Examine the bird. At this stage, the primary concern will be for any obvious wounds, particularly if still bleeding, or other severe damage.
The first step, which may seem obvious, is to secure the bird:
- If a lost racing pigeon turns up in a garden, then it must be caught in order to note down the identification details from the leg-band
- A possibly sick or injured bird must be secured for anyone to advise the finder on what to look for in a basic examination, or to be able to take the bird from the finder to where it can be treated
A cage or a makeshift container such as an open cardboard box will be sufficient. If the bird is very active, and may escape a box, a lid can be used but plenty of air holes must be cut in the box. The container should be lined with paper on its floor (kitchen paper is good). Put the bird in a warm but not too hot or bright place and, if possible, away from both human and pet 'traffic'.
Secondly, in most cases **, provide a heat source. A bird which is sick or injured can use up too much needed energy just in maintaining its body temperature. It is best, therefore, to provide a heat source the bird can lie on or adjacent to so it may conserve strength. An electric or microwaveable heat pad, or a hot water bottle are the best sources, well wrapped so as to be warm not hot. Alternatively, one can fill a sock about two-thirds with rice and microwave it. Placed around or next to the bird, checking that itís not too hot, this can serve as a substitute.
Once the pigeon is secured and has had an hour or more to warm up it should have liquids, since a sick, injured or exhausted bird can easily become dehydrated.†It may not be sufficient to merely provide liquids and hope the bird drinks by itself, however, so it is best to give a rehydrating solution just to be safe. It will, in any case, help stimulate the birdís system.
Now please read this section on rehydration
Note: ** A concussed bird should not have extra heat. If a bird is lying with its neck hanging limp, but it is alive, it may well have concussion caused by collision with a hard surface.