Posted in Be the Change, Bird Rescue, Bird Rescue and Treatment, Do you know?, Information that empowers!, Inspiration, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Medical treatment of Animals, Pets, Relationships, Stories from Ground Zero

The joy of looking after ‘Poopy’ the pigeon

By Divya Kapur

About the author: Divya has trained as a wildlife rescuer in Sydney with Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife Services. She specialises in birds and that is where she derives the confidence to continue her work in this area after having moved back to Gurgaon. She would love to share her expertise and knowledge with like minded people. Those interested in learning tips about bird care, may please contact her on divya_kapur@hotmail.com

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As I sat outside in my garden, thinking of my pet bird that is in Sydney, awaiting paperwork before it flies to India, a pigeon flies out of a tree and falls on the ground, as if it ran out of ‘steam’.

'Poopy' - the Pigeon (Photo Credit: Divya Kapur)

I waste no time in jumping out of my chair to take a closer look. The pigeon sits still, showing no signs of wanting to fly away. As it sees me coming closer, it starts to walk away, looking for a dark corner for comfort and safety. I immediately knew that this poor fellow is not well. By this time, I also figured that it is a female.

I wait for it to get into a corner of my patio, just behind a pedestal fan. That is when I reach out with my right hand, grab her gently from behind and turn her upside down. I hold the pigeon’s head in the cup of my left hand to keep its eyes covered. Birds are very visual. It can go into a state of panic and even shock to see itself in the hands of a human being. By covering its eyes with one hand or even with a muslin cloth, I am able to calm the bird. This way I am better able to examine it for injuries.

As I had suspected, the pigeon has hurt itself on his right foot. Not bad but it had scratched itself enough to bleed. Fortunately for me, my very helpful daughter, equally passionate about birds and animals, is home because of summer holidays. She is quick on her heels to get some cotton wool, clean water in a plastic bowl (small container in which you get soan papdi…we also believe in and encourage recycle, reuse and reduce policy) and Dettol. We gently cleaned the wound with clean water, making sure all along that the bird is calm and not stressed. I still have its eyes covered for that.  Then I cleaned it with cotton wool dipped in diluted Dettol water mix.

I then put the pigeon back in the corner where it felt safe and secure, while my daughter and I got busy in preparing a large box to house the pigeon. After all, it wouldn’t be a sound idea to leave her out in the open, unable to fly and unsupervised.

I got a cardboard box. Thank God I have plenty as I have recently moved from Sydney. Any plastic basket with holes will also do. Make sure it is large and not claustrophobic. Go by your own instinct. I lined the bottom with plastic bag, topped with a couple of newspaper sheets. Now comes the interesting bit. My daughter then spread soft leaves and grass on one half of the box, bearing in mind what the pigeon is used to in the wild. The idea is to provide the bird with what it is familiar with, to make it feel ‘at home’.

'Poopy' feels at home (Photo credit: Divya Kapur)

In one corner we put another reusable plastic container for water. Remember to put some clean stones at the bottom of the bowl so it does not tip over. Then we spread some bajra all around for the pigeon to feed on. We then carefully picked the bird up again, as before and put him in his new home to recover.

The wounds healed in about two weeks. By now, the pigeon was active and alert. She would spring up to see us walk by. Every morning and evening, I would put the box outside in the garden for the pigeon to get fresh air and see other birds. During the day, the box was placed in a covered shady spot. The water was cleaned every two days and the paper was changed every 3-4 days, depending on how much mess our little feathery patient made.

It’s been a month now and I lovingly call her ‘Poopy’. Unfortunately, the poor bird has a problem with its right wing. But the good news is that she is out of her box. She has found comfort on top of our linen cupboard and that is where she lives along with its water and food bowl. I am not surprised at her natural instinct to be above us and in a cosy corner. That is how they live when outside.

I am still looking for an avian specialist to diagnose the problem correctly and suggest the next course of action for us. Meanwhile, I am not stressed about whether it will survive or not. That is beyond my control. All my family and I can do is keep it safe because a bird that can’t fly is a bird that will either become another bird’s dinner or run over by a car.

