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Pigeon crisis

August 16th, 2006, 09:41 AM
One of my cats injured a baby pigeon this morning and I'm afraid it was my fault. The nest (if a few sticks stuck together with guano can be called a nest) is on top of a high metal locker on my back porch - so high that for the longest time I couldn't see the babies huddled in the corner - and lately they've been doing their usual wing-flapping fan dance, preparing to strike out on their own. So I brought all the cats inside this morning - except Bill - who sometimes goes around the block to visit the neighbours. Ten minutes later one of the babies landed on the porch behind some plants. Five minutes later, all I could see was a handful of feathers and no bird. Raced down to the garden and found it huddled under the neighbour's porch, a wound on its back, and Bill in hot pursuit. After a bit of a struggle and a couple of scraped knees I got my hands on him. He is now in a cat crate on the same porch, within view of the mother, who is of course terrified. The other baby is still up there with her.
So I called the Nichoir, our wonderful bird shelter, and found they are no longer taking pigeons because they have been bringing in diseases, leading to quarantines, etc.
The guy gave me the name of someone who does pigeon rescue (I'm still waiting for a call-back). He told me that cats carry bacteria which generally lead to infection and death in young birds, if untreated.
The cats will not be happy but they will have to be locked up until the second bird is gone.
I have no peroxide. Is it worth stressing the baby further by putting some lightly salted water on its wound?
Incoming: short self-pitying rant: I so don't need this right now....

August 16th, 2006, 04:18 PM
Sorry, that really sucks. I don't know if this helps: Maybe ointment would be better than nothing if you have that? Either way it looks like it would need antibiotics.


Wash out with hydrogen peroxide. Apply antibiotic ointment. Take to vet for shot of injectable ampicillin. (Cats transmit a bacterium called pasteurella with their bites or scratches. In birds, this causes Pasteurella septicemia, which means death within 24 hours if not treated).

August 16th, 2006, 06:02 PM
Badger,I am sorry I cannot help,here I would take it to our HS and they would care for him,but I guess you don't have that option.
Depending on how severe the wound,could you not just treat it and put him back in the nest??
He has to be fed,so either way it's a bad situation..hopefully the Pigeon-guy will call you back:fingerscr
I have lots of Pigeons coming to my feeders every day and I've grown very fond of them.Some have beautiful colouring.
Good luck with the little baby:fingerscr

August 16th, 2006, 08:12 PM
Well, he's still alive and according to the Pigeon Guy, if he is not dead by noon tomorrow, he will probably be alright, at which point I'll put him back on the locker with his mother. She's still up there with the other baby. The cats have been inside all day, but I let them out after dark.
As Maya mentioned, wounded pigeons have to be treated right away with an antibiotic against bacteria from the cat's mouth BUT the Pigeon Guy said he has seem quite a few survive without it. From what I can see, the wound is now dry and his legs and wings are working fine.
We hoped the mother would go on feeding him through the door of the crate but unfortunately that hasn't happened. I gave him some millet and water but he doesn't seem all that interested, too freaked out I guess.
I did my very best to discourage them from nesting there but they are so persistent!
So if he makes it through the night, things might work out.

August 16th, 2006, 09:46 PM
Glad to hear not all cat bites end up being lethal, hopefully he'll do okay :fingerscr

August 16th, 2006, 10:10 PM
The cats have been inside all day, but I let them out after dark.

Won't they get at the other baby pigeon then too? :confused:

August 17th, 2006, 12:18 AM
He's huddled well out of reach with his mother. I'm pretty sure they don't do flying lessons at night.

August 17th, 2006, 02:51 PM
The baby pigeon died overnight :( and is now resting in a deep hole in the vegetable garden. Incredible how fast the infection took hold. But there you are. I've learned my lesson, no more pigeons nesting on my balcony, too risky.
The other baby is still waiting for his turn. I'm guessing the mother is holding him back for now. Meanwhile, the cats hang around the door, not understanding why their usual routine has been trashed...

August 17th, 2006, 02:53 PM
Sorry to hear about the baby pigeon. :rip: You did your very best for him.

August 18th, 2006, 12:25 AM
That's a shame :sad:

August 18th, 2006, 12:37 AM
Do you think the mother killed it? When I was younger, there was a nest of birds in my bbq, and for three days the mother didn't come back. So I tried to feed them... One ate and the rest didn't... The next day, the one that ate had been killed. :sad: I felt so bad.:sad:

August 18th, 2006, 01:32 AM
He was locked up, so the mother couldn't get to him. The Pigeon Guy said the maternal drive is so strong she would probably try to feed him through the bars. But she didn't, maybe she knew instinctively his number was up and it wasn't worth the effort.
I remember seeing a wounded pigeon in a flock one winter, I'm pretty sure one of the others finished him off. Because of his weakened condition, he became prey.
I know so little about birds, which is why if I can pass them on to the experts, I don't hesitate. It's so easy to get it wrong. If I had had the antibiotic and been able to give it to him immediately, he probably would have survived; there was just a small wound on his back, everything else (wings, legs) was fine.
I just hope I can see off the other baby off safely. I'm beginning to believe my neighbour who said Bill caught and ate a squirrel recently. He's one of those hunters, you don't know whether to praise or scold him.
My sister's cat, who as it happens was euthanized today at the age of 20+ years, after a long and happy life, the sweetest little tabby, but also a superb hunter - rabbits, birds, she'd scoff them all. Many's the morning they would wake up to a bathtub full of feathers or a severed head on the doormat.

RIP Abbey.

August 18th, 2006, 06:35 AM
Badger,you did what you could....these little fragile lives are very sensitive.
I've read up on most of the birds at my feeders,why they do the things they do.
Saving a wounded baby-bird is very difficult,unless you are an expert:sad:
Usually the best thing is to find the nest and let nature take it's course.
I don't even think he died of an infection,he probably died of shock or maybe even cold(at night)..:rip:

August 18th, 2006, 07:17 AM
I was thinking the same thing. I wish I'd brought him inside, he didn't have his mother to warm him (even though nights here are not that cold). Live and learn.