Mickey the baby pigeon

Thursday evening, we got a voicemail from a friend that said something like “Out walking… A little bird here. Wing is half gone. One of them is gone… thought I’d call you, but I know you don’t need this. Hope you’re well!” Funny call, and a tough situation. I was putting the ducks away at the time, but by the time I was back in the house, I also had an email. My friend had rescued the bird and placed it in a safe place. I offered to go pick it up and I assumed I’d have to have it euthanized.

As it turned out, the bird only looked injured. It’s actually a baby pigeon, and its wings haven’t fully grown in yet. It must have fallen from a nest too soon. I didn’t know how healthy it was, but there aren’t many places to take a baby pigeon, so I took it with me.

I stopped by the pet store in the morning and picked up some Kaytee Exact baby bird formula to feed it, and it came to work with me.* I fed the kid every few hours through the day, and by the end of the day, the bird perked up and became quite sassy and energetic. That’s a really good sign. But I hadn’t fed a baby pigeon before, so while I know I was getting it food safely, I could tell I wasn’t doing it very naturally. The baby pigeon kept looking at me like I was dumb.

Then my good friend Jen told me that baby pigeons put their beaks way inside the mom’s beak to feed. I knew they ate regurgitated parent food, but I didn’t realize the moms didn’t put it in the baby’s beaks. It’s the other way around! I should have known from the size of that beak.

After that, I got a much better hang of how to feed baby Mickey. See?

And Mickey stopped looking at me like I was clueless. S/he actually looked very grateful. A little messy, but grateful.

Late Friday, another good friend, Peggy, told me that PAWS takes in rock doves (pigeons) in the off-season. They don’t have resources to take them in during the summer, but when it slows down in the fall, they accept them. I had no idea, since I’ve only ever volunteered there in the summer! So Saturday morning, we took little Mickey over to PAWS, with a donation, to finish rehabilitation there, with other pigeons. This greatly increases Mickey’s chances to do well in the wild, and s/he will probably be released with other pigeons within a month.

Good luck, little kid!

Special thanks to all the people who understand that every creature great and small matters. Even little baby pigeons deserve compassion and respect.

*And by the way, to the delicate, passive-aggressive little flowers who whined to HR that a baby bird the size of a tennis ball, completely contained in a carrier by my desk for a few hours was a “dangerous wild animal,” you make my eyes roll so hard it hurts.

16. October 2011 by Silly Human
Categories: New Rescues | 10 comments

Comments (10)

  1. I live in Edmonton AB, Canada and I often find birds that are injured by vehicles. I always end up nursing them back to health or keeping them comfortable while they die because I just don’t know what to do and I’ve not been able to find and help or information. Everybody just shrugs and says ‘who cares? It’s a pigeon” It breaks my heart. I love what you do. Thank you! ps. Kindly, @TheMostTender

  2. What an precious little sprout!! I’ve never seen a baby pigeon before, and Mickey is absolutely adorable!! I wouldn’t know how to feed one either, so don’t feel too bad.

    And as for those whiny whackos, you described them *perfectly*!! Now I have a headache from rolling my eyes too. Jeeze Louise. Go, Mickey!!! 🙂

  3. Yeah for your friend for picking up the baby pigeon! Yeah for you for providing room and board and for the transport to PAWS!

    Mickey looks so happy with a full crop. Cute little squeaker!

    Love your expression, “…you make my eyes roll so hard it hurts…” So expressive!

  4. Oh, my eyes hurt, they hurt so much….But regardless, thank you once again Tif for giving this little guy another chance to a good life. I loved the video of you feeding him. He/she was definitely hungry. I would love it if someone at work were doing this, giving a chance to a golf ball size birdie. Hope we can get updates on his growth and improvements.

  5. OH NOES! It’s a baby pigeon! It’s gonna attack!

  6. Tiff, thanks so much for your inspiration. Angel the baby wood pigeon that I have been looking after when she fell from his/her nest has now flown off with other wood pigeons. I put a little yellow bird ring on Angels leg so I can identitfy Angel in the future and check on his/her progress.

  7. I think I maybe missed it but what did you feed the baby bird pigeon?? I feed a flock every day. I live behind a church and I thought that I was going to be nice and feed all the birds, but ended up with a huge flock of wonderful pigeons. They come to me now.

    • Baby pigeons don’t eat the same thing as adult pigeons. I fed the baby Kaytee Exact baby bird formula. I only feed adult wild birds if I’m releasing or catching an injured bird. I’d advise against feeding otherwise, as it can result in over-population and other problems. I worry most about pigeons starting to trust people too much and then encountering someone who isn’t nice. It’s best not to feed them and let them find their own food.

      • Very good advice! I know that Elizabeth’s heart is in the right place but despite the fact that pigeons are one of my favourite animals, I had to make myself stop feeding them for the very reasons you listed.

  8. I just found a pigeon like that on my way to work this morning. It must be similar age and it was helplessly sitting on the edge of the road under a rail bridge where he must have felt out of his nest from. (i think it is a boy:). Thankfully the Scottish animal charity I phoned offered to pick it up so I wont need to nurse it myself but I got more confident i could do it if i had to after i read your post. thanks a lot.

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