For now, all you bird lovers out there, I am sure you now know that it’s not difficult to look after a pigeon and definitely does not cost anything at all. You can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home. . There are lots of birds that get injured, are sick or abandoned and orphaned. It’s not difficult to look after them. All it needs is some basic knowledge, lots of enthusiasm and love.

Posted in Animals, Be the Change, Inspiration, Jaagruti's interventions, Man and Animal: Stories of Kindness, Stories from Ground Zero, Videos, Videos on Animals

A school presentation, a Teacher, Delhi Fire Service and a rescued Pigeon

Life is a puzzle which gets deciphered when we look back and connect the dots. When I was in school, I had yearned for people to come over and talk to us about animals and environment but no one did, I tried to do it myself-telling my fellow classmates about not using polybags to dump kitchen waste as it kills a cow and clogs our drains, but no one listened….probably I didn’t communicate the right way or perhaps that was because our teachers didn’t reinforce what I said or probably because no one had the time to think about ‘going green’ as that buzzword wasn’t around at that time, neither was ‘Environment’ a career option as my School counsellor was clueless when I went and asked her about it.

Nevertheless growing up, I had always harboured deep within me a dream and a desire to go back to my school and speak to students and teachers therein on subjects pertaining to animals and environment because this is all I had always wanted to do and this is one of the reasons ‘Jaagruti’ was born…

And who says, dreams don’t come true, they do take time but I believe they do come true…and sometime back I had the opportunity to go back to my school and address the students in there not once but twice on subjects close to my heart, once on ‘Waste Management’ and the second time around I had the opportunity to address an Eco-Club seminar which was attended to by eco-club teachers from about 15 more schools and a group of Eco-club students from Classes 9-12. The focus of this interaction with teachers and students was to apprise them of the little things they can share with their colleagues/students/classmates on what all we as ‘individuals’ can do in our daily lives to help street animals and care for the environment.

One of the many things I had touched upon in this interaction was how many birds-eagles/kites, crows, mynahs and pigeons often become victims of kite strings-the glass manjhas/threads used by people to fly their kites high into the sky.

Though the kite flying games end, these kite strings often end up tearing through many a birds wings, either while they navigate through the open skies or when later on when these birds perch on the tree branches-their tiny claws/legs and wings remain susceptible to be trapped in the strings left wound around tree branches forever…

Someone in the audience that day in my former school was listening carefully to what I was saying and that was Ms. Rajbir Kaur, a teacher from a neighbouring school who was faced with a similar situation a few weeks later and that is when she called us over on the ‘Jaagruti’ helpline.

As Ms. Kaur’s family was attending to guests, the little kids in the family spotted a pigeon hung upside down from the branch of a Eucalyptus tree, the kids tried and tried along with their father of ways to get the pigeon down, but the tree was so far away from any houses’ balcony and the branches were too high, that it was not within reachable distance from the common ladders and poles we all have in our homes and they were now feeling helpless.

Ms. Kaur called us over, and after listening to the story thus far, we just gave her one calm advice to follow-to call the Delhi Fire Service on 101 and request them to send over their Fire Brigade as their long ladder will help. The Delhi Fire Service staff has time and again helped people help birds stuck in such situations and needless to say when Ms. Singh called 101, they were prompt in sending their Fire Brigade over….just that there was one thing she missed telling them…which is what height the pigeon was stuck on and thus the Fire Brigade that came didn’t have a ladder that long to reach the pigeon. And it was then that we all had to sincerely request the Delhi Fire Service staff to call for the Fire Brigade with a longer ladder and they agreed after initial hesitation. Their hesitation was that since this was a festival day and there could be fire emergencies in the city, how could they be here saving a bird…we assured them that if there is any such emergency; we will let them go and may be God will be kind enough to spare Delhi of any fire disasters and then they agreed :)

The Delhi Fire Service then called upon their most prized possession ‘The Bronto Skylift’, a new entrant into their fleet of Fire Brigades and then began the story of a heroic rescue of nothing but a pigeon who was hanging upside down and still uptil then making everyone wonder whether it was even alive!

