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Just so happy I have to share my (or rather my pigeons) story of a very happy rescue and release. Sorry its a bit long....

I hand reared 2 rescued feral pigeons that were found inside balled up newspapers shoved inside a sealed plastic shopping bag and dumped in the gutter in hot sun. They were near death, very dehydrated and weak, and so young they did not have any feathers.

I took them home and raised them to adulthood... and was about to release them, when they suddenly came down with a bad case of pigeon pox. As they were recovering I was given another pair of pigeon orphans... these 2 were older and had some feathers, and were in better health than my first 2. They were from a house attic in my village... the owner had repaired his roof.. and found the nest.. and knew I rescued birds.

So these next 2 were easy to rear and grew quickly.. and the older 2 helped a lot teaching them how to feed and drink on their own much quicker than I could!!! In fact this 2nd pair ate so much food they got huge!!! It helped they did not have the rough start in life the plastic bag pigeons did.. and did not get pigeon pox either.

Now it was time to release them. I have released a few pigeons before, but never sure how they did after release (apart form one which used to come back to feed at my house sometimes with some wild friends). So this time I was concerned I might not be doing the right thing.

I gave them some 'training' in survival skills.. in that I fed them foods they would get in the public park... mostly fish pellets (sold to feed the pond fish) and bread. They took a long time to eat this food.. and even then clearly ate more of their seed. So I was a bit worried if they would adapt to the new diet.

I boxed them up... bus trip to the city... into the park to find the feral flock. The place is beautiful... lots of short grass, big shady trees, big lake... and no persecution of the pigeons... I see lots of tourists and locals going there feeding the pigeons and taking photos.. so the flock is well liked.

Opened the box next to the feeding feral flock, hoping my 4 would walk into the flock and join them, but... out shoots big white... shoots straight across the lake into the distance!!! Then the other 3 come out and fly up into a tree. I spend a long time watching them.. but they had no desire to come down. Eventually 2 flew off into the distance... and Mr Bald Eagle (his colour and pattern same is a Bald eagle).. just sits there looking annoyed at me lol. In the end I go home... feeling worried I did the right thing. Hoping they will cope.

I went back 2 days later.. walked all around the park.. but no sign of my pigeons. I felt for sure they had not made it and I felt very guilty about abandoning them.

3 weeks later I had to go back to the city on other business. On my way home I stopped off at the park just to have one last look for my pigeons.. not really expecting to see them.

Well I was in for a very good surprise. Straight away in the main feeding flock near the lake I spotted the distinctive white head, tail and black body of Mr Bald eagle. He looks great and happy and then out from under the bench near him come Big White.. being very bossy and pushy with the smaller ferals (she was always a bully) to get the fish pellets some woman is feeding them. It was funny how much bigger they looked to the small ferals.

Now I can tell you all a true thing here... that is pigeons do recognize and have feelings for us humans for sure..... because as there 2 were feeding they suddenly noticed me standing nearby... and froze in their tracks while all the other birds kept eating... they stared at me.. cocking their heads from side to side.. and then came running towards me to get a closer look.

After a few moments they walked around me in a circle and then went back to feeding with the other birds.. after saying their 'hello'.

As I turned around I saw my other 2 pigeons (the much smaller ones that has the pox).... one is grey with white speckles... one is very small and white with a big brown patch over its back and wings. They were also looking very healthy and happy and the spotty one had several male admirers cooing and bowing to her. They also stopped running about as I walked closer to them.. and gave me the same stare and head tilting... I think wondering if I was going to take them home!!!

Then the spotty one thought her new boyfriends were more interesting and went off with them... but the little one just came and stood on my shoe and looked longingly into my eyes. I knelt down and she let me give her a tickly on her head. She followed me to the guy selling the fish food and I bough a few bags and fed the birds.. she was taking each pellet form my hand. I got to pick her up and she was still nice and plump.. so has been doing well.

She tugged on me heartstrings a bit.. and I was temped to take her back home.. but I knew she would have a happy life in the park.. with freedom and no cage and other pigeons for friends and a mate.

As I was deciding what to do... the decision was made for me as the feral flock stopped feeding and they all suddenly burst up into the air and dig big circles around and around the lake... my 4 pigeons joining them.... then I knew they were really going to be OK and I could go home knowing I gave them a really good chance of a nice life.
 

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Great update on your birds. So glad things worked out well for them. Thanks.
 
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