The nature of life in the wild

Raelene HallMidwest Times
The injured spinifex pigeon.
Camera IconThe injured spinifex pigeon. Credit: Supplied, Raelene Hall

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a spinifex pigeon lying by the edge of our lawn.

Nothing unusual about that because we have lots of them.

What was unusual was this one never moved as I walked past it.

Usually they are the flightiest of birds at a mere noise/movement.

I got a bit closer and checked it out, which motivated it into moving but while it could walk it certainly couldn’t fly.

Using a cloth, it took me a while to catch it as it slipped in and out of the yard fence.

Once caught there was very little resistance and I showed it to Hubby.

On closer examination, one of its wings had literally been torn off, perhaps by a hawk or feral cat.

It also had an injured foot.

We’ve had injured birds before and generally they die of shock within 24 hours or so, but we thought we’d put it in a cage.

At least that way it would die somewhere sheltered and safe from predators.

Much to our surprise, it was still alive in the morning and getting around the cage, despite the gammy foot.

It having survived one night, we decided to continue caring for it.

It wasn’t long before it was eating and drinking, much to my delight.

That evening, other pigeons gathered near the cage, for the handful of wheat we throw them each night.

It was then I wondered if I had done this bird a favour or not.

Watching it pace back and forth in the corner of the cage and attempt to climb the wire was hard to watch.

What’s kinder? To keep a wild bird, with only one wing and a damaged foot, in a cage or release it and let nature take its course?

Nature won’t be kind. It will be killed by other birds, feral cats or even attacked by ants, if it becomes unable to move at all.

If I hadn’t seen the bird, it would have died or been killed at some point, but the reality is I did see it and rescued it.

Sure, it feels good to have saved the life of an animal but at what price to them?

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