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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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So at about 7:00 PM, I went down to Lopata Hall to participate in a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament. (As expected, I got my ass handed to me on a plate.) On the way there, I noticed a bird standing on the concrete barrier between the edge of the first level of the parking garage and the gap to the zeroth level. It didn't appear injured or sick, but it wasn't moving from people- I got within five feet of it and took a picture. It was moving- it blinked and it was visibly shivering. But it didn't move off the barrier.

I told the dude behind the desk at the Village office, but he had no idea what to do and said to just leave it and let it figure out how to get itself out. I didn't feel good about it, but what else could I do?

It's now two and a half hours later, and the bird is still there, still alive.

What the hell should I do? I have the feeling that if I just leave it there, I'll find a dead bird sitting there in the morning and yes, I will feel bad about that. It doesn't seem correct, however, to bother the campus police about it. I've got no experience or tools to handle wild birds, and I don't know anybody around here who does.

What's suggested?

edit: image uploaded here.

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Contact the Humane Society? If they give you 'when hell freezes over' kind of attitude, at least they have some experience and may be able to give you some pointers.

Hmmm. First thing to do is check and see if any vets in the area have an emergency number - or if there's any wildlife rehabilitation centers around you. They may not be able to come out and help, but they might have better advice than what I've got here, which is mostly gathered from what my mom's done. :)

A box of some kind, with soft bedding - old T-shirts work wonderfully, but any soft fabric would be fine. (Nothing you want to keep!) Put the box partly on a heating pad or radiator, so there's a warmer half and a cooler half. Cover the box loosely, so air can move but the bird won't fly out. If you can rest a small, fairly shallow dish of water in the bedding, that would be ideal. (Pedialite or another electrolyte replacement solution would be even better, but that's a stretch. And no, Gatorade doesn't cut it.)

When catching the bird - you want to obviously be careful not to hurt him. Cage him within your hands, without squeezing too hard - just cup around his breast and trap his wings inside your hands. (I'm assuming this is a small bird, like a sparrow - crow-size birds, same deal, but they're not going to be hurt as easily. Raptors, don't even try.)

Try your best to keep an eye on him during the night. Drinking is good. A bit of bread would be an okay thing if you're worried about him getting hungry - break it up into bird-bite-size pieces if you can. If at any point you hear or see him freaking out, and flapping or hitting the sides of the box, bring him outside and see if he'll fly away okay.

If at any point you get scratched or bitten, be very careful to wash it out thoroughly. An animal that isn't shying away from people is likely to be sick.

But I don't have any of these supplies, I don't know the numbers of any veterenarians in the area, I have asthma and so cannot safely house the bird, and it quite possibly is a crow.

I really don't know what to do.

Phone book. Even Google and online yellow pages - I'm sure there's something.

Or... just go to sleep and stop fretting. A bird the size of a crow should be able to take care of itself - and if it's sick enough that it's not reacting to people, it's probably too far gone for you to do much by yourself anyway.

Reminds me of the story my mom told me not too long ago.. she volunteers at a wildlife rehab center. A woman brought in a seagull that had been picked out of a flock by a hawk (which is rare, the gulls are fast), in the middle of a parking lot. The woman "rescued" the gull and brought it in to the rehab center... but my mom and her coworkers just looked at the bird and knew that it wasn't going to make it. Mom said she wanted to tell the lady to take it back and give it to the hawk.

Sometimes... we're just not meant to intervene. :( I'm sorry.

It's not. That is a pigeon.

In our area, the World Bird Sanctuary (http://www.worldbirdsanctuary.org/, their rehab department is at 314-672-2096) takes care of injured raptors. This isn't one of course, but they'd know who to talk to, if the situation's still there tomorrow.

I took them a large Red-Tailed Hawk once, poor thing was almost as you describe here. I put her in a box with air holes with a towel around her (keeping her a little immobile and most importantly dark, so she would sleep and stay still), and eventually kept her in my trunk, because I was afraid of it getting too warm for her in my apartment.

I figured Thrames was probably right, but it seemed too large. (I guess it's just a big pigeon.) I'll most certainly trust your assesment!

If the bird is still there tomorrow, Dr. Pless will just have to be down a student. Thanks for the phone number.

