Ok as some of you may remember the first week I was here I met Pigeon outside of the clinic. Pigeon had arrived three days before I did. He was apparently orphaned in town and a little boy tried to raise him and then gave him to some tourists. The tourists could not care for him either so they brought him here. Ricky let him wander the grounds and gave him food but did not realize Pigeon was still a baby. Not only that but Pigeon had not been fed correctly as he was growing up and therefore he had a deformed beak. So poor Pigeon was in a sad state of affairs when I came across him that day. I decided to take him "under my wing" (ya sorry I couldn't help but say it : ) I set up an outdoor enclosure for him, I hand fed him formula every four hours, and I helped him preen since his beak was too deformed for him to do it himself. To give you an idea of how bad off he was, when I weighed him he was 173 grams. He is currently around 300 grams.
As Pigeon gained strength he would go farther and farther from his "house" during the day. However no matter what, he always went back inside in the evening and all I had to do was close the door behind him. He loved following Ricky and I around and begging for food, as a baby bird likes to do. He would nibble at out toes and strings on our clothes as we would weed the flower gardens and he loved to practice flying. He would get up off the ground about waist high and then go a few feet and land. He never strayed far from us and at first even short flights would tire him out.
Pigeon's feathers and beak slowly started to improve. For a while he looked pretty raggedy as he molted. He also learned how to pick up larger pieces of food with his beak. Eventually he got the seed thing down but he still begged to be hand fed for a few weeks. You know how kids can be, sometimes they just aren't ready to grow up ; )
So once Pigeon learned how to eat on his own and became less dependent on us we wondered what the heck to do next. Should we take him back downtown to live with the other pigeons? Should we keep locking him up at night or just let him do his own thing? Should we stop being nice to him so he will fly away on his own? Around the same time that we talked about these issues I witnessed a pigeon at the market downtown who had string and a long piece of metal wrapped around his foot making it impossible for him to walk. I tried to catch the poor thing but he kept flying away. I realized then that I couldn't take our Pigeon downtown and just leave him. He is way too friendly and way to curious about things. (On a side note, the following week I saw the pigeon at the market and he had managed to get the crap off of his leg but still had the limp).
So it was decided. Pigeon would live here until he decided it was time to move on. It seemed like he was set on staying close to his house and food dish. He would make the exception of venturing up to Jack's enclosure when we had visitors so he could coo at them as he peered down to say Hi. That is until about a week ago. One day he either got bored, curious, or realized he could fly higher than six feet. He followed me to my room, he was on the roof of the kitchen, he was in the dining room, he was all over the place!
So you're probably wondering how Pigeon spends his days here at CASA. Well besides roosting in the office, following us around for hand outs, investigating what we are doing when we are in the clinic, he is also becoming a master of our mile long trail on the grounds. Today he followed me to fill up the bird bath. He stayed right next to me the whole way there stopping only to pick up bits of things to see if they were edible.
After filling up the bath I decided to go back the way I came. As I walked Pigeon became more and more adventurous by flying into high up trees and not keeping within eyesight of me. I then got distracted and realized I was at the end of the trail but there was no Pigeon. I waited and eventually went back to look for him. No Pigeon anywhere. I made my way back to the clinic worried the whole time about my little friend that I have grown to love.
Where is he? What could've happened to him? As all these thoughts raced through my mind I heard a very familiar coo and I looked up. Sitting on Jack's enclosure was Pigeon. Apparently I was taking to long on the trail and he decided to take a short cut.
As I type this, Pigeon is sitting underneath the chair preening. After today's little escapade I realized that although Pigeon likes to hang out with us he is growing up. Eventually he will venture out and meet other pigeons and maybe not come back. And that's ok because he's a pigeon and I raised him so I know he is a tough little guy that doesn't mess around.