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skybirdforever

I'm sad!

A couple hours ago when I went out in the backyard to cut the grass and was pulling the hose off to the side, I saw a mourning dove, obviously disabled, flopping around at the base of my hollyhocks. Thinking it would recover, I just stood still for 5 minutes so I wouldnt scare it more. By then it became apparent something was seriously wrong with itÂit was shaking violently and couldnÂt seem to control its movements, though its wings and legs seemed to be ok. I (easily) picked it up and just held it for a few minutes, wondering what I could do to help it, so I took it over to the edge of the birdbath and held it there so it could have water if it wanted to. It did try to drink a couple times, but couldnÂt really control its head. After holding it there for about 10 minutes, the shaking became less violent, but there was still something very wrong. I brought it inside and put it in a small box with a towel in the bottom, and tried calling a bunch of shelters and rescue organizations, thinking I might at least find someone to humanely euthanize it. The only place I could find that was open was an emergency animal hospital, and the office visit alone was going to be $80ÂIÂm poor, so that was out of the question. Having run out of options, I left it quietly in the box while I cut the grass. I just peeked in the box, and itÂs not moving anymoreÂI think itÂs dead, but IÂm going to wait till morning just to be sure. I want to be able to wish it back to health!

I feel like crying! I know itÂs the way of Nature, and itÂs not at all unusual for me to find dead birds in the yard, but I got to know this one personally! Do you guys think I should have just left it out there by itself, or do you think I did the right thing to try to help it and make it comfortable. It didnÂt seem to be scared of me at all. I just couldnÂt walk away.

I know! Another thread with no plants!

Skybird

Comments (19)

  • daimonic
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think you did the right thing! That's so traumatizing when it happens. I remember once driving late at night a cat darted out in front of my car and I swerved to avoid it but didn't quite miss it and clipped it as I was going by. I stopped, and the poor thing was shaking violently, covered in blood, but still alive and struggling to crawl away. I picked it up in my arms and drove straight to the vet hospital but it died in my arms... I refused to drive a car for over 2 weeks after that incident.... Anyway, there was nothing else you could have done, and you cared for it in the best way possible. Part of letting nature take its course is to realize that humans are a part of nature as well, so don't feel that you were "interfering" in the way of things, you were playing your part and doing the best that you could. Poor thing, I love mourning doves, and their haunting songs...

    Cheer up Skybird :) At least it's no longer in any pain, and it knew kindness in the last few hours of its' life :)

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you, Daimonic. You found exactly the words I needed to hear. I feed the birds, so I have a lot of them around here, and when I found it and picked it up, it was so beautiful---and I felt so helpless.

    I'm sorry about what happened with you with the kitty. That must have been truly awful at the time too.

    I saw you just found the swap thread and I'm glad you'll be able to come.

    See you next week,
    Skybird

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  • digit
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The dove had probably been struck by a car or had eaten something poisonous. Don't be sad, Skybird, you caused it no harm of any sort.

    The dove would understand that the open was the most dangerous place for it to be. Placing it somewhere enclosed gave it some comfort.

    Over 10 years ago, I bought a pair of Roller pigeons for my daughter. Of course, I've taken care of them ever since and my daughter is now in college. Actually, I've taken care of some combination of these birds.

    They had quite a few babies and these youngsters were mostly given away. Sometimes they learned to fly and escaped. Mother and father made no attempt to bring them back home. Tony and Theresa often are allowed to fly free on nice days but have always come back to their "bird house" in the evening.

    Both grew old and one day Theresa disappeared. The neighbor boys found her across the street dead and partly eaten - apparently the victim of a hawk, which are not at all uncommon here.

    We didn't want Tony to live alone so found another blond hen for him. He was very nice to her altho' I never saw them mate (remarkable considering his behavior during his younger years). Tony was getting old and not too long ago, he disappeared. This was very surprising after so long. He nearly always could be found either at the bird house, on top of our house watching the backyard, or on the house across the street checking out the neighborhood. Always, he was with Theresa. He and the second Theresa have been together for 2 or 3 years.

    Theresa came home the night Tony disappeared and wouldn't come out the next day. When she did come out, she was gone for over 24 hours, something that also had never happened before. Then she began coming home only in the evenings and, obviously, spending her days with the wild pigeons on the top of the nearby elementary school. One day, she came home with a "new" Tony.

    For just a moment, I thought it was the "old" Tony but then I realized that this black bird was larger than a Roller and he was very shy. Theresa actually lured him into the bird house - a very roomy home but this Tony was too nervous to stay there. So, Theresa left with him. She continued coming home every day for food and water and Tony would come also.

