How to save a pigeon

I am a big animal lover and am slightly obsessed with pigeons. When I lived in Paris I had a pigeon residing in the building with me. Her name was Patty. She actually began a rather sad attempt at a nest one day and laid two eggs right on my doorstep!

Here in New York I also wake up to pigeons outside my window every morning, and each one has a name and that name is Patty, Patty Pidge!

1. Find your nearest bird rescue centre, mine turned out to be the Wild Bird Fund

A little while ago now I found a pigeon in need.

She was in Union Square Park and looking a little worse for wear.I couldn’t just leave her there and I wondered to myself, seeing as I am in this huge city which has millions of pigeons in it, could there possibly be a pigeon rescue centre? I googled it and to my joy a couple of options showed up! I couldn’t actually get through when I tried to call either of them so I had my doubts as to whether they were even open still, but I persisted nonetheless.


2. Find your nearest pet store or anywhere that will give you a box

I headed to Petco, which as luck would have it was really close by. I spoke with four different, unhelpful members of staff. You would think that people who work in a pet store would have more interest in helping an animal in need, alas I was wrong. I was told they definitely didn’t have any cardboard boxes, yet on my way out I noticed a stack of them and grabbed one!

3. Use a plastic bag, glove or anything at hand, to protect yourself

Pigeons can sometimes carry diseases, although not as often as we are led to believe, as I have found out since the pigeon incident. When I got back to the park, for some reason I felt kind of self conscious, as though the people around were going to make me feel silly for caring so much about a pigeon, see what the world does to us?! Anyway, I grabbed a plastic bag to put around my hand and went for it! It wasn’t easy and the guy nearby actually ended up helping me by going on the other side, forcing her towards me.

4. Secure the vessel and be on your way!

It didn’t take long before I had her in the box and had jumped on the subway. I was totally paranoid the whole way, the whole way being all the way uptown, that her feathers were poking out and someone would shriek out in horror, “That girl has a pigeon!!!” and everyone would run to another cart or something! In fact one person discreetly pointed out to me that the underneath was sagging, so maybe he shared me secret, who knows!


5. Be prepared to donate money

Upon arrival there were these NYC board of health posters all over the window, I immediately panicked that I was going to have to get back on the subway and go all the way to Brooklyn! Luckily there were two buildings belonging to them and the other was open.

I discovered that they run entirely off donations so naturally they ask you to contribute, a suggestion of $50 is made but they were extremely happy with the $10 I was able to give! The photos show what happened next. Warning, it’s severely cute!

A family of ducks, found on the highway!
A sickly swan with a broken leg!
Darcy Hector, one of the lovely volunteers

6. What happened to the pigeon you ask?

I followed up with regards to Patty and discovered she was simply malnourished and severely under-weight so they took good care of her until she was able to return to the NYC life! The best part was that they also decided to name her after me, so her name is no longer Patty but Lauran!

I would love to hear anyone’s experiences of animal rescue, is it an easy thing to do and does it depend on location, do you think?


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