Racing pigeons sometimes come down to the ground for a rest while racing or training. They can be identified by numbered rings on their legs.
Initial care of the pigeon
If you wish to provide food and water for the bird, please use bird seed or crushed cornflakes, and some water in a deep dish. Please DO NOT GIVE BREAD to a racing pigeon.
Once the racing pigeon has been fed and watered, a bit like a ‘pit-stop’, it usually continues its journey home. Please remove the source of any food after a maximum of 48 hours or when it starts to fly, after which it can find its own food and water. A racing pigeon may continue to stay in the same location for 7-10 days, roosting on roofs or in trees.
A pigeon will not complete the last part of its homeward journey if food is readily available via bird tables and feeders – so it’s best to clear the decks!
After two days (or if the pigeon is injured or showing signs of distress) it may be necessary to contain the bird in a cardboard box or small animal carrier to protect it from other predators. This will prevent any further injury to the bird and prevent it flying away.
How to find the owner’s contact details
• Capture the bird by approaching slowly and throwing a large towel over it, and gently pick it up. (Racing pigeons are used to being handled, and the bird may let you pick it up with little fuss.)
• Check to see if the pigeon has a ring number on its leg and make a note of the ring number, e.g. GB19T12345. If there are no leg rings it’s probably a wild or feral pigeon.
• It is important to note ALL of the ring numbers and digits. Each ring is unique and gives certain information: in the example below, GB denotes that it is an RPRA ring; 19 denotes the year of breeding (2019); and the T12345 identifies the specific individual bird for that year.
• NB – due to a manufacturing error, GB17N and GB17Z rings have six subsequent numbers, rather than the usual five. For reporting purposes please ignore the first 0, e.g. GB17Z012345 should read GB17Z12345.
• Look for the owner’s contact details – gently open each wing and look for an ink stamp on the topside of the wing, or on a telephone number on a separate leg ring. Place the racing pigeon into a suitable container or box. Please contact the owner who will make arrangements with you regarding the bird and getting it back home.
Reporting the bird as a stray
If there is no wing stamp or telephone ring, you can report the stray bird to us online below or by calling us on 01452 713529. If you give an e-mail address below you will receive an automated e-mail reply giving the owner’s contact details.
Please note: The RPRA keeps records for GB RINGS ONLY. See this guide for a list of contacts for rings from other organisations/countries.
Data Protection – Details provided in relation to the reporting of a stray will be used solely for this purpose. Where appropriate, the details provided will be passed onto the owner of the pigeon so that he/she can make arrangements to collect the pigeon. If you are not a member of the RPRA we will retain your details for up to three months before being deleted. The details provided will not be given to any third parties.
On behalf of the RPRA, thank you for your concern and care of the bird.
PLEASE USE THE STRAY REPORTING SYSTEM BELOW
ONCE YOU HAVE TRIED THE STEPS LISTED ABOVE.