This week I had a bit of an unusual case. The clients were a family with two young boys. They had just returned from a whole day at sea where they spent most of the day boating around Gozo and exploring its many sea caves.

As the boys excitedly told me, they were slowly entering the mouth of a small cave when the elder of the two spotted something just ahead of them bobbing in the water. As they approached, it became obvious that it was a baby bird in distress. With every wave that rolled into the cave, the bird would disappear beneath the water’s surface and then come up again. They managed to fish the bird out of the sea and, once safely out of the cave, they examined their rescued bird.

The boys thought it was a falcon. The parents thought it was pigeon and, of course, the parents were right. Either way, the entire family rallied round, determined to save the little bird. It must have been in the water for some time as it was very cold, so they wrapped it up in a T-shirt, made their way back to shore and headed for the clinic where they told me that they wanted to do everything they could to save the bird and keep it as a pet.

Coming across baby birds out of their nest is something that we have all encountered. In most cases, it is best to leave things up to nature. Firstly, because the bird’s parents are the best carers for their young and, secondly, because caring for a baby bird requires considerable commitment that few can afford with today’s busy lifestyles.

Nestlings, which are baby birds still without their feathers, may have fallen out of the nest or been pushed out so that the stronger siblings will have a better chance of surviving and go on to themselves to breed strong chicks. It’s nature’s way. Fledglings, that is, baby birds that already have feathers and can move about should either be placed back into their nest if you can find it, or left alone. The parents will not be far and will continue to care for the young bird as soon as you move away. It’s worth knowing that the perception that birds will abandon their young if touched by human hand is indeed a fallacy.

Provided you have the resources necessary both to care for the health of a pigeon, as well as to house it responsibly when it grows, there is no reason that should preclude you from considering this breed of bird as a viable pet

Of course, the situation does change when the baby bird is injured or, as happened with my clients, the bird is in a life-threatening situation. I examined the baby pigeon. By this time, it was dry and warm, albeit scared of every movement and sound. From the size of it, the sparse growth of feathers, and its partial head of yellow fuzz, the pigeon seemed to be about two to three weeks old. I looked for injuries. There was no bleeding, no puncture wounds, and no broken wings or legs. Its throat was clear and free of obstruction, its eyes were bright with no signs of discharge and the droppings that it had obligingly deposited onto the T-shirt were the right colour and consistency. The only thing that it had was a bad case of bird mites that had survived the dunking along with the pigeon. If well cared for, this fledgling would survive.

Pigeons that are rescued at a very young age are quite capable of adopting and cherishing their human owners. Many pigeon fanciers will also tell you how intelligent and affectionate these birds are. So, provided you have the resources necessary both to care for the health of a pigeon, as well as to house it responsibly when it grows, there is no reason that should preclude you from considering this breed of bird as a viable pet.

Pigeons remain in their nest until they are about 30 days old, by which time they look very much like their adult counterparts. This explains why you never see very young pigeons as you would, for example, a young sparrow. This also means that until they reach that stage, you need to provide for them just as you would if you were the parent pigeon.

Although you will see city pigeons eating anything from bread crumbs to pizza crusts and even crisps, pigeons are mostly eaters of seeds, grains and legumes, with the occasional worm or insect.  As babies, they squeak and flutter their wings, and press their gaping mouth over the adult’s beak.  This behaviour is the signal to the parents that the young want to be fed.

In response, the pigeon pumps food from its crop into the baby pigeon’s mouth. The crop is a soft sac located over the breast area of the bird. It secretes a milk-like fluid, technically called crop milk but also referred to as pigeon milk. Crop milk looks like dairy milk and has the same consistency but is nothing like it. It is therefore important that rescued baby pigeons are not fed dairy milk. Just as a matter of interest, both mother and father pigeons can feed their young.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, your vet will be happy to advise you what to feed your baby bird and how often depending on how old it is. Until you can get to the veterinary clinic with your rescue, any baby pigeon that is more than a couple of days old but still too young to eat solids can be fed porridge oats well-soaked in sufficient water that the mixture retains a loose consistency. They will also do very well on softened hard-boiled egg.

The internet provides a wealth of information from reliable sources that depict how to feed young pigeons using syringes or feeding tubes. Notwithstanding, it is important that you take your rescue pigeon to your vet for a check-up. My clients have named their baby pigeon Muccu and every day he grows bigger and stronger. The bird mites with which he was afflicted have also cleared up.


About Pigeon Patrol:

Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.

Voted Best Canadian wholesaler for Bird Deterrent products four years in a row.

Contact Info: 1- 877– 4– NO-BIRD (