After the pigeon has recovered from the shock of being caught it will need to be examined for signs of injury or illness.

  • Check very carefully for puncture wounds. Sometimes these can be concealed by feathers that have been forced into the wound. If you know that it has been caught by a cat, dog or hawk it will need to have a course of antibiotics.(See Bite/scratch Wounds)
  • Examine its whole body for injury. Look under the wings.  Any cuts should be cleaned with warm water and a very mild antiseptic.
  • If it has thread around its feet this will have to be removed (See string damage).
  • Open its beak gently and look at the back of the throat. White or cheesy lumps could be a sign of canker.Do not try to dislodge them. A foul-smelling ‘cheesy’ growth in the beak or throat cavity could also indicate pigeon pox (the two can initially be confused).
  •  Check its eyes and nostrils.  Discharge from the nostrils or eyes, sneezing and breathing difficulties will need treatment with antibiotics and would be best checked out by a vet.
  • Check its droppings. A healthy pigeon’s droppings are plump, firm and brown capped with a bit of white.Watery green droppings could be a sign of coccidiosis. Green droppings in conjunction with a pigeon so thin you can easily feel its breastbone may mean that the pigeon is starved.
  • Check for swellings. Swellings on joints could be a symptom of paratyphoid
  • Check behaviour. Seed tossing, turning in circles, neck torsion (e.g., head twisted upside down) can all be signs of paramyxovirus.  Neck torsion could also be a symptom of paratyphoid.
  • Lesions or scabs on unfeathered parts like beak, feet and around eyes may also indicate pigeon pox