    One morning a couple weeks ago, Tony came by himself - so, of course, we fed him some cracked corn and peas. Theresa showed up in the evening, ate her food quickly and flew away. And, this has been the pattern now for about 3 weeks - Tony comes in the morning and Theresa comes in the afternoon.

    Yesterday, both the birds came together and today also. I'm thinking that we should be seeing little Tony and little Theresa in a couple weeks. Then we will have 4 pigeons or they will have us.

    DigitSteve

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A nice story, Steve. Thank you.

    I'm still sad tonite, but I'll be ok tomorrow,
    Skybird

  • bpgreen
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm sorry you had such a sad experience, and I hope you're back to your usual happy demeanor in the morning.

    On another note, I hope you wore gloves while handling the bird. You never know what may have caused the bird to be in distress, and some diseases can cross species. If possible, I would take the bird to a public health agency to make sure you weren't exposed to something.

  • emagineer
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Sky,
    I didn't know until last fall, when a young deer with a broken leg was laying in the yard next to me, that no one will do anything for our injured wild life. In later conversations with vets, ect; I am told they just can't handle all the events. Their norm is to let the wild life deal with whatever event in nature, well enough to heal and go on or let go.

    My PT is a member of the Squirrel rescue. They take orphaned babies only, an ill or injured squirrel has to be left on their own.

    It saddens me too, animals cannot speak for themselves. Sometimes I think I have more empathy for animals than humans when they are harmed or hurt in any way.

    Know that you care and gave the little guy a rest with love.

  • stevation
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I sympathize with you Skybird. I've had a few experiences like that. I've been a bird lover all my life, and I even raised a baby magpie and taught it to talk when I was about 15 years old! My girls (the 7-year-old twins) have learned this love for birds, too. So, how about a heart-warming bird story to ease the pain?

    One day about a year ago, I looked out the back window and saw Emma and Eliza sitting on the back lawn laughing and smiling, and a little brown bird was jumping up on Emmas leg as she sat in the grass. They had strewn maple leaves all around them, trying to make the bird feel at home like it was a nest. It was really cute!

    It turned out that the bird had been injured by one of our cats. My wife stopped the cat earlier in the day, and the bird jumped off into the trees. I dont know why it came down near Emma and Eliza later, but it sure seems like it was drawn to them for protection. Maybe it trusted them because theyre little.

    The bird was very fatigued, and I thought it might have internal injuries. I told the twins that it might die, but we would take it inside and put it in a box overnight and see if it survived. I thought it might be a young bird that recently left its nest, but it seemed to early in the season. Its plumage didnt seem like a baby bird, except that its tail was short. Anyway, we brought it inside, gave it a cozy box with shredded paper to rest in, and closed it up overnight. The girls named it Tweety and wrote "Tweety is our pet" on the box.

    In the morning, Tweety had plenty of energy and wanted to fly away. I guess it just needed a good rest after the cat trauma. So, we took a picture of it and then took it out back. It was jumping in my hands, trying to get free. I let it loose, and surprisingly, it flew very well and went way up to the top of an Aspen tree, where I think it was pretty safe from meddling cats. It was fun to see the girls get excited to help an animal, and it was especially cute to see how the bird trusted them when hopping around and on them out in the yard that day.

  • jaliranchr
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    (((((((Skybird)))))))

  • david52 Zone 6
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh Dear. I've found 5 dead morning doves, actually my 9yr old daughter finds them, all within the past two weeks. We get the occasional dead bird, but this is rare. I may not see a dove all summer, alive or dead, and now five??? In fact, this is the first year I've actually seen so many doves all around. Who knows.

  • jaliranchr
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    David, a few months ago there was a huge dove kill south of Hugo. EPA came in and some fool had inappropriately used a pesticide that caused the kill. I haven't seen anything on it lately, but there were 100s killed.

    About five years ago, we had a new kind of dove move in - Eurasian Collared Doves. They are whitish grey and have a little black collar. They are more abundant than mourning doves around here now. They might just be making their way toward you.

  • singcharlene
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm sorry, Skybird :(

    I love Steve's Tony & Theresa story and Stevation's happy ending:)

    I am a cat lover and have never been without one in my whole life. With that, I have had my heart broken many times when my kitties have brought me their injured "gifts" and dropped them upon my feet or doorstep.

    Even my cat that remains indoors now, hunts mice and other creatures she stalks in the house and garage. Last summer, she jumped up and dropped a mouse on my son's bed while my husband was reading a bedtime story to him. She was purring so loud and rubbing her head on the book, so proud of her "gift". In another house, she jumped up on our bed and dropped a live cockroach right on my husband's pillow. Again, purring so proud of her gift to us.

