Wilfred is a rescue racing pigeon that I am currently looking after with my sister Samantha. He came to me last Thursday after someone found my contact details online and phoned. I get quite a lot of calls every week about injured birds and animals, normally I can give advice but sometimes, if they need urgent help then I collect them and bring them in for evaluation. Wild birds usually need a couple of days treatment and then taking to a Sanctuary for monitored release.
Wilfred was dropped at my house last Thursday night. He has a badly broken leg and burns on his chest and under one wing. We think he flew into an electricity pylon.
The problem was that Wilfred was a racing pigeon, so strictly speaking he was owned by someone-else and classed as a domestic bird. That meant that when I took him to the vet for painkillers and antibiotics it isn't covered by any wildlife fund and the owner had to be notified.
I have heard a lot of terrible things about pigeon fanciers but I contacted Wilfred's owner to see what he wanted to do. The expense of treating a bird that will never race again isn't one most pigeon fanciers will take on. The result was that Wilfred should be put to sleep. I managed to convince the owner to sign him over to me so that I could pay for any future treatment.
It's touch and go. Some days Wilfred is preening and eating, others he sits in his cage and looks miserable. He likes cuddles and loves people talking to him. His leg is splinted but he is so terribly underweight there is no way he'd survive an operation at the moment. We are trying to build him up as best we can. Yesterday he had his first bath (not particularly appreciated) and I'm happy to say the feathers on his chest are starting to grow back.
I guess the point of this post is to say that alot of people view pigeons as vermin, flying rats but in fact they are beautiful, very intelligent birds. Wilfred lights up every day without even trying, just spending time with him makes me smile without fail because he is such a little fighter. He has taught me a valuable lesson - never give up!