Ray is a beautiful white-and-gray fantail pigeon who was seized along with dozens of other pigeons by animal control officers because of neglect. He had an infected eye and was in poor health, but the woman who had alerted authorities to the birds’ plight convinced them to let her adopt him. Unfortunately, she was ill-equipped to care for Ray (she didn’t know what sex he was and called him “Rachel”) and put him in a dog crate in her basement, where he stayed for the next four years. He was prevented from flying and never received any treatment for his eye infection.
Finally, the woman grew tired of him and contacted PETA. We arranged for Ray to be driven from Virginia to the Wild Bird Fund, a wonderful wildlife rehabilitation facility in New York City, where he immediately began receiving treatment for his eye and other medical conditions. He now lives in a spacious aviary in upstate New York, where he can fly and be friends with other birds for the first time in years.
Ray quickly attracted the attention of another rescued pigeon, which is no surprise, considering how handsome he is. His new family writes, “From the moment Ray arrived, Bently had her eye on him. After Ray chose a nest box, Bently picked a nest box right above him and then would sneak into Ray’s box when he was out and about. At first, Ray did not want anything to do with Bently: He would peck and wing-slap her to get her out of his box. This did not deter Bently at all—she pecked right back, and after a few days, it was love!”
What You Can Do
Pigeon racers use the devotion of birds like Ray and Bently against them and force birds to fly hundreds of miles to return to their mates. More than 60 percent of birds die or are lost in such races. Thousands of dollars may be bet on races, generating millions annually in illegal gambling proceeds. You can help by contacting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and urging him to take action to stop cruel and unlawful pigeon races.