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Please help - sick? pigeon

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Old Tuesday 5th August 2008, 01:00   #1
smallonion
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Please help - sick? pigeon

I am sorry to post this here but I am desperate to help this little guy if he needs it. I used to post occasionally under the name 'smallonion' but can't seem to log in anymore. You guys have always seemed so knowledgeable, so if anyone can help, you guys can. I have called a dozen wildlife rehab centers and they are all closed.

Bascially, my mom has an urban, feral pigeon (blue bar) in her bird bath. It is 8Pm at night. She noticed it at around 6, and It didnt' move for 2 hours. She called me, and I came over. I got within a foot of it and it didn't fly off. It was standing in the water, with it's legs kind of spread, and it was standing in a weird posture I've never seen on a pigeon. Its eyes look like they're rolling back, and he was standing straight up, yet fluffed in the crop area. It was moving in a weird way. If I didnt' know any better, I'd think it was going to lay an egg.

I called every wildlife rehab I could find but they are all closed. I have parrots, so, if the bird was sick, i didn't want it in my house to infect my parrots, and my mom wouldn't bring it in her house. We put a box outside, sort of suspended so the pigeon could go in if he wanted to hide.

During all my phone calls, he got out of the bird bath, and stood on the ground - when I say 'stood', I mean it. He was bolt upright, like a penguin. Not standing like a pigeon.

Any idea what is wrong and what we should do? I don't know who to ask.
Many thanks
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Old Tuesday 5th August 2008, 01:41   #2
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Hi and welcome back. If you name is Michelle, then your name is still listed in the member list so maybe it was a password problem?

It's hard to say what could be wrong with the Pigeon. Is it eating? They are not really picky when it comes to eating. The feral pigeons near my office seem to eat all the seed the birds have dropped or scattered. Too late in the evening to do much tonight and hopefully, if it is still there in the morning you can get it to a rehabber.
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Old Sunday 7th September 2008, 12:05   #3
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In my opinion i think the pigeon is ill and maybe wants a place to be alone and pass on. Being in the city i see a lot of pigeons but if a bird is sick (late stages) there isnt much that can be done... just keep us posted....
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Old Sunday 7th September 2008, 15:44   #4
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Seeing as there are between 20 and 50 Pigeons in my garden I can pass on what my experience is (if you search my posts you'll see there are many other species in my garden also). I have learned a few things about sick birds, but I am not an expert:

If you can see a bird is sick and approach it without it flying off, it is usually too late. Birds hide their illness from other birds in the flock, because they will be picked on, or chased off if it gets noticed.

Do not take sick Feral Pigeons to the RSPCA. The RSPCA cannot release any bird or animal back into the wild if it is classed as vermin. Feral Pigeons are classed as vermin, incidentally, so are Squirrels (I don't class any animal as vermin). Take the bird to a local vet, the oath they take requires them to help sick animals. Or if possible a wildlife rescue centre.

Now the important bit, wear gloves if you pick it up. Some diseases can be passed from Pigeons to humans. None are fatal, but they are unpleasant. Thoroughly wash your hands afterwards as well.

The hardest decision you have to make is whether to intervene, or leave it be. I have taken 5 Pigeons to the Vets, all were beyond help, and were put to sleep. I have buried 2 Pigeons that died in my garden. I have taken Blackbirds to the Vet that were attacked by Cats, none survived. Sorry, this is about Pigeons. Here's a story to make it even harder to decide what to do:

One morning I saw a pool of blood by the back step, it was dripping down from the roof of the porch. On the porch was one of the Pigeons I see, and feed, regularly. She flew down when I went outside, and I saw that she had injured one of her legs. She couldn't put any weight on it, and used one of her wings to support herself. I fed her by hand so I could look closer at her injury. All I could see was a gash, but the bleeding had stopped. Then something spooked her and she flew off. I wondered if I caught her next time I saw her, if the shock would kill her. Anyway, she came back the next morning, and looked slightly better. So I decided to do nothing, except favour her, and feed her by hand. I won't write the whole story as I'll bore you. This was last year, she is now a very fit and healthy Pigeon, no limp, in fact no sign at all that she ever had an injury. Oh, and she's had at least one chick.

