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Discussion Starter #1
Hello - I just registered for this site so I could ask for help. I am a long-time bird lover, currently with a rose-breasted cockatoo, 2 Meyers parrots, and approximately 120 finches (~100 zebras, ~20 society, 2 spice) and two canaries. All but one parrot are rescues. I have a large industrial building in the Los Angeles area and have 1000 square feet of aviary space for the finches on the upper floor with skylights, as well as a large sunlit room downstairs for the three big birds. Everyone in the area knows about my bird building, so sometimes I will get a surprise visit from someone with a sick or needy bird. But today for the first time a nearby business employee basically dumped a terribly sick wild pigeon into my arms in a towel.

While I am a lover of all birds, I have never had any urge to own a pigeon (finches are my true love in bird land), and after assessing the situation both with the bird physically and online, I realized that pigeons have their own special needs and I am not familiar with them. This particular bird was alert and bright-eyed, but could not fly, had no sense of balance, and was lurching and having periodic seizures every couple of minutes. It seemed very disoriented. In my experience with both my parrots and finches, death would be next, and soon. None of them would ever live through what I saw this pigeon go through.

But 8 hours later it is still alive.

Upon receiving the pigeon I immediately put it in a small cage with a towel and paper towels so it couldn't hurt itself during its seizures, which were awful to watch. I put it under indirect sunlight to warm it, and held water for it to drink. It kind of licked at if between seizures, but consumed no meaningful amount. I made it emergency bird soft food and bird baby food, and held it to its beak for 20 minutes off and on. Strangely, it seemed to really like being held by me, but only kind of licked at the food. After 3 hours the seizures gradually faded away, and it is now in what appears to be a somewhat rigid or partially paralyzed position just laying down. It has no problem holding its head up. It seems relaxed and pain-freWhat concerns me most is that it has had NO food since I received it this morning. It will not eat, either when I try to feed wet soft food or a variety of dry seed and grains.

Is there any local pigeon expert who can help me or take this bird off my hands? I really don't have much available time to really get to know it and I am very afraid it will die soon if it doesn't eat. Thanks !
 

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Thank you for helping this needy bird.

I'm sure you know this, but I have to mention it anyway. Please isolate bird from your other birds and use strict hygene when handling this bird.

It could possibly be PMV. The bird can be saved, but needs supportive care. Please read the following and follow instructions carefully. http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/f107/pigeon-paramyxovirus-aka-pmv-ppmv-pmv1-pigeon-12250.html

The bird is no doubt starving and that is why it is unable to fly and it needs to be hand fed. Here are instructions on hand feeding peas: http://www.pigeonrescue.co.uk/peasandcorn.htm
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thank you so much for your quick response and the video. I just got done feeding the pigeon peas and corn. Unfortunately, although the technique shown in the video does work, this pigeon is not nearly as receptive to having food gently shoved down its throat. It took about 20 minutes to get 22 peas and corn kernels down, and he struggled a bit with most of them and threw out about half. He seemed to start getting upset so I took a break, but I know he needs more food. I find this quite strange in a wild bird (and he is definitely wild), but he just wants to lay down in my lap and be petted. He did stand up after I fed him, but can't really walk. The seizures, tremors, and disorientation seem to be completely gone now - even before he ate anything. Would they be gone that fast with PMV? I have a microscope and do some of my own lab work, but obviously viruses and most bacteria are beyond my ability. And my husband draws the line at paying vet bills for wild birds (I don't blame him - the cost of my bird operation is unbelievable).

And I am very concerned about my other birds. We have been through a few diseases already - ornithosis (which I contracted as well - terrible experience), AGY (killed my other galah), and currently treating for protozoa with ronidizole in the water, which the pigeon has been getting too in the tiny bit of water it has sipped. I cannot seem to find a straight answer in any website about whether pigeon PMV is transmittable to psitterines or other species of passerines. Do you know the answer to that? The pigeon was outside under some plants in indirect sunlight during the daytime yesterday and seemed to very much like its spot when the seizures subsided (our weather in LA is perfect right now). But I had to bring it into our warehouse at night for protection, and there is common airflow through the building with no way to completely isolate anything here. Every disease we have been through has been present simultaneously on both floors of my building, in spite of my obsessive use of Virkon-S and other disinfectants. I am especially concerned about my remaining cockatoo Marvin who is an older bird.

Most importantly, I have seen several mentions on this site of people who will come pick up a sick or injured pigeon and take care of it. Is there anyone in my area who can take the bird and care for it properly? My hands are truly too full already with all my own birds.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry to blow up this thread with two posts in a row, but I still have a few questions about feeding peas and corn. I have fed the pigeon three times now, and each time is a struggle. Having looked a little closer at the feeding video you linked earlier, it seems to have been made specifically for young pigeons. The size of this pigeon seems to be quite small compared to other wild pigeons in the area, but it does seem to be an adult bird. It definitely does not care to have food shoved down its throat. But it also seems to have zero interest in any food I have presented, and that was a wide variety, including what I throw out to my two "outside pigeons", Ming and Mung, every day, which they love. So it is a bit of an ordeal to feed this bird, and I can't seem to get it to eat more than twenty pieces at a time. He struggles and squirms and starts to get traumatized. It's crop is not full when we quit. Will it be ok to feed the smaller amount more often?

Also, is it common for a sick wild pigeon to want nothing more than to roost in your hand? As I mentioned, it is a relatively small pigeon, and most of its body fits nicely in my hand. It seems to want nothing more than to be on my hand. The only time it stands up is to get on my hand, and if I let it lay down in my hand he wants nothing else. I think he would stay there all day. Are all pigeons like that? No wild finch or parrot would ever do anything like that. Do pigeons bond that quickly? I absolutely cannot have another bonded bird. I already struggle to find together time for my male galah and my male Meyers, not to mention two bonded (to me) blind Society finches. And if no one comes to my aid and takes the bird and it does become bonded, will it then be safe to release it back to the wild?

