Name: Hilary C.
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.
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
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
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Update: June 2012