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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When you are in doubt of whether to release a healthy feral pigeon youngster or rehabbed feral pigeon back to the wild, you should ask yourself these questions:


1. IMPRINTED

Has the bird become dependent on you?

Is it so tame that it flies to you, eats out of your hand, needs to be around you?

Is the bird so friendly that it would fly to anyone when it is released? Not all people are as kind to pigeons as you and I are.


2. 100% REHABBED AND SELF-SUFFICIENT

Have any/or all injuries completely healed so the bird is capable of flying great distances? He needs to have all his flying skills to out-fly predators, weather conditions, forage for food.

A bird that has suffered an injury to an eye, is usually blind in that eye,and not able to go back out in nature. He may be flying well and very healthy indeed, but his limited vision will cause him to hurt himself, by running into things on the blind side, and is easy prey to predators.

If this was a youngster, is he completely weaned and flying well on his own? Is he capable of picking up seeds well, and able to forage by himself? Has he had ample time to practice in a large enclosed area so you know he is ready? Can he negotiate turns quickly, gain speed quickly?

Does the bird exhibit vibrant health, sparkling eyes, full and soft feathering, active and noisy, and happy, and gained back all weight for his size and type of pigeon?


3. IS THE BIRD PREDATOR PROOFED?

Does the bird have the instinct to recognize its enemy, whether four-legged, or winged, or even two-legged? (Cat, racoon, dogs, hawks, and sadly ... another human being)

Does the bird stand out, easily noticed from any point that a hawk would focus on it? Is the bird a light, white or bright color that it would stand out of a flock of dark birds, or is the pigeon dark, and noticeable in a flock of white or light colored birds? Any noticeable characteristics that would make the hawk think it is lame or has injuries? It doesn't matter what color the bird is, if it is in a flock of the same color, but what will RED FLAG the bird, is if it stand out by color, injury or behavior.


4. IS THE BIRD WEATHER PROOFED?

Has the bird had enough baths to build up the powder in its feathers, so that it can fly in the rain if necessary? You can see it when he shakes himself out. Once he's got the powder he won't look like a drowned rat after he takes a bath.


HAS THE BIRD RE-ACLIMATED TO OUTDOOR TEMPERATURES.

If it is winter and there is a drastic difference between the indoor temp, where he is being rehabilitated, and outdoor temp where he is to be released, perhaps it would be best to release in spring. Or if the temp is reasonable the bird would have to be reintroduced several weeks to the outdoor temp to acclamate.


5. IS THERE AN ESTABLISHED FLOCK NEARBY THAT THE BIRD CAN JOIN?

It is preferable for the bird to be released in the area where he was found, if there is an established flock there, and where they are known to be fed. This is a big one...pigeons belong in groups, it is their safety. "safety in numbers" They warn each other of impending danger and fly in moments notice. They find food together and are also social creatures and are happy among each other.

Does the established flock have access to safety, plenty of food and water, or is this in an environment, already overcrowded /city conditions, where pigeons are frowned upon? How do the birds in the feral flock look, are they healthy robust, thriving?

Also, please make sure the day the bird is released that the forecast shows 3 days of good weather after release date. He/she will need the time to readjust to life in the outside without having bad weather to stunt his readjustment.


Please check this link on doing a SOFT RELEASE

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showpost.php?p=163739&postcount=48


6. CAN YOU LOCATE A REHABBER WHO RELEASES REHAB PIGEONS INTO AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED FLOCK, AND ALLOW YOUR BIRD TO JOIN THE REHAB GROUP, AND BE RELEASED TOGETHER WITH THEM INTO THE WILD?

This will allow your pigeon to interact and socialize with other pigeons for a time, and then adjustment in the wild is easier, as they are released in a group. This is especially beneficial for youngsters, who have no history of being in the wild. It allows the bird the safety of a group, and be an already accepted member when they all are released into the wild.


7. DOES THE BIRD ACT LIKE IT WANTS TO STAY, DOES HE SEEM HAPPY WITH YOU AND DO YOU WANT TO KEEP HIM?...AND DO YOU HAVE THE FACILITIES TO KEEP HIM?

Do you want to keep him, has he been happy and content so far? Does he ever go to the window and try to claw his way out? Are there pigeons outside waiting for him, keep coming back?

If there is any shadow of a doubt that this bird can exist safely outdoors and you cannot keep the bird please find the bird a good home or ask us and we will help to locate it a good home.



