At least 11 domestic pigeons were abandoned in a driveway Thursday in Andersonville.
Neighbors found the sick birds about 8:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of Winona Street and called for volunteers to rescue them. The birds were collected within a couple of hours.
“We think we got all of them because they were tame,” says Annette Prince, director of the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, which works with the Chicago Audubon Society.
“They couldn’t escape,” Prince said. “One of them had a severe leg injury. Many had wounded heads. It’s a sign they were kept in a confined area and pecked at each other’s heads.”
No one saw who dropped off the birds, which were all domesticated with bands on their legs.
Some of the birds were King pigeons — a large, pure white breed resembling a dove.
They were taken to the Fox Valley Wild Life Center for evaluation but will require foster care and treatment, Prince said.
In June 2018, another 11 sick pigeons were rescued from from the same block on Winona. All were sick with eye infections or breathing problems, and had to be nursed for months, Prince said. Two of them died.
“It seems someone is irresponsibly keeping birds in large numbers in poor conditions and then dumping them onto city streets,” Prince said.
Domestically raised pigeons are sometimes used for racing or breeding, Prince said. Others are used as props in weddings and funerals, and released into the wild.
“As good a gesture as it seems, you’re letting birds into the wild that are defenseless,” Prince said.
In 2017, about 100 domestic pigeons were left in a parking lot in Ravenswood. More than 60 were rescued, but several flew away or were picked off by predators.
The group Chicago Pigeon Pets Rescue asked for donations to provide treatment for the pigeons.
“It breaks your heart to see these birds like this,” Prince said. “The humanity we extend to animals reflects how we treat each other as humans. It’s about having respect for life.”