Baby Pigeons Dill and Tess, Chapter 1
Thursday morning, I called both ACC and the Mickaboo adopter to see if I could get Buster and the other two hens placed as well. I learned that ACC had yet another hen in the Wildlife room (overflow from the Smalls room) and the adopter agreed to take the whole bunch.
I raced down there to pick everybody up and make it on time to my appointments in San Jose and was surprised to see, once in the Wildlife room, that there WAS a king pigeon there- a young bird (what we call a squeaker) that had been found on 6/24 at Taylor and Clay. In the cage next door was an even younger baby pigeon, a feral or wild pigeon found on 6/25 at 22nd and Cabrillo. The sign on its cage said, "May need handfeeding". I said I'd take the king (what's one more when you have fourteen?) and asked if they needed help finding a rehabber for the baby feral. I was told sure otherwise it would be euthanized. I took them both.
I had a full load and a full schedule that day and set off with Willow- my demo pigeon for Andy's Pet Shop, six chickens and the two new baby pigeons, each in a separate box. I didn't have any handfeeding formula and I didn't have time to fuss with them so it was a long, scary, hungry day bouncing around in boxes for them.
After dropping off the chickens, etc. etc. it was after 5pm when I finally got them home. I took the king pigeon outdoors to the aviary full of king pigeons I have, planning on housing him there. I'd taken in other birds about his age (Baby, Doll, Pearl, Opal) and figured he'd do best out there. He was easily twice the size of the baby feral and slightly older and pij can be rough on little babies so I figured I'd need to take care of the littlest one separately. I took him out there and hung out for awhile while he looked around and the other pij came to check him out.
For some reason, I got the idea that maybe I should bring him back in and try him as a nursery mate with the little feral. That was the best idea I've had in a long, long time. They are absolutely, completely, sweetly bonded. They are best friends. The little feral is Tess and the young king is Dill. They are adorable. I can't even begin to tell you how much fun they are. But I'm going to try.
The thing that really gets me though, as it always does, is that these two little loves, each with their own distinct personalities, interests, styles and spirits, are just two baby pigeons. There's nothing special about them. ALL of the baby birds and every other animal out there in need of rescue is just as individual and special as these two are. Lives that are needlessly wasted leave us all the poorer for them, perhaps far more than we can imagine.
July 14, 2008
Dill and Tess became friends as soon as they met. Tess, the baby feral pigeon, was only three weeks old, not fully weaned, a stray (don't know what happened that put her alone on the street at 22nd and Cabrillo), that had spent one day alone in a cage at the city shelter and another day alone in a box being driven all over the Bay Area (while I drove a bunch of birds around on rescue errands between SF & SJ). She was, it's pretty easy to imagine, scared, lonesome, hungry and forlorn, though she didn't show it. She kept her head up. Dill, a king pigeon, was about a week older, weaned, had also been found as a stray (at Taylor and Clay) and had spent two days alone in his cage at the shelter plus the day in a box riding around. While older and more physically mature, Dill struck me as less emotionally mature. He did all kinds of baby-squealing trying to conjure up a bird mommy. Tess did a bit of baby-peeping but was much less demonstrative. They were SO happy to find each other.
Pigeons lay two eggs (one male and one female, usually) and, unless something bad happens, baby pigeons grow up with a nest mate. They keep each other company- providing warmth, security and amusement, while the adult pigeons are out scrounging around for food. Something bad had happened from Dill and Tess' point of view and, until they found each other, they were very much alone. Once together, everything was better for them. They snuggle constantly.
Dill already knew how to eat seeds and so, while Tess was starting to learn, she (and I) really benefited from his eager demonstrations. Tess is fully weaned now.
Baby pigeons have lots of new feathers coming in and it really helps to have a nest mate to preen those hard to get ones.
They do everything together- from just hanging out to napping to watching birds fly by outside the window and trying out their own wings.