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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pigeons tried to nest in the crawlspace in the shop where I work. Two adults were chased out and the boss sealed up the hole in the roof where they got in. A few days passed.
And last night: the telltale squealing of a hungry squab we didn't know was there.

I got up into the roof and grabbed the little fella. He (or she) looks to be about three weeks old. He was famished, so I took him home and have been feeding him, much to his delight. Very feisty, friendly and strong!

But I feel that on some level, I've done a bad thing. The ideal would have been to reopen the hole in the roof and let the parents back in to raise him, but they would have bought friends and the boss would have gone ballistic. And there was nowhere to leave him outside where he wouldn't have been exposed and in danger.

I was a vet nurse for a while and raised two lost babies that clients had found and brought in (I was supposed to euthanase them, but couldn't, even though I was breaking local law by refusing. I love pigeons, always have). The first one was absolutely devoted to me, very clever and the best bird pal I ever had. The second was more businesslike, sort of leery of me, but grew up good and strong.

The mistake I made was releasing both of them. I now realise that it's likely they died of starvation, or car, or cat, or dog once they were free. I will feel eternally awful about this. I did not know about attempting a "soft release" at that time and feel like scum.

So now I have baby #3, ("Corny"), who seems like he will be a very friendly bird, like the first one. If he does imprint on me, and it seems to be going that way, releasing will be difficult. Unless I can rehome him, I think I'm stuck with a feathered companion.

Should I deliberately give him the "cold shoulder' so that he doesn't grow too attached? Denying him affection, which he clearly wants as much as he wants food (or am I just "projecting"?), seems cruel.

I could neither kill him nor let him starve. But now I feel that I've doomed him to an unnatural life because I "rescued" him. Did I do the right thing? Can a lone pigeon be truly happy living with people? (I am already researching pigeon nappies/diapers on teh interweb. Lordy).

Moral support, and philosophical musings, please!
 

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My own view is that you firstly did the right thing by rescuing this little one.

I know there are people on here that have had, or do have, a house pigeon, and it seems to work out.

Wherever you are, is there any place where pigeons are accepted and from where a soft release with other pigeons may be possible, if you did decide to go that way?

I have a pigeon right here who literally came in out of the cold, injured, hungry and underweight. He is an adult, and I now believe his attitude to me indicates that he has had a lot of previous human contact and may well have been raised by someone. Even when he goes to our rescue aviary of a weekend to get sun and fresh air and be with pigeons, he seems to want me to be near him so he can come to me. I'd guess he was released by someone to find his own way.

If he stays with you,maybe you could at some future time think about adopting a mate for him. Early days, though, 'badger. At the moment he will need your support. See how he relates to you as he gets a little older, becomes a 'juvenile' I'd suggest.

I'm sure others will have their views, too.

John
 

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Hi Lonelybadger,


Oh I feel very good about your rescueing the recent youngster from his privation and doom.

You can -

A: Raise him to be one of your family, with a view to keeping him...

...or,


B: You can raise him AS one of your family, as an adopted logistical Orphan, to be released, even as his biological parents would have cared for him, tended to him, overseen and supervised his progress, and seen him grow up and become self sufficient and independant and on-his-own, able and competent and success-bound.


If 'B', there are things you can do now, to embrace the option. And, this does not mean the two of you do not 'Bind' or 'Bond' to some degree, or even to a profound degree, since doing so is entirely Natural for both parties.


What is entirely Natural also, is that ( if raised appropriately, ) the youngster grows up, and, assumes feelings of self independance and desires for fullfillment and action, which signal the Bond to dissolve, which it will, and, all you need to do is respect this, be sensitive to it, and to it's timing, and let his Natural progress and growth occur without compromising it.

This is easy to do, and very fulfilling.


The ones you released years ago...they may well have made out just fine.


I get many escaped Wedding 'Doves' ( all White Pigeons ), occasional Banded Pigeons, showing up in the outdoors wild/feral Flock here...who I know had never had any opportunity to be on their own in the out of doors, yet, are seen to be doing wonderfully well...elect feral Mates, and carry on with their Lifes splendidly.

So long as such Birds find wild/feral others to join, they soon figure things out and learn from the others, and become entirely successful and savvy members of the Wild/Feral World...even if shy or nervious at first.


...and, I have been given 'pets' who had spent from babyhood, their whole so-far lives ( ie five years or more ) in a Cage...or, downed Racers who similarly had spent their life in a pen or loft, who had no experience at all in the outside world other than racing from point A to point B, and, these Birds would very likely have persihed if released, but, for spending some time in here, among the pre-release recoverd Wild and Feral ones, they absorb the manner and awares and modes of being, and the social skills, to where, if released, they would be as a Duck-to-Water.


If you wish to raise this youngster as one of your family, and, for release, I would be glad to tell you how.



Phil
Lv
 

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Dear LonelyBadger-

He was completely innocent and totally doomed without you and you have given him a chance at his life, whether as a pet or a feral.

Brilliant as pigeons are at adapting, he will probably do very well in either case.

I think what you are doing is right. I bet Corny would agree.

Boni's pigeon pants at www.BirdWearOnline.com work great!

You've come to the exact right place for information and support.

I'm glad you saved Corny. Thank you!
 

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Lonelybadger, thanks for helping this little guy out.

The thought that occurred to me was that pigeons almost always lay two eggs and therefore generally raise a pair of babies together. Is there a chance you may have missed seeing this one's sibling, could he have wandered a bit to an area you may have not noticed?

