When I arrived at the neighbours to collect the tiny rock pigeon, he was huddled near their garage with a saucer of water and sliced banana... (good intentions by the neighbour, but the little pigeon was too young to feed himself, and I am not sure he fancied banana:-) The pigeon was not afraid, it was almost as if he sensed we were there to help... I scooped him up and we headed home... I could feel that his crop was empty, he probably had not been fed since the night before. With the cat lurking around, the parents would not have been able to come down from the pine trees to feed him. Left any longer, he would have starved to death or been pigeon dinner for the cat.
I've rescued many baby birds so was prepared with a syringe, Farex (whole grain baby cereal) and chicken starter crumble... I whipped up a batch sucked it up with the syringe and the baby pigeon consumed the lot... He was obviously starving... poor baby... I decided to call him 'Rocky' - (Homing Rock Pigeon) no rocket science there... lol.
I made him a bed in the washing basket with a hot water bottle and covered him for the night... It is always such a blessing to find rescued birds alive and well the next morning... Rocky was certainly alive, alert and more than ready for another syringe feed.
Although Rocky has gone back into the wild, he is a welcome part of our family of birds and just to prove that he has not forgotten us, he will often hop onto our shoulder or head and enjoy being carried around the house or garden.
We have no idea where he spends his days or where he sleeps at night, but he knows where to find a plate of good wholesome food and some people who love him. He is free to come and go for as long as he chooses... Rocky has been a special part of our lives for 6 months now... And we look forward to seeing him for the next 3 - 6 years, and if we are lucky maybe the next 18 years...
- Pigeons are our most common urban bird.
- They are amazingly resourceful creatures, able to survive in the midst of predatory humanity.
- Even so, up to 35% of a local population may perish annually from natural causes and predators.
- Pigeons flock together in large numbers to protect themselves against, cats, rats and foxes.
- Even when times are tough and the weather is freezing and stormy, they co-operate with each other and readily accept outsiders into their flock.
- They have easy temperaments and are adaptable and hardy, which no doubt accounts for their ability to maintain numbers.
- The most widespread misconception about urban pigeons is that they are carriers of disease.
- The truth is that the vast majority of people are at little or no health risk and people probably have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than contracting disease from a pigeon.
- Pigeons pair for life.
- Both parents take an equal role in caring for their young.
- The chicks are helpless when first hatched and are fed for the first few days on 'pigeon milk' regurgitated from both parents' throats.
- The phenomenal navigational abilities of pigeons largely depend on their keen vision and memory for landmarks. Over the centuries these qualities have become legendary.