    Now that my cat remains indoors because we have so many coyotes around here, we can have bird feeders again.

    Speaking of wildlife, I saw the coyotes just last night trotting across our property and the neighbors saw a mountain lion crossing the street in front of our house last week.

    This post also reminded me of a woman I once knew....I had a neighbor that lived across the street from me a few years ago in Calif. known as "the crazy cat lady" because she took in stray animals (mostly cats) and found good homes for them. Her entire backyard and garage were custom built with kennels for the temporary homes. She wasn't popular in the neighborhood (treated more like an outcast) for this reason and we were "warned" about her when we first moved in. Her house had a rather distinct cat aroma when you walked near the front door and she also collected "junk" that people regularly dropped off on her front lawn that she would resell and use the funds to care for the animals.

    I didn't love the junk in the front yard either and am not proud of some of the thoughts I had about her based solely on gossip. I ended up getting to know her because I took an interest in the animals I saw come and go and found her to be one of the kindest and most compassionate people I've met. When my Dad came to stay with me, my husband and I cared for him the year before he died and it was an emotional time; she was the neighbor that regularly popped in with a casserole to see how we were doing. I think I cried more tears to her than anyone.

    She would never turn down any animal and I swear the animals somehow knew this and they flocked to her home. Animals seemed to make their way to her door when they were sick or injured. Cats, dogs, injured wild animals like birds, lots of crows, a half dog/half coyote that got hit by a car and made it's way to her driveway where she nursed it and found a home for it out in the country. Whether they found their own way to her or were left on her doorstep by a human, she never turned one down ever. I renamed her "the cat angel".

    Skybird, with all the good you do in helping the local wild birds, maybe the dove was attracted to you knowing that it's final hours would be in comfort provided by you :)

    Charlene

  • lilacs_of_may
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I'm the one who's the neighborhood "cat lady," I think, and the neighbors don't like me one bit.

    When my brother and I were young, we'd always take in strays and injured animals -- hurt birds, stray kittens and cats, a bat with a hurt wing one time. My brother and I are still animal people. At one time my brother was up to eight cats. So far, I've only got five.

    Last summer I came out onto my back porch to find a decapitated and half-eaten wild bird. Apparently one of the strays that hung around my yard and brought his trophy "home" to my porch to eat it. Probably enjoyed teasing my indoor cats. "See? This is what a REAL cat does, you pampered, kibble-eating kitties!"

    I felt a bit bad for the bird as I cleaned it up, but this is Nature. This is what happens.

    I haven't seen that stray around all year. I hope he's okay.

    I think my back yard is attractive to birds. I not only have a squirrel proof feeder, but I have a ton of worms in my soil.

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thank you all for your nice stories and support! I appreciate others supporting what I did, and I now feel confident that I did the right thing. At first I was thinking maybe it felt trapped when I put it in the box, but it did seem to calm down, so I think youre all right that it felt safer being enclosed rather than out in the open.

    I probably attributed far more to what the dove was "feeling" than is reasonable, but I sort of have this theory that were all connected, so it was important to meand I guess Ill never know how important it actually was to the dove! But I DO believe it felt safe in the end! :-)

    Im glad to know Im not the only animal nut around here,
    Skybird

  • digit
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Theresa on her bird house yesterday. I'll have one of Tony when he's not either hiding behind Theresa or a chimney or something. It is now apparent that they are each "eating for 2." Tony will become more trusting as the food requirements and babies grow.


    D'S'

  • emagineer
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Digit,

    I had a nest on my front porch in a grape wreath a few years back. Loved watching the care going on and finally "hatch day". They made such a mess, but the watch was far more important. These guys sure grew up fast, one day they were there and the next the nest empty....never to be seen again. I felt like a mother losing her children. But cleaned up after them, even though there were no good byes, like a good mother does.

  • digit
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pigeons and doves are vegetarians, thankfully, but, boy, can they generate a mess. The advantage I have this time is that the nest is somewhere else. There's a little, old, vacant, brick building about 200 yards away (opposite direction from the elementary school). It has good windows but I noticed that a window in a stairwell is open. I wonder . . .

    Between chickens, pigeons, and kitchen peelings, I used to manufacture all the compost for our smaller veggie garden. Pine needle bedding was best and I would get it by the truck load - the remaining components were "on-site."

    We seldom had more than 3 or 4 laying hens (& never more than 4 pigeons). The hens were happy to spend a few hours each day in the yard. (The kitchen garden had to be an herbal one in those days.) We never had a complaint from the neighbors and even their dogs grew bored with trying to frighten them thru the fence. Cats? Well, 4 fat Australorp hens could handle a cat unless it was starving, I suppose.