Thanks in advance for any info.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One more, hopefully right side up this time. He is standing, walks very shakily, just kind of lays and contemplates his food and water but eats and drinks nothing.
 

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Last post if there is no volunteer somewhere in LA to help. I just want to summarize the situation. This pigeon was given to me completely disoriented and having violent seizures. It has made a remarkable recovery from those symptoms. It is very sweet and actually comes to me to be held. It looks healthy and hydrated and comfortable, although its movements are jerky and stiff. The big problem is it really, really doesn't seem to want to eat or drink. Anything. It is progressively harder to hand feed it peas and corn. Last feeding I could only get it to eat 6. He ate a total of 46 pieces today and would barely lick any water. He will die at this rate. I have about 125 birds and I spent about 2 1/2 hours today trying to feed him. I cannot do that anymore or my other birds will suffer. I have a deep knowledge and feel for sick finches but don't know enough about the needs and handling of a sick pigeon to be an effective caregiver. It will be a real shame if this one dies because I feel like it has a real chance with someone who understands pigeons. Just thought I'd give out one more cry for help before I stop harassing you all. I do appreciate the advice given.

***One more thing - I don't know if this is a clue to what is wrong or if it is common to pigeons but this one exudes a kind of sickly-sweet smell that isn't terrible but isn't really pleasant either. I have never smelled this smell on my parrots or finches.
 

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The bird is seeking warmth, which it also needs to heal.

did you check the link on PMV?

Is the bird pooping any solids?

A pigeon normally will eat only about a tablespoon of seed at one meal, babies eat more, he may not need more, just more frequent feedings.

Have you checked online for a local rehabber or called any avian vets to see if they can refer you to a pigeon rehabber/specialist?
 

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Thank you.
I figured out the hand/warmth connection last night and put him (her?) on a heating pad. I always give a bird warmth first thing for injury or sickness but it has been quite warm here so I didn't see a need for additional heat. I was wrong, he seems to like the heating pad a lot. I have a hospital cage with heat lamps and heated perch for my finches, but it is too small for him.

I decided to follow the bird's lead in how much to feed him. He seems receptive to between 10-20 pea or corn kernels per feeding, then he really starts to really struggle against more. He does seem to want to eat more often, but I was concerned about that, having read online that a pigeon's crop has to empty completely between meals or sour crop and other problems could surface. I am very familiar with a baby finch crop which is transparent, but my fingers don't have the experience necessary to determine the status of this pigeon's crop. I am feeding every 3 - 3 1/2 hours. He is still just barely sipping water, but there is a very high water content in the peas and corn so I'm hoping that will be enough. It almost seems as if he is unable to suck up water. In fact he seems a little paralyzed in general. He does not appear dehydrated to me.

His poops do have well-formed dark-greenish feces, white urates and small amount of urine. They actually look pretty good to me. Not thirty plus like I read online though - maybe twenty something and a bit smaller than pea size.

Is it possible this could be some sort of trauma from Fourth of July fireworks? There were serious pyrotechnics shows and huge private illegal explosions all over this area, very close. I just don't understand the intense seizures I witnessed for a few hours, then gone before any treatment other than containment - and no more seizures at all since then. No outward physical sign of any injury, though.

We are blessed to have two avian vets close by, but neither is aware of rehabbers that will take feral pigeons. Hummingbirds, mockingbirds, just about any wild birds - but not pigeons. Humane Society here will just euthanize. I am somewhat surprised by the complete lack of interest in pigeons in such a large urban area as Los Angeles. Born and raised in LA myself I already knew that bird enthusiasm runs pretty low here, because people here spend their lives on freeways going to stressful jobs and use weekends to de-stress from the week. The investment of time and energy to do anything serious with birds just doesn't make sense to people here. But I can't believe there is not one pigeon rehabber to be found in a metropolis this size. I have one more place to check out when I get time tomorrow. Will check with local pigeon association if one exists here. Doesn't Mike Tyson live out here somewhere? I heard he was into pigeons : ))

Meanwhile, if anyone local reads this, I still need someone to take and rehab this bird.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Happy ending to this story - well, my part anyway. As you can read below, GimpieLover responded when she saw this thread and as of this morning the pigeon is now safely in her expert hands. I think she will agree it has a really good chance of recovery. What a wonderful woman and a blessing to the bird community. I'm sure she is very busy with all she has going on, but hopefully she may find a minute in a few days to update this thread with the status of this bird, once it is stabilized and she knows what the problem is.

I must admit I will already miss the bird (birds get to me like nothing else), but my heart remains with finches, as intriguing and beautiful as pigeons are. So unless another needy pigeon makes its way into my life, I'll be going now. Thank you Skyeking for your guidance.

If anyone ever needs help or advice with a finch, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].
 

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I always find a minute for the birds =)
Even quote un-quote temporarily "retired" lol
I am guess this guys issue is toxicity from that sticky oil nastyness that was under his wing and all along his side. no skin burns, but very difficult to get off.
He has been cleaned up, I'm going to give him another go around tomorrow to make 100% sure it's all gone. Especially since he is starting to groom, I don't want him ingesting anymore of that crud.
His stiff movements have loosened up with the stickyness off as well.
Keeping a careful eye on his droppings watching for organ troubles, so far he looks pretty good other than underweight and dehydrated.
I'll keep everyone posted on his hopefully speedy recovery
 

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Pigeon is doing great. Started self feeding today. Improvement to his condition improves drastically daily, I don't see any reason he shouldn't make a full recovery and will be releasable once waterproof again.
 
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