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emergency pigeon question!

Pat M.
January 22nd, 2007, 03:28 PM
Can anyone please, please help us figure out what is happening to one of the two adult pigeons my husband has been caring for at work the last year. The first thing my husband noticed today was that the large white male pigeon he has been feeding & watering was in a different roosting spot than his usual place when he arrived at work this morning.

The pigeon looked completely healthy & was acting normal on Friday before my husband left work for the weekend. Upon arriving this morning he immediately recognized that something was terribly wrong with the male pigeon. His feathers were unhealthily ruffled, he was tipping way back & looked as if he was losing his balance. He had his head tucked back & was convulsively turning his head to the left. When my husband tried to climb up to the rafters to help the pigeon, he flew down normally, but again immediately lost his balance on the ground, walking shakily, as if drunk & then proceeded to hunker down outside & pull his body & head back. My husband is so very concerned & feels the pigeon appearas to be in pain. I've spent all day on the phone searching for an avian vet to help, but to no avail, since 'it's just a wild pigeon'.

does anyone know what these symptoms mean. Please, please, if anyone has any suggestions or know's what could be happening to our beautiful feathered friend, please help!

January 22nd, 2007, 04:51 PM
I'm sorry, it's such a helpless feeling not being able to do something right away.:sad: It almost sounds like he may have an ear infection. I don't know anything about birds really, but if he's off balance and keeps tipping his head to one side that would make sense. I hope you can get a hold of someone soon.

January 22nd, 2007, 09:53 PM
It's a long shot, don't really know much about birds, but when my sister had Doves, she awoke one morning to find one of her doves not being able to perch and acting really weak. She took him to a bird vet and she gave him an injection of calcium. It was almost immediate. Within an hour, he was standing up straight and looked alive. She then gave him calcium supplements as well as some cubed cheese and he never had a problem since then......

January 23rd, 2007, 03:12 PM
Have you found anyone to help yet? Is he hanging in there? I can't believe how difficult it is to find help for wild animals, it's disgraceful.:mad: When you said your husband tried to help him was he trying to catch him? I was just curious because I thought if he is not protected or trapped in his state he might wander off. A sheet or light blanket thrown over his head to catch him is probably the best way. Of course you need to be able to bring him somewhere for treatment.

January 24th, 2007, 01:43 AM
I hope you were able to find help. I don't know a whole lot about bird illnesses but is it possible that he could have ingested something he shouldn't have. Also anytime we have had sick wild birds we just didn't tell the vet it was wild, around here you can have them as pets but even when we brought a sparrow in they didn't say anything. Not much help but there are alot of pigeon fancier's around maybe if you can find a listing for some they could be of some sort of assistance. Could he have flown into a window, sometimes they act that way, have found a few and putting them in a dark large box for a little while(with air of course) seems to help them to calm down and get over the shock and then a few hours later are back to normal. It's really hard to say what could be wrong, just going by past experience. I hope he will be ok.

January 24th, 2007, 01:55 AM
I found these sites that list wildlife rehab places you could try one of them.

January 24th, 2007, 11:35 PM
Also anytime we have had sick wild birds we just didn't tell the vet it was wild, around here you can have them as pets but even when we brought a sparrow in they didn't say anything.That's an excellent idea. I think these birds may even have been pets at one time, if I remember correctly. I haven't had much luck getting help or useful information over the phone. In fact last time I needed help from my wild life re-hab centre I decided to just show up in person with my bird, which worked out well. Maybe not always a good idea but sometimes I think it's easier for people to just say no on the phone without really thinking.:shrug:

Pat M.
January 26th, 2007, 05:51 PM
Thanks to all of you for your intuitive suggestions & help! It seems you were all right! After desperately scouring the internet & our area for help we miracuously finally found a renowned bird specialist vet who was willing to look at our wild pigeon.

Unbelievably, it turns out he had recently re-located from New York & is now practicing in our city. Upon the vets advice, my husband gently captured the weak & ailing pigeon, put him a box & brought him home. I couldn't get over how huge & beautiful the white pigeon was. He tried to maintain his regal posture & dignity while sitting quietly in a cage we purchased to transport him to the vet, but I immediately recognized how weak & uncordinated he seemed. After teasing us about the lengths we went to helping what he says many people call 'flying rats', it took the vet 3 hours of observation & tests to determine that the pigeon's weakness was a result of a combination of factors, including a calcium deficiency & 'duck syndrome', which is caused by birds drinking stagnant water. The vet also checked for common bird protozoan & bacterial infections but found our wild pigeon free of any other illness. He explained that birds are extremely mysterious creatures as far as illness goes because they 'hide' their illnesses until it is often too late, so as not to be banished from the flock. Common blood tests that work well for most other aniomals are not effective with birds so very little is known about what exactly makes them sick. In his extensive experience he told us that he feels the 'intuitive approach' works best with birds. It also turns out that what we thought were a male/female pair at my husband's work is in fact two males, more than likely brothers from the same clutch, devotedly taking care of each other.

