What to do when you find a sick/injured pigeon

If you find a pigeon in need of help, the priority is to move him out of danger, i.e. to pick him up off the street etc. Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to put the bird in and don’t go away to look for a box first as in that time the bird may for example move to a busy road and get hit by a car. Our volunteers get very creative when transporting birds they’ve rescued. In emergency situations we use hats, scarves, gift bags (or other sturdy paper bags, easy to carry in a handbag or pocket), even newspaper, or simply put them under the coat or in a pocket.


Don’t worry about stressing the bird. Hold the pigeon with one side of his body against yours (see picture) and cover his head (with your hand or coat, scarf), this calms them down. They will also feel safe when you place them in a closed box, in a warm, quiet place. Please make sure there are lots of holes for ventilation and line the box with some tissue, kitchen roll, newspaper or old towel.


Do not rush to offer any food or water. First, please ring our emergency line on 07909 795064 and follow the rehabber’s advice. In many cases, offering food may kill the bird (for example canker, internal injuries). Their digestive system may not be working and they won’t be able to digest the food. Sick birds should be warmed first, then rehydrated and only then offered food. If the bird won’t drink on his own, do not squirt water into his beak. If the pigeon is in a critical condition, warmth and isolation are the first and most important factors to ensure before the bird is passed on to the rehabbers.