My week with a pigeon

Day 1:

Evan found the most beautiful pigeon on our deck this afternoon. Pearly pinks, greens, purples all over it. I tried to get close but it casually plopped off over the edge of the deck. Later it was in the driveway under my car. Noticed blue band around foot –  Googled and learned that it’s probably a racing pigeon who got lost or tired. I am giving it water and seeds to help it regain strength.

When I told Evan it was a homing pigeon he shrieked “A whaaaaaatt?!” in terror.  “A pigeon babe, a pretty racing bird. Nothing to be scared of.” I laughed.

pretty pigeon on the porch
pigeon on the porch

Now it’s late and cold. I’ve put a towel in a milk crate tilted on its side, up against the house on the front porch. I’d hate for our resident hawk to eat the pretty thing.  I have started to call her Katie Holmes. Because homing pigeon.

I do not expect to see Katie Holmes again.

Day 2:

Katie Holmes stayed under Adam’s car this morning as he tried to drive away to work. Afraid she was going to commit suicide, I laid on the ground and yelled at her while shooing with a stick so she wouldn’t get caught under a tire. It took him fifteen minutes to back out the driveway.

Katie spent the rest of the day in the back yard narrowly escaping being eaten by the dog, hawk and whatever else is out there. I spent the day trying to get her to drink more water to rehydrate herself enough to leave. I don’t want this pretty little thing to die on my watch (this situation is bringing up bad memories of last summer’s unsuccessful baby mouse rehab). I’m not sure she can fly.

I told a friend about this today and she didn’t get the Katie Holmes reference. “Did you name her that because she’s like, trapped at your house?”  Whatever. Works either way.

Day 3:

It was snowing when I woke up. I knew I had to get Katie Holmes so I could read her leg band. She didn’t seem to be going anywhere, and the internet says that like gremlins, racing pigeons should not get wet.  I spent the day chasing the pigeon around and worrying.

When Evan got home we cornered her together in the garage. I threw a towel over her and put her in an enormous cardboard box. It was so big I used the boys’ soccer goal to cover the top. I even gave her an old stuffed snowman and some towels to snuggle in.  Did you know that pigeons grunt  when upset?

Anyway, I was able to read her leg band and look up her pigeon club – in Meriden – not that far!  I called the number listed on the site and the guy said he used to be the pigeon guy but now he’s not the pigeon guy and he texted me later with the real guy’s number. Well, the real guy and I had a mild language barrier. Maybe that’s why he got off the phone so fast when I tried to set up a rendezvous point with him or his wife?  He said he would call me back.

While I like Katie Holmes, the idea of captivating a bird in a box is starting to make me sick. Also, the mountains of poop.

It continues to snow.

pigeon in a box
pigeon in a box

Day 4:

It has been pouring rain all day. Wind gusts reached 80 mph in the night. I spent the day obsessing about the live animal trapped in the soaked, poop-filled cardboard prison in my cold garage. An animal that would be in mortal danger if put outside. An animal that has knocked it’s water over so many times that there is now a frozen brook running the length of the garage making it treacherous to bring my many empty wine bottles to the recycling bin. Right pigeon guy has not returned our insistent calls; mine or Adam’s.

Katie holmes-ing pigeon
Katie holmes-ing pigeon

Day 5:

I woke to beautiful weather. I decided to free Katie Holmes. It felt good to throw away the sopping fecal cardboard box, stuffed snowman and old towels and sweaters I’d lent Katie. I sent her on her way. Which was apparently only five feet away, under my car in the driveway.

I texted the first, wrong pigeon guy and asked what to do since the second, right pigeon guy apparently didn’t want his bird. He said he would take her, but he is moving and it will be a few days. He told me to recapture her and put her in a box in my garage.

I picked the poop-slimed stuffed snowman out of the bin.

Day 6:

I spent all day waiting and worrying and checking on the bird who is now housed in a miniscule plastic tote.  I’m starting to feel like Tom Cruise/Scientology. The bird has eaten all my rice.

She's just there, staring at me
She’s just there, staring at me

Day 7:

The plastic tote has shrunk in the night, or the bird has become massive. She is now entirely crusted with poo in the foot/claw area.  Neither pigeon guy has called.

Day 8:

Early this morning I texted the first guy and told him I’m mentally incapable of taking care of Katie Holmes and I would be calling animal control. He texted me back his address, only a few towns away. Adam and I brought her over, and he was indeed moving. We interrupted him and his friends carrying large pieces of furniture into the house to bring him an unwanted pigeon that wasn’t his. He was cool, though, and explained that he’d been the president of the pigeon racing club until recently, and he seemed to know a lot about the birds. He liked Katie and said he might keep her, or find her a good home. He conceded that maybe she didn’t belong to the second pigeon guy after all. He even seemed happy about the poop on her feet, and complimented its color and consistency.

He showed us that Katie Holmes couldn’t fly because someone had clipped her wings. Possibly because she had been recently purchased, and new owners do this to avoid the pigeon returning to its original home until the new owner can re-train it.

It didn’t hit me until we were driving away what this meant: Katie Holmes walked to our house. Her owner is one of our neighbors.


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