On 8/30, a well-intentioned person bought eleven king pigeons from a live food market at Grant & Pacific in order to save the birds from being killed and served as somebody's dinner. When set free, because they are king pigeons, they just stood around not knowing what to do or where to go. They wound up at SF ACC and, after being there a week, Santino showed signs of being sick. I was notified by ACC and have brought her (?) home for supportive care (if she lives) or hospice care. Judging from her coloring, she's probably the baby of a red check feral and a white king pigeon. She's a very sweet bird and nibbles on my fingers wishing I'd feed her like any decent Mommy Bird would. Despite having to eat on her own, she's gained 17 grams in 24 hours and isn't getting worse (that I can tell) and may be a little better. She's coughing less and flies a good bit - wouldn't you if you had wings and were just getting old enough to use them?
Santino's made a great recovery and is now out in the loft with the flock. She received only Baytril and supportive care but for her and what ever was ailing her, it worked. Her cough is gone, her eyes are resolved and she's eating and making her own way. She's very sweet with me, savvy with the big pigeons and a bit of a bully with a (younger, smaller) feral squeaker I thought she might keep company. Guess she's too grown for the baby basket now. They grow up so fast.
July 2010 Updates (back to 10/08)
The pictures above are from the 10/26/08 Pet Pride Day in SF. Santino is a champ at attending adoption fairs (and has been ever since this- his first one) and has been winning friends for pigeons all over Northern California for the past two years. He wears his pants and harness well but knows how velcro works and so I have to keep on my toes and listen for the tale-tell "zzzztt" of his deciding it's time to go naked.
Santino is also famous as the father of my only set of "oops" babies (or any other babies!) in almost three years of caring for rescued pigeons and replacing their real eggs with fake. You can read their story and see lots of pictures here: The Oops Kids: Coco & Ginger
After Santino's babies were grown (pigeon fathers are very devoted to and involved in caring for their young), he resumed his adoption fair gigs.
To meet Santino is to love Santino. He is a big, charismatic, outgoing yet gentlemanly pigeon and all love his good natured ways and handsomeness.
In February 2010, Santino's mate Charlie (an unreleasable blue bar feral and the mother of the oops babies) took ill. She became weak and required several months of care and recuperation in the house. Each day, I brought Santino in for an hour or so to visit with his beloved mate. When they were apart, they spent a lot of time watching each other through the window- her from inside the house, him from the penthouse perch of the coop outside. He was (and still is) extremely gentle with her and seemed to well understand that she was not feeling good.
Though Santino insisted on visiting Charlie in the house every day while she was recovering (communicated by his flying at me and teasing to get out of the coop door when I came in), he was healthy and had lots of energy and so spent most of his time outdoors.
Santino, who I've fostered for over two years now, was available for adoption (and will be again once Charlie is fully recovered) but will be sorely missed by me and MickaCoo. He's a really good "demo" pigeon.
Charlie, while not completely recovered, has regained some strength and is now back in the coop. She's unable to fly to their old nest box (high up) but Santino has relocated "downstairs" to be with her.
Stay tuned for more updates someday. Santino and his mate Charlie are amazing creatures, as are their flock mates. I wish I had time to tell all their stories. Unfortunately, there are so many other birds at risk of euthanasia, I can barely keep up with the new ones, let alone show off the old ones.