Wild bird or lost pet?
January 12, 2012 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Help! Is this bird potentially a lost pet?

Found this guy hiding under my car. I walked up to him and he actually walked towards me and hung out by my feet. I came back two hours later and he's in the same spot. Any chance it's a lost pet?

Picture: http://i.imgur.com/EM44E.jpg
posted by ascetic to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
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posted by ascetic at 10:14 AM on January 12, 2012

Looks like some kind of a dove or pigeon to me.
Doesn't mean it's not a pet.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:14 AM on January 12, 2012

I think this lady can help you figure out what to do.
posted by batmonkey at 10:25 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, that there's a pigeon. There are plenty of people in NYC who keep pigeons, though, so it may still belong to someone.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:27 AM on January 12, 2012

Does he have a ring?
posted by missmagenta at 10:36 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Plenty of people keep pigeons as pets, they get let out to fly around for exercise and if they get hurt they don't always make it back to their roosts.

Try looking to see if there is a ring around it's leg as pet and racing pigeons are often tagged. I don't know who you would contact in the US to trace the number on the tag though, but local bird rescue group might be able to help. If you can catch it and put it in a box and keep it dark and quiet while you do this, it will help the bird stop stressing and if it's hurt stop it being eaten by anything while you track down a group. Of course if it's not tagged or a pet you might want to let mother nature take it's course, I was a mad bird rescuing fool back in Australia but I know not everyone is.
posted by wwax at 10:37 AM on January 12, 2012

If where you live has an animal control agency I would give them a call and see what they had to say. Someone may have reported a lost pigeon/dove to animal control.
posted by OsoMeaty at 10:43 AM on January 12, 2012

It's probably a rock dove, better known as the common pigeon. Judging by its coloring, it has domesticated ancestors. That doesn't mean it is somebody's pet, but it increases the chance.

Check it for a leg/ankle ring, and also for injuries. If neither are present, probably leave it be.
posted by Jehan at 11:25 AM on January 12, 2012

If it belongs to someone, it will have a leg band with a number on it. That number will be registered with some local pigeon fancier's club. Google for same.
posted by Hobgoblin at 11:37 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had this happen to me, and no one claimed it, and it did the "hang out sorta by people" for a week, and then it began living in our yard near our chickens. It was clearly not a wild animal, and it had no fear of animals or people. It's now living in my house because I didn't want to see it suffer through the winter to die in the cold or be eaten by a cat or raccoon. Yours looks to be sadder and less well-kept though. (Want another one? They're messy eaters, I have to vacuum the floor twice a day now, or my toddler eats birdseed.)
posted by kpht at 12:37 PM on January 12, 2012

It looks almost like a fancy variety of chicken, actually. Look at it's feet!
posted by floweredfish at 12:39 PM on January 12, 2012

Not all pet birds have leg bands. It might be a nice idea to call animal control or the humane society. See if it will step onto your hand if you put your hand down in front of it's feet, or if it will let you pick it up (gently, birds are fragile) if it is trained to step onto the hand or doesn't mind being handled, it is a pet. He's cute, and if he's tame he won't do well outdoors.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:38 PM on January 12, 2012

I have nothing to add to the excellent advice above, but do update and let us know how things turned out with the little guy. He is cute, and if he's lost I hope you can help him get home.
posted by thereemix at 2:48 PM on January 12, 2012

That looks a lot like a King Pigeon which is a domesticated variant of the rock dove, aka "city pigeons". Oddly, everyone that I know that owns a King Pigeon obtained it the same way: it just showed up one day and hung around and never left.

The one in your photo looks a little sickly, though: while birds do fluff up to ridiculous puffiness when sleeping or cold, they don't typically do that while sitting on the ground out in the open. It would be a kindness to take him to your local animal shelter for care.
posted by jamaro at 2:52 PM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Look for a wildlife or bird rehab nearby. They are usually willing to help out in cases like this.
posted by Jess the Mess at 3:24 PM on January 13, 2012

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