Pigeon-Talk banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,525 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me say first - I'm not knocking anyones "phrases" ("Normal Pigeon life").
I'm just curious as to the different opinions about raising "feral" babies or nursing an injured adult back to good health - and then, What to do with it?
Two of my first three pigeons were "ferals". The first one was a juvenile that couldn't fly yet and was being chased by 3 dogs "Petey". I finished raising him, taught him to eat and when he was flying good I took him to the local flock (near where he was found) and tried to release him. The adult males attacked him and he came running to me for protection - that was it, he came back home with me. The second was an adult hen (depleted of calcium) sitting in the middle of the turnpike (she couldn't walk). With little nursing, good food, vitamins and calcium, "Spaulding" (the name of the turnpike) was good as new and had no desire to leave. She eventually gave me my first baby (Mia) and lived a long happy life. That was 15 years ago, and what got me hooked on pigeons!
My point is, Pigeons are a "Domestic" bird. Very social to people and other pigeons. AND very intelligent. They've been known to walk right up to people and in your home if their sick. They know where to get help (and food)
Aren't they considered "accidentals" (domestic birds that got loose and thrived), like the flocks of domestic lovebirds and cockatiels down south that are starting to migrate north in the U.S.
So many people that take in an injured or abandoned baby pigeon feel it is their duty to set it free back in the wild.
SO, what IS a "Normal Pigeon Life"? Is it rescuing a domestic bird, nursing it back to health and giving it a good home with human socialization, food, shelter and other feathered friends OR sending it back in the wild to fend for itself and take its chances again?
I'm NOT advocating either (I know what I would do). I'm just curious as to the opinions of other "pigeon keepers"
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,396 Posts
I think it is always best to be able to release a wild pigeon back to the wild-given the right circumstances, but there are many variables.

If I had a bird that had been rehabbed and wanted to stay, I would keep him or find a home for him, that is one smart bird that knows when he has got it good, especially if the flock it was being released to wasn't thriving!!!

If the flock has very limited resources for food and water and a good place to live and predators including the human kind, I doubt I would release it.

If it is a young bird, it is always best to release with a group of other youngsters it is familiar with, otherwise the odds might be against it beeing able to socialize.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
My opinion; Pigeons are different. I agree they are domestic. Could this be why they "imprint" so readily with their human caregivers? Other wild birds I have rescued, will remind you they are wild and most can't wait to be released! Kinda reminds me of the wild mustangs and burro's that are rounded up, and then adopted. Many, make very fine "domesticated" equines. I feel a pigeon that has had close contact with a human is put at great risk if released. They might be able to adjust (food/flocks), but my fear is, a lot of people really dislike pigeons. A "human liking" pigeon could approach the wrong person!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,478 Posts
I think this is an excellent topic.

Feral creatures are indeed formerly domestic but, as you say, have thrived (and propagated) in a kind of 'wild' state. They may get some food from humans, but are not 'looked after' by them. I think pigeons are a special case, as they seem to have an affinity with people bred into them.

My view is that there's no definitive answer :) Normal (feral) pigeon life, I'd say, is the freedom to go where it chooses, to forage, roost and breed where and when it can. To as great a degree as possible, we give our permanent residents those things and more, and I do believe that unreleasables should be given the opportunity to behave as naturally as possible, even if they do sit dummy eggs and are confined.

I've taken in three ferals from my balcony and released them after checking their health, but they were all adults. One, Capuccino, I kept in for several weeks for a wound on his back to heal - he roosts out there as he has done for a couple of years or more, and that is for him and a handful of others 'normal' pigeon life. Had a few 'winter squeakers' who had about given up, weak and malnourished, and a couple of them are now residents in our aviary - more of an emotion-based decision than a logical one, really.

Generally, if a pigeon has had PMV, is flightless, disabled to the extent where it probably wouldn't cope or is just too tame for its own good - like a handful of ours (mostly wood pigeons and collared doves), human-raised by the original rescuer - then I'd see it as a keeper. If it's fit and well, and a good weight, then it should really be free, albeit a short life for most ferals.

As Treesa suggests, youngsters should be 'soft released' if possible. We do have a law in the UK about abandonment of animals, and that includes releasing rescued animals and birds when they are not fit for release, do not have the the necessary survival skills developed or are released into an unsuitable environment.

