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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all.

Boy, July hasn't been good to us here...but more on that another time.

Current crisis involves a sweet lil' multicolored adolescent I am calling Chroma...I'm gonna guess he's been fledged for about 2-3 weeks, because he looks young and that's when he started appearing. Amazing markings has he: dark grey coverts with white primary flight feathers and a white dot on each cheek of blue/silver. I believe he is actually the son of Beauty and Wattle, a local couple...because Beauty is almost all white with grey tailfeathers and some grey facial markings...Wattle (the female...took me quite a while to figure THAT out) is a blue band and quite a bit older than her mate (but then again, I always have dated older women, too :cool:)

Unfortunately, things are not going well. I didn't see Chroma for a day or two, then happily there he was today foraging on the sidewalk. I fed him some seed but then noticed he was only using one leg. I figured string njury but then saw his left foot seemed normal, no swelling...but his tailfeathers on that side were gone. I observed and then saw, in fact, his left leg is broken. No sign of blood or any gashes anywhere. He cannot get around well. However, he can fly just fine..but his pushoff is slow and awkward, as you'd expect.

Anyway...tried to scoop him up using a blanket then a hoop net...but while he let me get kinda close sans hardware, he wasn't having any of the eccoutrements I brought along with me.
Typically excruciating situation where the pidge is hurt but still flighted.

He went up to a neighbors porch roof, where another pidge is sitting some eggs. Then he basically sat down, alert but fluffed. A good spot...it's under a tree canopy so not visible from the sky, and the house is pretty vacant unoccupied at the moment except for the owner who comes and goes occasionally, but apparently doesn't mind the pigeons.

I was able to do Plan B, however, which was feeding him safflower seed which I doused with Medacam. Tossed the bits up on the roof and he got all of 'em, the egg-sitter stayed on her eggs. Always an estimate to determine how much meds actualy sticks to the seed, but Medacam is sticky and it's fair to say he got an equivalent full dosage for his size.....

Let him be for a bit...he squatted back down and was resting. came back an hour later and did the same thing w/ some antibiotic...again, thankfully...he ate it all ! Then went home to rig up some sort of net on a stick.

Came back an hour later he was still there, this time perched on the good foot with the bad foot actually clutching the knee of the good leg; he looked more alert and with-it...got some more seed, unmedicated, and came back and tossed it up there again. This time, he spooked and flew up to the second floor balcony. I decided to just walk away and let him calm down a bit. Checked again 20 mins later, and he was gone...which made me sad and a bit mad at myself, because really he had ingested a good amount of food for the day...had I just let him be up there he might have stayed (my mind always playing the 20-20 hindsight game).

OK, so then 10 minutes later I am in my living room and my parrots, in the picture window, start doing their sentry calls. I look outside and see 2 pigeons streaking down the middle of the avenue, one of them could have been Chroma judging by his wing color. The second one...after a second I realized...was no pigeon. Cooper Hawk. Dammit. The last one I saw here was all the way back in January. Hadn't been any since although a couple times recently I thought I saw one gliding up high.

I ran outside and followed their direction, saw nothing down the street then looked up across the street and there was a hawk perched on a roof gable. Cursing that I was right about what I saw, but also quite glad he was all alone; he hadn't gotten what he was after. He flew off after a minute.

A little later, from same window, I saw a bird descend across the street out of the corner of my eye. Went back outside and under a car in the gutter was a dead adolescent, a blue band. Definitely a hawk victim, but he had been dead a while. I buried him in my yard and said goodbye; he had enjoyed a brief life, he wasn't old, but he was a big and strong one.

As you'd imagine, at this point, I was pretty darn blown away by all of this...angry, questioning myself and just everything.

OK, so...forget the hawk for now. 90 minutes later, there's Chroma back on that roof ! I just walked up to him and wished him goodnight. I wasn't gonna spook him again...and honestly I was really, really delighted to see him again !

So...he's medicated for the night; the medacam is a strong, strong painkiller so in the very least he isn't suffering. Likely some of the antibiotic is also flowing thru his bloodstream now. He is obviously still flighted.

The roof is only about 8-1/2' off of the sidewalk, and he sits near the eave, so with a small stepladder I could conceivably have a good scoop at him at night. If I go for a nighttime grab, with a somewhat lamely rigged up net (he is certainly within range but at best I have a 50-50 batting average on catching a flighted bird - probably less).....and miss....I risk spooking him out of sight again so I wouldn't be able to keep tabs (also risk the possibility of him not coming to eat the medicated food anymore).

