Monday, October 16, 2006

White Pigeon Found - What to Do?

The first thing I do when I wake up early in the morning is go downstairs and turn on my fancy, shmancy espresso machine (we at Fair View are very serious about our espresso) to warm it up and get it ready to go,

and feed the official Fair View guard dogs, Laila (German Shepherd Dog) and Jenny (German Shepherd / Belgian Malinois mix). Here they are pictured helping us move stuff. Don't they look helpful?

Laila is in the background, Jenny in the foreground

Then I go out with the mutts for a short walk around the property.

This particular morning, Jenny rushed ahead down the dirt drive and grabbed a white pigeon from the driveway. It fluttered and protested and lost some feathers, but I commanded her to drop it and thankfully she did.

Don't hurt the boidie Jenny!!!

The bird hopped around the yard a bit, but did not seem able to fly. I was able to walk right up to it and grab it around the shoulders and wings, so that it could not fly away. It was so docile in my hands and gave me a look that said, “I just want to go home.” Or maybe that is just what I was projecting it was thinking. It was obviously somebody’s pet. I flipped it over and sure enough, it was banded on both legs. The red band on its right leg said, “2006 0026 AU NB”. So, I brought it into the house and put it into a cardboard box with a bowl of water. It went right for the water without hesitation.

I called animal control and spoke with an operator who took all of the information and said that they would page the officer. Time went by and animal control did not call back.

Sean got up and called the Humane Society. They said that it was probably a racing pigeon and gave him a number for someone who would take the bird locally. I called them and they said that they no longer offered that service.

I called the local pet store when they opened and the kindly owner gave me the number of a local man who owns racing pigeons. She said that he could take the bird, rest it for a couple of days and then release it to fly home. Alternatively, she knew someone who had a racing pigeon as a pet in a barn and would love to have another.

Sean called the Department of Environmental Protection and they used the band numbers and found the owner’s name and phone number. They advised that we rest and feed the bird for a few days and then release it to fly back to its owner.

Meanwhile, I walked to the local pet store and bought a 5 lb bag of pigeon feed.

I had transferred the bird to a cat carrier with its water. The minute I put the food in, the bird started feeding. It must have been hungry. It turns out that we are in the middle of a race corridor for pigeons. We googled, “What do I do if I find a lost pigeon?” and came up with the American Racing Pigeon Union site. There, we could have looked up the band numbers ourselves to find the owner and there were instructions on how to take care of the bird prior to release.

Since we were not really interested in caring for a bird and did not know what we were doing, we decided to call the local man who owns racing pigeons. I called him and he agreed to come and get the bird. He asked, “What are you feeding it?”

I replied, “Pigeon food.”

He said, “Oh.”

I said, “What do you feed your birds?”

“Racing mix.”

Well, excuse me, I thought to myself. I gave him directions and a half an hour later he showed up to get the bird. He turned out to be a really nice guy, any racing mix remarks aside. He quickly examined the bird’s wings and tail, and all primary flight feathers were present. He then opened the bird’s mouth and said that the bird had a slight respiratory infection and that was probably why it wasn’t able to finish the race. It would need at least a week of rest before release. He said that he used to race white birds but he lost too many to small hawks. I noted that we have Cooper’s Hawks nesting in our yard and he remarked that this bird was damn lucky.

A Cooper's Hawk

He said that he had some friends that were getting married and wanted to do a white dove release so he was going to get some white birds for that.

He put the bird in the little box he had brought and left. I was relieved to see the bird go and glad that it would be taken care of properly by someone who knew what they were doing. The whole lost bird thing took all day to resolve but now we know what to do if we find a lost pigeon AND so do you!

Animal Control called much later that evening to say that they considered pigeons to be wildlife and would not be showing up. I thanked them for getting back to me and told them how the problem had been resolved.


Ryan said...

love the dog they r beautiful! i am a coffee drinker myself!

Doug said...

The ending made me go, "Awwwwww..." Now I know what to do when I find an injured pigeon. :)

Sue said...

Ryan: Glad you like my pups. I wuv them!

Gee, and I didn't think I would get any comments on this post. We try our best to be informative here at Fair View. (lol) FYI - Pigeon racing is done across the US and internationally. Thanks Doug.

annulla said...

Great that you saved the bird; personally, I can't imagine bringing a pigeon inside. They aren't very highly regarded around here. We call them "flying rats."

Sue said...

Yeah, I was born in Queens, so I know precisely what you mean Annulla. But it's a whole different kettle of fish (can't think of similar saying for boids) up here in the wilds of NE. Yes, we do have some flying rats, but not where I live. That exact thought crossed my mind when I carried the bird into the house.