Submitted by Steve on 21:48, 4th Feb, 2021 | 0

Some love to see pigeons around Guernsey and others think of them as pests but regardless of your thoughts the GSPCA have seen a sharp incline of sick and injured pigeons especially in and around St Peter Port.

With worries of a number of bird diseases at this time of year from Avian Flu to Newcastle’s Disease the GSPCA have been monitoring the sick and injured birds that come into the care of the Shelter and since the start of 2021 we have seen 100% increase with sick pigeons many showing neurological symptoms.

The GSPCA is working with the States Vets and monitoring the situation closely and all sick birds are placed in isolation facilities at the GSPCA.

Beckie Bailey GSPCA Animal Care Assistant said “We have seen so many sick pigeons in the last few weeks with really concerning ailments we have been working with the States Vet to determine what it might be.”

“Many of the birds are coming in from St Peter Port and we have again had quite a few in today and yesterday.”

“Often the birds are very weak and unable to fly.”

“Please do not pick the birds up without wearing gloves, a face mask and washing your hands after to be as safe as you can.”

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said “We help over 1500 birds every year at the GSPCA and we are always monitoring the numbers arriving and comparing to previous years and we have had more sick pigeons in the last month anytime in the last ten years.”

“We do sometimes see spikes that can be explained but these birds are showing neurological symptoms and we have had reports of deceased pigeons so we have been working with the States Vets to try and find the cause.”

“We are all quite use to gloves, face mask and personal protective equipment and if you find a sick bird we are running our essential 24/7 animal ambulance and emergency service.”

“If you can place the bird in a box with some air holes or wrap it in something then call us on 01481 257261 immediately to see the best way to get the poorly bird to us complying with covid restrictions.”

“Most years we see an average of 18 pigeons between 1st January and 4th February so to see 42 especially the vast majority from our main town is extremely concerning.”

“We have seen increasing numbers of pigeons in recent years but the majority are often young birds in the summer months which do include poorly racing pigeons which we return to the owners.”

“At present we have 24 pigeons which are under our care from those that have just arrived to some almost ready for the wild and we are working hard to do all we can for the 300+ animals in our care.”

“There could be even more birds arrive as we are not yet at the end of the day on the 4th and hopefully the increase isn’t anything serious but we are monitoring the situation and working with the authorities.”

“We will of course keep everyone up to date on any findings and wanted to ask everyone to keep an eye out for poorly birds.”

“With such difficult times we really need your support and to donate to our work and the care of the many animals please call 01481 257261, at the GSPCA, Rue des Truchots, St Andrews, Guernsey GY6 8UD or online .”

“To help ensure we can help animals 24/7 why not become a regular sponsor to help animals like the 3 seal pups during these extremely difficult days and to find out more please visit .”

“For advice on what to do if you find injured wildlife please visit or call us 24/7 on 01481 257261.”


Number of pigeons in between 1st January and 4th February

Total numbers
































Some facts about pigeons –

  • Some people refer to pigeons as rock doves
  • The rock dove is the wild ancestor of domestic pigeons the world over, domesticated originally to provide food. Feral pigeons come in all shades, some bluer, others blacker - some are pale grey with darker chequered markings, others an unusual shade of dull brick-red or cinnamon-brown. Others can be or less white while others look exactly like wild rock doves. In urban areas where the numbers are allowed to increase they are sometimes considered a nuisance.
  • Pigeons eat seeds and cereals primarily
  • Pigeons are incredibly complex and intelligent animals. They are one of only a small number of species to pass the ‘mirror test’ – a test of self recognition. They can also recognise each letter of the human alphabet, differentiate between photographs, and even distinguish different humans within a photograph.
  • Pigeons are renowned for their outstanding navigational abilities. They use a range of skills, such as using the sun as a guide and an internal ‘magnetic compass’. A study at Oxford University found that they will also use landmarks as signposts and will travel along man-made roads and motorways, even changing direction at junctions.
  • Pigeons are highly sociable animals. They will often be seen in flocks of 20-30 birds.
  • Pigeons mate for life, and tend to raise two chicks at the same time and due to crop milk they can produce to breed all year round in Guernsey.
  • Both female and male pigeons share responsibility of caring for and raising young. Both sexes take turn incubating the eggs and both feed the chicks ‘pigeon milk’ – a special secretion from the lining of the crop which both sexes produce.
  • Pigeons have excellent hearing abilities. They can detect sounds at far lower frequencies than humans are able to, and can thus hear distant storms and volcanoes.
  • Despite the social perception as dirty and disease-ridden, pigeons are actually very clean animals and there is very little evidence to suggest that they are significant transmitters of disease.
  • Pigeons and humans have lived in close proximity for thousands of years. The first recordings of this date back to Mesopotamis, modern Iraq, in 3000bc.
  • Although pigeon droppings are seen by some as a problem in modern society, a few centuries ago pigeon guano was seen as extremely valuable. It was viewed as the best available fertiliser and armed guards would even stand by dovecotes (pigeon houses) to stop others taking the droppings.
  • Pigeons can fly at altitudes up to and beyond 6000 feet, and at an average speed of 77.6 mph. The fastest recorded speed is 92.5 mph.
  • Pigeons are fed by many members of different religions including Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs for spiritual reasons. Some older Sikhs will ceremoniously feed them in honour of Guru Gobind Singh, a high priest who was renowned as a friend to pigeons.

In line with States of Guernsey advice please DO NOT visit the GSPCA if have been outside of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in line with their advice or have any symptoms of Coronavirus and we continue visits to the Shelter for only essential reasons and to please call us on 01481 257261 or email [email protected] before your trip to see if we can help without you coming to the Shelter. For the latest information and advice please visit

With huge challenges on our resources and a drop in income from boarding and donations please help us help animals in Guernsey with our #GSPCACoronavirusCrisisAppeal by donating online via -

During these difficult times help us help animals in need. From donating to Sponsoring a Pen, Buying a Brick for the much needed Wildlife Hospital to our Amazon and main page Wish List, holding a mufti day to a sponsored Christmas dip, here are some of the ways you could help give animals joy.




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