I am trying to think like a pigeon…a mother pigeon.
My kids, bless their cheeky little souls, decided to “rescue” two baby native pigeons from the nest in their climbing tree and now we are trying to reunite them with their mum. This all happened yesterday when Mister was home sick from school and I have been fighting off some kind of tummy ache for weeks. It’s amazing how a sick kid can still get up to mischief…even if it’s well-intentioned!
Anyway, we put the birds back in the nest yesterday afternoon and waited…and waited. By 10.00PM when there was still no sign of the parents, we brought them inside for the night and returned them to the nest this morning.
The nest is in my kids’ climbing tree and it’s probably only thanks to Minecraft that the kids had not found the nest sooner. My kids are budding naturalists and love anything that moves.
You could just imagine their excitement when they found two live baby birds in “their tree”!!!!
I was still in my PJs and barely walking but called out to them to leave the birds alone. Put them back!
Then Mister pipes up: “I’m rescuing them so they can go to the RSPCA. “
“What????” I’m thinking to myself. “They already have a Mum and Dad. They don’t need to be rescued!!” I said matter-of-factly.
By this stage, however, mother bird was flapping in the tree and flew away and each pair of little hands was carefully clutching their prized baby bird. They found containers for them and made them nests despite them already having a nest and their own bird parents where they had been quite happy and content before being supposedly “rescued”.
I also have to admit that as much as I was trying to be the responsible adult, I was drawn to the tiny, fluffy fledglings myself. They are the size of a chicken chick and fit perfectly into your hand. It was very tempting just to keep them but we can’t feed them. They are still crop fed and need their mum.
The tree is right next to Mister’s bedroom so I could get a good view of the nest from in there to see whether the parents had come back. Much to my horror, the nest had fallen over and I rushed to the base of the tree to find what had become of “my” baby birds. I scooped them up and returned them to our nest inside.
It was time to take more serious action. This is where things became more difficult. You see, if you are a native animal, WIRES will take care of you. If not, you’re off to the RSPCA and I’d have a longish drive to get them there, which is beyond me at the moment. The WIRES phone line specifically mentions that they do not help pigeons. I was feeling a bit down but also quietly confident that I’d be able to find someone around here with a big heart (other than our friends who have recently rescued about 5 cats. They have big hearts with room for way more animals but I sense a slight incompatibility issue here.)
I was feeling a bit sad about such I guess discrimination and how your fate can depend on where you were born or your type and it wouldn’t be so bad if these “rules” just applied to injured wildlife.
Anyway, our little pigeon chicks had a reprieve. Geoff mentioned that they’re a breed of native pigeon called a Crested Pigeon. They were fine.
I was just about to call WIRES when I heard a tell-tale pigeon noise near the tree and spotted mother pigeon. This is why I’m trying to think like a mother pigeon. How is she going to know that her babies are sitting in the box wrapped up in a towel? The babies are motionless and silent. How would she know they were in there? Could she smell them? Are they making sounds I can’t hear? I don’t know. I’m just trying to give them a bit of space so they can get reunited before I try to get the nest back up in the tree. Actually, I suspect I’m going to have to make a nest or at the very least find a container for their nest. The original is looking rather worse for wear.
As you could imagine, I didn’t need this bird drama. I have been quite unwell lately and I’ve actually arranged for some help getting the kids ready for school and friends are taking them to and from school while my tummy recovers. I haven’t eaten properly for almost a week. I’m not sure whether it’s stress or a virus and the way people keep implicating gluten, that’s also a possibility. I just want to feel better and get my energy back. I’m exhausted. The strange thing is that I perk up at night and then have had a bit of trouble sleeping.
Getting back to the birds, as bad as it was for the kids to take the birds out of the nest, I can understand it. Not just from a curiosity point of view. One of our favourite books used to be The Bird with the Broken Wing by Bob Graham. It is a beautiful book which tells the story of a pigeon which flies into one of those mirrored glass buildings, breaks its wing and falls to the ground. Everyone just walks passed it leaving it for dead until a little boy comes along. He picks the bird up with his mum and they take it home until it gets better and then they return it to the park. It is a beautiful story of hope and recovery, which is why I read it so often to the kids. Mummy could get better too!
WIRES rang me back and were very helpful. Turns out our pigeon isn’t a native after all but she told me how to make a nest out of an ice cream container to get the birds back in the tree. I’m going to put their original nest inside. Apparently, WIRES insurance prevents them from rescuing non-native animals but she said they’re always happy to offer advice. An animal lover is an animal lover, after all…as long as it’s not a pest!
So it’s starting to look like the bird drama is almost over. However, it seems like I’ve pulled a calf muscle climbing up the ladder. I know I’m not super human but sometimes I forget.
I’ll be watching those kids like a hawk this afternoon. Those little birds really are simply irresistible and I know that even though they’ve been told to stay away, they will be doing their utmost to have “a peek”.
As night falls, we have decided that our birds are actually Peaceful Doves and not pigeons after all.
If you enjoyed this bird story, you might enjoy a very different bird story about when a bird flew inside our house and became stuck. I totally freaked out!! https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/you-can-count-on-me-when-a-bird-flew-into-my-house-4/
By the way, I thought you might be interested to know what else the kids were up to on our sick day…making volcanoes on the back deck. I am starting to wonder how Mrs Einstein coped with an inquiring mind…