Diary as of 7/31 – 8/1/09
7/31 I would never have thought this – but better to believe.
Yesterday in the afternoon we had our usual nap and I woke up, hearing the babies squeaking. I assumed that they were being fed. I got up but did not check the nest immediately because I thought everything is okay. I only saw in a blink that a foreign pigeon came from the nest but did not think anything bad yet. Sometimes they are just curious – but sometimes not . But this I did not know at that point.
I talked to my sister for a while on the phone – still thinking that everything is okay – and after the call I checked the nest and discovered to my horror that Peppi, the older baby, had a small punture wound on his head that was bleeding and some more on the elbows of his little wings. Then I looked at Pina, the smaller one and nearly got a shock – her little head was covered in blood, I saw several deep puncture wounds on her head, the blood was running into her eyes which she could hardly open, some more wounds on her wings but those were not as bad as the ones on her little head.
I immediately took both babies 10/11 days old out of the nest, put them on a paper towel and a warm water bottle and started to examine them both. Peppi seemed to be okay – he was feeping loudly – of course he had a shock. So I put him on a separate towel on the table. With trembling fingers I softly cleaned up little Pina’s head with a kleenex which I dipped in warm water and tried to remove as much of the encrusted blood as possible to see how badly she had been injured. I cleaned up her beak that was encrusted with blood and all parts of the body where something was sticking.
First I thought her left eye was injured too because it looked blind and the eyelid was swollen. But after the cleaning she had a blank eye again. With a Q-tip I then disinfected all the wounds with Bach Flower Remedies Rescue drops, hoping that this would support the healing process. It does with humans – so why not with little pigeon babies. The wounds were still bleeding and again and again I tried to stop this. Thank heaven it did eventually.
My sweet little Pina realized that I wanted to help her and she stayed totally quiet, although the Rescue drops must have burned because it is alcohol. But she did not even whine a tiny bit.
The little head was all swollen up but at least she looked a little bit better after she could open her eyes again and she finally moved around a bit. When I had the feeling that the shock subsided slowly I offered her a little water to drink – which she did by herself. I held a tiny glass with a little water at the tip of her beak so that she could realize what it was – so she swallowed a little bit all by herself.
I cleaned the nest, put a kitchen towel in it because I did not want that a piece of hay would disturb her or get into her wounds. Now I had the dilemma whether I should put her back into the nest during the night with her momma or rather take her in. But as it was relatively warm outside, I thought it might be better if she was protected and comforted by her own mother – so I put the nest with both babies back where it belonged.
I was afraid that the wounds that had stopped bleeding would crack open again when she was fed by her parents but on the other hand I thought it might be better to let her bleed a little bit but let her get all the energy this little sweet pigeon girl could get from her parents. And so it happened. She begged for food and ate – I took this as a good sign.
Every hour or so during the night I checked on the babies and was so relieved to realize that little Pina probably would survive this. It looked so hopeless yesterday and I was so terribly unhappy. After losing 2 babies in June this simply would have been too much. But after a good night’s sleep the situation would be different – so I thought.
8/1 The next morning I saw that Pina was feeling much better. And although her little head was still badly swollen as well as her eyelids and the sides of her face, she seemed to be quite okay and was moving around quite a bit. Also she did quite a lot of poop – and this is really a good sign – isn’t it?
I again cleaned her head with Bach Rescue drops and realized that the wounds were swollen but not as badly as yesterday and all were closed. So I assumed that the healing was in full progress. I only hoped that the many blood had washed out all bacteria so that this little sweetheart did not get any infection.
I assumed if the next day nothing had happened to the worse that the crisis had been overcome. I could only pray.
My assumption of what had happened:
a very aggressive cock was desperate to find a nest for the hen. So in a situtation where the babies were left alone this was the opportunity to take over and try to kill the babies. I have never heard of this behaviour before. DID YOU? At least not with pigeons. I know it from diurnal birds of prey but from pigeons or doves?
Foreign pigeons (apart from “our” family) which came to our balcony have always respected the nest area and have never tried to go into it, not to speak of taking it over. I was really shocked.
Here are some photos from the day after….