PIGEON GRATEFUL

cute pigeons 2 flickzzz.com 019-768559
Last month I rescued a sick pigeon.

I’ve done it before. In fact, this is the third pigeon I’ve rescued.

I like pigeons a lot. They are actually pretty smart birds, and they do well in captivity. Better than in the wild, in fact. In captivity, wild pigeons can live 10-15 years. In the wild (in cities, I mean), they last about a year or two. (Yes, all those pigeons you hate are very young pigeons.)

Most injured wild birds will die in your hand from shock if you attempt to rescue them. Not pigeons! They will get quiet and look at you as if to say, “Well, finally, my ride is here! Where have you been?!”

I spotted this one on my drive home one day, and knew he was in trouble. It was extremely hot and humid, and a thunderstorm was brewing. He was staggering in circles, listing to one side, barely able to stay upright.

I vaguely remembered the virus PMV that causes these symptoms. I quickly pulled into a nearby parking lot and stalked him for fifteen minutes til I caught him. He kept trying valiantly to fly away, but after flying into a building and then into a passing car, he was finally exhausted enough to let me pick him up.

I looked up his symptoms to make sure I wasn’t exposing myself, my family or my pets to anything toxic, then made up a cage for him. I didn’t expect him to survive the night–he was in pretty bad shape, with an injured eye, dehydrated and subdued. I forced a dribble of water down his throat, made him as comfortable as I could, and left him alone.

The next morning, I was surprised to see him looking (askant) at me from his cage. Beady bright little eyes, like the pilfering penguin from the Wallace And Gromit movie, The Wrong Trousers. “You made it, Magoo!” I exclaimed. I made him drink a little more water, cleaned him up, set out some cockatiel food, and left him alone again.

Soon Mr. Magoo (I have no idea if it was a he or a she, but “Mr. Magoo” seemed to fit his bewildered stare) was drinking on his own, and eating, too. He was still aslant and wobbly. But every morning he let me pick him up so I could clean his cage and refill his food and water. Every time I went out in the mudroom, he looked down at me from his cage with his shiny eyes.

About four weeks went by. I was getting ready for a drive home to my folks in Michigan. I knew Jon wouldn’t be wild about cleaning up after a pigeon every day. I toyed with the idea of letting him go. he was getting a little better every day. But I wasn’t sure if he were fully recovered or not.

The day before I left, I went to lift him up. To my surprise, he fought me and flew out of my hands. I managed to corner him and snag him in the mudroom. But I knew then it was time for him to go.

I took him out to the front steps and set him down. “If you’re ready, you can go,” I told him. “If not, you’re welcome to stay.”

He exploded into the air and flew away without a backwards glance.

I didn’t begrudge him the lack of gratitude. Wild things don’t owe us anything, even when we help them. I was glad he lived to fly again.

A day later, I went to get in my car.

On the driver’s side door was a huge white splat of pigeon poop dripping from the window all the way down the panel.

Now, I could have have been annoyed, and made up a story about how pigeons will poop on the person’s car who saved them.

But I like to think that a pigeon, wanting to say, “I’m alive and okay!” would have very few ways to communicate in a way we’d be sure to notice.

So I’m making up a story that Mr. Magoo was saying, “Thank you” the only way he’d know how, by pooping on my car.

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12 Comments

Filed under choices, life with pets

12 responses to “PIGEON GRATEFUL

  1. Oh, you’re so good, Luann(at writing and being a wonderful human being). What a great story and ending. :-)

  2. What a fabulous story! I have rescued a few birds and it is so rewarding. Love the “present” he left – yes, definitely his way of communicating to you.

  3. Love this story! Hooray for Mr. Magoo and his pooh!

  4. Jenny Berube

    LOL!!!!

    Elegantly Eclectic LLC

    http://www.shesacrafty1.etsy.com

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  5. Christine Kaitlyn

    Lovely story!

    Sent from my iPad

  6. Jon Udell

    People say pigeons are just rats with wings. But as Luann discovered a while ago, rats given the right environment can be quite wonderful. Nature/nurture, it’s endlessly fascinating.

  7. Excellent writing. Love the way you creatively analyze the pigeon’s attempt to say “Thank you.”

  8. Jay Williams

    When I did the same thing for another kind of bird, upon release the thank you was instant. All down the front. But I enjoyed doing it. Jon, after following Luann’s blog for a while, I’m convinced she could she probably could get a rat to fly.

  9. Wonderful story! You are an awesome person to help a fellow creature out. I think you are right, he/she was definitely leaving you a Thanks and I’m doing fine!

  10. jackie robinson

    The same thing happened to me..I
    Rescued a pigeon with a not broken but bruised wing…looked after it for 6 weeks..came home today and it was time…it made its way out to the back of the housr and flew, on the opposite building, stood there for a while looking at me waving…and then flew to his new life :-)

    • I love how they look before they leave. I want to think it’s because they recognize the gift they were given. But I tend to think it’s to make sure we don’t follow them! :^D

      • jackie robinson

        Haha!!! Yes..or they are thinking…” Thank Christ I have got away”…I hope he comes back to visit one day :-)

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