The Beetley Pigeon

On Saturday, Julie and I were talking about something in the living room, when we heard an almighty bang from the kitchen area. My first thought was that a bird had flown into the window glass, something that happens quite frequently. But when I went outside to check, there was no trace of any bird on the patio, or on the lawn nearby.

When I was making coffee on Sunday morning, I saw a large Wood Pigeon sitting on the lawn at the far end of the garden. From that distance, it appeared to be asleep, not something you see that often.

By the time I went out with Ollie a few hours later, it was still there. As I walked over to the shed to get Ollie’s lead, the bird began to run to my left. It was flapping its right wing, and the left wing was lying outsretched and useless at its side, obviously badly broken. It managed to hide under a large shrub, staying hard against the wooden fence.

I went out with Ollie, and that afternoon, Julie told me she had put a small container of bird seed on the ground for it, as it had been trying to fly up to the feeder. Checking the container, it was half-empty, so it seemed the injured bird had managed to walk over and get something to eat.

Not long after I went to bed last night, I could hear constant flapping sounds outside the bedroom window, and presumed that the distressed pigeon was trying to fly, or perhaps escaping a local predator, like next door’s cat.

This morning, I found the bird hiding under the garden table, and as I approached, it vecame very distressed. I decided to leave it alone, and put out a small plastic box full of water for it.

Thinking about what to do, I considered killing the bird as quickly and humanely as I could, to end its suffering. But it was looking directly at me, and if a bird can look terrified, that was the expression. I thought about catching it, putting it into a box, and taking it to the Vet in town to be put to sleep. But even trying to catch it not only made it flee in panic, it was also doing more damage to the badly-broken wing.

Wood Pigeons are considered to be a pest in the countryside. Farmers shoot hundreds of them every week, to stop them eating crops. Many are also killed by local birds of prey, and flattened by cars on the main roads when they don’t fly away in time.

But the pigeon in my garden is still a bird, and an injured bird that has affected me.

I don’t know what to do about it, except to keep it fed and give it water, until such time as it eventually dies.

64 thoughts on “The Beetley Pigeon

  1. There are plenty of pigeons here in the city with broken wings and they seem to manage somehow, although I’m not sure if they eventually recover. It’s difficult to know what to do for the best, especially as trying to catch it might do more damage than good, as you say. I am pretty sure I’d do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An hour ago, I spotted it eating from the dish of food I had placed on the ground. Although it still cannot fly, it seems less distressed than it did yesterday.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  2. Perhaps you could try the sheet manouevre- one of you keeps the pigeon’s attention towards you, the other sneaks up behind and throws a large cloth/sheet/towel over it, then you can scoop it up and get it in a box.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There are a number of YouTube videos that address injured birds, including pigeons. But, of course, you have to catch it first. As you may recall, I ended up befriending several pigeons here before the neighbors got cats. One of them would even perch on my arm as I walked it around the house! The key was food. Keep feeding it, spend a bit of time near it. Maybe it will eventually come to you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had the double-glazing replaced a few years back, and it has a reflective element that stops the bright sunlight getting in. (To some degree) I think the birds see a vague reflection, think it is another bird, and attack it. I will investigate a deterrent, Audrey.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How are we to know what’s really best. I know how you feel about your pigeon. When I first moved to where I am now a wild turkey flew into the side of the house, why I don’t know. If it had hit glass I’m sure it would have shattered. I actually thought something had exploded, the noise was so loud. But it didn’t kill the bird. Thank God I was not here alone as the bird was in great distress and mortally injured. My companion went out and rang its neck which was horrible but how could we watch it suffer. Other times it’s not been as obvious what to do. Sometimes they can recover. We had a butterfly with a torn wing the summer. If you have nimble fingers and know how, they can be repaired but we sadly could not and once more my companion did the merciful thing. It was so sad. I hope your pigeon will recover.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s RSPCA, for treatment. Tempt it with some seed and then throw a large towel over it. Darkness calms them, have a cardboard box ready to place it into for carriage. There’s every chancea wing can be fixed and it can fly again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, David. See my reply to Jude about contacting them earlier. The nearest place open to receive animals is on the other side of Norwich, and it closes at 4. So that’s not going to happen, I’m afraid.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. When the children were young we ‘rescued’ an injured bird on the patio, I quickly wrapped a towel round it and my husband called the RSPCA. They told us to put it in a box with sugar water in a shed overnight. The next morning when I opened the shed it was fluttering around in panic. We had only made things worse. I let him out and he sheltered under a bush, but later on he had died. We had not given the children a very good lesson on wildlife care. We have wood pigeons in our garden and my heart sank when I saw one sitting miserably on the lawn with one wing outstretched the other day When I had had a shower and got dressed imagine my relief when I opened the back door and it flew away. I think you have to let nature take it’s course, we don’t see what happens to most of the birds that obviously must die.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s sad, isn’t it? I wouldn’t know what to do either. It happens here way too often, too that birds fly into the windows, and if they are really hurt, can’t fly any more and I can get at tem, I put them iut of their misery. But in your case I’d possiby do the same: make sure it can get at food and water.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. My grandson found a pigeon that didn’t seem outwardly injured but wasn’t making any attempt to move. He googled what he should do with it and the advice was to place it in a box with some soft bedding and water. In the morning he discovered it had died but he was happy that he had tried to do something rather than leaving it where it was.


    Liked by 1 person

  8. We used to take injured birds to a local bird sanctuary – maybe you could see if there is one nearby? Or phone the RSPB for advice? I have often kept injured birds in a shoe box (with holes) in an airing cupboard for a week or so whilst they recover, but I see you are not able to capture this one. It is distressing seeing them injured especially when vulnerable to predators.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. An injured bird should always be passed onto a local vet, RSPCA in England and Wales, SSPCA in Scotland, USPCA in Northern Ireland or an independent rescue centre, so it can receive appropriate treatment without undue delay.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I have phoned the RSPCA. The local number told me to ring the national number. The national emergency number recorded message told me to visit their website for ‘advice’. The nearest animal sanctuary that I know of is almost 30 miles south of here. They said they will ‘look at it’ if I can bring it to them in a box. It is back under the shrubbery, keeping out of the rain. At least it has food and water for now, until I decide what to do.
        Best wishes, Pete.


  9. It could recover. Simple love in the shape of food and water could ease his panic and give him time.
    Is there a community group you belong to (Facebook?) that might have someone with mad bird fixing skills?

    Liked by 1 person

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