It was the annual opening day of the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital at East Winch, so John and I went there with the express purpose of checking what their real attitude towards pigeon and doves is.
We found a lot of evidence that they care for orphaned wood pigeons and collared doves, and we saw a release aviary in which there were a few juvenile pigeons, some juvenile and adult collared doves and what I thought were two feral pigeons (as woodies panic so easily there were several layers of wiring and netting between us and the birds, so it was difficult to see what was in the aviary).
They had a list of the patients that they had released so far this year and that included 10 pigeons and 17 collared doves...not a very high number considering their size, level of funding and public prescence!
We found nothing at all to suggest that they treated adult pigeons or doves...so in view of that and the rumours that they kill pigeons handed into their care I am going to specify in the resources list that they are suitable only for healthy uninjured squabs. There were, however, various adult swans, geese and ducks being treated there.
One thing really upset me.
They had laminated posters with case histories and photos. One of these was about an owl that had been caught on a glue board placed on a factory roof by Rentokil. They said that the owl had ventured on to the board in an attempt to catch other birds that had already been caught, and that on contacting Rentokil they were advised to use cooking oil to remove the glue...not a word about what other birds were trapped or what happened to them or whether they had even considered prosecuting Rentokil! I thought that glueboards were illegal in the UK because I could not imagine that such a cruel tool could be tolerated. There must be a pressure group somewhere that is fighting for these to be banned so I will find it and join it and I will also write to the RSPCA and its various officers.