Pigeon found unable to fly, etc.

by Kristy
(lexington, ky, usa)

A few weeks ago we found a wild pigeon on the verge of death, severely emaciated and unable to fly. It was a young juvenile, but should have been on it's own and flying around. It was weak, but otherwise seemed alert and vital. We took it to a wild bird rehabber who, unfortunately, by law, could not take the bird from us. The local vet offices said it would probably be euthanize because it's a pest here (as it is everywhere). The rehabber gave us some advice, some antibiotics and calorie booster and set us on our way. Well, it's been about a month now and it is in full glory, growing it's iridescent adult feathers and learning to coo, eating like a champ and in otherwise great health, except one problem; it still has no ability or even desire (it seems) to fly. It will not flap with it's right wing, when encouraged to flap (by holding it on the hand and drawing the bird sharply downward in a falling motion) the left wing flaps like normal but the right one goes straight down and doesn't flap like normal. It seems to have normal range of motion in the right wing, though, as it DOES stretch it's wing up and out when not attempting to flap (i.e. just stretching as birds do). I also noticed that it holds its tail in a very low position, not completely down and limp, but definitely not as high as normal. Here's where the confusion is, there are and were no visible wounds or bruises on the bird when we found it nor are there now, it has no pain in manipulating the wing or the tail and it SEEMS as though it CAN move them normally for the most part, it just 'chooses' not to, it seems. Could it be muscle damage or some degenerative thing, a deep bruise or some damage to some bone or organ? We're only asking here because local vets AND rehabbers are not options and we're fully willing to do what needs to be done with it, even pretending it's a tame pet bird if necessary. I just want to know what's going on with it that makes it not want to fly.

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Feb 27, 2012
by: kristy

Thank you everyone and Dr. B, I wasn't looking for home treatment, as I said, I am willing to take it to a vet and pretend it has been a pet bird all along (the first time I asked, I said it was a wild one we found and they told us they'd probably put it to sleep). I was just asking if perhaps you thought it would be for the best to just let them do what they would to it or leave it to see what happens or to go ahead and get it more help, we are planning on keeping it if we continue with care, and so I guess we'll get a check up appointment at my local exotic vet (it's the vet I take my tortoise to and they do birds and reptiles).

Feb 27, 2012
Pigeon not flying
by: Tracie

This could be nerve damage, soft tissue damage, pain, muscle weakness or atrophy. You need to take him to see an avian veterinarian. There is nothing I can recommend for home treatment.

Find an Avian Vet
Dr B

Feb 27, 2012
Great Humanitarian
by: chaydel

Kristy, it may look as though you have a pet pegion, at least for a good while longer. If I were you, and as you say, be willing to keep it as a pet pegion for as long as you need to. However, even if in the future you see that it can fly (given exercises) using both wings, your having taken care of it for so long will have caused your new adoptee to depend on you and not learn how to take care of itself.

In all, you seem to be a great person. Why not simply enjoy your new little chance gift and learn more about pegions. They do have their own little way of giving back.

A pegion I caught too many years ago to identify happened by chance to be Ellen Degeneres' pegion, when she was still very much a child in the New Orleans-Metairie area. This pegion began staying between my house and hers. I was old enough then to have baby sat her twice and this is how we learned that the pegion belonged to her. The pegion would fly on the same level as the driver's window, and on occasion I'd see drivers actually trying to catch the pegion as they drove down the road. (Even her pegion had her great personality.)

A good name for her might be SOLO. ch

Feb 26, 2012
Pigeon found unable to fly, etc.
by: Linda

The wing could have a hairline fracture and needs to be x-rayed to find out if it does. These usually heal on their own, and take some time to do it. Do not worry about him flying and keep him safe and inside in a cage.

Take him to an Avian Vet only as the dog and cat vets are not licensed or trained in the care of birds. Find an Avian Vet

Also, sometimes any wild bird gets sick or injured, and the attitude there about this bird is inhumane at best and highly cruel at worst.

Have wing xrayed by avian vet and keep taking good care of him as he will not be able to be released back into the wild.

Shame on the people you talked to for their callous, uncaring attitude. I think some humans are pests too, and they are still allowed to live, eat, be well and have lives. This bird's life is worth the work you are doing to help him and never let anyone tell you one life is not as important as another because life is life and all life is valuable and must be nurtured and watched over to make sure all is well. Do not, for one minute, think that your efforts will go unrewarded as what goes around comes back around to us each and every time. That is God's Law, not man's law and unlike man's laws, actually works and keeps a level playing field for everyone.

I'm very proud of you all, and this helpless little bird loves and trusts you with his life. Thank You for helping him, and always be ready to help another animal or bird or child in need in the future. This is what we were actually put here for, so "Good Job!"


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