    DigitS'

  • digit
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I thought I'd give those of you interested an update on the life and times of Tony & Theresa.

    For about 10 days after I'd decided that the chicks had hatched, Tony & Theresa came together every day. Sometimes they spent quite a bit of time. Their food consumption never increased so I slowly came to realize that they had no babies at home after all.

    Then one morning Tony came alone. In the afternoon, Theresa came alone and so I knew that they were again setting on eggs. But, within just a few days, they were both back together - apparently they'd lost these eggs as well.

    Theresa again began to try to get Tony interested in a move back into her birdhouse here at home. Of course, that was the morning I had to pull the pile of garden stakes out from behind her house. So while she's trying to convince Tony that this is really a choice place to raise a family - I'm involved in a demolition project next door.

    I got the stakes in the pickup and skedaddled but not before upsetting Tony. I was told that he did come back and went into the birdhouse for a second look around but that was it for him. By the time I got back home, Theresa was still trying to lure him back but he wasn't coming closer than the power pole in the neighbor's yard.

    At the moment, Theresa has apparently given up again. Both birds are showing up a couple times each day and getting something to eat but the birdhouse (honestly, choice pigeon accommodations) is being ignored.

    I was driving down the main drag Saturday and passed a tavern that has been closed for a couple of years. (Who says these joints never go out of business?) The wood awning has lost quite a few shingles and a pigeon looking very much like Tony was hanging around on top.

    Now this saloon is a good 2 miles away but that's not far for them. The problem is that it looks to me like a horrible place for them to have a nest. If this is Tony's "Blue Heaven," they'll probably have continuing calamities.

    The real problem is that Tony is a young, inexperienced guy. Doves of all types have a cooperative arrangement between Mom and Dad for the care of the young and altho' Mom builds the nest; Dad gives her the construction materials and decides on the location.

    The other day, while Theresa was trying to get her new guy into her birdhouse, she would suddenly appear back at the door. Her behavior for all the world said, "Where is he! Where IS he!" and she'd shoot off into the sky only to have Tony join her within seconds flying off the power pole or some roof top. Theresa would slow and turn back to the birdhouse but Tony would drift off somewhere to wait for her.

    The good news is that Tony is becoming more and more comfortable with me. It is very slow going. Today, for the 1st time, he flew to the ground to get food and stayed down there long enuf to have his picture taken. Two weeks ago, he'd hide behind the chimney every time I came out of the house. So we may be getting there. I don't think that the taming of Tony will come any too soon for Theresa. She acts at times like a nervous wreck.

    DigitS'

  • digit
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    BTW. Here's a picture (professionally done so you know that I couldn't have taken it ;o) of Shelley's Eurasian collared dove. They arrived in our neck of the woods just last year. An invasive species but my understanding is that, so far, the bird experts are reserving judgment on any problems they are creating (including to the mourning dove population):

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for the update on your feathered family, Steve. They sure look like theyre getting along pretty well in the picture. Hopefully theyll both move into your digs before too long.

    My robins have chosen to reside somewhere besides the top of my electric meter box again this yearmuch to my disappointment. They were flying back and forth to the little platform for a few days, and I was really hopeful, but since Ive been off work all spring, I think Ive been running around in the yard too much for themtho theyll come to the birdbath with me only feet away. And they come daily for the water, the breadcrumbs and cut up grapes I put out, and the worms. Maybe next year! Its a location where theyre totally safe from squirrels and cats, and even pretty much from bluejays and other big birds, so I really hope they decide to build there next yearnot too mention how much fun it is to watch them!

    My nest of sparrows which is in the foliage of the climbing euonymous by the steps off of my deck, has once again been vacated! Its used every year, but its buried so deeply in the foliage that all I can do it listen to the babies chirping for more food! When I'm sitting on the steps doing something, the parents have an absolute fit! But its fun to have them there every yeareven if they are only house sparrows! The babies have been in the yard and at the birdbath for the last few days, and the mother still feeds them occasionally. But theyre getting so big now, its hard to tell for sure which are the babies. Now that theyre out of the nest I have to get out there to pull a bunch of the euonymous down againto keep it from growing up under the siding! Id cut the whole thing down, but then there wouldnt be anywhere for the nest.

    I have the Eurasian collared doves here too. I used to think they were ringed turtle doves, which didnt make any sense since theyre only supposed to be in LA and Florida, but the Eurasian collared dove isnt in either of my books, so I didnt know what else they might be. Thank you, Jali!

    Keep us up to date on your "family life," Steve,
    Skybird