Does my pigeon have a broken wing, or just a strained or sprained one?

by Christina
(Victoria, Australia)

Hello :-) MY name is Christina and I live in Australia. I found a pigeon with one wing drooping lower then the other. He was in the park. I am going to keep him as a pet. He is in a big aviary cage and he is eating and drinking well and he looks bright and alert and happy. He even preens himself. When I let him out in the laundry to clean his cage he mostly sits in the same spot, but today he walked up and down the floor a bit. I have had him for 5 days.

How can I tell if his droopy wing is broken or just strained or sprained?

He often stretches both his wings straight up above his head and then puts them back down (without opening his wings out sideways- he just stretches them both straight up in the air) - does that mean that one droopy wing is not broken?

Also, I know I have to tape the wing in place- can I use masking tape? I read that you have to use vet tape which is gauze that sticks to itself but not the birds feathers. I don't get it- how are you supposed to stick their wing down if the tape doesn't stick to their feathers? I can't find anyone who sells vet tape, and I went to the chemist to buy a roll of stick on bandage, but I didn't buy it as the pharmacist told me that it was too strong for a bird as it would rip off their feathers when I take it off, so I didn't buy it. I don't know what to do, I feel all alone in the world as everone I know says just leave it and it will heal, none of them will help me take him to the vet and I don't drive.

I want to take him to the vet but I am broke as I am still paying off a $500 avian vet bill from when my other pigeon was sick. My family say that if I keep spending all my money on saving birds then I will end up homeless and sleeping under a bridge, nobody understands. I love this little fella.

Also, I read that you have to wrap around the broken wing and under their stomach and then under their good wing, leaving their feet behind the tape. Is that true? If the tape doesn't stick to their feathers then how are you supposed to stick the end of the tape under their good wing?

I am so confused. What advice would you give?

Thanks heaps for your time, I do appreciate it a lot

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Sep 10, 2011
Does my pigeon have a broken wing, or just a strained or sprained one?
by: Linda

Christina, Linda here and glad to hear you're still in the pigeon rescue business!

If your bird can stretch wings in any direction, this does not sound like a break as that would keep him from being able to move the wing much at all. It could possibly be a hairline fracture, but probably not. Bird would indicate he's in a great deal of pain even with a hairline fracture, so if he's eating, stretching and so on, just keep an eye on him in a smaller enclosure for a couple of weeks or more.

The only way to know for sure is to have wing xrayed, so until you can do that, keep him confined to a smaller area and keep observing how he uses or does not use this wing.

Do not put any kind of tape on the wing because it does have to be vet tape which is not cheap, plus if it's not broken, it does not need to be taped, and you'll do way more harm than good.

Keep us posted on his progress and it's good to hear from you and sorry about the big avian vet bill you're paying off. We did something similar a few years' ago. We had an old dog who died of cancer, and he had many trips to vet, surgery and lots of meds before he died. A year later, we were still paying off his vet bill even though he'd been dead over a year! As a result of paying off that large bill, we have good credit with our dog vets which comes in handy when the old ones get sick with this or that.


Sep 10, 2011
Pigeon with hurt wing
by: Tracie

You will need to Find an Avian Vet for your bird. Dr B can not tell you what is wrong without physically examining your bird.

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