***WARNING: THERE ARE SEVERAL DISEASES SUCH AS PMV THAT A BIRD NEEDS A LENGTHY TIME TO RECOOPERATE FROM, AND EVEN THEN IT IS NOT A GUARANTEE THAT THE BIRD SHOULD OR COULD BE RELEASED. PMV PIGEONS MAY SEEM PERFECTLY NORMAL, BUT UPON STRESS WILL DISPLAY CONTORTIONS AND OTHER ISSUES OF NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS.


8. IS THERE ANY LAW IN YOUR TOWN/CITY/COUNTY/STATE THAT PROHIBITS YOU FROM KEEPING/REHABBING/ RELEASING WILD PIGEONS WITHOUT HAVING A LICENSE?

This information was brought to me by a member. For instance, in an area of Oregon, USA it is illegal for people who are not licensed rehabbers to keep, rehab, or release a wild pigeon or dove. (It's also illegal for anyone to release a domesticated dove or pigeon here-that should be law everywhere). In this case, you should locate a licensed rehabber to take over care, rehabilitation and release of the bird.




MORE RELEASE CRITERIA FOR BIRDS AND ANIMALS:
http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showpost.php?p=84984&postcount=1
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Soft Release Information

The first is from Nona on Pigeon Talk (Little bird) who releases her rehabbed birds in parks in NYC:

Every release will be a little different and you are the only one who will know if it is right. Practice makes perfect....experience is the best teacher.


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How to soft release a wild bird to a flock of similar birds.

This procedure is obviously for those baby birds that you rehab that have not been with their parents long enough to learn the ways of survival from their parents. This includes young birds on their first venture from the nest that have a mishap like a broken wing or leg, a soaking wet fledgling from a rain storm with respitory problems, etc. The most important thing is that you know for certain that the bird is strong, healthy, knows how to eat and what to eat and knows how to fly. These things you learn about the bird while it is still indoors. You must also train the bird to eat the kinds of food it will find outside.....that means you must train it to eat bread, chunks of hotdog buns, wild bird seed, cooked pasta, cooked rice, etc. By no means am I suggesting that you feed ONLY those kinds of food.......I only mean that the bird should know that it can eat such things so if that is ALL he can find, at least it won't starve. Of course, if you release to a flock that you KNOW is being fed by some kind person, then you can forego the ''garbage'' food training.

So now you are certain the bird is ready for release.......

You MUST have a wire cage and the bottom must also be wire. If the bottom isn't wire....use half inch hardware cloth to form the bottom and secure it to the cage.

Now comes the hard part....you need time...lots of time and good weather.

Put the bird in the wire cage and take it to the area you wish to release it. Set the cage in an area you know the birds will gather to feed. Scatter a bit of food to attract the wild ones and let them eat all around the wire cage. Startle the flock so they will take flight.....then after a few minutes...scatter more seed around the cage and repeat the ''eat and startle'' bit once or twice each time you take the bird out. You may need to repeat the daily outings for many days, even a couple of weeks maybe. Try to select an area that has grass so the bird can get the feel of the grass and it can watch while the flock graze and learn to eat what it finds in the dirt and it will find grit to fill it's gizzard. When the bird ''jumps'' to take flight when the flock is startled.....it is ready to flee when the flock is in danger and has learned to follow. When the bird eats grain along with the flock and the other birds ignor it in the cage as they are eating all around the cage....it is probably safe to clip the cage door open and let him choose to leave on his own. Hopefully it will follow others to find water or you could provide water at the feeding site. Make sure you do the release preparations on sunny, warm days and always get outside early......at least before 10AM and be sure to return in the evening to see if he is hanging around and in danger....if you think he is, take him home and start again tomorrow.



The second is from Cindy on Pigeon Talk (AZWhitefeather) who releases her rehabbed bird in her backyard in Meza, Arizona:
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My release situation may be different then most as I only release birds in my backyard. We live on a lake & there are other birds, ducks, etc., mingling about the backyard so the neighbors really don't pay much attention to the pigeons. Probably, for the most part, because they stay in our backyard.

This is my method:
When I have a birds that are releasable, I put them in a small cage & set it on a table on the patio (only during the day). I do this for a couple weeks so they can become acclimated to the area.

I only release in the morning. This way, if a problem arises I'm able to deal with it before sundown.
On release day, they're fed. I then release them to the 'flock' while they're eating breakfast.

This has worked well for me & the released birds.
Due to unique features, I know some of the birds in the flock have been around for 3-4 years.
 
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