Karyn
 

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Hi Lonely Badger,

You certainly did the right thing rescuing him but as Dobato says, check for a second one

There are some sanctuaries and wildlife hospitals that release the pigeons on-site, so they have the best of both worlds: living with the flock and a food supply and supervision...maybe one near you could help, either now or at the release stage.

If you are in a UK, check out this list of sanctuaries that will treat a pigeon or dove

If you are not in the UK , let us know and we will try to find someone that can help if required. There is no need to make your mind up just yet about what to do, but you can research your options!

Please keep us updated!

Cynthia
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thankyou, all!

That was wonderful input! After last night (see below) I feel that I did do the right thing. Thankyou for helping to salve my conscience.

Sorry for not replying sooner- very busy at work, feeding Corny etc.

And Karyn and others: I too was worried that there was a second baby. I searched for Corny's sibling and didn't find or hear anything. But at work last night another baby pigeon plummeted from another part of the ceiling in amongst the customers. However, he was older than Corny, so there was clearly more than one family up there. This baby, however, was on his last legs. His parents had clearly been unable to get to him to feed him, and even though he looked only a week away from going it on his own, he had starved. He didn't make it through the night. I went home with teary eyes and a pounding headache. I had to report this to the boss, who will probably call Animal Control. However, "Animal Control" vis a vis pigeons often seems to end in sadness. I am at home today and pretending it's all not happening. I can only pray that there were only two families up there.

Co-workers cannot understand my concern. "What I don't understand is why you think it's your responsibility", said one. I don't see why it wouldn't be my responsibility, especially when nobody else cares.

Now, back to Corny. He is perfectly capable of eating semi-solid food, and can drink well, and when I ignore him after handfeeding him enough to stop him whining, his "peck" instinct kicks in and he starts pecking at real (or imaginary) dots on the floor. However, he doesn't seem to connect this with the acquisition of food. The previous squabs I raised picked up the pecking-to-eat idea very quickly. Pretending to peck at food with my fingers is hopeless, as he just watches my fingers, not the food, and thinks that the food magically comes out of them. I currently have an assortment of food on a high-contrast floor, and my hands buried in my armpits, while he yells at me.

Is he just being a brat? And me, a pushover? I hate to think that he's hungry and always cave in and hand-feed, which is what he wants. I think the answer is to be tough and keep him a bit hungry until he keeps pecking and makes the connection.

(Oh! Wait! Concentration on a seed... trying... trying... ah! he got it! And a confused look and more squealing. :/ I'm sure he'll get it.. I just have to be strong... :p )

He's a nice little bugger. I wouldn't be averse to keeping him if a soft release doesn't work out, but only if he seems really happy with the idea. In the meantime I will see if there are any pigeon-fanciers in town who may be able to help.

It seems that regarding pigeons, people either love them or hate them, and the haters are in the majority. Sigh.

(OK... pecking, with real results, in earnest now, though while squealing in apparent disgust. A mighty breakthrough, and all while you were reading! Woot!)
 

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The McDonald Family Animal Rescue are pigeon lovers in Edmonton...if you need help:

On the home page click on "The Animals" and then "Pigeon Rescue":

For the past two years The McDonald Family Animal Rescue has been rescuing, rehabilitating and either releasing or offering sanctuary to feral pigeons in the Edmonton area. With the help of pigeon lover Dr.Steele at the Southside Animal Hospital, we have offered medical care to one of the most disregarded wild animals to call our country home.

There are no other rescues in the Edmonton area that accepts both domestic and feral pigeons and doesn't euthanize them. We strongly believe that all animals deserve the same level of respect and care no matter the species. Pigeons have an undeserved bad reputation and are mistreated severely by the average citizen. Every year, thousands of pigeons fall victim to humans who set out to poison, trap and abuse them; fledglings are thrown from their nests by irritated business owners whose awnings some pigeons call home and left to die on the sidewalk. Adults foraging for food on the sidewalk are kicked by passers-by. Corn is laced with poison causing prolonged, painful deaths.

We currently have a flock of seven pigeons that were unable to be released. They all have different stories; some are victims of car/pigeon collisions, a couple came to us as fledglings whose parents had been poisoned. One was rescued from an auction where she was going to be given away for use as a training tool for hunting dogs. All would have faced certain death if they hadn’t been brought to us. Dr.Steele is equally concerned about the welfare of pigeons and often has a few in the back of the clinic being treated at her own expense. She treats all of our feral friends with the same love and care that she displays with all of the animals we bring her.

Our pigeons currently live in a 10’x6’x6’ aviary in our yard. They are not allowed to reproduce; we replace their eggs with plastic ones to keep them from overlaying. If we just took their eggs away, they would continue to lay and deplete their calcium levels. Controlling their population is important; if we allowed them to breed, we would quickly run out of space for new pigeons that need our help.

If you have or know of a pigeon in need of rescue, don't hesitate to contact us!

(780) 633 - 7117
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's awesome, Feefo

Thanks very much. I've bookmarked it. I'm sure they're inundated with squabs at this time of year, so I will continue to raise Corny myself and call them if there are problems down the track. I will also call them now to see what can be done about the situation at our shop. It seems that the it's illegal to keep pigeons without a license in the city of Edmonton, but it is also illegal to try and control pigeons through cruel methods, so that's a plus.
 
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