Help for an injured pigeon in NYC?
May 9, 2006 8:47 AM   Subscribe

What do I do with an injured pigeon in NYC?

Last night, one of our cats brought in a pigeon from our roof. Unfortunately, it looks like the wing is injured and it's a bit in shock. We put it in the cat carrier, gave it some bird seed and water and placed it outside on our roof, away from the cats. I have read the 2 other similar threads on this situation, but does anyone have any advice for NYC-specific resources? NYC Animal Control, park services, and the Wildlife Rehab center on Staten Island all said they won't take in an injured pigeon.
posted by shinyj to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
nyc pigeon rescue
posted by killyb at 8:50 AM on May 9, 2006

New York pigeons eat vomit off the street. I wouldn't touch the thing. What should you do? Clean yourself thoroughly, and everything the pigeon came near. Then take the cat to the vet.
posted by interrobang at 9:11 AM on May 9, 2006

wring its neck and then wash up?
posted by small_ruminant at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2006

Read what I am about to tell you carefully-- you need to let that pigeon go and let nature take its course. I am going to tell you a story about my attempt at pigeon rescue. Do not read it if you are eating/about to eat/have eaten recently:

I once saw a pigeon flopping on the sidewalk in the wind and rain next to the John Hancock Tower parking garage in Boston. I walked past it a few feet, then I thought "I am not going to have a good evening if I think about the pigeon dying in the cold. It must have been blown into the building from one of the big gusts, fell the rest of the way and now it is suffering."

So I went back, grabbed the pigeon and ran it over to the Animal Rescue League a few blocks away. I went in, said "Can you help this pigeon or put it down?" A man behind the counter said "Yeah," grabbed a towel and took it out of my bare hands. Then he turned it over and yelled "Shit! Jesus, I hate that!"-- the still-alive pigeon had a gaping bloody hole in its chest with maggots and large, live beetle in it.

I ran out of the door and sprinted to my apartment, where I stripped off my clothes, tied them into a garbage bag and then stood in the shower where I scrubbed myself with a brush and then poured a bottle of rubbing alcohol over my hands. I still didn't feel clean, so I poured a bottle of (cheap) vodka over my arms and chest. It took a week for me not to feel disgusting. I feel dirty recalling the incident to type this.

Don't keep pigeons in your house. You don't know what's in that bird.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:31 AM on May 9, 2006

I echo everybody else's sentiments here. Pigeons = rats with wings. Think avian flu, and think which of our feathered friends is most likely to be the worst carriers of it.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 9:39 AM on May 9, 2006

Normally AsKMeFi responses are respectful. Why is this question evoking sarcasm? I quote the below:
"Wisecracks don't help people find answers. Thanks."
posted by Foetry Guy at 11:38 AM CST on May 9 [!]

I don't see any sarcastic answers here.
posted by interrobang at 9:41 AM on May 9, 2006

it is not thought that pigeons are carries of avian flu...and guys...the pigeon is already being taken care of, whatever damage everyone is talking about is already done....yes some think they're evil, horrible, dangerous, deadly animals...but the same can be said about humans
posted by killyb at 9:49 AM on May 9, 2006

and more info on pigeons and avain flu
posted by killyb at 9:52 AM on May 9, 2006

Response by poster: Since the bird was not bleeding and only lost a few feathers, we decided to cage it and locate someone who could determine the proper course of action since we do not know enough to do so ourselves. The pigeon rescue link from killyb was helpful and I was able to make an appointment with a vet in my neighborhood that has wildlife experts on staff. They will rehab it or put it down as necessary.