There is an old reservoir near my husband's work where the pigeons fly to once in awhile. The vet strongly suspects it may be the culprit for the contaminated stagnant water the pigeon drank. The vet recommended an optimun diet for the pigeon pair, a fresh daily water supply, calcium supplements & a week's regimen of pre-cautionary anti-biotics. I'm so happy to report that in less than a week after our pigeon drama the beautiful white bird has gained back his full stength is doing very well! We now just need to consider finding 'Sophie' a new name! My husband has begun the process of notifying the proper authorities regarding the unsafe conditions the stagnant reservoir pose to wildlife habitats. We may have another (people) drama to report very soon! Thanks to you all again. All Life counts.

Pat M.

January 26th, 2007, 06:35 PM
What a wonderful, happy ending to your quest. The man you found sounds so interesting; most of us can relate to the 'intuitive' approach, sometimes it's all we have when it comes to our pets!
Thank you so much for helping these birds.

January 27th, 2007, 01:00 AM
I am sooo glad you were able to find someone and sooo very glad that your feathered friend is ok. I would like to thank you and your husband as well for doing what you do for these two brother's. Flying rats or not they are still lovley birds and every animal furry or not deserves the best.

Pat M.
January 30th, 2007, 04:02 PM
Thanks to you both for your kind words & support. We're so glad to find other animal lovers of like mind in this big world. You're right...every living creature, feathered, furred & otherwise deserves a chance to enjoy this beautiful planet we're all supposed to be sharing. The beautiful pair of pigeon brothers are now happily back to squabbling over the same roosting spot in the building, so my husband put up another identical shelf & box so they can both feel like 'king of the hill'! I love happy endings too!

Pat M.

January 30th, 2007, 04:10 PM
Pat,are you the same person who's husband had to take the pigeons away by his pigeon-hating boss???

Pat M.
February 7th, 2007, 06:20 PM
Thanks for remembering us. Yes, we are the same people. In one of life's interesting ironic twists, my husband's animal hating boss was fired shortly I posted our plea for a result of the company's owner finding out from another employee about the manager's cruel streak toward the pigeons & other beautiful wildlife that congregate near the facility. Which is why both my husband & the pigeons are still there! We were able, after a short time of caring for them at our house, to return the pigeon pair back to their spacious & well-loved home amongst the building's shelves & rafters. My husband's work is situated in the foothills & canyons of So. California, so lots of migrating birds, deer, bobcats, coyote, quail, hawks, squirrels, foxes & an occasional bear make their way into the area where my husband works. He feels this to be the very best part of his job!

After the animal hating manager was fired, the owner, who thankfully it turns out is also an animal lover, made a special visit to the building where my husband works to see the huge white pigeons ('Rollers' we're told) & fell in love with them! The owner mentioned he was impressed with my husband's compassionate nature & talked at length with him about the pigeons & other struggling wildlife my husband has been quietly caring for. My husband received an unexpected raise on his next paycheck & was asked to run the facility. He now is happily taking care of business, the pigeons & all wildlife that wander in for a rest, some food & a little human compassion.

We have since 'adopted' an orphaned baby pigeon found outside the building by one of the employees & brought to my husband. The task of hand feeding & weaning the baby pigeon fell to a very nervous me & now at the rebunctious 'toddler' stage he is completely & comically bonded to me & my head! Ferdinand, the baby pigeon, is happily thriving at home with us & the rest of our fur family menagerie. The wonderful bird specialist vet that recently saved the white male pigeon, has informed us that our new addition is a sleek, beautiful & soon to be huge 'band-tailed pigeon', native to Washington state & not commonly found in this area??? Every day seems to hold a new & amazing animal adventure!

Pat M.

February 7th, 2007, 07:52 PM
...and every once in awhile we get a glimpse of humanity:D . You guys and the new boss and by the sounds of it, everyone seems to want to help. :thumbs up :angel:

February 7th, 2007, 10:48 PM
This is all just such wonderful news.:cloud9: Wow it just goes to show what CAN happen if we try to make a difference.:o

I also knew a Sophie that turned into a "Mr. Sophie" upon closer inspection.:p Very fluffy kitty.

