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pigeon being held

First Aid

Deciding Whether to Intervene

  • If a pigeon's head is drooping / upside down, if they are moving very unsteadily, or if they are on the ground and not moving much at all, they probably need immediate medical attention and stand a low chance of survival if left alone. They could have an often deadly disease called PMV, head trauma, they could be poisoned, etc.
  • If you see a pigeon with a visibly broken wing or leg they are probably experiencing extreme pain and stress and need a safe space and medical attention as soon as possible.
  • If a baby pigeon is outside of the nest and unable to fly the parents will not be able to take care of them and they won't survive. If you find a baby pigeon (and you are sure it is a baby pigeon) then you should try to return it to its nest. If you cannot find the nest, or all parents / guardians are gone for longer than an hour, you should step in and rescue the baby.


Help a Sick / Injured / Baby Pigeon

It is difficult to give succinct, universal advice on treating any sickness or injury that a pigeon may be facing. But by following the steps below you will give them the best chance you can:

  • Secure them so that they do not retreat somewhere where they cannot be helped.
  • Warm them up by wrapping them gently in a towel and/or providing them some kind of heat source like a towel-wrapped hot water bottle or heat lamp (this is especially important for baby pigeons).
  • Isolate them, or do what you can to give them a quiet, dark space in which to warm up and calm down.
  • If you know where they can get immediate medical care, take them there. Otherwise, take photos of them and their most recent droppings (or any solids/fluids they may be producing) and quickly post them along with a short description and your location to:
  • If you know by circumstances that a pigeon is emaciated and/or dehydrated, and they have been warmed up and are alert and responsive, you can try to rehydrate them. Mix a pinch of salt and sugar into a cup of room-temperature or slightly warmed water, stir until dissolved, then use an eyedropper or similar to slowly administer a few drops along the edge of their beak every few minutes.

Note: All of the above is simplified advice printed just in case – if you have access to the internet you can read better more detailed information here:

Stop Bleeding Fast

  • Quickly clean the area using veterinary wound spray.
  • Apply styptic powder or turmeric (Cornstarch or Flour will also work) to the area by dusting it on or using a cotton swab. The powder will cause the blood to coagulate and hopefully help prevent infection.
  • Use cotton gauze or pads and apply moderate pressure to the wound until bleeding stops completely.

Medical Facilities

Search now and use this space to write down all relevant contact info (names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc) for medical facilities that can help with injured pigeons in your area. Keep this information on you in case you need it!

Open Questions

  • In cases where there was some bleeding, is it reasonable to stop the bleeding and set them free with a bit of antibiotic cream rubbed onto their feet?
  • How does one recognize when bleeding is bad enough that the pigeon needs to be separated from the flock?