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Homing pigeons occasionally get lost while out on a flight. They will tend to group with another flock of pigeons or will be seen sitting on roofs or other areas looking disorientated but will continue on their journey home. Domestic homers have a leg band with home information on it. Pigeons are not caught unless they are ill or weak from ranging -- you can simply pick these birds up or catch them with a bird net. Some lost pigeons are dehydrated and hungry and may need time to replenish their strength.
Reach gently for the bird. Kneel down and offer an outstretched hand with bird seed to entice the pigeon. Place a dish of water before the bird (dip a finger and splash the water to show the pigeon it is in the bowl).
Watch to see if the pigeon is tired and dehydrated. Look for signs including ruffled feathers and a hunched-up appearance. Note that ill or weak pigeons are easily approachable.
Pick up a docile pigeon. Alternatively, use a light towel or net to catch a pigeon that is not willing to be picked up.
Bring the pigeon to a secure, quiet location inside. Offer the pigeon more bird seed, pigeon food and water while it is inside.
Wait for the bird to recover. Birds that are very weak, hunched up or not eating or drinking in a few hours need immediate veterinary attention. Release a recovered and alert pigeon in a safe and open area and it should reorient and fly home on its own.
- American Racing Pigeon Union; How to Care for Lost Pigeons; Frank Mosca
- "Pigeons"; Andrew D. Blechman; 2007
- If the bird is trapped inside a building, open doors and windows to encourage the pigeon to fly away on its own.
- Try locating the bird's owner by giving a local pigeon club its leg band information.
- If you have caught a homing pigeon without a leg band, contact a local pigeon club.
- Consider keeping the homing pigeon as a pet if it does not have a leg band.
- Do not keep banded birds unless the owner cannot be found.
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