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Name: Hilary C.
Status: other
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001


Question:
I rescued and raised a pigeon. The vet guessed his age at about two days old. Tube fed him for 2 weeks then went onto solids. He is now 8 months old. He hates leaving the house. He has flown outside on a number of occasions, but immediately returns to the house. He seems to communicate with the whole family as if we are birds. He is especially close to me. So close in fact that he insists on "mating" with me. Obviously this is not normal bird behaviour. He exhibits other strange behaviour, for example, sitting under a running tap. My question is this. Does he really see me as his mate? He is quite aggressive with the rest of the family. He also spends all his time in our company. Even if I am not at home, he will not stay alone. Does he see himself as "one of us" or does he see us as birds.


Replies:
You have "imprinted" your pigeon. Basically, it thinks it is the same kind of bird you are. The behavior you are seeing IS normal bird behavior - pigeons are flocking birds, and you are its flock.

Get a book on keeping birds as pets from the library. It will explain to you a lot of what your bird is doing. (Including standing under a running tap.) If you can, get a book on keeping doves - pigeons and doves are closely related.

Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois


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