Awww. :>

I think the pigeon's just fluffy. Birds will fluff to warm up.

And the WBS should be able to point you in the right direction. They don't take normal birds, but they'll know who will. And most places, as I found out in my emergency last year, just don't take birds. it's frustrating.

Would it be a good idea for me to run outside right now (throwing a coat on over my pajamas) with some water for it to drink, and a crushed granola bar in another cup, and hold it out (within the cup, whilst wearing gloves) for the creature? Assuming it's still alive and concious?

So I crushed up a granola bar (the bars come in two-packs, so I fully confess to eating the other one myself) and put it in a little dinky 1/3 cup GladWare container, and filled another one with water. The bird hopped sideways away, slightly, as I approached- that's actually more motion than it showed earlier, but I only got within four feet for the photo. Trying to figure out how to give the water to the bird that clearly did not trust me, I simply set the container at the edge so it is more likely to fall in than out; I intend to pick it up tomorrow and throw it out properly, if I can. (In the worst case, I have contributed to the litter problem in an area that has janitorial crews wandering through daily. I don't like littering, but it beats the death of a creature I can save.) I simply poured the crushed granola bar along the concrete, then walked away. The bird looked at me distrustfully as I left.

Walking around back to the entrance to the dorm, I heard a clattering noise. I went back to pick up the cup the pigeon had already knocked off, then took it back to my dorm to refill it.

As I returned, from the entrance to the dorm, I saw the sillouette of the bird, pecking at the granola. It chirped nervously as I approached the second time (really, fourth by now considering the two other runs through the parking garage), but didn't jump quite so far away.

I again placed the water about where I had it before. As I walked back to the dorm, I saw the sillouette of the bird (backlit, I can't get much more detail!), head in the water, then out, then in. Apparently, it figured out how not to knock off its water supply.

I'd like to think I helped.

Oh, good! Excellent! If it's eating and drinking, that's a very, very good sign. The water might not have been deep enough previously; you do have the water 1-2 inches deep, right? Unlike other birds, pigeons need to dip their whole beak into the water to drink.

No bands, and its actions showed it to be non-tame. I didn't have the water deep enough the time it dumped it off- this time I did.

I do hope it will be okay- it's possible it was just too hungry/exhausted to go back to the nest, although there's enough food around here for pigeons that doesn't strike me as terribly probable.

To live is to die. The life of a wild animal is incredibly difficult and, as with all else that lives, it must die. That is the only birthright of the living.

It appears to be a wild pigeon. They are non-migratory, if I am not mistaken, and thus they can and do live through winters on their own foraging and feeding. If this one cannot forage or go someplace warmer, it is likely that it is already on the doorstep of death and your efforts will be in vain. Allow it a peaceful death in the "wilderness" of campus instead of stressing it by picking it up and taking it to places completely unfamilar to it.

I second everyone else's thing that s/he is a pigeon. Rather scruffy around the feathers, which leads me to suspect that s/he might possibly be a fledgeling, which could account for the weird behavior. But s/he isn't quite scruffy enough for that, either; pigeons are exceedingly careful about never leaving their babies out in the open.

Well, I'm having flashbacks to when I rescued a dazed domesticated pigeon. :P

Did you get a good look at his/her legs to see if s/he is banded? S/he might be an exhausted homing pigeon, which would explain why s/he is seeming oddly tame but not wanting to move an inch.

I'd suggest putting a container of water out for him/her. It has to be at least two inches deep, since pigeons drink by suction and need to submerge their entire beak. Set down the container nearby him/her and dip your finger into the water so it makes a dripping sound, then give the pigeon a lot of room. Bread, birdseed, and/or unpopped corn kernels are supposed to be good, too.

Useful info for now, and in the odd circumstances that you might end up picking him/her up and bringing him/her indoors:

If this is a domestic and/or exhausted pigeon, s/he'll offer virtually no resistance to being picked up. You don't need any tools, just your hands and arms. Put one hand/arm under his/her belly and feet, and the other hand over his/her back and sides, holding the wings closed. Don't grasp his/her body too tightly. Bringing it somewhere relatively warm, even if it's just a basement, and then letting it leave in the morning might be enough to revive it.

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