Caring for sick doves
A while back, during the last algae outbreak, (2006-7) at Rietvlei Cape, we had quite a lot of lame doves.
Poison from the algae that was blooming at Rietvlei may have been affecting the doves. They appeared very tame and could not fly.
I tried to get information from the conservation department regarding the algae situation at Rietvlei, Cape, at the time, but was met with no response to my email. So I had to draw my own conclusions.
After noticing a number of lame birds that eventually die or be caught by cats, I did some Internet research about the symptoms.
The articles suggested that these birds might recover. The articles also suggested keeping the bird feeders and water baths very clean and free from algae.
I have a birdcage on ground level near my main bird feeders.
I devised the method of catching the birds and put them into the cage, until they are strong enough to get out of the way of cats or have the sense to remain around the feeder.
Then I would let them out during the day. Not all birds respond to this treatment. Some birds are so sick that they just have to remain caged for a while. The overnight protection stops when they can climb to the branches of a tree at night. I found that the birds released during the day have more chance of survival. Birds who are stressed develop secondary diseases.
Baby birds that fell from a nest prematurely are placed in a manmade nest out of the reach of cats, hoping the parents would find them. I saved a few birds this way, lost a few also.
To protect my bird feeder from cats, I put a fence around it. The fence consists of that wire mesh they put in concrete. It is just the right height and quite rigid. The mesh allows smaller birds through but stop the cats from getting to them. The fence is also rigid and can be placed loose on the ground which makes it easy to move if needs be. The cats do not seem to jump or climb over it unless it is next to a tree or a wall. I have one area, which I have to protect with a spiny plant because it is to close to the wall. My birds got quite used to their safe space.
The birdcage needs to be covered at night. Caged birds can die from shock if startled at night.
Birds do much better when they are among their own kind.
I started caring for sick lame birds after I took a dove with an injured wing to SANCCOB. They do a very good job there but sometimes they are severely short staffed, possibly.