But then, as soon as the Bronto Skylift’s ladder reached near that branch, the Pigeon started fluttering its wings in hope and excitement as if to convey that it was well alive and kicking!

The Delhi Fire Service staff got a heroic applause as they brought the pigeon safely down and then taking it to Ms. Kaur’s residence even helped cut the kite string which was wound around its wing, in such a neat manner that there was no injury caused to the pigeon, now named ‘Hero’ by Ms. Kaur’s husband-Mr. Singh. Since it is not advisable to release birds like Pigeons at night time, Mr. Singh’s family gave ‘Hero’ a nice place to rest, grains and water to feed on and even put on their water cooler (while switching the fan off) so that ‘Hero’ has a restful sleep.

Next morning, we went and took the pigeon for further examination to Abhinav at Fauna Police and then the next day since the pigeon was all good and healthy, Mr. Singh got him back on his way back from work and released it onto his balcony.

And then, the anticlimax happened, ‘Hero’ actually ended up being a ‘Heroine’, which is that Pigeon wasn’t a male but rather a female pigeon who then chose to use an abandoned nest atop an almirah placed in Mr. Singh’s balcony to lay her eggs :)

The story of Heroine’s rescue and release has been delightfully documented in the video shared by Mr. Singh with us below. Have a look!

Mr. Singh had this to say, “By saving this bird’s life, the Delhi Fire Service has shown that they respect and value all life (humans and animals) and that is what all of us need to learn and imbibe”.

Then onwards Mr. Singh’s family has also taken the initiative of getting all of their colony’s street dogs vaccinated against Rabies, which were uptil then only being fed by the area residents, but they took on additional responsibility and expense to make sure that these dogs are now vaccinated as well.

It is said that doing one good deed prompts you to do the next one and thus, the spirit of compassion continues to flow!

Posted in Jaagruti's interventions, Medical treatment of Animals

Pigeon with kite string injury: Rescued, treated and set free!

On the evening of 16th August 2010, we at ‘Jaagruti’ got a rescue call divert from Manta at Angel Eyes Animal Welfare Foundation, she wanted to check whether we would be able to rescue a pigeon which had become a victim to the glass-coated kite string (commonly termed as ‘glass maanja‘) at CU Block in Pitampura area of Delhi.

We were located in the other part of the city when the call came but promised to pick up the pigeon at night and leave it for treatment with the team at Wildlife Rescue who are now self-trained experts at suturing kite string induced injuries in birds.

We were informed that the pigeon is not in anybody’s house but rather in a market and we spoke to Swati, the young girl who had made the rescue call to the helpline. Swati is not a person who likes animals still carries within her a soul that was compassionate to the pigeon’s suffering and she hid the injured pigeon on the staircase in this marketplace to avoid it being consumed as a meal by any other animal.

When we reached the marketplace, to our troubles, the grill gate safeguarding the staircase was locked but on asking a helpful neighbourhood stall owner the trick to get it opened, we were promptly directed to the security guard of this market and he willingly opened the grill gate and we could access the staircase…as we stepped up a few stairs, we saw a young pigeon injured on its left wing sitting quietly tucked underneath the handrail of the stairs on the other side. Thankfully, the wound wasn’t bleeding any more.

In the carton: Pigeon with kite string injuried rescued from CU block at Pitampura

At 10.45 pm that night, the pigeon was safely delivered to Saud of Wildlife Rescue and he helped remove the kite string that had entangled in the pigeon’s wings and caused it to slit and bleed. the suturing of the wound was done that very night.

Soon after, the pigeon was sent to recuperate to the aviary at Fauna Police under Abhinav’s care.

Thanks to all the care provided at the aviary, the pigeon’s injured wing healed within a couple of weeks and the pigeon was set free much to all of ours delight.

It wasn’t by any means a great rescue act but this was surely a small united effort on part of many helped this pigeon take to the skies again.and as is said, “There are no great things, only small things with great love”.

[For related queries, please mail us at contact@jaagruti.org]