Ellie the Pigeon is home with Charis now in Portland, Oregon. Her tale is amazing and has shown how gracious, kind, and loving people are to help one of God's little creatures and how much God cares about His creation!
On May 6, I looked out the door and saw my black Persian, Bear, chasing a pigeon
across the lawn! Never,
had I seen a pigeon around before! I tried to get Bear to back away from the pigeon, and catch it myself--just try to stop a cat on a hunt, it is nearly impossible. It was obvious the pigeon was hurt; it ran for cover under a neighbor's grill and Bear had it trapped. I was a raging maniac yelling at Bear to get away and no doubt, frightening the little pigeon even more than it was already.
I prayed Bear would not be on the receiving end--he was not!
When caught, a quick look at the pigeon revealed it only two long tail feather's sticking out from the rear end; I figured the rest had been pulled out by Bear or another cat. Its left foot looked injured. It was not very large and I thought it could not be more than a month old--maybe younger.
With bird in hand, I found refuge in the only room where the door could be closed and there were no cats--the restroom: four walls, a sink in a small cabinet, toilet, bathtub, and a shelf. Little did I know that was going to be this little one's home for the next fifty-seven days--eight weeks and one day!
Having tended Rock Pigeons in an aviary previously, I felt as if I at least knew some the basics of how to care for a pigeon. Boy did I have much to learn! I never had to be the "mom"!
First on the agenda was water; it was thirsty. Getting something for the little one to eat and caring for the wounds were next. With very little money on a fixed income and no car, there were not many options.
Thoughts then went to my brother who rescued a pigeon before that had to undergo an amputation. He also raised orphaned ferry terns and gooney birds on Midway Island and knew much about birds. Unfortunately, at the time, he was unable to take over with the care of this little pigeon.
I called a friend whose Rock Pigeons I helped tend. She initially had around forty in her aviary and the numbers were up to at least a hundred towards the end. Watching them hatch, grow up and become independent was incredible. The friend's name is "Ellie". She no longer has pigeons [which she brought to Idaho when she moved here from another state]. Circumstances ended in her finding new homes for all her pigeons so a possible placement with her was not possible. We discussed food issues and she made some recommendations.
Then I panicked. All doors to get someone else to pick up the gauntlet to care for the pigeon rapidly dissolved!
I was in the restroom holding the little pigeon and realized I was on my own this time--a baby pigeon and a house full of cats! I decided to name the little one, Ellie the Pigeon after my friend, Ellie the lady; She really loved and cared for all her beautiful pigeons. It was devastating for her when she had to give them all away. Ellie was named to honor her; Even if Ellie the Pigeon is a boy, he can be called, "Master Ellie the Pigeon" until he matures, then be called "Sir Ellie the Pigeon" when grown. =]
My brother and I talked about the need for antibiotics for Ellie, but we were uncertain about how much to give; I had some powdered antibiotics, but needed advice. A call to the vet's office revealed the doc that normally dealt with birds was not in; they suggested a call to another vet in another city. That vet didn't have time to trouble shoot by telephone and had a meeting to attend.
Unfortunately, I too had another obligation, which took me away for about five hours; by then it was very late at night; I asked a friend if she would stop at store so I could get bird food. Armed with a bag of bird food for parrots, I headed back home to feed little Ellie
I hauled the food, laptop and pillows to the restroom and sat with the little pigeon and tried to get it to eat. Ellie would not eat the bird food. There was a cursory picking, but that was it! Then I really prayed.
I started to Google everything I could think of online. A vet service was found, where questions could be asked. At first it appeared free, but then a fee for service was required to answer any question. A onetime payment was made for a one-time service; questions were posed late that Friday night hoping to get a response; I waited and waited and waited....
Feeling a bit helpless, I then posted a request for those I knew on Face Book to also pray for Ellie the Pigeon. Realizing everyone is not the same and some just do not understand what I do and why when it comes to animals, but I did not want to hear any junk. In the post I recall telling folks, bluntly, that if they did not want to pray for Ellie, and if they thought my request silly or something, to keep their comments to themselves!
At that point I was not going to put up with anything! Ellie was a sad looking little pigeon; I felt the only way she would make it would be a with miracle!
The support for Ellie from the post was precisely what was needed! The calls, comments and messages received were truly a blessing. Many responses were unexpected--but what blessings they were.
My friend Ellie had told me to Google sites like "feeding baby pigeons" and other types of things. The Internet is a great source of information; however, when I start searching online, I am often distracted by a thousand different sites, and that night was not any different.
Sites on pigeon anatomy, diseases, feeding, types of pigeons, history, studies--it was all there just waiting for me to read it all! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!
In the meantime, Ellie would not eat; she only picked at the bird food. Every hour that passed only increased my concern for her as I knew it was having a negative impact on little Ellie.
Then I stumbled upon a web site in New York City that rescues pigeons. "Now that's a place with pigeons." I thought, "The big city!" Scanning the site, I saw a telephone number to call--I just love having phone numbers available!!!! Even today with all the computerized answering services and endless hours of waiting on hold to get a live person, for some reason, I still have hope in my heart that there will be a "live" person answering and therefore I made the call.
Unfortunately, the number for the New York City rescue place had a recording; however, it allowed me to leave a message. I had little hope that there would be a response as, well, you know--the city has enough pigeons of its own to be concerned about without involving itself with one little pigeon in Idaho!
Nevertheless, I left a sad tale on the answering machine and explained that I had an injured pigeon, provided details and my concerns, needed help, and I lived in Idaho. I left my phone number and did not think they would ever call. I figured someone would not even listen to the message.
I continued to wait for a response from the online vet service, approved by some BBB, and yet, no answer was coming through. The service claimed to be available 24-hours; I figured they had all gone home, out to party or sleep--after all, it was a Friday night!
So I continued, on the floor of the bathroom with this little pigeon, to read articles on the Internet and yet, I wasn't getting very far and realized my "search" skills on the Internet needed room for improvement.
Fortunately, more of my friends posted support and were praying for Ellie and me.
That is how it all began. From there, the things that unfolded for Ellie the Pigeon were incredible! The rest will be posted just as soon as I can write and edit!
I only wish I knew how to download pictures on this site. I have some beautiful pictures of
Ellie and some that show the red feathers mentioned by Charis [Matilda] above. I am attempting to post the photos--we will see if it works!