Just think about this for a second, have you ever actually seen a baby pigeon?
I’m guessing you haven’t.
It’s because pigeons are very secretive birds. They lay their eggs, only two at a time, in small dark places. That’s why they have adopted new habitat’s under bridges, inside roofs and within our high street’s hidden corners; just where we picked up our little squab.
Pigeons only stay in the nest for about a month, until they are big enough to fend for themselves, able to defy plastic packaging littering the streets and brave enough to digest fast food scattered on the roads. Therefore a baby pigeon is only a baby pigeon for a very short amount of time.
Walking out of a card shop in Canterbury, we looked left to find a small ball of feathers, legs and wings flapping away on the ground, daring to venture out for food. After tucking himself into a corner we discovered he was alone. We swept him up in my black knitted scarf and were set on saving a little life. Neither of us had the heart to leave him there.
Rushing back to the car, parked in the multi-story car park, we discovered my boyfriend had not only left the lights on, left the heating on and the car completely unlocked but left the vehicle actually running. We were shopping for a good few hours, not to forget lunch.
But we had a little bird to rescue so brushed over his major faux pa and I jumped in the boiling hot car. Silver lining; that little squab needed warming up. I placed him on the heated seat with me.
We drove out of the car park towards home wondering how we went shopping for a tie and came home with a bird. What a funny leap year and when discussing what we were going to name him we decided on Leap – how original!
He was happy in the car, drifting in and out of sleep, his huge eyes were opening and shutting, way too big for his 50p-coin-sized-head. It was an hour until we were home and we needed to get him fed.
Upon becoming fully-fledged members of the South of England Pigeon Search and Rescue Team, I now harbour an extensive knowledge on all things baby bird. I figured out he was around 2 weeks old, just over, with a few feathers sprouting through tufts of unorganised yellow hair and bald pale skin. As close to an ugly duckling as this pigeon could get; a little funny looking and a little left out.
Arriving home, we made him a bed in a box and began our efforts to get him fed.
Unlike other common birds, pigeons digest seeds forming a milk in their gut. The babies then rummage inside their parents mouths for the regurgitated milk. Acting as adopted parents, our creative flare was put to the test. The contraption, including a jam jar, a cloth, an elastic band and a handful of seeds, allowed our small friend to forage for his feed. However he wasn’t all that keen. He wouldn’t take to the water either.
We called the RSPCA for advice and were told to get him to the vets. We dashed to the only vets nearby, closing in half an hour. All this seems ridiculous for a ‘rat of the sky’ however owning a Senegal parrot himself, my boyfriend was determined to save another flying friend. You never know, we could have had a parrot and pigeon double act on our hands, making millions form Britain’s got talent…
However, we couldn’t keep him. Apart from it being a little illegal, we were not ready for an odd version of parenthood.
We made it to the vets in time, they took him in, checked him all over and he was taken home by a vet for the weekend.
Little Leap is now safely at the RSPCA ready to live out all his wild pigeon days.
What’s your leap year story?