Be the Cause

8 Weeks with Big Joe and Little Joe (the pigeons)

If I’m not mistaken, the last time I posted on this blog was the last time Ben and I lost a pet. Well, here we are again. The difference this time is that Kitty was ending her journey in life and Big Joe and Little Joe are just beginning theirs. They were delivered to my front door by a neighbor on March 7th, 2006. They were barely a week old and they hadn’t eaten all day. Their eyes just starting to open, bright pink skin and the faintest emergence of pin feathers. Kind of gross to look at. The neighbor saved the birds when their nest was destroyed by his work crew after they pulled out an air conditioning unit at a work site. He figured since Ben and I raise canaries (pet birds who Lose Weight Exercise just a few ounces) we would know what to do with pigeons (wild birds who can weigh a few lbs.) I was initially scared to accept them, but in an instant, all the other times I was scared to do the right thing flashed before my eyes and I remembered that every time I rose to the occasion, I ended up a better person. So still feeling some trepidation, I put the babies into a canary cage and our journey together began. First, I had to figure out what baby pigeons eat and how to make them eat it. Once I got that part worked out, they seemed to grow by the hour! Since they didn’t have enough feathers to keep them warm, I had to keep them bundled up with towels and wash cloths. We even cuddled them up with an extra towel at night so they wouldn’t cry for their mom (okay, that might have been more about my comfort than theirs…) Every morning they were a little bigger and had more feathers. They were starting to look like real birds! Pretty soon they had to be moved to a larger cage. With a feeding schedule of every 2-3 hours, the “Joes” kept us on a pretty short leash for the first few weeks. As their bodies grew it seemed like their personalities started to grow too! Pigeons really get a bad wrap. They are incredibly affectionate and curious. We started letting them out of the cage for some daily Lose Weight Exercise and before they could even fly, they were running behind us everywhere we went! It was so funny. They would jump into our laps and on own heads. After about a month they had to be moved to a bigger cage-this time a 6ft flight cage that my canaries use during the summer. Soon they could jump onto the kitchen counter and then up on the ceiling fan, and then finally, they could fly around the living room. The best was when they took naps on the couch. We absolutely fell in love with them. We imagined every possible way that we could keep them forever, but when we saw them perched on top of the refrigerator looking out the kitchen window, we knew that as happy as we were to have them, their real happiness didn’t include us. Fully feathered and able to eat on their own, we knew it was time for them to move to the next stage of their journey. After a few postponements, yesterday Big Joe and Little Joe went to the home of a volunteer who takes care of a variety of wild animals until they can be rehabilitated and then released back into the wild. As Ben and I took them out of their cage, we each gave them one final kiss and wished them safe travels as they entered an aviary with 3 other pigeons. In about 3 weeks, the birds will be released near the lagoon in Long Beach. Ben and I knew it was silly to feel so sentimental over a couple of pigeons, but we just couldn’t help it. The volunteer kept thanking us for caring for them, but we told her we thank the birds for making us so happy the past 8 weeks. She recommended that we become wildlife rescue volunteers so other baby pigeons could be as lucky as the “Joes”. We think that’s a great idea, but no one will ever replace the “Joes”. I recently heard someone say that when you feel like your heart is breaking, its not- it’s actually growing; so I guess Ben and I are having growing pains today, but we wouldn’t trade our time with Big Joe and Little Joe for anything in the world.


  • Cheryl

    This is so sweet and precious! Bless your hearts for helping out these lovely babies! : ) And thank you so much for sharing.

  • Sukh

    That is such a sweet story. So many lessons of life wrapped in two small birds. Thank you.

  • maushmi

    How sweet! Thanks, Michele, for sharing. Your insight at the end on heart breaking/growing reminds me of this quote:

    The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe. –Joanna Macy

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