Saturday, April 9, 2011


I have had such an insane week that I have not had much chance to come online and write anything. This month I am spending most of, if not all my free time, taking care of other people’s pets by house sitting copious amounts.  So I’ll apologize in advance for the lack of entries in the month of April.  The highlight of my week last week was being able to release some really incredible pigeons on Tuesday so that’s what I’m going to tell you all about today.  I know that I have mentioned that we had a ton of pigeons up at the wildlife center. A few of them we have had since they were just tiny little babies that needed to be tube fed every few hours. It was so fun to watch them grow up and become fledglings and then adults.  I was given the honor of being able to release them and some of their friends back into the world this week. 

One of the major concerns with these little guys was that they were becoming super friendly and very aware of the humans who brought them the food. Every time you would open up the door they would all come running towards you and peck at your feet until you put the food tray down. It was so cute; and if they had been pets quite a desirable quality, but since they are meant to be wild animals it was so so negative, so much so that for a long time they were at risk of being put down for it. See no one is going to want a heard of pigeons running after you without fear every time you have some food in hand.   Lucky for these little guys they got healthy enough to be able to go up in the hill enclosure and hangout with some seasoned and very fearful adults. With n a few weeks they stopped being so excited to see us, and started to fly to the very furthest corner every time you tried to go even remotely close. It was s good sign that their natural instincts were taking over and they were acting like normal wild animals again. After spending a few weeks up with the adults they got the clean bill of health. As of Tuesday there was nothing wrong with them anymore. They had turned into totally healthy adult pigeons and they were going to have to make in in the real world now.  It’s a happy thing even as it brings a tear to my eye thinking about.

So after my shift on Tuesday I got three different boxes all ready for them. We were going to release 6 pigeons that day in total, the four little babies as well as two adults. They were all going to go to the same place because hopefully the adults will continue to hang with the little baby guys and they can all have a little pigeon family.  We use cardboard boxes to transport them in, so two hang out in the same box at once, because birds are kind of high stress. Its better if they can have someone with them for the ride or the ride may kill them just because of how stressful it can get.  In this case we were releasing them at a park in Seattle so it was both a fairly long drive but also I had to make a pretty good size walk until I reached the place they got to be freed. I got them all caught ,which was not a super easy task because once the first three were netted, the next three were very  much on to what I was trying to do. I eventually got them all boxed up and packed in the back of my car and off I went.

The park that I took them to was called Ravenna Park and its right along side of the freeway. On one side it had a few trees but it really pretty urban. It’s right along side to the freeway and maybe not the most likely spot to want to release some wild birds. But in the case of these babies they have not ever really had to learn the art of foraging for food and at this park there should be ample amounts of trash and debris for them to consume.  As I drove on down I gave them a little talk to avoid flying up to that strange freeway place. It’s nothing to look at and they don’t ever need to fly up and check it out. I mean I know that it’s not going to make any sort of difference but as I was saying it I felt good.  When we got to the park I couldn’t find parking until I was a few blocks from the one woody area. So I took all three boxes out and started the trek as carefully as I could to the place I knew would be best to let them go.  Once I got there I looked around to make sure no one was around and once clear I opened all the tops and waited.

Almost immediately one of the six flew out and started to walk away from me checking out the place. It took about 10 minutes for a few of its friends to join it. The babies were the most reluctant to leave the boxes and after awhile I tipped them over trying to encourage them to go.  After 20 minutes I finally had to pick the final two out of the boxes and place them down on the ground to get them out.  Once all six were out they kind of just started to walk around, a few stayed in a group and a few ventured out by them self.  They all seemed to have a different agenda in place as to what the best thing to do now was. A few of the babies started to peck around as if it was the first time they have ever seen real ground and honestly it probably was the first time for them. I watched them for another 10 minutes or so, waiting to see if any would be brave enough to fly away, but they all just kind of kept walking away from where I was standing.  Eventually I turned and walked away as my job was done now.

It’s going to be up to them to survive at this point, but I feel really happy that we set them up to hopefully thrive.   I drove home feeling so happy that we had so successfully completed our job here. I mean we had taken something so tiny and incapable of living on its own and made it not just live, but live and be afraid of the people who kept it alive that whole time. I wish them the very best out in the world. I know that the universe has no control of who lives and dies, but I hope that they get a little bit of an extra chance to live. I hope the babies are not too afraid because it’s kinda a scary thing to loose the comfort of safety.  I hope that they are enjoying the ability and have freedom to fly around and spread their wings and see the world as they please. That’s all I want for them and the adults who got to be fixed of whatever the problems were that made it impossible to survive without our assistance. Knowing that I was able to give them that freedom is a very very very powerful thing. This is what makes wildlife rehab so worth it. 

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy all your posts about your volunteer work at the rescue center, Martha!