But...the leg's broken, for sure...and while the meds are dealing with the pain and hopefully preventing infection....and while he is alert and wily... his evasive abilities are certainly compromised; and he really cannot put any weight on that leg at all....

One of these situations...they are not catchable until they are weakened beyond flight. He's certainly not at that stage, but he is certainly hurt.

Do I get aggressive ? Or be patient, maintain my distance, maintain his trust, hopefully let him determine he is in a safe place with an instant food source..... and observe and do what I can for the time being ?

Ugh....thoughts, suggestions ????


 

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If you are going to catch him, after dark is the best time. How close is the nearest street light?
 

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Dang, Jaye! That is a tough call. I've beaten myself up so many, many times for missing that opportunity to catch a needy bird .. it all happens in a heartbeat .. your heart is beating fast cuz you're getting ready to go for the catch, and the bird .. well .. it's heart is always beating fast cuz it's a bird .. in the end .. you just gotta take your best shot when you see an opportunity while realizing that if you miss .. things get more difficult. I know you know all this very well from experience.

I think I would make a try tonight and if not successful then it's back to gaining trust mode with one more strike against you from the bird's point of view.

Bless you for caring for these pigeons as you do and for being so observant.

Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There's a neighboring porch light right adjacent to the roof, so it is a lit area.

I am actually gonna back off...last few times I sorta got worked up and aggressively went for it...disaster ensued. I have a tendency to want to 'do things' in situations where the best thing might be to act more measured...

I think just trying to keep him fed/medicated and looked after is the path to take right now....I know it's not optimal...but the situation isn't either...and I wanna balance trust and trying to keep him within view with my urge to try to intervene right now....
 

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There's a neighboring porch light right adjacent to the roof, so it is a lit area.

I am actually gonna back off...last few times I sorta got worked up and aggressively went for it...disaster ensued. I have a tendency to want to 'do things' in situations where the best thing might be to act more measured...

I think just trying to keep him fed/medicated and looked after is the path to take right now....I know it's not optimal...but the situation isn't either...and I wanna balance trust and trying to keep him within view with my urge to try to intervene right now....
Well, you've got it figured and mostly figured right. You're the person there and none of us are and can really offer any good advice compared to what you know as fact. It will all be fine!

Terry
 

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Jaye, I think that's really clever of you to get the medication to Chroma via his food.
And while his foot is mending , it will probably help a lot for him to be able to have the regular food and a `spot' to eat, so he doesn't have to walk around too much. I dunno, it would ideal to splint his leg but birds can still get around with wonky legs (and even wonky wings) that have been broken.

I tried to catch a bird 2 years ago with a broken wing and blood on it in my backyard, but he got away form me at the last moment. I thought he would die for sure, but he survived and 2 years later he has raised two broods of babies, which have become wonderful companions to us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Well...it's just one of those judgment calls. The last 4 birds I went at with an aggressive, "I gotta do something NOW" approach all ended up not making it...and I have never come close to catching a flighted pidge...only had success with ones which were very compromised in that dept.

I checked on him before going to bed, then at 5AM this morning, before sunrise. He was in same spot, sleeping. At 5AM he had his head tucked and seemed oblivious to my presence. I had some thoughts about trying a grab right there...but then when I examined the roof situation and such I realized my net would leave some escape routes even if it came down squarely on him. I do wonder if, when he is asleep, I can actually just grab him. With a footstool set on the adjacent porch I'd have an easy reach...but the trick would be not to make noise ; also he slept right near the egg-sitting mom, and if she spooked, that would spook him, too.

Anyway...I checked on him again at 7:30 and the ll' bugger was preening himself and seemed quite with-it. Went inside to mix up some more food/med batch...came back out and he was gone. I think I saw him lift off from the top of the building's upper roof. I left some on the porch roof again. Went and got a cup of coffee down the street, and upon returning I saw him on another porch roof one door down from where he had slept. Went back inside to get the rest of the medicated food and when I came out, he was back on his porch roof chowing down ! I tossed the rest up there and he and the egg-sitting mommy shared the rest, I figure.

Checked on him again 10 mins later and he was there, perched on one leg looking around. I checked again 5 mins later he was on the ground, kinda foraging, kinda sitting. When I approached him with a towel and some seed tossed, he flew back up to the porch roof and looked at me from there....

