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What to Do When You Find an Injured Pigeon

Filed under: New York City Wildlife
Mr. Pigeon: Rescued and Resting

Mr. Pigeon: Rescued and Resting

If you haven’t yet stumbled upon an injured bird in the city, you’ve surely heard your friends tell a tale of (attempted) rescue. Fortunately, there is a place in NYC that will treat wildlife, including pigeons (and offers rehabilitation), for a suggested donation. There’s also Al Streit of the Jamie’s recent blog), a group working on improving attitudes toward pigeons.

When I was walking to Ground Zero today to commemorate the five year anniversary, I noticed a pigeon dragging his wing, unable to fly, and hiding under cars. With the help of my amazing friend Rita we caught him and I took him home where he is currently occupying my cat’s carrier and (hopefully) munching on his dinner of flax seeds and muesli.

Luckily I knew about a place on the Upper West Side called the Wild Bird Fund. Rita McMahon and Karen Heidgerd run this non-profit group out of Animal General at 87th Street and Columbus Avenue. They see cases by appointment only (Monday through Saturday 1-3 PM) for a suggested donation. They rely on volunteers for foster care and transportation of the critters to rehab centers.

Mr. Pigeon is scheduled to be there at 1 PM tomorrow to be examined. In the meantime, I got some beneficial over-the-phone advice by Al Streit, who informed me about a little pouch (the exact name escapes me) on the little guys’ chest. If you feel for it and it is full like a water balloon, he’s recently eaten and is not in danger of starving. If you can’t feel anything, you may want to moisten some cat or dog food (if you have some around) and try to get him to eat a bit (make sure you find out how first, there’s more details about that).

Don’t despair if an injured bird finds you, just call up Al for advice and take them to Animal General as soon as you can. Maybe you can even provide this useful information next time one of your friends calls you up to see if you know what to do in a situation like this.

Stay tuned for an update on Mr. Pigeon’s health.


  1. Comment by


    on #

    Thank you for posting this! Everybody needs to be nicer to pigeons, I think!

    By the way, the little balloon on the pigeon’s chest is probably the crop. Do keep us updated!

  2. Comment by

    Moni Woweries

    on #

    It is indeed the crop! Thank you!

  3. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    What a cute critter! I hope his wing will be okay. Thanks for the tips too!

  4. Comment by

    Moni Woweries

    on #

    By the way, you should only feed flax seeds as a treat, and never as the main component of the diet, as I was just informed by Al.

  5. Comment by


    on #

    I am a licensed wildlife rehabber but this is my first bird. He’s a one-legged homing pigeon that is 2 years old. He is healthy but seems lonely. Does anyone out there know where I might find another ‘nonreleaseable’ pigeon that I could keep with this little fellow? I am in Texas but would drive to pick him/her up as long as it wasn’t toooo far. As a rehabber, I know how important it is for recovery – (particularly for the desire to thrive) for animals to have companionship. Also, this little guy does not fly…I’ve had him for 4 months and he only flaps his wings to go from one spot up or down to another. He basically just hops with his wings flapping. Could this inability to fly be from an inner ear problem affecting his balance? He had been hit with a bee-bee I am told but has healed. Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!!

  6. Comment by

    lyn rose

    on #

    Hi there, thanks for the post! I just found an injured pigeon this morning. I’ll check out your blog while I’m at it. I haven’t come across it before. I have a vegan blog too and I’m your neighbour just to the north in Toronto, Canada.

  7. Comment by


    on #

    An injured pure white homing pigeon found me three days ago. I have watered and grain fed him and so far have been unable to capture him. He has a slight injury on his breast. I emailed the registry and gave them the registry number and they said they had no record of that bird and some customers as that it not be registered. Now what do I do? Any help would be appreciated. He’s beautiful!