Monday, 5 June 2006

Take this broken wing

I saved a pigeon yesterday. Well, at least I think I might have.

And, I hasten to add, it was a fluffy young nice wood pigeon, not a nasty rat-with-wings city pigeon, although personally I hold no grudge against the latter.

The pigeon, in all it's fluffy injured glory.. I want a pet!
J and I went for a lovely jog in the nice weather and ended up at Tesco Express (the natural goal for any exercise I'm sure you'll agree) where we purchased supplies for dinner.

On the way back to our house, I spotted a pigeon.

It was sort of wedged in between a row of Victorian workers' cottages and a main road, and looked very fluffy and forlorn.

It didn't move although we were about a foot away from it.

"We should call the RSPCA," I said. "You do whatever you think is best," J said. He was never allowed to have pets as a child by his evil mum, so hasn't had a chance to build up my kind of excess pity for injured creatures.

Got home, called the RSPCA (8p per minute!) and was on hold for so long that I actually had time to cook dinner while waiting. Thank God for loudspeaker phones. The lady at the other end took my address, the address where I spotted the pigeon, and I thought that was the end of the story.

But no. At the end of the dinner, another woman called me back and said they would pick up the pigeon "but only if it was confined".

Cue me walking back to where I spotted the pigeon with a wine box to capture it with. It sort of half hobbled and half flapped down a stair from the perch where it had been sitting in an attempt to get away, and I used a newspaper to wave it into the box. From work with pigeons in animal labs I know that once they're in a dark box they think it's night and sit completely still, and it worked.

When I got home, I tipped the pigeon into a larger box and gave it some water and bread. It was completely shell-shocked and it probably didn't help that J, unbeknownst to me and again demonstrating why it is important that children have pets, went into the same room to call his mother.

After about 90 min it started flailing about a bit and I got my hopes up. Its one shoulder looked wonky so I thought it probably had a broken wing.

About 2130 in the evening yet another RSPCA lady arrived, to pick up the pigeon. She expertly grabbed it and said, "oh, it's neck is broken, what a shame."

Seeing the horror on my face, as I had become quite attached to the bird during its stay in my front room, she quickly added "we'll monitor it and see how it gets on."

When you call the RSPCA helpline, it tells you you won't be told what happens unless you specifically request to be. And I didn't, so now I'll never know. But I strongly suspect the poor pigeon was put down.

And as I went to bed in the evening, I was thinking; what if my relationship with J is like the pigeon? What if I think it's got a broken wing that will heal and be fine, whilst actually it has a broken neck and will slowly starve to a painful death?

I haven't mentioned any of that to J. As I said, he never had any pets and wouldn't understand.


  1. It sounds like something you should talk to J about, but maybe you can relate it to something he will be able to understand.

  2. Actually, you're making this all much more complicated than it needs to be. You just need to keep J in a box.

  3. Well, in order to know you must open this up with him if it bothers you that much.

  4. ..a box... or maybe a cage... This could be the end to all my relationship issues. Watch this space!


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