FAQS - Pigeons and Doves

I have found a racing pigeon

Racing pigeons should be collected by their owner. Please bring the bird to your local wildlife rescue, and they contact the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, who will contact the owner.

There is a pigeon caught in netting under a railway bridge / on a building site

We have to obtain permission to rescue any animal on private property. Where Network Rail and other big corporates are concerned, this sometimes proves difficult; in such cases, it can be useful to contact the RSPCA, as they have stronger powers to pursue such cases.

I have a pigeon in my garden which cannot fly

If a pigeon becomes ill, it will become very weak, and will be unable to take off. Please place the pigeon in a ventilated box and bring it to your local wildlife rescue so they can take care of it.


I have seen a pigeon with a crooked beak / damaged wing / deformed foot

Can the pigeon still fly? If so there’s very little we can do unless it can be caught somehow. If you are able to catch the bird then please place it in a ventilated box and bring it to your local wildlife rescue.

I have hit a pigeon with my car

If the bird is injured, please bring it to your local wildlife rescue for treatment as soon as possible.  If the only damage is shock and the bird seems to be mainly intact, without too many lost feathers, it is best to place it in a dark, ventilated box for up to 1 hour, to get over the shock.  After 1 hour, try opening the box in the garden and see if it will fly off. If it doesn’t fly, please bring it to your local wildlife rescue for treatment and feeding.

A pigeon has fallen down my chimney

Firstly, is there a fire at the bottom of the chimney?  If there is a gas fire, then unfortunately we cannot attend until the fire has been disconnected by an authorised person. If you are able to clear the fireplace then you should leave the room dark and quiet for a couple of hours to see if the bird makes its way out of its own accord. If it is still stuck after this then please contact your local wildlife rescue and they will try and come out to rescue the bird.

I have found a pigeon/dove whose head keeps falling backwards, and he’s walking round in circles

This could be due to any number of reasons, including bacterial infection, or more seriously a virus called paramyxovirus. Whatever the cause, the bird will need to be taken your local wildlife rescue.

If the cause is bacterial wemay be able to treat it.  If it is viral, it is contagious to other birds and there is no cure, it will not be able to eat properly and will probably die either from starvation or from a predator getting it while it can’t fly. We recommend that you bring the bird in to your closest wildlife hospital for diagnosis and possible treatment. We also recommend that you clean your bird tables and bird water areas with disinfectant and rinse before re-use to help prevent other birds possibly catching it.