February 8th, 2007, 07:46 AM
Pat,thank's for posting again:thumbs up
I never forget a hero and fellow animal-lover:love:
You brought some great news,I was worried what that mean boss would do to the pigeons,sooo glad they are doing great.
I have anywhere between 15-30 pigeons coming to my feeders,especially in the winter,2 beautiful large white ones,they look like something heaven sent,really beautiful.
I have yet to see a baby-pigeon and envy the opportunity you had to rescue and nurture cats might not agree.:laughing:
Where you live and hubby works seems like a great place,imagine seeing all that wild-life,great stuff!!
I only have raccoons,rabbits,possums and such+hundreds of winged friends:)
It seems like by a miracle this mean boss got fired,I am really happy for you and your husband,a promotion and a raise too,wow:thumbs up

Pat M.
February 8th, 2007, 03:29 PM
We are thrilled to make a much needed connection with fellow animal lovers, as well. This kind of support system is sometimes all you have when faced with an animal crisis, especially of the little understood wildlife variety! We're so glad you have the wonderful opportunity to interact with the raccoons, rabbits & oppossums in your area, because like the sadly maligned pigeons, these animals also have their own unique & amazing qualities. Did you know that the oppossum is the oldest living marsupial on the North American continent? It carries it's young lovingly in it's pouch like the kangaroo & koala. The raccoon, rabbit & oppossum are all revered as totems in the Native American culture because of their intelligence, family oriented nature & other positive life qualities we humans can take a lesson from.

We were so touched & impressed with the care, refuge & oasis you offered to the lucky pigeons who must happily gather at your feeders & we applaud your loving efforts. We have had a rare opportunity learning to respect & admire these intelligent, comical & very social, loving birds. We have been told that baby pigeons are not a common sight in the bird world & rarely seen before adolesence, when they already look much like their adult counterparts. Ferdinand, the baby band-tailed pigeon was so tiny, fragile & helpless that it was truly a frightening & daunting task to try to keep him warm & feed him enough nourishment every 2-3 hours to keep him alive. We were able to do so with the help of an earlier, incredibly informative article on this forum regarding the care & feeding of baby pigeons.

We have since learned that baby pigeons are one of the most 'unsightly' & gangly of baby birds, looking strangely enough like a miniature ostrich! They have a huge head & eyes in proportion to their relatively small bodies & all this is highlighted by a bulbous large beak that completely dominates their face. He was soooooooo incredibly cute, with a face only a mother (human or otherwise!) could love! This little alien face was accompanied by an ostrich shaped body & covered in grey & yellow pin feathers, including out-of-proportion huge feet . What a sight! The best part of raising this adorable little fellow was finding out about two months ago when he discovered his 'voice', that he 'quacks' like a duck instead of the typical pigeon 'coo-coo' sound! The vet has determined that his little larnyx was damaged in a fall, probably from his nest. He loudly & indignantly quacks & squawks when he's hungry, bored, happy, just wants to make noise or to keep one of our 4 cats at bay! We were able to easily 'potty train' this intelligent little bird in about 2 weeks using a technique we read about in a bird magazine, so he has a special potty perch he uses for his restroom! He literally rules the roost in our home, with all 4 cats & dog keeping one eye on him at all times while respectfully keeping their distance! He has turned out to be a most beautiful, loving, socialiable & 'talkative' addition to our family & we feel blessed to have had this rare baby pigeon experience.

Thank you again for your kind support. Much luck & blessings to you & your beautiful, wild & well-fed feathered family. Thank you all also for recognizing the important truth we discovered...that all life counts.

Pat M.

February 9th, 2007, 07:00 AM
Pat,Thank you for your wonderfully written post and I agree,every living beeing we share this earth with have equal right to live in peace:love:
I do not do any heroics,I just feed the different birds etc..make surviving the cold winter a little easier for them.
We enjoy watching them and in doing so,learn about their behaviour and figure out why they do the things they do.
I also have"my"three crows who come for dinner-leftovers every morning:D next to the pigeons,they are probably the most hated birds by people.
Tragedy struck here where I live,where almost all of our Crows died from the West Nile virus.
In my area there are three left who try to scare away Seagulls and Hawks, policing their territory,to the delight of smaller birds:thumbs up
As for the Possums,at first I did not know what they were,never seen them before,but they are amazing strange looking little animals.
Here's a not so good pic I took last summer.

Pat M.
February 9th, 2007, 05:39 PM
We believe all of you who post on this supportive, informative & humane forum to be true heroes...after all who appreciates being protected, sheltered & fed more than our animal friends trying to survive in an ever-increasing intolerant world?

You are truly an amazing human being in our eyes, recognizing the unique qualities of the crow & prehistoric wonder of the opossum. We sadly lost a devastaing number of crows in our area as well, to West Nile virus. Unfortunately, we are in the miniority for mourning the loss. It seems, more & more that people consider any living creature that inconveniences them to be 'pests' or 'vermin'. What a sad world we're facing when all these beautiful creatures are gone as a result of human intolerance, fear & ignorance.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, my husband & I have come to understand & respect the interconnected similarities between humans & all living things by observing the animals, birds, reptiles & insects around us. We once watched in wonder as a seemingly 'insignificant' tiny slug mourned the death of her even tinier baby, by dancing gently around & around it's little body, enveloping it with her own with obvious maternal love & refusing to leave for hours. It certainly appeared to our hearts & eyes that she was grieving. Nature is truly a wonderous thing.

