Too coo-te: ‘I adopted a friendly pigeon’

adopted pigeon

by take-a-break |
Updated on

When Hannah popped to the pub, she had no idea a new best friend was about to hop into her life…

pet pigeon

Yawning, I stretched out on the sofa.

‘I’m not really in the mood to go out,’ I said to my mum.

It was a bank holiday and my university friend had invited me to the local pub.

‘Go and have fun!’ Mum said.

So, reluctantly, I pulled on a T-shirt and drove over.

It was a warm day and we sat outside in the beer garden.

Suddenly, a pigeon hopped over and perched on the end of the bench next to my pal’s girlfriend.

She leaned her body away from the feathered interloper.

‘Sorry,’ she grimaced. ‘I have a phobia of birds.’

‘I’ll swap with you,’ I suggested.

Then, to my shock, the pigeon waddled along the bench and hopped into my lap.

‘Are you seeing this?’ I gasped to my friend.

To my amazement, she settled into the crook of my arm.

I’d inherited a love of animals from my grandad and was thrilled.

But I couldn’t help wondering if something was wrong.

‘Do you think she’s a baby?’ I said, assuming she was a girl.

She seemed so tame, I thought she may have been someone’s pet.

Soon, people started to have a gander.

‘That pigeon was inside earlier,’ said one of the waiters. ‘Some drunk guys were throwing it around.’

I was horrified.

adopted pigeon

Soon, the pigeon’s eyelids drooped and I was sure she’d fallen asleep.

Eventually, I needed to go to the loo.

There’s no way she’ll still be there when I get back, I thought.

But when I returned, the pigeon was still on the bench.

And she climbed straight back into my lap when I sat down.

‘Are you going to take it home?’ asked my friend, snapping a photo of our extraordinary dinner guest.

‘I’d better ask Mum first,’ I said, pulling out my phone.

‘This might sound strange but I’ve found a pigeon,’ I said. ‘Do you mind if I bring it home?’

'Are you going to take it home?'

She was a little confused but as an animal lover too, said yes at once.

The pub gave me a takeaway box to use as a carrier.

But in the end, I just let the pigeon sit on my shoulder.

I didn’t know the first thing about caring for a bird.

I set the pigeon up with a blanket in a cat carrier in our outhouse.

I gave her some birdseed and water and hoped for the best.

What if she doesn’t make it through the night? said a small voice in my head.

But the next morning, she was alive and well, although still a bit bedraggled.

Pet pigeon

So I filled a little bowl with water and incredibly she hopped into the makeshift bath and cleaned herself.

Then I noticed something… She had a nasty injury beneath her wing.

It proved difficult to find an avian vet.

So I posted a video of my pigeon encounter on TikTok.

To my surprise, it went viral, racking up seven million views.

I asked my followers what I should do about her wing.

Try putting some turmeric or apple cider vinegar in her bath water to help with healing, a pigeon fancier suggested.

He had plenty of tips and over a week later, my little friend was looking much chirpier.

TikTokers also confirmed that my pigeon was a girl from her head shape.

About time I picked a name, I thought.

We settled on Penny.

‘Like the phrase, “Find a penny, pick it up!”’ I told Mum.

Over time, Penny and I got to know each other better.

Though I let her out in the garden, she never flew away.

Penny was sassy though, pinching my pearl earrings from my jewellery box!

But we were birds of a feather.

I taught her to perch on me when I held up my arm and she jumped on my shoulder while I did my make-up.

She also bonded with Mum and my boyfriend Jack, who cooed over her.

‘It’s time Penny has her own pad,’ I said to Jack one day.

Luckily, he was a dab hand at DIY, so we used recycled materials to make Penny her own aviary, called Penny’s Palace.

She soon made herself at home.

Since meeting Penny, I’ve learnt lots about these winged wonders.

People ‘pigeon-hole’ them as pests, but nothing could be further from the truth!

They can be taught to count and played an important messenger role in the war.

Now, I’m working on a children’s book about our story.

I hope Penny’s tale will improve the reputation of these beautiful, intelligent birds.

In my eyes, she’s im-peck-able!

Hannah Hall, Nottingham

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