Those of you who follow Greensboro Daily Photo know that, recently, we rescued a pigeon, who landed at a friend's garage to roost. Since they realized the bird was extremely friendly and their neighborhood is full of cats, they called us. We brought the bird home and spent several days reading information published by the National Pigeon Association- trying to learn how to find the owner. We learned to read the numbers on the bands on his feet. We sent e-mails. None of the leads panned out.
In the end, we did what was suggested by the pigeon hobbyists: Make sure the bird is healthy, feed it well, and give it plenty of water. Pigeons drink by suction and so you need to make sure you have a deep enough water source. Also, sometimes birds they don't even realize they have water in front of them as they are used to their own water dishes. If you splash the water, they recognize the sound right away.
Resigning ourselves to an eventual release, we let the pigeon try out his wings on our enclosed back porch (above photo). He proved that he was still a strong flyer. Next, we watched him eat and drink water for several days. Finally, on a sunny morning, we took him to our patio, opened his cage and put food on a picnic table. He took a big drink of water, got out of the cage, ate a big bowl of pigeon food, and hopped on the ground for a while. Finally, he flew up on our roof, looked around, as if to say goodbye. He circled the house and then flew away.
Oh how we wish we'd found the owners so that we could know if he ever makes it home. At any rate, we are sure we did the right thing by letting the bird go. Bon voyage friendly, beautiful, little bird. It was a pleasure.