Here we go with the next installment of why I am so tired...
Last Monday (June 13th) I saw a post on a pigeon page I am on where someone reported seeing a dozen or so fancy pigeons in a parking lot less than 10 minutes from our home. It is believed that they were just dumped there and the birds have stayed, all together, as they have no where else to go and no idea what to do (since they were captive raised and been given food and water their whole lives). I saw something like this years ago out at the Scarborough Bluffs and over the next couple weeks the birds were being picked off by the local hawks.
Since this was so close to home, I had to see this with my own eyes. I went fairly early one morning and was shocked to see 11 beautiful birds hanging out in this small parking lot.
Oh, look at them, especially that one in the forefront. Those feathery legs!
Who could have done something like this?
There was a lot of talk on the pigeon page about what to do. Everyone agreed that they should not be left out on the street. People were already starting to bring the birds food and bowls of water. Someone brought a large cage to try and bait them into. A large animal carrier was also brought to the site. We had a few really humid days last week so people really dedicated themselves to making sure that they had fresh water sources. A lot of "arm chair critics" gave their 2 cents on what to do with the birds, how to catch them but none of these people ever physically came out. I know some couldn't because of how far away they lived but some others, well, they probably could have made a trip if they really wanted to do something.
My first visit to the site had me step out of the car and watch the birds, take some photos and then feel them out. I walked indirectly towards them, seeing how they would react. You know, not straight at them, but more like on an angle and trying to pass them, see if they flush or not. I lightly threw handfuls of seed on the ground every few steps; hoping the birds would pick up on this and not see me as a threat. They did not feed nor did they flush and just watched me with some curiosity. I left the site and carried on with my day, you know that work thing.
I returned that evening, arriving around 10:30 PM. I saw a few birds up on the roof and found one sleeping on the ground in the parking lot. I parked my car in the first spot, grabbed my rescue towel, made sure my carrier was ready if I needed it, and then started to sneak up on this sleepy bird. I was rocking my whole "act like a ninja" imitation as I quietly approached. I was no less than 3 feet from him when he suddenly opened his eyes, looked up at me and I thought "OH SHIT!" and quickly threw my towel over him. Unfortunately the pigeon got out from under and started running. These fancy birds aren't like the feral birds that I am used to seeing (common city birds). These fancies fly differently because of their unique feathering, plus when they fly it is really noisy too. The bird couldn't get height and I managed to get my towel over him two more times but he escaped both times before I could grab him.
The bird upped his game and ran under my car. It was there that he finally stopped. If he was at the front of the car and I bent down to look at him from the same end, he would turn around and head towards the back. Then do the same when I went to the back end to look at him. After a few minutes I had an idea where I took out just about everything from the Mazda, stuff like my lunch bag, a grocery bin, a cooler, some towels, two hoodies, a rain coat. I placed these things at various spots just under the car so it limited the pigeon's escape routes. I then knelt down and tried to flush him out with my towel. The bird made a break for it, running out towards the building and trying to fly away. He got air but couldn't get the height so he tried to land on some of the window framing at the main entrance just below the roof. He couldn't get hold of it and came tumbling down almost at my feet where I finally grabbed him. He came home with me, spending the night in the car, and early the next morning I brought him inside and put him in our spare bird cage. I gave him a dish of water and spread some seed on the bottom. Then I left him be for a while to get his bearings.
I had already named him Mr. Feather Legs. I had no idea if the bird was a male or not, but whatever... although I have met some people who really seem to have an issue if you don't properly sex a wild animal. Yes, I am serious.
Look at Mr. Feather Legs. Isn't he pretty?
In the meantime, I was communicating with people about where to place him. As much as I wanted to keep him here, we aren't ready to have such a bird in the house. Merry and Molly wouldn't be able to contain their curiosity about such a creature here. They were a handful with our last budgie Moonie, having to lock them up in the bedroom every afternoon so Moonie got some time on the table at the window. A bigger bird would really drive them bonkers. That would be stress on us and more importantly stress on the bird. I don't have an outside coop. I don't know if this breed can withstand the elements, both the humidity in the summer and the extreme cold in the winter.
A home was found rather quickly for Mr. Feather Legs and the gentleman lives 5 minutes from my work. I took that as a sign that was where he should go. I drove him out there that day and got to see this man's little flock. He also gave "my" bird a look over and showed me how caked his toes were in hard feces. It's obvious his previous owner did not take very good care of him. He was also missing a few tail feathers which is indication that something tried to catch him, maybe a cat or ???
