is very loud, and by loud I mean very, very loud! Because they are both free in my tiny apartment, the windows are always open (when someone is home) to get proper ventilation and also because they have a tiny "balcony" that we built on one of the windows... anyway, even though he is extremely loud the noise cannot be heard in other apartments, I know this because my boyfriend lives right next door and he says he never hears him. The times he can hear him is when he is cooing on his balcony or too close to the open windows, but even then the noise is not too loud. It sounds like he is somewhere on the street and not on the apt next door.

So far no one has complained about the noise, I think because the dogs in the building are way louder lol and also because I live in a very noisy city.

I suggest you look for a pet friendly apartment and ask if they accept birds. It wouldn't hurt to get a certificate from your avian vet saying that your pigeon is in perfect health condition, just in case the manager is ignorant and thinks that he can spread a disease.
 

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Howard, that is really something. A lot of people would never go through so much to keep their pets. Good for you. Have to give you credit for taking your pet ownership so seriously.

Msfreebird, telling them you have a dove is a good idea. Wouldn't have thought of that. But to some people, that does sound better.
 

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Hi all,

I have a pet pigeon that I rescued when he was young. I've had him in a house for the past couple years, but I am about to move to an apartment within the next year and I have some concerns....

A) the noise - his coos really carry! Do you think this would bother neighbors in an apartment? How do I quiet him down/soundproof? He doesn't do it when he is out of his cage but he can't be cage free 24/7.

B) I am not strictly sure it is legal to keep a pet pigeon in Michigan. I'm terrified that when I go to talk to a landlord about renting the conversation will go like this...
Landlord: "Do you have any pets?"
Me: "Just a bird."
Landlord: "What kind of bird?"
Me: "A pigeon."
Landlord: "It's illegal to keep pet pigeons in Michigan."

And he'll call the DNR or something and they'll take him away from me.

I can get pretty creative to deal with the sound issue (eggcrates on the walls, extensive time cage-free with the use of a flightsuit to deter against spontaneous birdie bombs, etc.), but I am really anxious about any legal issues - and I am having a terrible time finding information on actual laws in my state! I did find some information that said it was legal to keep pigeons because they were introduced to North American by settlers and thus all pigeons in North American now are descended from domesticated pigeons and not technically wild so we are free to keep them as pets. Is this true? He didn't even really come from the wild, I found him in the middle of the city in a parking lot, wounded and unable to fly.
How can I be sure I can keep him without fear of legal issues?
I wouldn't worry about the coos, I don't think it's loud enough to carry enough to worry about it.

I wouldn't give your landlord details about what kind of bird it is--what does it matter? If the landlord insists, I suppose that's their right, but consider just telling them it's a rock dove to just avoid any preconceived notions and misunderstandings about pigeons. They are domesticated animals, and ferals are just escapees.

If you let the pigeon go, it will likely home to your old house. It might find a new flock to hang with, but who knows.

I live in Michigan as well, and it's certainly not illegal to keep pigeons. They make fine pets. I wouldn't be in any rush to part ways with your buddy.
 

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Well the poster hasn't come back on, so don't know what he's doing.
In the long run, although it isn't illegal to keep a pigeon, as they are not a protected species, being honest with the landlord would save a lot of complications down the road. Would just be easier to find a place where the landlord didn't care. If they did find out later, the poster would then either have to get rid of the bird, or move. Why move somewhere that you had to worry about it all the time?
 
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