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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My vet has confirmed that a pigeon (named Greybird) who I was rehabbing after a bad wing break has now fully regained his flying ability and is ready for release (he has full vertical take-off capabilities, was able to do a good job flying up to the top of the door and window frames to evade us, etc.). My vet instructed me to take him back to his old territory and release him close to a building upon which he can fly, that I should release him at the beginning of the day so as to maximize his daylight before first nightfall post release, and to make sure that the weather is clear (and hopefully clear for a few days if possible).

I have never released a pigeon before, so I was just wondering if there is any other important advice. In particular:

(1) Would it be good or not to put out some of the food he has been eating (viz. Baden Feed Tippler mix - as well perhaps as a bowl of water) near his place of release? On the positive side I was thinking that this could ease his way back into foraging, but on the negative side I was thinking that it might draw competitors or predators.

(2) Is it OK to watch to see if he is adapting back into his environment OK? (My vet has told me that it isn't worth trying to take a bird net, since he can fly well enough such that it wouldn't be possible for me to catch him even if I thought that something was wrong, so I'm not sure there would be much point to this. But I still thought that I should check.

Thanks very much,
Howard
 

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Was this an adult when he broke his wing?
I would keep him for a while and let him practice flying inside and build up his endurance and exercise the wing. That will take a bit of time to get the strength back in his wing. He may not get back the 100% use of the wing that he needs to avoid predators and find food and water and keep up with a flock. If he does well, then release him where his flock is. If an adult, he already knows the area and the flock. If he was a baby when you got him, then you would need to do it differently.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Jay3,

Yes, he's an adult, and he's actually been practicing his flying inside for about 3 weeks now. After 2 weeks my vet said that he did in fact have 100% use of the wing that he needs to avoid predators and find food and water and keep up with his flock.

I take it that you're saying that under these circumstances he won't need additional food or water when released in his old territory where his flock is?

Thanks,
Howard
 

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Howard, thank you for helping him and caring about him. If it were me I would put his accustomed food out and make sure he rejoins his flock. And I would take a net just in case. Let us know how he does please.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's great; thanks cwebster. I'm on my way to get the largest bug net I can at the bird store (I'm told that that will be the safest to use if I have to use it, as the holes are very small - and it's illegal for them to sell nets with wider holes to those who don't have licenses as they aren't trained in how to free birds from them without injury).

Just in terms of the food:

(1) I take it I should probably try to place it somewhere up high, since there are cats in the area (and possibly even coyotes at night, although they are rarer - at least during the day - in virtue of it being a pretty urban area).

(2) I assume that it also won't hurt to put out water next to the food.

(3) I don't know what would be ideal for dishes - I was thinking disposable paper bowls, although I suppose I could just put out the plastic bird dishes he's been using at home and collect them later.

Thanks again!
Howard
 

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If you put food out in a place where he is not used to it being, then he is not going to find it anyway. Other animals will probably find it first. If you are sure about his being 100%, then why bring a net. I would be careful because it is easy to break a pigeons wing with a net.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Release Appears Successful

Hi all,

I released Greybird this morning and I think that it went welll. I turned on the lights in his room just before dawn to encourage him to eat, so he'd return to the wild on a full stomach. We got to his territory around 7 - 7:30 AM. I drove around for a bit to try to find his flock, and I think I found them just on the back side of the building under which I retrieved him when he was injured (to which he had made his way from the north side of the street). When I found the birds on the building I pulled into the parking lot and opened his carrier on the ground. Greybird flew directly up to the flock and they seemed to accept him very well. I heard him cooing, and within a few minutes I think that he was flying around with other members of the flock to peck at things on the side walk, and then to move to adjacent buildings. (It was, however, a bit hard to tell where he was in the mix, since the other birds looked very much like him in terms of the darker colour - which at least on the plus side made me a bit more confident that this was the right flock, as I assume that his flock is likely to be an extended family grouping).

I did also put out a container of the tippler mix and a container of water on top of a dumpster in view of Greybird and his flock, just in case it might help ease his transition back into the wild.

Thanks again for all of the help,
Howard
 

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Howard, glad to hear Greybird is back with his flock. Thank you for being such a wonderfully kind person by getting him fixed up and back home.
 

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Great update. I'm sure he is happy to be back with his friends. Good job!
 
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