“PLEASE HELP…” An Inspiring Rescue Story

Have you ever noticed how many pigeons there are? We get so many requests for help! We can’t even keep up with meeting the needs of all the domestic birds let alone the wild ones too but we do our best to respond or, if we can’t respond ourselves, to empower those who contact us with coaching, information, referrals, encouragement…

Here’s an inspiring story about a kind person whose compassion and tenacity meant the difference between suffering or rescue, life and death, for a pigeon youngster. She didn’t just alert others and depend on them to do something. She stayed engaged and advocated for the vulnerable bird until he was safe. She made a life-saving difference.

Wednesday 11/18
I received this email from Lindsey.
On Monday I noticed a mother and her baby down in the BART(*Bay Area Rapid Transit) tracks at the Ashby station, this is a pair I’ve been watching for weeks now. I immediately noticed the juvenile in distress with a broken wing. This bird couldn’t fly yet and now is injured I cried called bart police, talked to the man in the box in the station, called animal control. No one has done anything the bird is alive and well, preening and alert. BUT I have reason to believe that its very devoted sweet mother is now deceased presumably from flying down constantly to sit with her baby in between trains. I plan to bring food tonight if nothing is done and I wanted to try and get him out and take him home with me. I have raised (& released) many a wild animal back in Wisconsin but this is a new game. I’m assuming it’s illegal to just jump into the tracks and I don’t know what to do. I can not bear to watch this baby suffer or starve, I am obsessed. Please help! Specifically the bird is located on the side traveling into Oakland near the South side, you will see it bopping around if its still alive.
Thank you kindly,
I am at the office but call me if you have any questions.

Thursday 11/19
I referred Lindsey to Wildlife Emergency Services (1 866 WILD 911) and because we have gotten help from BART Directors in the past, encouraged her to contact them for help as well.

Friday 11/20
Lindsey succeeded in getting BART officials to remove the pigeon from the train tracks but they just set him down outside and he still needed to be rescued. I posted to our groups on Facebook at 8:53 AM and within less than one hour, the youngster was rescued and safe thanks to the compassion and swift response of Steph, one of our volunteers.

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The young pigeon, off the tracks but injured and without a parent to feed him

11/20 Update Posted by Lindsey
Finally, after 5 DAYS someone has listened to me! This little survivor made it 5 days in the tracks with a broken wing! I made countless phone calls to every wildlife rescue place imaginable, shed countless tears, sent emails, brought food & finally I found good people. Thank you kind BART man for promising to get baby off the tracks and consoling me & justifying my feelings! Thank you Elizabeth from Palomacy for being the only one who responded to me & thank you for sending an angel Steph to go scoop up baby and make sure it gets the care it needs.
All life is precious. I am filled with hope.

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Finally- rescued and safe after a long hard week 

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Palomacy volunteer Steph comforts the rescued youngster

About this experience, Lindsey writes,
“Since moving to California three months ago I’ve noticed that pigeons are often times classified as pests, their lives are disregarded, and they are looked at with disgust. Putting aside my great love and appreciation for birds in general, I have made some observations: Pigeons are survivors, pigeons are gentle, curious, trusting, & beautiful creatures. I had the profound joy of watching a mother and her babies for weeks in the Ashby BART station. It was a gift everyday in the midst of my two hour commute, and for me a moment to appreciate life. Babies need to learn to fly and sometimes their first attempts are not successful. For one of the baby pigeons, a series of heartbreaking events landed him with a broken wing, stuck in the BART tracks, and motherless. The little survivor lasted five days in the tracks injured and alone. For five days I begged every organization I could find the number or email address to, for five days I researched the legal/safety ramifications of me jumping into the tracks to rescue this baby, for five days I dreaded my commute and cried for this baby, and for five days I had people tell me “It’s just a pigeon, there is nothing we can do.” Persistence bordering on obsession paid off. The right ear, Palomacy, heard my emotional pleas, good people took action, and this baby was given a chance at life. I’m so glad this creature will know what it is to find its own food, he will feel sunshine & fresh air, and hopefully with the help of the good people at WildCare he will experience what it is to fly. No creature ever deserves to suffer. All life is so very precious.”

Thank you, Lindsey, for all that you did to save this pigeon youngster! Thank you, Steph, for dropping everything to race to his rescue and thank you WildCare for providing the treatment and care this youngster needs!

UPDATE from WildCare
Monday 12/7
He is with three other pigeons and he makes improvements everyday. He can fly a bit and perch on lower limbs. He experienced some neurological trauma and sometimes he flops on his side and flaps, but his condition strengthens constantly.

Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions saves the lives of domestic (unreleasable) birds that are otherwise killed by helping San Francisco Bay Area shelters and finders. We provide guidance, referrals, education, long-term foster care, avian vet treatment and adoption services. Thanks to the support of our volunteers, we have saved the lives of more than 700 birds since we began in 2007 and helped countless others.


One Comment

  1. Beautiful story. It’s good for the heart to hear it. All of the wild animals we share our cities with should be cherished and admired for the remarkable job they do to even survive in a crowded, often hostile, environment. They are just like the rest of us, trying to find finding shelter, food and mates, and raising their young. Bravo to Lindsey and everyone else for not taking the glory of every life for granted!


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