When the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ long-time partner, Wild Bird Fund, announced the non-official holiday, Pigeon Appreciation Day, on June 13, some New Yorkers probably were scratching their heads and wondering, “What’s that?” Although not a well-known holiday, it has a growing following, and is observed across the globe — from New York to London to Canada and Bangladesh.
Wild Bird Fund, New York City’s local “pigeon hospital,” and the city’s only medical and rehabilitation center devoted to the care of sick and injured birds and other wildlife, offered some suggestions for commemorating this up-and-coming holiday, including saying hello to every pigeon you meet and offering them raw sunflower seeds.
Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown in New York City, Wild Bird Fund’s Upper West Side hospital has remained open, having been designated an essential service from day one. The facility’s dedicated team has continued to treat NYC’s sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife over the past months, as caring New Yorkers have continued to bring a variety of species of wildlife requiring medical care to the center.
One compassionate New Yorker recently contacted the Alliance seeking help with a situation involving a baby pigeon (also known as a “squab”). While removing the covering on her terrace furniture, she discovered a nest with a mother and baby pigeon. She was careful not to disturb the mom and baby, but a few days later, the mom disappeared and sadly didn’t return. Recognizing that the baby could not survive without the mother, she reached out for help.
Alliance President Jane Hoffman received the call and acted quickly to get the baby pigeon to safety. Donning a facemask and gloves, she headed over to the woman’s apartment, collected the nest holding the baby pigeon, and made her way to the Wild Bird Fund hospital at 565 Columbus Avenue.
“The woman made a generous donation to the Wild Bird Fund, which she sent along with the nest and baby and her gratitude that the baby was going to get the help she needed,” said Jane.
Jane added that while the Wild Bird Fund was conducting its intake of the pigeon, another compassionate New Yorker showed up with a carrier holding an orphaned baby squirrel. “Clearly, New Yorkers are willing to brave a pandemic to help animals in need,” Jane said.
The Wild Bird Fund’s mission is twofold: 1) to provide medical care and rehabilitation to injured, ill, and orphaned wildlife of New York City in order to release them back to the wild; and 2) to educate New Yorkers about the rich diversity of the city’s wildlife and how to help them thrive. They are a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and the only wildlife rehabilitation facility in New York City. Each year the Wild Bird Fund rehabilitates more than 7,000 animals.
The Alliance has a long relationship with Wild Bird Fund, having sponsored the Flocktail Party fundraiser in years past, and having often provided transport of injured wildlife to the hospital over the years. We encourage New Yorkers to support the organization’s vital work to ensure its continued success in caring for some of the city’s Wildest Little New Yorkers!