Lucky changed my life.
I found Lucky last October. She was walking outside the Alexis Nihon shopping center. At first I didn’t know what she was, but there was something strange about her. She wasn’t flying! It was the first day of snow here in Montreal and she was hurrying around on the sidewalk, pecking at the dirt on the ground but not picking up anything. She tried to follow people, but no one noticed. As they crossed the street, some would throw their cigarette on her…I looked around for her parents but saw nothing. There are many flocks of pigeons around that area, any Montrealer who’s been there has probably been pooped on by pigeons. They make their homes on the office building windowsills and roofs.
When she started walking towards the heavily trafficked street, that’s when I decided she had no idea what she was doing so I had to step in. I cornered her and picked her up. I never liked birds. I am afraid of them. Or I was.
I wanted to feed the little bird right away so I went inside a Subway restaurant and asked for some bread, but the little bird was not picking up any of the crumbs. She was not able to feed herself yet. I called took her home in a cab.
We have no books on pigeons, and the internet was not friendly this time. Apparently, not many people care about pigeons. How is that possible??? We live with them, but know nothing about them. I started calling vet offices, only to be told that I should PUT HER DOWN. WHY? There was nothing wrong with her. There is absolutely no service in Montreal for injured or orphaned pigeons. What kind of backward city is this? We are able to run pigeons over, we are able to find them fallen out of their nests, but we are not able to help them!!! I even called the BIRD HOSPITAL on Sherbrooke, guess what! They do not take pigeons! Is the pigeon not a bird? I apologize!
The only help I could find online came in the form of two forums. The first one I found was pigeon talk. Here is Lucky’s story. If you read the thread, you will read posts by some wonderful people. I would like to take a little time to thank Charis, Mindy, Tamara and all the other amazing folks who took the time to help me save Lucky’s life. You are truly outstanding human beings. The second forum was Pij’n'Angels with tremendous help from Charis. These two resources helped me save Lucky’s life. They told me how to care for her. They told me how to feed her. At first I had to feed her with a syringe. I had to get special baby bird food, mix it with warm water and feed it down her throat. But this is not easy at all and you run the risk of choking the bird, and of shoving the food in her lungs instead of her crop. Then we moved on to frozen peas and corn. Again, I had to open her beak and shove the food down her throat. I was learning a lot of new things. Then I taught her how to eat on her own. This was a lot of fun because I got to see an interesting side of pigeons. They are competitive! When she was able to pick up the seed Lucky shook her wings and made a high pitched sound as if she was happy and proud. When she failed she shook her head and made a low sound as if to show disappointment. I started to think we don’t know enough about the intelligence of birds.
We figured out that Lucky was about 15-18 days old when I found her. So luckily she was not human imprinted. Although, she used to wait for me by the door (we had to give her the whole spare room, because the cats would have eaten her otherwise…LuLu almost did twice!) She used to sit on my shoulder, peck at my face, follow me around the house…She made very scary baby pigeon sounds at first, but after a while I found them extremely cute. They later developed into the cooing sound we are more familiar with. She shook her wings when she was excited. She flew straight at me every time she saw me and she made her nest on my head…We even took her outside despite advice she might fly away…she didn’t. She stayed with me. Everyone said I should keep her, that pigeons make great pets. And they DO! But there was nothing wrong with her. We taught her how to fly! We wanted her to be free.
So we started looking for a rehabilitation center for pigeons. There is NOTHING around Montreal! In the meantime I met a few other people with pigeons. In Montreal it is against the law to keep pigeons in rented apartments. Because we lived in a house we were able to help a couple of other pigeons. We finally found a rehabilitation center near Ottawa and decided to drive there with the three birds.
We took Lucky to the Wild Bird Care Center at the end of November to be socialized with other pigeons over the winter and released in a flock in the spring. I miss her so much! Even today I get tears in my eyes when I look at her pictures. She was the most perfect pet. She was intelligent, extremely affectionate and so much fun to spend time with! I am very curious to see what she looks like now.
Because of Lucky I met a wonderful lady who volunteers at a cat shelter. She told me about clumping clay litter and natural alternatives. She told me about a more natural diet for LuLu who was over-grooming her belly. Because of Lucky, all the cats in this house are much better off. Because of Lucky, I am a much better person.
I will never look at a pigeon the same way again. Every time I hear wing flaps I turn my head to watch them fly. Too bad people don’t care more. We could learn from pigeons. For example: did you know that they mate for life? Did you know that they take care of their young until they are mature? Did you know that they never compete for food in their flocks? You rarely see pigeons fight!
I wish humans were more tolerant. I wish humans took a little more responsibility for the urban wild life around them. I believe that we owe it to the birds, the squirrels and all other animals we are displacing. If we have the means to care for them we should! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a high school subject dedicated to living with the creatures around us? Imagine we all knew how to give injured animals emergency care….the basics…or how not to kill spiders or other bugs but instead live with them…they were here before and they will be here after us…wouldn’t it be wonderful if we learned to share responsibly? They do not have a voice, but I am sure that every time a little creature suffers, in some way we all suffer.