On February 28, an Edmonds woman found this young Band-tailed Pigeon sitting on her porch. Fearing the bird might be orphaned, she brought him to PAWS Wildlife Center. The wildlife rehabilitator on duty gave the bird a thorough exam and discovered that he had a laceration that penetrated into his crop (the enlarged area of the esophagus at the base of the neck). Had the bird been injury free, it might have been possible to return him to his nest site and reunite him with his parents, but the neck wound meant he was checking in.
The pigeon was admitted for care and his laceration was sutured by PAWS Wildlife Center Veterinarian Dr. John Huckabee. Dr. John also placed the bird on antibiotics to ensure that he would not develop an infection at the wound site. The shape and general appearance of the wound led Dr. John to believe that it had been caused by the tooth or talon of a predator.
Band-tailed Pigeons are native, woodland birds. They’re related to the introduced Rock Pigeons that are so ubiquitous in our cities and towns, but they’re much shier around humans. Also, unlike Rock Pigeons that nest on the ledges of buildings, or under bridges or on cliffs, Band-tailed Pigeons nest in trees. Although they do have a dark band on their tail from which they derive their name, the best way to tell a Band-tailed Pigeon from its more metropolitan cousin is to look at the beak and feet. If both are yellow, you are looking at a Band-tailed Pigeon and, with a little luck, in a month or two the Band-tailed Pigeon you are seeing may be the one featured in this article.