Usually squab producers “harvest” the nestling pigeons at 28 days old. I think Dylan must have hatched a little late or been pulled from the nest a little early because when I met her, she was still very young.
Rather than being butchered as most squab are, Dylan was sold live and “released” (either in a misguided effort to save her or ceremoniously). She was lucky to be found by a nice person who called San Francisco Animal Care & Control. They picked her up at the intersection of Cameron & Nichols before she was killed by a hawk, gull, raven, dog, cat, raccoon or a mean person.
She arrived at the shelter on September 12th. Unbeknownst to the staff, she was too young to self-feed. I was contacted on September 16th and she was starving when I picked her up that night- only feather and bone. When I opened her cage door, Dylan begged me to feed her as if I was her pigeon parent. (Baby pigeons are called squeakers because they squeak begging to be fed.)
Overfull with more than 100 birds in our foster care already, I had not planned on taking this baby in to MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue. But I couldn’t leave her. I rushed her home and started tube-feeding frequent, small watery meals to restart her GI system. She responded ecstatically- now sure that I was a momma bird.
Soon Dylan was feeling better and she was determined to learn to self-feed.
Dylan’s ordeal has had an impact. She has been a much more needy, clingy youngster than is typical. Even once able to self-feed, she was constantly begging and acted hungry all the time. I keep her close and spoil her with attention.
While I’m already feeling beyond stretched with twenty foster pigeons and eleven pets (eight adopted pigeons, a parrot, a dove and my dog), I’m not sure I’ll be able to part with Dylan. Luckily, she’s a really wonderful, hard-working little pigeon ambassador and has already made lots of special friends. (Click on the photos to enlarge)
And she’s been recognized for her artistic talent as well, thanks to the Paws for Love Foundation!
I’m very thankful that we were able to save Dylan. She is, as they all are, a very special soul.