John
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,389 Posts
Pigeons are good for breeding 10-12 years-maybe longer--..6-8 are the best years.
I did keep 2 cock birds for 20 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,336 Posts
Their life expectancy in the wild is 2 to 3 years. Pigeons that belong to a flock that is tended by a human, and balcony pigeons usually live a little bit longer, providing they are not culled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
I think you have to look at each scenario as many of you have suggested.As long as you have the pigeons best interest in mind you can't go wrong.They do seem to want to interact with humans more so then any other "wild" bird I have seen or assisted...even the ducks I have helped in the past wont come up and sit on my lap whereas my pijy will fly right to anyones should now and he was a feral. Great topic and I think most on this site always choose to do the right thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,504 Posts
Normal pigeons’ life of my ferals consists of raising up in the morning, waiting for me to give food, eating, hanging on my roof, occasional flight of joy around my property, tending after babies on the palm tree, foraging on the lawn, moving twigs up and down, bathing and sunbathing, following me around and begging for food, afternoon feeding and sleep. Whenever possible, they try to get in the coop with my rescued birds. Their average life span is 3~5 years.
Abnormal pigeons’ life of my rehabs consists of raising up in the morning, waiting for me to give food, eating, hanging in the coop or in cages, exercise flight inside the coop or wing flapping who cannot fly, tending after nests and dummy eggs, foraging on the coop floor, moving nesting material up and down, bathing and sunbathing, following me around the coop and begging for food, afternoon feeding and sleep. Whoever is in the condition to fly, gets option to go out and come back when weather allows. Their life expectancy is 10~15 years, even more.
When I rescue pigeon, after treatment, if it is adult bird and releasable, I let him go. If he wants to stay, I let him stay.
If it is non-releasable, than it stays and I mate him/her with another one of my tenants.
Young orphaned babies, after weaning, I place in cage close to some adult pair. This way baby watches and learns. I let them out to fly with adults and they come back. Young birds also stay. They also get mated with some other bird from the coop. Someday, I’ll run out of space, but then I’ll need to build bigger coop.:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,207 Posts
This is a good thread and an important one. In my experience, each bird will ultimately "tell" you what it wants to do. If it wants to be free, then I make every effort to see that it is healed/healthy/grown and has the skills to survive on its own, and if it wants to stay .. then it stays.

The sad cases for me are the adult and young adult ferals that are so very wild and absolutely terrified of human contact. I don't get many of these as most of the pigeons are pretty calm and trusting when it comes to human contact. Sadly, I have had a few over the years that never, ever developed any trust of me and were always terrified when I had to clean, feed, and medicate. I have one such now that's been here for probably 3 years .. still just goes ballistic when I get within two feet of it .. very, very sad. It is missing most of one wing and can never be released.

Terry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,504 Posts
The sad cases for me are the adult and young adult ferals that are so very wild and absolutely terrified of human contact. I don't get many of these as most of the pigeons are pretty calm and trusting when it comes to human contact. Sadly, I have had a few over the years that never, ever developed any trust of me and were always terrified when I had to clean, feed, and medicate. I have one such now that's been here for probably 3 years .. still just goes ballistic when I get within two feet of it .. very, very sad. It is missing most of one wing and can never be released.
Terry, you may try to pair him/her with another bird. Generally they calm down when they have a mate and stop panicking when I'm arround.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,336 Posts
still just goes ballistic when I get within two feet of it .. very, very sad. It is missing most of one wing and can never be released.
That is very sad, and also very typical of some wood pigeons. Irakles panics and jumps about and lands on his back if I speak, even if I am outside the aviary. He sets the 3 doves and two other woodies that share the aviary with him off by doing that and I have an erruption of hysterical birds as a result. This is one of the reasons why some sanctuaries put all disabled woodies to sleep :(

But adapting to humans and adapting to captivity are two different things, our other wild woodies just avoid us when we go into the aviary, without panicking, and even Irakles is fine 99.999% of the time as I am not there to upset him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,301 Posts
Let me say first - I'm not knocking anyones "phrases" ("Normal Pigeon life").
I'm just curious as to the different opinions about raising "feral" babies or nursing an injured adult back to good health - and then, What to do with it?
Two of my first three pigeons were "ferals". The first one was a juvenile that couldn't fly yet and was being chased by 3 dogs "Petey". I finished raising him, taught him to eat and when he was flying good I took him to the local flock (near where he was found) and tried to release him. The adult males attacked him and he came running to me for protection - that was it, he came back home with me. The second was an adult hen (depleted of calcium) sitting in the middle of the turnpike (she couldn't walk). With little nursing, good food, vitamins and calcium, "Spaulding" (the name of the turnpike) was good as new and had no desire to leave. She eventually gave me my first baby (Mia) and lived a long happy life. That was 15 years ago, and what got me hooked on pigeons!
My point is, Pigeons are a "Domestic" bird. Very social to people and other pigeons. AND very intelligent. They've been known to walk right up to people and in your home if their sick. They know where to get help (and food)
Aren't they considered "accidentals" (domestic birds that got loose and thrived), like the flocks of domestic lovebirds and cockatiels down south that are starting to migrate north in the U.S.
So many people that take in an injured or abandoned baby pigeon feel it is their duty to set it free back in the wild.
SO, what IS a "Normal Pigeon Life"? Is it rescuing a domestic bird, nursing it back to health and giving it a good home with human socialization, food, shelter and other feathered friends OR sending it back in the wild to fend for itself and take its chances again?
I'm NOT advocating either (I know what I would do). I'm just curious as to the opinions of other "pigeon keepers"
IMO, normal is anything opposite of abnormal....so, no I do not see it as abnormal to keep a feral pigeon and it is not abnormal to release it responsibley if that is what you think is best.:) as far as a normal feral pigeon's life, here is info on ferals from people who have studied their lives, I suppose this information tells of a "normal" feral pigeons life.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_Pigeon

But, I would say a domestic life would be "normal" for them too as they are feral.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top