If you live in a city, chances are you may share it with a population of pigeons.
Most people don’t realise that urban environments can be very hazardous to these birds – particularly when it comes to the health of their feet.
Many city buildings have string netting on walls and rooftops, which is designed to keep pigeons from roosting on them. Unfortunately, it can affect more than just the birds’ roosting habits – it can also become painfully entangled around their feet and toes.
String and other material, once wrapped around a pigeon’s foot, can be extremely difficult for the bird to remove. Over time, the string tightens, cutting off the blood supply to the area and leaving the bird hobbling and in pain – until eventually, the foot or toes may die and fall off.
Birds who become entangled like this suffer and experience pain just as humans would if the circulation were to be cut off from part of our bodies.
Whilst in New Zealand recently, some PETA activists spotted a pigeon hobbling on the streets of Auckland. Noticing he was limping with an obviously entangled foot, they managed to catch him and offer him assistance.
Unlike many other cases, this pigeon was not tangled up in netting from a building. Another common material had ensnared him: human hair.
The hair was tightly wrapped around his foot and toes, and the activists could instantly see that his toes were already starting to die off.
Springing into action, they rushed to a nearby shop, bought some scissors, and removed as much of the hair as they could – working as quickly as possible to minimise stress to the pigeon.
Once the hair had been safely removed, an activist checked that the pigeon was still able to grip with his toes, and once it was clear that he was going to be OK, the bird was sent on his way to continue his life.
To find out more about helping injured wildlife, check out this handy infographic!