Karen Loveys is a bird lover.
So she didn’t think twice about helping out one of her feathered friends when, while out on one of her daily walks along White Rock beach, she found a pigeon in distress.
At the end of the pier on Sept. 11, Loveys found the bird with both feet entangled in a combination of fishing line, fabric and other debris. So, with the help of a few other passersby – including a young girl, who was fishing with her father – she scooped up the bird and tried her best to untangle it.
“I know a lot of people maybe don’t like pigeons, and call them flying rats, but it’s still a living creature,” said Loveys, who owns a 15-year-old lovebird.
“It was in peril, and wouldn’t have survived long like that. And it doesn’t take a lot to help out an animal in need.”
When Loveys was unable to extract all the fishing line and other material from around the bird’s feet, she took it to an emergency animal hospital in Langley, where the bird’s wounds were treated and it was given antibiotics to stave off infection.
From there, the pigeon was transported to the Whatcom Road Veterinary Hospital in Abbotsford, where, on Sept. 12, it had two toes amputated from its left foot – the fishing line had wrapped around the foot so tight that the toes had been too badly injured to be saved.
Post-surgery, the pigeon – named “Two-Toes” by Loveys – spent the next week at Elizabeth’s Wildlife Center in Abbotsford. Loveys picked the bird up Wednesday morning, and released it back into the wild later that afternoon.
“They were going to release him in Abbotsford, but I said they couldn’t do that because (the pigeon) wouldn’t know where he was, so I went and picked him up so I could release him here,” Loveys said from the end of the pier, just moments before she gingerly picked Two-Toes out of a cardboard box, and placed him on the ground next to a handful of other birds.
Within seconds of being released, the bird – showing no ill-effects of its injury – hopped up onto the pier railing, eventually flying east along the breakwater with three other pigeons.
It’s not the first time Loveys has helped out a winged creature along the White Rock waterfront. About a year-and-a-half ago, she saw a seagull with a Zap Strap tied tight around its beak. She corralled the bird, borrowed a nearby fisherman’s pliers to loosen the plastic strap, then let the bird go.
“I got pecked in the face right here for that one,” she said, touching her cheek.
“But seagulls are a lot (less docile) than pigeons.”