Stray Racing Pigeon Reporting - What To Do
If you don’t race pigeons yourself then it can come as a surprise to discover one of these birds on your property. But this is not an unusual occurrence. Racing pigeons will sometimes stop somewhere for a rest during training or a race and that somewhere could be your home. So what should you do if a racing pigeon pays you a visit?
Food and Drink
Racing pigeons will have a ring on their leg. If your visitor does not have a ring then it is probably a wild bird.
It is perfectly OK to provide food for the racing pigeon but it must be appropriate food. Do not offer bread to racing pigeons! The best options are bird seed, uncooked rice or lentils. If you do feed the pigeon then make sure that you also give it some water. If you are not a pigeon fancier then you won’t have to hand but that doesn’t matter. Simply fill a deep dish with tap water and place it adjacent to the food. This will be a perfectly adequate pigeon drinker.
Once the pigeon has eaten enough food and taken a drink it will probably decide to continue its journey home. If it hasn’t left your property after two days have elapsed then remove the food and water as this might encourage it to get going. But what if the pigeon decides to hang around for longer?
If your visitor shows no interest in leaving then take a closer look at the bird to see if it is showing any signs of distress. If it is or is obviously injured then you should confine it in a safe place. A cardboard box or pet carrier is the perfect choice. The pigeon should be tame enough for you to pick it up. Grasp in gently with both hands across the back. If the pigeon won’t let you get close enough to pick it up then you might have to throw a towel over it to restrain it. If this tactic doesn’t work then lure the bird into the box using food.
Whether the bird is injured or not you should contact its owner to notify them of the bird’s whereabouts. The owner’s contact details should be printed on a ring. Failing that they may be stamped on one or more wing feathers. Use these to get in touch with the owner so that they can arrange to collect the bird. If there are no contact details visible then go the Royal Pigeon Racing Association website where there is a handy wizard for reporting stray racing pigeons.
You never know, meeting a racing pigeon might inspire you to try the hobby for yourself. It is a fascinating pastime that brings a great deal of pleasure to many people around the country. The next time a stray pigeon is found it might be one of yours!