The other Saturday a few pigeons came to visit. Nothing unusual there, right? It's that time of year where the birds aren't all that regular with visits. I know it's due to the return of the cooper's hawks for the winter. I miss my buddies, especially those who come to my hand for a feed. But I am still very nice to any others who may show up.
So this particular Saturday afternoon I take notice to one bird who is not acting like the others. He spent all his time on the ground, didn't flutter off when I walked past him and he even spent a lot of alone time out there, zoning in the sun. Then he would feed, drink and mingle with the others, acting all normal again. Hmmmm?
Angie and I had to go out for a couple hours and I figured to just leave him be until we got back, then assess the situation.
We returned home late in the afternoon. It was almost dusk. All the pigeons had gone off to roost for the night except for this one bird. As I walked out to the yard, I could see him down at the back trying to take flight over the fence. Unfortunately he could not and just hit the fence again and again. Awww, poor fellow. I knew he needed help, and by that I don't mean getting over the fence, but some actual medical attention. I left a message with the Toronto Wildlife Centre and then got to work on trying to catch him.
The pigeon was sitting still when I walked by him and I went for a grab. He perked right up as he caught on to what I was doing and made a run for it under our raised shed. BUGGER! Okay, I took his alertness and speed as a positive.
I waited it out alongside of the shed, hoping for another attempt to grab him since it was getting dark. Was he just going to hide under there for the night? It was a long 10 minutes or so before he finally came back out and headed straight for the fence. I was faster than him this time, catching him and putting him in my rescue carrier with a towel.
Toronto Wildlife returned my call. A little discussion about the bird's behaviour and they gave me the approval to bring him in... tomorrow. The centre was closing in 15 minutes and there was no way I could get up there in that time; it usually takes me close to 30 minutes nowadays with traffic. Sad, eh, being only 11 km away from home. That's Toronto for ya!
I brought the bird inside, keeping him in the carrier of course, and put him upstairs. I left a towel over the carrier so it would be dark. I shut the door to the upstairs so he would have an undisturbed night. Quiet and dark are two very important things that any wild animal needs if you are housing one over night. It lessens the stress for them.
I got up early Sunday morning, had my coffee and didn't check on the bird until it was time to leave. Sadly I found that he had passed away sometime overnight. I half expected this only as my own mental preparation for the worst case outcome. I was sad at the outcome but keep it in mind that he died in warm, quiet, dark place and not out on our back lawn, perhaps becoming a chew toy for one of the free roaming cats in the neighbourhood.
Rest in peace little dude. I tried.
Pigeons aren't high on the list for a lot of people. Hell, some go to such extremes as to poison or shoot the birds. I'm on a few social media pages strictly for pigeons and it's pretty horrific what some people even in my own city of Toronto are capable of doing to these birds. It goes unnoticed by most. People have reported to the police and the city, as it should go under the animal cruelty act, but without concrete evidence and positively ID'ing these awful humans, nothing will be done. I saw images of dead birds, shot, in a Scarborough shopping mall parking lot. UGH! Bird bodies just laying there and people walk by or just drive over them, not thinking anything about it. WTF?!?!
Last Thursday was Remembrance Day. I made a personal post about pigeons on our community social media page. If I changed one person's mindset about these birds, then it was worth it. Here is what I shared. I copied and pasted my post from Facebook to here, sorry for the black background. I guess my job now is to be nice to these birds, to help them when I can, and forever be a voice for them.