Pigeon Rescue and Rehabilitation: How to Help Injured or Lost Birds

Pigeons, often overlooked or considered urban pests, are a common sight in cities around the world. However, these birds can face various challenges, including injuries, illnesses, or simply getting lost. In such situations, pigeon rescue and rehabilitation efforts can make a significant difference in the lives of these birds.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore Pigeon Rescue and Rehabilitation, rehabilitating, and caring for injured or lost pigeons.

You may also want to read about the best pigeon food.

Understanding the Need for Pigeon Rescue

Pigeon rescue is a compassionate and humane endeavor that addresses the following scenarios:

  1. Injured Pigeons: Pigeons can suffer from injuries due to accidents, attacks by predators, or human-related incidents. Providing prompt care and medical attention can save their lives.
  2. Lost or Abandoned Young Pigeons (Squabs): Sometimes, young pigeons may fall out of their nests or be abandoned by their parents. These squabs require specialized care and assistance to survive and thrive.
  3. Sick or Ailing Pigeons: Pigeons can contract diseases or become ill, which can lead to weakened states. Appropriate care and treatment may help them recover and return to their natural environment.
  4. Trapped or Stranded Pigeons: Pigeons may become trapped in buildings, courtyards, or other confined spaces. Rescuing and releasing them back into their habitats is essential.
Pigeon Rescue and Rehabilitation
Pigeon Rescue and Rehabilitation is Important.

Pigeon Rescue and Rehabilitation: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Assess the Situation

Before taking action, carefully assess the situation to ensure the pigeon is genuinely in distress and needs assistance. Observe the bird’s behavior, look for signs of injury, and consider the circumstances, such as whether it’s a young squab that may have fallen from a nest.

2. Safety Precautions

When approaching an injured or distressed pigeon, exercise caution to avoid causing further harm to the bird and to protect yourself. Use gloves to handle the pigeon and avoid direct contact whenever possible. Pigeons may be scared and may bite or scratch out of fear.

3. Capture and Containment

If the pigeon needs immediate rescue, gently capture it using a soft cloth or towel. This will help prevent injuries to both you and the bird. Place the pigeon in a secure and well-ventilated container, such as a cardboard box with air holes or a pet carrier.

4. Keep it Warm and Calm

Pigeons, like all birds, require warmth to regulate their body temperature. Place a heating pad set on low or a warm water bottle wrapped in a cloth in the bottom of the container. Ensure that the pigeon has enough space to move away from the heat source if it gets too warm. Keep the container in a quiet, calm area to reduce stress.

5. Seek Professional Help

In many cases, it’s essential to seek professional assistance for injured or distressed pigeons. Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or an avian veterinarian with experience in treating birds for guidance and advice. They can assess the pigeon’s condition and provide appropriate medical care.

6. Provide Temporary Care

While waiting for professional assistance, avoid attempting to feed the pigeon, as improper feeding can cause harm. Instead, offer a small dish of clean water to keep the bird hydrated. Do not administer any medication or treatments without guidance from a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator.

Pigeon Rehabilitation: Caring for Rescued Birds

If you’re interested in participating in pigeon rehabilitation, either as a professional rehabilitator or a volunteer, here are key considerations:

Pigeons Rescue and Rehabilitation
Pigeon Rescue and Rehabilitation is Rewarding.

1. Training and Education

Before embarking on pigeon rehabilitation, it’s crucial to acquire the necessary training and education. Join workshops, courses, or organizations dedicated to wildlife rehabilitation to learn about bird care, medical treatment, and proper rehabilitation techniques.

2. Legal Regulations

Familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal regulations related to wildlife rehabilitation. In some areas, you may need permits or licenses to care for and rehabilitate wild birds, including pigeons.

3. Avian Veterinarian

Establish a relationship with an avian veterinarian who can provide medical assessments, diagnoses, and treatments for rescued pigeons. Regular check-ups and medical care are essential for the well-being of the birds.

4. Adequate Facilities

Prepare an appropriate facility or space for pigeon rehabilitation. Ensure it is clean, safe, and equipped with the necessary supplies, including cages, heating sources, food, and clean water.

5. Diet and Nutrition

Pigeons have specific dietary needs. Consult with a veterinarian or avian nutritionist to create a balanced diet that meets these needs. Appropriate pigeon feed, seeds, and supplements may be required for proper nutrition.

6. Socialization and Conditioning

For pigeons that are suitable candidates for release back into the wild, it’s important to maintain their wild instincts and behaviors. Minimize human interaction as much as possible and provide opportunities for exercise and flight conditioning.

7. Record-Keeping

Maintain detailed records of each rescued pigeon’s condition, medical history, and progress throughout the rehabilitation process. Accurate records are valuable for tracking their development and ensuring they receive appropriate care.

8. Release Planning

For pigeons that have successfully recovered, plan for their release back into their natural environment. Release should take place in a suitable location, such as a park or nature reserve, where they can thrive.

Pigeon Care for Squabs

Young pigeons, known as squabs, may require specialized care if they have been abandoned or fallen from their nests. Here’s how to provide appropriate care for squabs:

1. Keep Warm and Secure

Place the squab in a warm, safe, and enclosed space, such as a cardboard box with a heating pad set on low or a warm water bottle wrapped in a cloth. Provide soft bedding material for comfort.

2. Feeding

Squabs require specialized pigeon formula for hand-feeding. Follow the instructions provided with the formula carefully. Use a small syringe or a dedicated feeding spoon to administer the formula. Be gentle and patient during feedings.

3. Feeding Schedule

Young squabs require frequent feedings, usually every 1-2 hours during the day. As they grow, you can gradually decrease the frequency of feedings. Ensure they are adequately hydrated with clean water.

4. Transition to Solid Food

As squabs mature, gradually introduce them to solid pigeon feed and seeds. Allow them to peck at the food on their own. This transition prepares them for life in the wild.

5. Flight Conditioning

When squabs are old enough and have developed their flight feathers, provide them with space and opportunities for exercise and flight conditioning. This helps them build strength and coordination.

6. Release

Once squabs have reached an appropriate age and are capable of flying and feeding themselves, plan for their release in a suitable outdoor environment. Release should be gradual, allowing them to acclimate to their new surroundings.

Pigeon Care and Release Considerations

It’s important to remember that not all pigeons can be released back into the wild. Some pigeons, due to their age, injuries, or disabilities, may not be suitable for release. In such cases, they may find permanent homes as pets or in educational programs.

Before releasing rehabilitated pigeons, consider the following:

  • Physical Fitness: Ensure the pigeon is in good physical condition, with no lingering health issues or injuries that could hinder its ability to survive in the wild.
  • Behavioral Competence: Confirm that the pigeon exhibits appropriate wild behaviors, such as foraging, avoiding predators, and flying.
  • Release Location: Choose a suitable release location with access to food, water, and shelter to increase the pigeon’s chances of survival.
  • Monitoring: Continue to monitor released pigeons to ensure they successfully reintegrate into the wild and display healthy behaviors.

Pigeon Rescue and Rehabilitation: Conclusion

Pigeon rescue and rehabilitation are essential endeavors that offer a lifeline to injured, lost, or distressed pigeons. By following the proper steps, seeking professional assistance when needed, and providing appropriate care, we can make a positive impact on the lives of these often misunderstood birds.

Whether you’re an experienced rehabilitator or a concerned individual, your efforts can help pigeons recover and thrive in their natural environments, contributing to the overall well-being of urban wildlife.

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