Pigeons

Ok, so I'm a soft git sometimes.

New additions to the station

We have had some pigeons nesting the stock area of the ambulance bay for a while – a few days ago we noticed that there were some pigeon chicks there as well. Somehow they have managed to get quite large without us noticing.

Their parents had built their nest of sh*t in a cardboard box containing (ironies of ironies) the infection control suits.

Obviously we can't have pigeons nesting in our stock area as, no matter now much I like them, they spread diseases. Phone calls were made and exterminators were called.

I have a mate who is an pest control worker, and I know exactly what would happen to the babies. So I've snatched them up and brought them home. More specifically home to my mum* who'll be able to look after them during the day. I've taken on the cat**, who is currently sulking behind the futon in my flat.

However, we have no experience in dealing with pigeons, or birds of any sort. The websites and forums have let us know what, and how, to feed them, although I don't have any experience on the physical skills needed to actually carry this out. The pigeons are a bit older than they are in that photograph.

The thing is, I don't think that the RSPCA care much for pigeons – as they are considered 'vermin', I don't think that they are allowed to look after them (and their 24 hour advice line is unhelpful in this regard).

So really, what I need to know is how to look after them until they can fly away and be wild (I'd rather not keep them, but if that is the only option then I've plenty of room in my garden to build a pigeon home… thingy…), or if there is anyone out there willing to take them off my hands.

I think that this might be related to my reading about pigeons saving lives in the two world wars when I visited Bletchley Park.

So… erm… daft soft git asking for advice here folks.

*She who used to do physical therapy on our pet rats after they had strokes.

**Yes, that cat dear twitter followers…

UPDATE: Thanks to commentator 'mc1rvariant' I got in contact with the London Wild Care Trust who will take them for me – excellent, and thanks to everyone who sent me advice. It was all very, very much appreciated.

20 thoughts on “Pigeons”

  1. Why, when I read the post above, do I have an image in my head of Tom standing over a box of pigeons, shouting 'Fly my pretties, fly!'I think it might be time to stop drinking so much….

  2. Quite worryingly I just found this on a website:”If you find a baby pigeon the same rules for whether or not you should intervene apply, although baby pigeons are fluffy when they hatch, never actually bald. You should not attempt to feed a baby pigeon – this should only be done by very experienced handlers.”

    One has to wonder why. Do they suddenly, on sight of a human, grow fangs and bite you in a wild Hitchcock-style frenzy?

    This is quite useful http://britishwildlifehelpline.com/Pigeons.html. A local wildlife rescue centre might be able to help you (or rather, your mum) too.

  3. Now… why are you putting thoughts like that in my head…Maybe I can get some baby monkeys and do a bit of transplant surgery…

    Or lasers for eyes!

  4. That is fantastic! You soppy git :0) I have absolutely no advice for you as every living thing I've ever looked after has died. Just wanted to tell you I love your blog and have stuck you on my blogroll…

  5. Hi,Try contacting someone at an organisation called 'PICAS' for advice, see http://www.picasuk.com or http://www.picas.org.uk

    They're an advisory service on non-lethal pigeon control, but they also should be able to put you in touch with people like wildlife hospitals and animal volunteers (if you wish they'll probably give your employer a free consultation on pigeon control as well). (I haven't been in touch with the organisation myself for about 5 years, but hopefully they're still doing what they did).

    If the pigeons aren't at a stage where they're feeding well for themselves and you don't have the parents, they may need feeding with a crop tube.

    There's people out there that will definately would help, but it's a case of what volunteers are in your area etc.

    Thanks for saving them.

    Robin Arnold – email: arny@geek.org.uk

  6. These fine people will look after the wee squeakers:http://www.londonwildcaretrust.co.uk/

    Their (24 hour) phone number's at the top of that page. My gf, who's hand-reared dozens of pigeons, assures me that London Wildcare won't euthanise your birds.

    She also tells me that they need to be fed parrot formula with the sinister-sounding 'syringe and balloon method'. In the hands of an inexperienced person there's a good chance of the birds aspirating their food and suffocating. I'm sure your mum would be heartbroken if that happened.

  7. I have a good friend who knows a LOT about birds. Online, he's called Birdman! Here's what he would say:Go to a good pet shop, buy a syringe (not with needed, just a spount), fill with baby bird food you can also buy – or make up some (human) baby rice cereal. hold them and “bottle feed” them with the syringe. They will need to be fed quite often.

  8. Assuming Reynolds' mum doesn't accidently suffocate them how is she going to know, for example, how to check whether their feathers are developing properly or whether they're developing metabolic bone disease due to dietary deficiency, which nestlings can suffer even with the best care?Rearing baby birds is difficult, pigeons even more so. Gf is sick of people bringing her half-dead, unreleasable birds which people thought would be “a good project for the children”.

  9. Agreed, I'd much rather give them to people who know what they are doing… So would my mum.I've moved them from certain death to less certain death – I quite like the idea of moving them to almost certain not-death.

    And that needs the experts, not muppets like me.

  10. Though a happy ending seems to already have happened, I thought I'd share some sage advice from my sister, in case anyone's Googling frantically for baby bird care tips or something…I was gonna paste here, but she's still talking, and it's all good stuff, so click my URL instead 😛 Tips on not choking them to death and such.

  11. You crack me up! Your poor mother…lol. I'm having a gin & tonic and reading your blog, i really didn't think it would be this entertaining. I think I'm going to start spreading the word about you my friend, my fellow emt's will enjoy this.

  12. You be so glad that they have been re-cooped, nothing quite like having visitors when they be looking for a new place to raise the new bairns.Having had some return to a nesting spot and be woken up at the crack of dawn with all that song and dance and luvy duvy cooing.

  13. I can't seem to read the first bit of the post – the photo of the chicks is over the top!Glad someone has offered to look after them for you – It can be quite a task to look after and feed baby birds!

    People ask us at work occasionally what to do with injured animals and we always refer them to the RSPCA or other rescue groups such as wild swan, hedgehog, badger etc. I work for a County Wildlife Trust.

    Regarding peoples views of pigeons being vermin – we, us humans have created the ideal situation for them, just like with rats. We provide cosy habitats and plenty of food in the form of rubbish especially food waste – they, being generalists have taken advantage of us humans and thrived!

    Kate

  14. They like lead pellets administered via shotgun!Mind you I used to keep doves when I was younger, very clean as they only ever shat round next doors conservatory, and he's still suspected of using above method to clean up.

    Over here they're considered a delicacy, mind you the French eat anything that moves.

    Glad to know there are people out there with softer hearts than mine.

  15. Hooray for soft gits!Gf has reminded me about a story she was told by an old chap who brought her a pigeon. It had fallen down his chimney and burnt his tail feathers off so was immediately named Peter Singe.

    This chap had been bomber aircrew in WWII and told gf that the crews all had a soft spot for pigeons because each plane carried one. It could fly home to the station carrying their last known position on a piece of paper, if the crew had to ditch without transmitting that information. He had a bit of a tear in his eye as he recalled the way the birds suffered while stowed in unpressurised, freezing cold, noisy old crates.

  16. only once removed from a brace of wood pigeon, with a rich gravy and creamy mash potatoes. That's not my take you understand, although having spent over a decade scrubbing pigeon poo off my shop door step every morning it is difficult to find the species endearing, but they are small and fluffy 🙂

  17. The local Sparrowhawk keeps scaring mine off the Birdtable & feeder and one has just done a circuit of the lounge in bid to get away – thank goodness it didn't drop a load on the furniture.

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