Found a stray?

You have found a stray pigeon but you do not know what to do? Read on to find out how to take care of it and how to trace the owner.

How do I take care of a stray pigeon?

You do not necessarily have to catch the pigeon if it appears to be in good health. In some cases, a pigeon is simply taking a rest before heading back home. You can provide some fresh water and some grains (wheat, corn, small grains, etc) to allow the pigeon to regain strength and to continue its journey. If you have no grains, you can opt for rice or some fine seeds such as bird seed. Do not feed them bread as this may cause digestive problems.

If a pigeon appears wounded or weakened, try to catch it and take it inside to hide it from birds of prey. Dress any possible wounds and give the pigeon a bowl of fresh water and grains to let it regain strength. You can contact the owner in the meantime. 

How do I trace the owner of the pigeon?

First, check the wing or the rings around the pigeon’s foot. You can sometimes find the telephone number or the address of the owner or the pigeon association on the wing or on one of the rings. You can often recognise the pigeon’s country of origin on the ring number. For instance, Belgian pigeons have a ring number that starts with ‘BE’, while pigeons from the Netherlands are indicated with ‘NL’. This can be important when trying to contact the fancier, because the telephone number does not always include a country calling code.

If you cannot find a telephone number or any other contact details, please contact the national pigeon federation:

Country Letter combination ring Contact details
France FR
Belgium BE, BELG


Look up contact information:

The Netherlands NL
Germany DV (onder 'Online-Meldung aufgeben')
United Kingdom GB, NEHU, NWHU, SU, WHU, IHU

Here you can find (detailed) contact information for every country calling code.

Please keep in mind that it can take a few days before the owner of the pigeon contacts you.

The owner does not contact me, what now?

If a fancier cannot or does not want to pick up his pigeon and you cannot give bring it to him or cannot give it a new home, there are only two options left unfortunately:

  • You try to find a (different) fancier who is willing to give the pigeon a new home.
  • When it is fully recovered, you release the pigeon a few kilometres away from your home to give it a chance to fly back to its home loft.

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