What Do I Do If I Find an Injured Pigeon or Dove?
Our resource page, In Case of Emergency, provides general information on how to tell if a pigeon is in distress, and how to find help for injured pigeons. When in doubt, a good number to call is WildCare, 415-456-SAVE. WildCare is a Bay Area-based rescue for feral (free-living) pigeons, and their hotline will provide advice 24 hours a day. It’s always best to get an avian expert involved rather than “wing it.” (See map of pigeon-friendly rescues in US here.)
I created our rescue, Palomacy (originally MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue), in 2007 to help the many domestic (unreleasable) pigeons and doves that wind up in Bay Area shelters and were being routinely killed for lack of adopters. We’ve saved the lives of more than 600 birds since we started, but we are an incredibly small group with 1 semi-paid employee and some volunteers and we all work out of our homes, doing all we can to keep up with the overwhelming numbers of lost and injured racing pigeons, “released” King pigeons, surrendered Ringneck doves, etc. Here’s an article that I wrote that tells you more about both MickaCoo & WildCare: Pigeons: Wild & Tame.
One of the most common problems that feral pigeons have is something we call “stringfoot.” Pigeons need twigs, straw or hay to build nests but, in urban areas, they are more likely to find string, wire and human hair. When they spend 12 hours of every day for 3 weeks out of every month in their nests, their toes become entangled in the nest materials, which leads to constriction, necrosis, infection, etc. If you can catch and untangle these poor birds, they can recover and survive very well, even with missing toes or stumps for feet. You can read more here: Stringfoot Heartache.
Thank you for being compassionate to the pigeons,