Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An unexpected guest

Monday was a much better day. I actually worked in my bedroom for a while! :o) Doing the work caused my allergies to flare up. I woke up this morning with a raging sinus headache. Luckily a hot shower loosened things up and it isn't bothering me so much.

I'd told the kids if they did some work in the morning, we'd go into the city and go shopping (and run errands). Val and I cleaned out the van while Liz and Eileen with other kids helping here or there cleaned up the kitchen and livingroom floor. Michelle headed down into the basement with Janna to try to clear up the laundry room floor. I ended up down there helping after noon. We made quite a bit of headway but now I have TONS of laundry waiting for me.

While we were working in the cellar the kids came running down yelling something about a bird being in the house. I ran upstairs expecting to see a repeat of when a hummingbird came in. Instead I see a docile pigeon sitting by my front door. The kids pointed out the bands on it's leg...this was no ordinary pigeon. I wondered if it was a homing pigeon.

Not wanting it to freak out in my house I coaxed it out the front door. It was then that I realized it was exhausted and was getting off the ground when it tried to fly. I decided it had to be brought in the house or it'd become cat food. While he was sitting amongst my flower garden I had the kids keep it safe from cats and I jumped online.

It was a racing/homing bird. I ended up going the American Racing Pigeon Union where I learned how to read the markings on it's band. There was also a page on how to care for a lost bird. I brought out a bowl of water for the bird to drink from and he did. Then I had the kids go get some grains.....they came out with yellow split peas which were a bit too big. I sent them in for the red lentils and some rice and it seemed to do the trick. As soon as I had attempted to handfeed the bird it allowed me to pick it up and into the house we went.

I emptied out the Graco pack n play that was setup in the kitchen, lined it with cardboard (all our newspaper is gone!?!), gave it a bowl of water and more rice and lentils. Then we covered it with a fitted twin sheet. The pigeon ate and ate, it didn't drink too much since it kept knocking over the water we gave it.

I found out what the markings meant on the band and who to contact for the bird. It's from a club in RHODE ISLAND! The little guy is far far from home. The kids are full of questions...does it have a name? how far has it flown? can we keep it? lol I called the contact person who was at work. He called me back about 9pm.

The pigeon is a bit more energetic this evening. We were out shopping and stopped by the pet store for canary feed and gravel/minerals. He hasn't eaten them yet. Instead after I removed the sheet from the pack n play he decided it was a lame place to be. He jupmed out and is now roosting ontop of my french door curtain rod.

I was wondering if it would be ok to release it in the morning and asked the contact person. He was worried that it was still too weak to make it home safely. He said he would try to find a flyer who lives near me and would be willing to nurse it back to health so it can return home. He's also going to contact the owner of the bird. It seems since the band is dated 2005 and not 2006 that this little guy has been missing for a while. Maybe from a race out of Ohio last year!!! So right now I'm waiting for a few phone calls on how to proceed.

The kids are enjoying him being here. It's making me consider getting birds again. We use to own a pair of budgies when the older kids were little. Today at the pet store I was admiring a pair of beautifully colored birds that looked to be from the finch family.

I don't mind him being here but I'm afraid he'll get hurt if he tries to fly around my house. There's too many things for him to fly into. I'll try to get him off the curtain rod and back into the playpen before bed tonight.

"As the Pigeon Flies" will be continued tomorrow.


Lori said...

Wow, how neat!!

Lisa said...

That is SO COOL!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks for taking care of the bird. As a former (and hopefully future) racing pigeon fancier I can tell you how awesome it is you are taking care of the bird. Since the ring is from 2005 it is quite possible (s)he got lost this year. Old bird races (races with birds from 2005 and older) started in May this year and went through the begining of July. I believe the last race for Rhode Island was a 600 mile race from Ohio. Thanks again!