Had a friendly little visitor to my garden yesterday morning. This homing pigeon got a little lost on his journey from Ohio to New Jersey. They apparently will often stop to rest for up to two or three days in a row, but this one picked a bad spot. Our property is up against wilderness and a small wooded area, so we have all kinds of predators, including pets, hawks, feral cats, coyotes, owls, foxes, etc. All would be happy to munch a pigeon.
I made friends with him by offering him some safflower from our treat stash, plus a little pan of fresh water. He then followed me around for a bit on the ground and had a nap. I didn’t think he seemed sick or injured, just tired and hungry.
When he didn’t leave by dinner time, I got a cat carrier, tossed some seed in, and in he went. I christened him Nigel.
In any event, dear Nigel (after contacting Animal Control and the local club of his owner) is on his way home to New Jersey. Websites usually suggest leaving these birds alone if they appear to be okay, but since this one refused to get off the ground, we all decided he needed a little help! Happy endings all around.
Side note: I washed thoroughly after contact with the strange bird, and my flock never came into contact with him – very important!