While the sarcastic answers don't really help, I'm not surprised that a question about helping a pigeon elicits such responses. It's tough to fight the 'rats with wings' image.
posted by shinyj at 9:52 AM on May 9, 2006

What sarcastic answers? Aside from someone suggesting that you should eat the thing, everyone else is responding with genuine concern. If you touched a New York pigeon, you should wash yourself, and make sure your cat is okay.
posted by interrobang at 9:56 AM on May 9, 2006

the suggestion of eating the bird is sarcastic, others were just useless....again like i said....whatever dangers you guys are worried about have already been done, op can't go back in time, and probably knows that they can be dirty but still wants to help....simple as one jumped all over the guy asking questions about drugs....and that's illegal and many would also say dangerous....but here people are worried about avain flu(which they don't carry)...someones been watching too much tv
posted by killyb at 10:03 AM on May 9, 2006

I always thought seagulls were the flying rats, but pigeons are not so innocent:
Pigeons are known to carry or transmit pigeon ornithosis, encephalitis, Newcastle disease, histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, toxoplasmosis, pseudo-tuberculosis, pigeon coccidiosis and salmonella food poisoning. Pigeon parasites include a number of bugs, fleas, ticks and mites, many of which bite people.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:10 AM on May 9, 2006

and a list of know humans diseases can be found here....what does that make us?
posted by killyb at 10:14 AM on May 9, 2006

Response by poster: Perhaps sarcastic is not the right word, but, I did understand the 'kill it' responses. However, I did want another option, if possible.

We're aware of the possibilities of a diseased bird, which is why we caught it with a towel (as was suggested in a previous post) and put it in a container outside, away from us and the cats. The cat that injured this bird has caught other birds (and eaten most of them) without any ill-effect, though we do check him out after each incident.

And, Major Curley - sorry you had such a trauma. This is probably why I did not become a vet or doctor. Too high of an ewwww factor.
posted by shinyj at 10:18 AM on May 9, 2006

Dogs and cats will eat pretty much anything off the street too, and carry plenty of diseases and pests transmitted to humans. At least pigeons don't have the bite/scratch injury potential of a dog or cat. Sheesh. Check out this fun CDC page of all the diseases you can get from various animals. Maggots can hatch in just a few hours. Gross, yes, but not toxic.

All about urban wildlife, with many links. Animal Damage Management sheet from Purdue University on pigeons. (PDF alert.) Just in case, here's NYC's HHS page on pigeon-related diseases (note that the possibility of contracting these is considered "small.")
posted by desuetude at 10:19 AM on May 9, 2006

no, i'm not worried about pigeon diseases because i wouldn't pick up a pigeon, but the poster did...and asked for help with a problem, has askmefi changed formats?

i posted the link about known human diseases because it's just as fatuous as the previous post about pigeon diseases...

ps i don't have a cat, i think they're dirty and carry too many diseases!
posted by killyb at 10:24 AM on May 9, 2006

The problem with pigeons isn't what diseases they carry but that they carry diseases and the are in such close proximity to a ton of people. An individual pigeon is no more "dirty" than most any other creature, which is to say he's a festering cauldron of germs, but so are we.

The point is that the problem with pigeons is the great mass of pigeons, or rather that they produce great masses of excrement in places where people congregate. The pigeons are there because people feed them. Don't feed the pigeons. And there are so many pigeons because people feed them. Don't feed the pigeons. Make them earn an honest living. Workfare, not welfare. Don't feed the pigeons.
posted by nflorin at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2006

You found another option, but just because the issue of killing comes up from time to time:

You can quickly and humanely kill small animals with car exhaust. Put animal in a bucket, put the bucket under a running car's exhaust pipe, CO kills in seconds.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2006

Response by poster: This is good to know for future reference. Unfortunately, because we live in New York, we don't own a car. Hopefully, any future birds caught will be eaten (as in the past.)

An update (if anyone cares enough about the rat with wings ;-) ) - the pigeon suffered serious puncture wounds underneath a wing, but no broken bones. Antibiotics and rest will be enough to get the bird flying again. On a side note, Animal General, where I took the bird, will rehab/put down any injured urban wild birds brought in for free (donations welcome, of course.) Apparently, the heavy 'bird season' has begun - lots of baby/injured birds are brought in now.
posted by shinyj at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2006

thanks for the update....also...not sure if anyone saw this in the news but in chicago they have a program for birds that fly into for more info
posted by killyb at 3:58 PM on May 9, 2006

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