Mr. Feather Legs looked rather content surrounded by these other birds. He stood straight and proud, like "look at me!" and he's doing well almost a week later. He's eating, drinking and making his way around the coop, either in the sheltered area or out to the aviary section.
I've been back to the site many times since then, both earlier in the morning and later in the evening. The birds are quite skittish towards people so catching them isn't going to be an easy thing. Through all my visits since, I haven't pursued them. I had one opportunity another night where I was driving into the parking lot and noticed one of the birds standing on the sidewalk along the main road. What the heck? It's 10:30 PM and here he is, wide awake, on the ground. Unfortunately before I could even try to grab him, he flushed due to a dog walker.
A few other people have been monitoring the birds but they too realize that rescuing any of them is not going to be easy. Initially we all were very concerned about them but now we've accepted that we can't help them if they don't want the help. It's unfortunate that they weren't hand raised and more accepting to humans. It's now turned into just visiting them when one's heart desires, see how they are doing, if any look ill or are grounded, and enjoy them. They really are beautiful birds. I don't know any of the breeds though. A few of us are keeping a thread going on the pigeon page about the site, reporting what we see. Pigeon lovers unite!
Other than on that page, where the site address was posted, I haven't released the location anywhere publicly. That's just me and my paranoia about someone coming over and fucking around with the birds, chasing them, trying to catch them or maybe get pretty photos and not keeping their distance. The birds have enough food/water givers right now.
So ya, I'm tired from the stress I put on myself about these birds that first week. 7:30 AM visits and then back at 10:30 PM daily.
How about I show you some more of the flock. If you know any of the breeds, please add a comment at the end of the blog. I would really appreciate it.
I call this bird Prince Pretty, a nick name for a wrestler named Tyler Breeze. He wore a lot of feathery boots when coming into the ring. I wonder what he would think about a pigeon being named after him? Hopefully not wanting to come to my house and suplex me. Hahahaha!
Meet Braveheart. One of the others who has been concerned over these birds gave him the name. The first day she met him, he was the shyest of the birds she saw, keeping his distance and not even looking at her or anyone else. Then, the next day she saw him, he was the only one to come down for food, being the brave one. Hey, you gotta make up your own fun in this life and our adventure here. Besides naming some of these birds makes it easier for us with future reports about how they are doing. So, here he is. If it weren't for those legs, you'd think he was just some feral pigeon as his body looks like some of the common city birds we see.
Next up is Ace. I just named him that. I was going to go with Bowie because of his glam look but the whole black and white colouring drew me to a KISS member name. When I was watching him fly around last night, I watched him almost hit the window as he was going for the roof top. As I already mentioned, some of these fancy birds aren't the best fliers. I don't know if it is due to their feathering or ??? I'm just starting to understand how some of these birds "work", tumblers, high flying roller pigeons, etc.
I don't have a name for this bird yet but I am very smitten with him. I love his appearance as a whole. The colour pattern, that crown thing on his head. I look out for him every time I go to see them. Such a clean bird too compared to some of the others, nice red feet that aren't covered in crap.
While I have my couple favourites, to be honest, it's hard to pick out who to look at and ooooooooo and awwwwww over. They're all so pretty and unique. I don't understand how someone could have these birds and then just turn them loose. Another rumour floating around is that they all were released for some kind of ceremony. Initially we thought there was maybe a dozen but last night's visit had me count 20 fancy pigeons. What the hell?!?! Have more been added or did I just miss them the first time out?
But wait, there's more...
I guess if no more of these birds get "rescued" and they start mingling with the local feral birds, we may end up with a lot of very unique pigeons in the coming months.
I know I put this fatigue all on myself but I cannot help it. That's me. I care. Most know to never say to me "it's just a pigeon". Angie has kinda laughed at this whole thing, stating that there's never a dull moment with me. I had left her a big hand written note about Mr. Feather Legs when I brought him home that night. I didn't want her to find out on social media. She felt bad for him as well as all the others. It's lead us to have some conversation about having a pigeon coop out back, be it for me to have a pair of birds, or as a place to temporarily keep ones that need help. Let's see if that comes to light one of these days.
I will continue to check in on these birds over the next while, not daily, but at least a couple times a week. The parking lot they hang out in gets pretty busy during weekdays. Contractors have started redoing the roof but this hasn't scared the birds away so far.
Perhaps another update in due time. Please wish them the best with this new found freedom they have.