Pigeon set free

We have hundreds of pigeons roosting all over in our building. With innumerable pipe ducts and vents, they have many spaces where they can live quite comfortably. This despite the netting that was installed many years ago, to keep them away.

While well-installed netting effectively keeps the birds out, netting that has lifted or given way allows them to enter, and sometimes they can’t find their way out. As bad as getting inadvertently caged, is a bird getting entangled in the net and not being able to free itself.

This is exactly what happened this morning. While his friends were moving in and out of the duct, this poor fellow drew our attention as he was flapping vigorously to release himself. Little did he realise that the more he flapped, the more trapped he became. It was nice to see the empathy of the other birds who, it seemed, were looking for ways to get him free.

entangled pigeon
Entangled in the netting

I called our housekeeping staffer Vishwas Patil and he came to my home to take a look at the struggling bird. We identified the exact flat number and location of the duct. It was a 10th floor apartment whose occupants I knew, and the duct was just outside the master bathroom. I called my friend to say that someone was coming to try to free the bird. As we’d expected, she was unaware of the bird being trapped as it was out of her line of sight.

Patil had to remove the bathroom window panes to get a clear view. The bird was visible but it was outside the duct facade and too far away to be able to get help. He decided to climb out of the window. This was the only way he would be able to see what the matter was. After carefully climbing down, he found that the net was wrapped around the bird’s foot multiple times. There is no way the bird would have escaped a slow and lingering death.

vishwas helping the bird

The bird seemed to know it was getting help and put up no resistance to the human touch. It lay still in Patil’s hands, while the bird-friends watched the operation from a safe distance.

other birds look on

Pigeons are said to be one of the most intelligent birds on earth, with the ability to recognise human faces. (Source: https://www.livescience.com/14895-pigeons-recognize-human-faces.htmlPatil’s good deed will surely be remembered by this bird, and maybe its friends too.

It seemed a long time, but it was just a couple of minutes. Unable to do the needful with his hands, Patil used a pair of scissors to snip the plastic wire from the bird’s foot. He then released it to freedom. As it flew away, we could see that many of its tail feathers had fallen off and the rest were all ruffled up. It will heal with time. A second life.

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