Since I posted about a racing pigeon who came to stay in September two wood pigeons seem to have heard that I’m a soft-hearted pushover and turned up for handouts.
The first one actually knocked himself out on my bedroom window. I collected him from the lawn and put him into a dark box in the hope he would recover. I thought one of three things could happen: he’d die, he’d recover and I’d let him go, or if he just lurked in his box unable to function I’d have him put to sleep. It doesn’t seem fair to me to keep broken wild things that will just be scared and feel helpless.
He did seem to be improving and got back on his feet, but he wouldn’t fly away. I put him back in a box with a perch, food and water, but he died during the night.
The second I found at on a work call-out. He kept falling over and once I picked him up I could tell he was seriously underweight. I took him home and set him up with seeds and chicken feed to try and build him up but he wouldn’t eat, so I contacted a local wildlife rescue who agreed to take him. They knew a LOT more about pigeons than me and showed me the canker which was preventing him from eating. Apparently the prognosis isn’t great but they have had some successes so will have a go at helping him.
If I’m honest, I’m conflicted about rescuing wild animals. Nature is famously red in tooth and claw; the lives of wild animals end brutally, painfully and prematurely all the time. To interfere hinders the action of natural selection to produce better adapted animals and undoubtedly causes temporary stress to the patients. On the other hand, when I see something suffering, I want to help. Maybe that’s selfish and self-satisfying; but then maybe the young pigeon will get to fly off and fulfil its simple desires to eat, roost and raise chicks. Humans put their animal neighbours through a lot so perhaps when we can give something back, we should.
Update! Coventry Wildlife Rescue sent over a lovely message about how the last pigeon was doing. Apparently he is recovering well! How nice are these guys?