So...you know, what can you say ? At this point, he's been medicated 2x and has already eaten a good day's worth of food (safflower seed mixed with parrot pellets) for the past 2 days....and despite the leg he seems to be getting around OK; and spending a lotta time near his secure little area. That's better than a lot of the other alternatives which could have befallen him at this point...so we will keep on with it; hopefully he is feeling like he is in a safe place to rest and it is good to know he is definitely consuming the meds....

 

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There's a neighboring porch light right adjacent to the roof, so it is a lit area.

I am actually gonna back off...last few times I sorta got worked up and aggressively went for it...disaster ensued. I have a tendency to want to 'do things' in situations where the best thing might be to act more measured...

I think just trying to keep him fed/medicated and looked after is the path to take right now....I know it's not optimal...but the situation isn't either...and I wanna balance trust and trying to keep him within view with my urge to try to intervene right now....
If the bird roosts in the same place tonight, maybe you can get the neighbor to turn off the porch light for a bit, until you get him. If it's dark and the bird can't see, your odds of getting him are greatly increased.

Good for you for going with your gut. You will know when the time is right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay, Day #3 and I just he gobbled up all his medicated food again this morning. I was stressing because I was out of town most of yesterday, returning after nightfall...hoping he would be sleeping in the same spot. He wasn't there, and that made me sad and a bit mad at myself for not looking over him during the day. But in the least he had ingested his food and meds that morning, so...

So, this morning I went out at 6:30 AM and there he was, perched on the roof again ! I ran back to my house, medicated some more food and went back out. He was now down on sidewalk and there was one other feral nearby, so he again chowed down almost all of the medicated food. So this is his 3rd day on medacam and antibiotic. Have checked on him sporadically...he is hanging around in the area, on a roof, on a fence, out of sight, back in sight. Fed him a bit more. He seems alert and pretty strong, not in distress....he can still take off fast enough when pedestrians walk by or when the other ferals startle. So, given the situation, things seem to be going OK....
 

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I'm glad things seem to be going well so far. It's so frustrating missing a catch! You want to yell "I'm trying to help you, you da$%ed bird, not GET BACK HERE INTO THIS NET!" :rolleyes::eek: Bless you for taking such good care of him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Got Him !!!!!!!!

YYYYYYYYYYYESSSSSSSSSSS !!!!!!

It was friggin' cold all day today in SF, and my n'hood is always 5 degrees chillier and 5 mph windier and another helping of pea soup foggier than any other part of town...so...here we are in mid-July, where places within 30 miles of the city are recording 100-plus degree days...and we are sitting in 54 degree high temperatures.

Anyway, the lil' bugger stayed close to his porch roof today (probably because he was getting free meals every two hours of so). I have to say, I did see him up in the sky a few times and, in the air, he really didn't look injured at all...he was flying all-out and quite well, too...even doing the pigeon-sailing thing where they glide with their wings out at 45 degree angles.

Of course, he would have to do several approaches to land on that one leg, but he was managing OK.

But the chill...I gave him some more medicated food at 4:30PM and that was gonna be it for the night...I was just hoping he'd hang around after dark.

He did. But the poor guy, he wasn't looking comfortable. He was fluffed and seemed cold, and he was breathing very deeply. My initial intent was just to keep on keepin' on with my plan. He didn't seem to be getting weaker and it appears that the meds are helping him along. But then, I had to remind myself that broken legs don't heal on their own (they probably do.....but the result might be very compromised use of it for the rest of his life (and he's only about 12 weeks old or so). Even that was a big 'if'...if I would be able to maintain a regular med regimen for a week plus-plus....

So, I saw him shivering there...and decided to take a close look and scope out the situation. I approached the porch roof and reached up my hands to within less than a foot of him, to see if there would be any reaction (this was at about 10PM)...either from him or from the egg-sitting mom who was maybe 2 feet away from him. He was sleeping facing away from the porch entrance, with his butt actually sticking over the edge of the roof eave.

No reaction from either. So, I sussed out that, with about a 12 inch boost, I could easily get my hands just over and around him without much problem. I went back into my garage and grabbed a 5-gal. plastic paint can, took it back to the neighbor's porch, and plopped it down. I stepped up onto it and it was perfect. Still no reaction from the bird(s).

