A dove has been perched on my recycling can for hours, in the rain.
March 19, 2014 7:57 PM   Subscribe

There's a dove perched on my recycling can outside my backdoor. He's been there for hours, sitting in the rain. He keeps trying to get in the house, but I have cats. It seems like it's someone's pet, he's very big and pretty, completely white. What do I do? His wet little head is breaking my heart.
posted by Katine to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Can you catch him and put him in a room the cats can't access before calling an animal shelter?
posted by Jubey at 8:08 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If he is someone's pet, he'll likely have a band on one of his legs with information. If he looks like he has one, you could catch him and put him in a cat-safe place as suggested above. Then either (best case) call the number on the band or call around vet offices with the band number to see if anyone knows who is missing a bird.
posted by hydrobatidae at 8:13 PM on March 19, 2014

Do you perhaps have a neighbor or friend who would take him in?

I looked for bird rescue groups near you; the Long Island Parrot Society isn't exactly on target, but they might have some ideas, or a nearby volunteer who could take the dove in while its home is sought. They might also have an idea for a temporary shelter for him.

If it's cold, you might consider trying to put some food out for him.
posted by amtho at 8:18 PM on March 19, 2014

Leave the bird be. It's not in any danger and a bit of rain won't harm it. If it is somebody's pet the likelihood is that it will fly away when it wants to go home.
posted by Thing at 8:33 PM on March 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: It got a band on its leg. It's not afraid of me but I tried to get it to walk on my arm and he started kind of grunting. I contacted a rescue group. Going to look for lost bird resources
posted by Katine at 8:58 PM on March 19, 2014

Do you know if NextDoor is popular in your neighborhood? I have seen several animals get reunited using the site, it seems like a good way to get the word out to neighbors.
posted by radioamy at 9:22 PM on March 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

it would be very kind of you to take it in - a wet pet bird could die from the cold. if he's not afraid of you can you gently grab him and put him in a box? If you can put him in a room where that cats can't get to him so he can dry off and warm up there's a chance he'll survive and you can get him back to his owner - leaving him outside all night he has little chance of surviving. poor little thing.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:44 PM on March 19, 2014

If you aren't sure of how to grab it, throwing
a towel or blanket over it like a net makes it easier.
posted by The otter lady at 10:09 PM on March 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Let me tell you the trick to grabbing raised pigeons: confidence. Don't make any sudden moves, but don't be too slow either. Walk up to the bird calmly, stand there, and reach out and pick him up as if you were picking up a coffee mug or bowl.

If you're too quick you'll startle him and he'll try to get away. Too slow and he'll think your stalking him and back off. Just the right speed, nonchalantly and he's yours.

They may grunt or bat a wing, but there isn't really much harm a raised pigeon can cause. I don't think I've ever had one even break skin. If he is making a big fuss, however, I'd leave him alone because they can damage their wing trying to fight you.

Or you could towel him; that works too :)
posted by sbutler at 10:34 PM on March 19, 2014 [10 favorites]

Alternately, lock the cats in a back room and open the door. If he already wants in, he may come in on his own. You can catch him inside, or at least get the info from his band and make a call.
posted by theweasel at 6:23 AM on March 20, 2014

Please throw a towel over him and bring this bird inside. Pet birds die very easily out in the wet and cold.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 6:45 AM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I had nearly the same thing happen to me a few years ago when I lived in Westchester county but with a pigeon that was not banded. Yours might well be a pet (or banded for some other reason?) This pigeon just decided to hang out with me. I had burned my hand badly and was outside smoking (still did that back then), and the bird just flew over and landed beside me on the patio table. Jumped up on my shoulder and didn't want to leave. When I got up, he flew up to above the patio door and waited until I came out. At the time, I had two very, very fierce cats who would have dearly loved a tasty bird snack. This went on all afternoon and it was starting to get dark.

So I called the local Westchester animal people who told me to towel him, bring him inside, put him in a box with some water in a room locked off from cats and they'd pick him up in the morning.

I can't recall exactly what the lady told me, but he (definitely a he) was a young bird that had gotten separated from his flock of other single young males, and didn't know what to do. In some situations birds like that look for places with water and trees...and I was soaking my burned hand in a big bowl of ice water under an enormous parasol when he showed up.

Again, not sure if relevant to your situation as your bird is a dove, not a pigeon and is banded. But if he's not someone's pet it might explain why he's not afraid of you as one would expect.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:59 AM on March 20, 2014

Response by poster: Update: I was able to grab him that night and put him in a box in the bathroom with some water and food to get him warmed up and comfy. The next day my dad and I were able to local a pigeon fanciers club and a very nice lady from a pigeon rescue org took him in. Happy ending! Thanks everyone for your help. I'm so glad I grabbed him!
posted by Katine at 5:24 AM on March 21, 2014 [10 favorites]

thanks so much for the update! I have a big soft spot for birds, so I've been checking back here a lot hoping for a happy ending, and here it is! awesome. you're good people.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:12 PM on March 21, 2014

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