Pigeons and doves

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Pigeons and doves are the most common avian species presented to wildlife rehabilitators, either as injured birds or as ‘orphaned’ young. These birds pose a considerable health risk to humans, particularly from zoonotic diseases salmonellosis and chlamydiosis, so careful handling and hygiene practices are necessary. This chapter covers: ecology and biology; anatomy and physiology; capture, handling and transportation; clinical assessment; first aid and hospitalization; anaesthesia and analgesia; specific conditions; therapeutics; husbandry; rearing of young pigeons and doves; rehabilitation and release; and legal considerations.

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28.1 (a) Rock dove. (b) Stock dove. (c) Wood pigeon. (d) Collared dove. (© Andrew Kelly)
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28.3 Wood pigeon on a nest. Pigeons are confident and often nest in close proximity to, or in, human houses. (© John Chitty)
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28.4 A ‘squeaker’. (© John Chitty)
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28.5 A racing pigeon, held in the traditional pigeon fancier’s method. (© John Chitty)
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28.6 Advanced caseous lesions of trichomonosis (‘canker’) in the exposed pharynx of a collared dove. (© John Chitty)
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28.7 Intravenous and blood collection sites in the pigeon. (a) Even in this sparsely feathered juvenile, the thickness of the skin hinders finding the jugular venous plexus despite wetting the skin on the ventral side of the neck. (b) Ventral view of the wing (elbow to the right) showing the ulnar vein. (c) Medial view of the leg and foot showing the medial metatarsal vein. (© John Chitty)
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28.8 Adult collared dove with a left shoulder injury. Note the typically ‘tilted’ wing tip held above the normal right wing tip. (© John Chitty)
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28.9 Line entanglement is commonly seen. This bird had string wrapped around the digits, which was removed to free the foot. (© Colin Gambles)
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28.10 Pododermatitis (‘bumblefoot’) is less common in pigeons and doves than in other bird species, but may still be seen in feral pigeons. (© Emma Keeble)
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28.11 Feral pigeon showing torticollis due to PMV-1 infection. (© John Chitty)
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28.12 (a) Periocular and (b) oropharyngeal lesions due to pigeon poxvirus. (© John Chitty)
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28.13 A tick on the head of a collared dove. Note the intense reaction on the head and around the right eye. Death may result unless broad-spectrum antibiosis (e.g. long-acting amoxicillin or oxytetracycline) and short-acting corticosteroids are given promptly. (© John Chitty)
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28.14 Pigeon louse ( spp). The long body shape shows this species lives on flight feathers. (Magnification X100) (© John Chitty)
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28.15 Coccidial oocysts in a faecal sample from a pigeon. (Magnification X400) (© John Chitty)
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