Caring for Blind Pigeons – Lily

Lily came along after Pew, we having volunteered to take her from the rescue/rehab centre where she had first been taken and cared for. She was the awkward one as she had become used to being fed from a tube before we took her on, and still came to me, squeaking and flapping her wings, sometime each afternoon for her top up. The tube had a piece of material over the end with a slit cut in it to simulate mum or dad’s beak, just the way we have fed unweaned squabbies with formula, except it contained small seed (in my case, ‘conditioning mix’ from my local pigeon supply store). She was quite difficult, as she really didn’t eat properly otherwise.

I did have the idea of giving her (and Pew) a turn in the plastic box which was always well topped up with conditioning and pigeon mix. Lily kinda ate a little by defalt, really, as she was stood in the middle of the food, but I’m not sure at that stage if it was through knowing it was food or just from a pigeon’s natural curiosity for picking things up.

Even after they were both in the aviary for a while, Lily would come and find me somehow and stand on my shoes or try to climb up me, flapping her wings, until I fed her. Then one day, she came when I called her, as she usually did, but refused her feeding tube. After that, she was well away. She loved to get her turn in the food bucket, but then I saw that she was cheerfully tucking into a broad, deep container of pigeon mix (not even the conditioner she grew up with) in her big cage, too. So, finally and in her own time she had got it.

Water was the other thing to learn about. After they had been in the food box for a while, I would stand each of them in the base of one of our big round drinkers, and encourage them to lean down and have a good slurp. With Lily, I stood her in it and said “Lily, have a drink of water” a few times, and splashed it a little, and she would obligingly have a good drink. Before long, though, we could see she was getting whatever water she needed from the pot in her cage or even one of the glazed pots dotted about that the birds like to drink from.

Now, Lily is a big, strong white pigeon with plenty of character. Oh yes, Lily actually turned out to be a boy, but we still cannot help referring to him as she at times, and the name was chosen because of the white lily connection. So, ‘she’ does very well, with a large cage situated on top of another cage. This is deliberately so, since he is adventurous and can easily get out and back in with a mixture of taking off in roughly the right direction, and running up the wire until he reaches his door (or the top of the cage, if he feels like it). It would (as with Pew) be difficult to identify Lily as being blind, so adept is he at just ‘being a pigeon amongst pigeons’.