Rats with Wings or Human Saviours?
Yesterday morning one of our fantastic volunteers, Jude, took on a squab (baby wood pigeon) that was in need of urgent care due to being abandoned by his parents. He was rescued by a member of the public, who found him in the street, being taunted by a group of school children.
Sadly this is not uncommon for many of our feral and countryside pigeon species. They are severely misunderstood creatures and are often viewed by many as 'rats with wings' or 'urban vermin'.
We would like to try and change peoples minds today with our facts below:
- Feral pigeons in our cities play an important role in keeping our cities clean and are actually a highly important food source for many of our birds of prey.
- During both World Wars pigeons were message carriers and saved thousands of lives due to their amazing homing skills, that still scientists are unable to comprehend today.
- They were so important during the World Wars that 32 of them were awarded the Dicken Medal honouring the work they conducted during World War II. So next time you see a pigeon, they could be related to one of the 32 war heros!
- Pigeons can fly approximately 700 miles in a single day which is why they were so useful during the Wars however this feat has caused a sport to evolve called competive pigeon racing which thousands of people take part in every year.
- To also highlight how intelligent pigeons are, they are actually one of the 9 species that can recognise themselves in a mirror. Not even some of our most loved domestic pets can do this.
- Pigeons are very private and tentative parents, they co-parent their offspring and they are very secretive about where they have their young.
Often people do not see the squabs until they have an adult appearance. So if you see a squab in the street, this is not normal for pigeons. Try and locate the nest or contact your local wildlife rehabilitator.
This year Severn Wildlife Rescue has been working with Bev who runs the brilliant Pidge Inn and she has been absolutely amazing, giving us advise and help when we have needed it. Please take a moment to check out her facebook and the work that she does.
We hope this little blog post has changed your perception of pigeons and that the next time you see a pigeon that you will remember how important these animals have been in our human history.