So sometimes doing nothing might be the right thing to do.

If anyone who reads this sees anything wrong in the advice I've given, please correct it. I would be happy to learn, in fact it's one of the reasons I joined this forum.
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Old Sunday 7th September 2008, 20:48   #5
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it's got concussion (eyes, odd movements characteristic), and has either flown into something or been hit by traffic.

Keep it overnight in a dark warm (not hot) place, with water available in a dish. Within 24-48 hrs it will have either recovered or not. If it has, let it go. If not, the damage is likely to be permanant. I suspect the latter, due it moving oddly (showing it's coming out of concussion by moving, but has brain/balance damage due to it being odd). That gives you 2 options - either keep it for 2 days to see if it improves, or euthanase it now. If it has not improved at all after 2 days you'll have to kill it anyway to stop it suffering any more. Although an inability to feed/drink may sort that out for you. If it has improved a bit, enough to feed/drink, but is still not back to normal, keep it for another week. If it hasn't imrpoved any more, you have to kill it. If it has improved a bit more, give it another week. That is then as long as you can leave it, so it will either be fit for release, or not. If not, you know what you have to do.

Do not take this on lightly, as you may well become attached after a few days of tending it and then have to kill it, which can be very hard.

ChrisKten - re RSPCA, the poster is clearly in the USA.
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Old Monday 8th September 2008, 06:57   #6
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Originally Posted by KnockerNorton View Post
ChrisKten - re RSPCA, the poster is clearly in the USA.
Actually I did notice, but I thought other people from the UK might also read the thread, so I included the RSPCA info. I also assumed, perhaps wrongly, that similar organisations in other countries could have similar policies.
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Old Monday 8th September 2008, 09:24   #7
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Actually I did notice, but I thought other people from the UK might also read the thread, so I included the RSPCA info. I also assumed, perhaps wrongly, that similar organisations in other countries could have similar policies.
I'm not really sure where you get your info from about RSPCA and releasing 'vermin'. It is perfectly legal to release feral pigeons, and I'm not aware of any national RSPCA policy - 'vermin' is not a legal definition and there is no 'official' list of species classed as such. Are you maybe mistaking it with non-native species? It is illegal to release most non-native species, such as ruddy duck, ring-necked parakeet etc. But feral pigeons (Columba livia) are a native species.
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Old Monday 8th September 2008, 09:30   #8
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Originally Posted by KnockerNorton View Post
I'm not really sure where you get your info from about RSPCA and releasing 'vermin'. It is perfectly legal to release feral pigeons, and I'm not aware of any national RSPCA policy - 'vermin' is not a legal definition and there is no 'official' list of species classed as such. Are you maybe mistaking it with non-native species? It is illegal to release most non-native species, such as ruddy duck, ring-necked parakeet etc. But feral pigeons (Columba livia) are a native species.
I was informed that it was part of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. And that Feral Pigeons and Grey Squirrels, which I was inquiring about, were classed as Vermin. The RSPCA said that, according to this act, they cannot release any species classed as vermin. Perhaps I was misinformed and need to read the aforementioned act more thoroughly.
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Old Monday 8th September 2008, 09:46   #9
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I just had a quick read of the relevant section, and I can see no mention of Feral Pigeons. Grey Squirrels can't be re-released as they are non native. So it seems the RSPCA misinformed me, perhaps because they didn't want to waste resources on a sick Pigeon, which I hope was not the case. Anyway, sorry for passing on bad information.
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Old Monday 8th September 2008, 15:16   #10
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Originally Posted by ChrisKten View Post
I just had a quick read of the relevant section, and I can see no mention of Feral Pigeons. Grey Squirrels can't be re-released as they are non native. So it seems the RSPCA misinformed me, perhaps because they didn't want to waste resources on a sick Pigeon, which I hope was not the case. Anyway, sorry for passing on bad information.
just for info, the law has recently been changed and grey squirrels CAN now be released. Most other non-natives still cannot.

In my experience, the local 'franchised' RSPCA centres get rid of any wildlife as soon as your back is turned. They're only interested in cats and dogs.
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