Your opossum pic is wonderful! What a personality he seems to have. Have you seen him since? We also have an incredibly large, gentle giant of a opossum returning to our house over the last few autumns. I named him Pumpkin, mostly for his resembalance to one!, but also because he returns every October like clock work. We recognize him by a distinctive grey streak down his back. This year he returned with Mrs. Pumpkin & Baby Pumpkin in tow & we were thrilled to welcome them! He seemed to enjoy the cat kibbles that we put outside for our cat so I began to leave extra, while I tried to figure out what he might enjoy more. Through trial & error I discovered he had quite the sweet tooth for a mushy mixture of hard-boiled eggs, lettuce & ripe apples. The baby turns her nose up at the lettuce, just like a human child! Needless to say, we have the fattest opossums in town! My heart breaks when I hear horror stories of people trapping the gentle opossums, along with the hungry stray cats, to have them exterminated, simply because the opossums had the nerve to walk through a yard, cross a fence or nibble on some spare kibble left out. Thank you for taking a pic of this shy, gentle survivor, instead of trapping & killing him. It seems many on this forum are trying to do what we can in our small corner of the world. You remain a hero in our eyes.

Pat M.

February 9th, 2007, 08:07 PM
As I mentioned in my earlier post, my husband & I have come to understand & respect the interconnected similarities between humans & all living things by observing the animals, birds, reptiles & insects around us. We once watched in wonder as a seemingly 'insignificant' tiny slug mourned the death of her even tinier baby, by dancing gently around & around it's little body, enveloping it with her own with obvious maternal love & refusing to leave for hours. It certainly appeared to our hearts & eyes that she was grieving. Nature is truly a wonderous thing.

Thank you so much for sharing this. I actually live in a very damp basement suite so have my share of insects to live with. I'm not sure how much they feel or see but I do think each is a miracle of life that deserves respect and safety just as we do. Every now and then I find a silverfish trapped floating in the toilet, I have a special rescue technique I use to get them out without injuring them and I can tell how relieved they are when I set them free. A little less suffering in the world even if it is "just an insect" is worth it to me.:shrug: Thanks again for your story, it gives me hope that maybe there are more kind people out there.

February 10th, 2007, 07:33 AM
Pat,thank you for your wonderful writings:thumbs up
It's funny about 'my"Crows,I have yet to meet one person who does not think I am a lunatic for feeding my 3,or even more so when I get excited,when in the spring they'introduce'me to their babies.
As for smaller creatures,I used to be afraid of insects,never really knew why..
My husband gets a little perturbed when I will leave the dinner-table after spotting a bee fighting to save himself in my pool in the summer,or anything that ends up in my pool.
However he hates to admit it,but he does the same...I've caught him admiring an intricate spiderweb and it's owner,so I think he's hooked too,maybe it's contagious:D One spring he was keeping a watch over our bird-houses,as a stubborn Blue Jay tried to get the babies,but of course in the end he failed and the babies were gone:sad: But that too is part of nature..
Living in suburbia,there is a limit to what I can do,but even a backyard is teeming with life,if you just open your eyes.

Pat M.
February 12th, 2007, 01:16 PM
Yes!! It is definitely contagious. You both have made our day with your wonderful 'rescue' anecdotes! Maya & Chico2, we save silverfish, too, along with bees any other creature unfortunate enough to be trapped by human 'ingenuity'. And yes, we know the feeling of being considered 'crazy'! But who cares when it creates such a positive feeling to save a struggling creature. Can you imagine being considered a 'hero' to all the creatures, small & large, you've saved? I'll take it any day! It's the age old question, isn't it...who's really the crazy ones...the people that don't get it or us??

Chico2, your 3 crows & their adorable offspring think you're wonderful & doesn't that thought make you smile?! We have sadly discovered living in suburbia, as well, that there is a frustrating limit to what we can do, simply because there's so much TO do for the all the creatures struggling to share space with often selfish & arrogant humans...but we all keep trying & that's what matters. You're absolutely right, a backyard or city street, strip of pavement or even a patch of cemet really is teaming with amazing & amusing life if you care to open your eyes & look closely enough.

We're so thankful as well for others out there, such as Maya & Chico2 to care enough to open their eyes to save silverfish & bees along with us. Just the fact that we can all share our 'crazy stories' illustrates the ever-widening connection made & we take heart from the wonderfully kind, interesting people out there.

Pat M.