Lost and Found Pigeons

What to do if you found a lost pigeon?
Courtesy of www.npausa.com

If there is No band on its leg, it is a wild pigeon and does not belong to any pigeon fancier or club.
If you find an injured pigeon without a band on its leg, and it cannot be released, contact your local Humane Society.

Most lost birds are hungry and thirsty. Water is extremely important for all pigeons/doves. Since pigeons drink by suction, any water container you provide should be at least 1 in. (2.5 cm) deep. Shallow cups or bowls with some weight to them work best but any open container, i.e., a dish, an old margarine container tub, etc., will work. The less stable or secure the container, the greater the likelihood of spillage. A thirsty bird may drink immediately, and it may not. Strange surroundings, fear, injury, or other animals in the household may intimidate or distract the bird from drinking. Dehydration is the biggest danger to a lost pigeon/dove and just like humans; this condition can make the bird a bit less than itself. Lost domesticated birds may be so exhausted, they don’t even realize that water is in front of them, especially since the water container you are providing is different from the one they have used their entire life. A good trick to make the bird aware of the water you have presented is to make a slight splashing sound with your finger. Birds are very familiar with the sound of water and this is one of the best ways for you to help identify your gift. If a bird looks really exhausted, Gatorade or other commercial sports drink may be added to the water. A teaspoon or two per cup (250 ml) of water will help replenish electrolytes.

Pigeons are grain eaters. While ferel city or park pigeons will eat bread, french fries, or other discarded food, domestic pigeons have been raised on a multi cereal grain diet frequently mixed with specialized pigeon pellets. If domesticated show pigeons or performing pigeons are presented with bread and milk, they will not recognize it as a food source. Instead of bread, the most readily available food source is a commercial blend of wild birdseed mixed with popcorn. Additionally, raw dried grain such as rice, pearled barley, split pea, or canary seed, make a good additive to the above mix or may be fed separately based upon availability. THESE GRAINS SHOULD NOT BE COOKED OR POPPED BUT FED RAW. Water should be provided since pigeons normally drink immediately after eating. 

"What Should I Keep It In?"
Most any dry container that provides both security and ventilation will suffice as a temporary home. An old birdcage will easily house a pigeon for a few days. Probably the most readily available temporary housing is a cardboard box. An old screen or grate placed over the top of the box works well in providing protection, airflow, and sufficient lighting to allow the bird to eat and drink. 

"Finding the bird's owner."
If the bird has a plastic or metal band or ring on its leg, the owner can be traced through one of the national pigeon organizations. If the bird you have saved is a fancy show pigeon, the owner is probably very near where you originally found the bird. If the bird is a racing homer, the owner could live hundreds of miles from you and this step may not be necessary. After twenty-four to forty-eight hours rest with food and water, most non-injured racing homer pigeons will be capable of continuing their journey home. Simply release the bird in an area free of wires or other near by obstacles and it will gratefully fly home. Please, NEVER attach a note to the bird’s leg by rubber band or string. This procedure has resulted in numerous cases of broken legs, gangrene, and amputation.


The letters on the band will tell you the origin of the bird.
Say... the band number reads, IF QCM 2008 59
The ( IF) means it originated from the International Federation of Racing Pigeon.
"The (QCM) is the Club where it belong."
"The (2008) is the year the pigeon was born."
"The (59) is a unique serial number for identifying that individual bird"
Domestic Pigeons with individually identifiable leg bands are registered with one of several National Pigeon Organizations.
IF - International Federation of American Homing Pigeon Fanciers, Inc.

AU - American Racing Pigeon Union Organization.

CU - Canadian Pigeon Union.