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.