Lucky changed my life. In fact, Lucky changed many lives. This household is forever changed, that’s for sure!
I found Lucky last October. She was walking on St Catherine street, right 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 just running around on the sidewalk, pecking at the dirt on the ground but not really picking up anything. She tried to follow people, but no one noticed. As they would cross the street, some would almost throw their cigarette butts on her…I looked around for her mom or dad 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. That was one of the scariest moments of my life. I never liked birds. I am afraid of them. Or I was.
I wanted to feed the little bird right away so I started walking towards the pet store on St Catherine but when I got there it was closed. So I kept going and finally went inside a Subway restaurant and asked for some bread. The girls were nice enough and gave me some but the little bird was not picking up any of the crumbs. She was not able to feed herself yet. I called Dan and we 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. That was scary as hell! 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. SCARY! Then we moved on to frozen peas and corn. Again, I had to open her beak and shove the food down her throat. I have to admit that I felt very useful and helpful and very excited about learning so many new things! Then I taught her how to eat on her own.
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 would shake her wings when she was excited. She would fly straight at me every time she saw me and make a nest on my head…We even took her outside in spite all the advise not to because 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! I just did not want to keep her for my own selfish reasons. 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 you are not allowed to keep pigeons in the house if you rent. We are lucky Dan owns the house so when we heard about other people almost getting evicted because of the pigeons they rescued, we took the birds in. We finally found a rehabilitation center near Ottawa and decided to drive down there.
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! To this day I cry when I look at her pictures. She was the most perfect pet. She was very smart, extremely affectionate and so much fun to be around! We keep meaning to go visit her but we do not have a car, and I am not sure it would be the best thing to do. 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. Because of Lucky, I decided to try to change Montrealers view of pigeons. I am working hard on an information campaign to spread the word about these wonderful creatures. Anyone interested in helping me, please contact me.
I will never look at a pigeon the same way again. Every time I hear wing flaps (the most wonderful sound in the world) I turn my head to watch the angels. They really are angels. Too bad people don’t care more. We have a lot to 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 will never see pigeons fight!
I think about pigeons when it snows heavily. I worry about them. I wish humans were more tolerant. I wish humans would take 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 (and…WE DO!) 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 be sure that every time a little creature suffers, we all suffer. Make no mistake, we are all connected, we are one, Lucky taught me this.