I got my hands up and right over Chroma's body...no reaction...then as I started thinking what number I should count down from...the mom spooked and dashed out of her nest, wing-whipping. Soon as I heard her I just went for it. Both hands down on each side of his body, his head between my two index fingers. He had obviously been completely asleep as for the first second there was no reaction from him whatsoever...then he squealed and tried to boost himself forward and up, but I had a secure handle on him. Brought him to my chest, stepped down, and voila ! That was that. Whew.

He is in a cage right next to me, on heat, lights off. He snarfed down another helping of food and actually seemed quite interested in what the heck was going on while the lights were on.

I will post a pic tom'w...but first thing it's gonna be off the the vet !

Amazing, isn't it ? Exactly 24 hours ago I really thought he was likely dead. And now he is on his way to a new lease on his life....
 

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Is Chroma old enough to be the mate of the hen on the nest?
Or just a coincidence of location that he (?) was roosting nearby?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That's a good Q....I'd have to say no, however. He seems very young...and as I mentioned, he didn't start appearing until a few weeks ago. His cere area looks fledgling/adolescent.

It could be that the egg sitter is actually his mom onto the next round of eggs (?).... although his markings are such that I still believe him to be the baby of Beauty and Wattle.

One thing he did this afternoon which made my heart just jump....at one point I was talking to a neighbor on the sidewalk...and I kept hearing a squeaker somewhere squeaking...which was funny because in that location I didn't know of any nests. I turned around...and it was Chroma perched one legged on the fence...and he was squeaking at ME (where's my lunch, pappy ?) :eek:

So, I am 99% sure he's a young'un...
 

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WOW! Quite a cliff hanger, Jaye!!

SO GLAD you were able to catch him!!

Will be avidly looking forward to positive updates!!

Love, Hugs and Scritches

Shi :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well....took him to the vet. On ethe positive side, the leg is just fractured so it is splintable.

On the more serious side, he has an area where he sustained a serious gash...the sking is basically torn away and there's not enough there to stitch back together, according to the vet. She is very concerned about the viability of the bird.

They are going to debrade the forming scab, remove the detritus and stuc feathers, cleanse and dress the wound, splint the leg, and I am gonna go get him.

But I have a question about that injury. I am going to start another thread about it.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
He's back 'home' from the vets. The fracture wasn't bad, as I said. He has flayed skin on his upper leg, it has been cleaned, treated, and had tegoderm put over it. The fracture has been splinted.

He is eating well and alert...and is on a whole regimen of meds....cipro, metronidizole, and metacam. I am glad I got him...his injuries were hidden underneath him and it would have been dicey as to whether or not simply food-medicating him while he remained free would have gotten him much further or not....

Of course, the greater questions remain...which I ponder from time to time.......such as why a pigeon who is smart, evasive, and quick enough to escape a hawk would be rewarded with, instead of a long life, a slow painful death...?

But those are one of the many unanswerables for now, I suppose....

Important thing here is he is on his way back to recovery....pic up now...ain't he cute ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
His follow up appointment went really well...the leg is healing wonderfully, no sign of infection. He is eating well and is alert. He is starting to put some weight on the bad leg. The doc said given her druthers she would have rather gone with a heavier splint for the fracture, but the splint would have impacted the area of the leg which was flayed, so she decided the best course was a lighter splint and more room for the upper leg to heal.

He's a good guy...probably beginning to get hecka bored, though...

 

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He's adorable! Thank you so much for helping him. Thank goodness you were able to catch him! What a little sweetheart, I wish there were more people like you in this world :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
He's Free

Just one more update on Chroma....I took that splint off of him 5 days ago and it took him about 2 days to even start putting weight on the leg. It also initially appeared his toes were limp with no feeling.
I kept him on medacam and neoglucon.
By Wednesday he was walking on it, gingerly, and the toes were beginning to move.
By yesterday he could use it pretty well...would even jump to the sidebars of his cage and cling using it. Definitey still favored the good leg, but he can walk on it and push off with it.

So about 15 minutes ago, I toweled him, walked outside with him struggling in the towel, fed my white feral pal Beauty on the sidewalk...and released Chroma right near the neighbor's roof where I had grabbed him.

He flew straight up to the same roof and stood there, on both feet, with that "huh ? wha ? I'm free ?" sorta pigeon expression on his face...and there you have it. He looks a bit skinnier than when he came in, but not unhealthily so...he wasn't a great eater while caged...he really wanted to get back out.

So...y'all send him your best wishes. Mr. Chroma gets a second chance...;) :D
 
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