Our son, Doug, brought home a wounded pigeon. The poor bird had evidently been hit by a car and suffered a broken wing. The tip of the wing dragged the ground and it appeared to have been broken right at the joint. Doug was always bringing home creatures that needed some kind of help and he enjoyed doing what he could for them. He knew that if this pigeon couldn’t fly it was doomed and would either starve or be killed by a predator.
Doug was really determined to help this bird and his Mom, Pat, got caught up in his enthusiasm and wanted to help also. She scrounged around the kitchen and found some Popsicle sticks that could be used as splints. She and Doug manipulated the wing and got it into as normal a position as possible and, using the Popsicle sticks and gauze, bound it in place. Doug found a box and made a home for the pigeon on the patio where it would be safe and then he fixed it up with bowls for food and water.
What I haven’t told you yet is that this was the ugliest pigeon we had ever seen. It was white with black splotches all over. It was kind of like a Dalmatian but the spots weren’t as nicely done.
The pigeon lived in its patio home and did well as Doug kept it supplied with food and water and checked on it regularly. It walked around in its cage, dragging that wing tip, but looking pretty spry otherwise. I don’t remember how long it took for that wing to mend but one day he was ready to fly. After a couple of days of practice, it took off and didn’t return. We all felt pretty good. A wounded creature had been patched up and sent back to the wild.
Time passed and we thought no more about our pigeon guest. However, one day, Doug comes in and announces that the pigeon is back! It was an eye-opener for us to think that over a period of weeks or months this bird had remembered where he found safety and was fed and cared for and it made such an impression that he returned. Pat and I went out and sure enough, there is a spotted bird walking around on the patio with one wing tip dragging. Doug got food and water for him and he hung around for a few days and disappeared again. 2
We’ve all had to scratch our heads to remember but we think that over the next few months he returned twice more. Then, his bachelor days must have ended because the next time he came back, he brought his family with him. On that day, our patio seemed to be covered with pigeons though actually there were only 5 or 6 of them. They were all white with black spots and, strutting around right in the middle of them, was this guy with his wing tip dragging on the ground. Again, something about our place made him feel good enough to bring his family back with him. I don’t know how pigeons think or what motivates them (other than food) but we all thought this was pretty neat.
Dave Thomas (with help from Pat and Doug)
October 15, 2014