White Dove and Pigeon Rescue Assistance

Occasionally you may find a white ring neck dove or white homing pigeon in need of help. We are here to help.
White dove releases for weddings, funerals, and birthday celebrations have been gaining popularity in recent years.  A proper white dove release should be conducted with properly trained white homing pigeons, which have a highly developed homing instinct and can find their home loft safely and quickly.  White homing pigeons or white homers are pure white doves but are about three times larger and more visible than their smaller white ring neck cousins, which we can find at bird shops or pet stores.
Due to lack of knowledge or to save money, some families choose to buy and release white ring neck doves for their special events.  White ring neck doves weigh about 1/4 of a pound and do not have a built-in homing instinct to allow them to find their home.  Therefore they cannot be trained to find their aviary. When they are released outdoors they do not know what to do. They cannot fly well and fend for themselves. They may starve, fall pray to hawks, cats, or dogs, or fly into cars and buildings. Therefore, white ring neck doves should not be released outdoors and ruin the special event.
White homing pigeons are much bigger and stronger than white ring neck doves.  White homing pigeons weigh about one pound. Their wing span is about two feet from wingtip to wingtip. You can easily hold a ring neck dove in one hand, but you need two firm hands to hold a white homing pigeon.  White homing pigeons are born with a built-in homing instinct and can be trained to return home.  Occasionally, however, a young pigeon in training may get lost or an adult pigeon may run out of energy if released too far.

If you find a white ring neck dove or white homing pigeon in need of your help, please do the following: 
  1. Give it clean fresh water.
  2. If it lingers after you give it water, determine if it is a white ring neck dove or a white homing pigeon.  Remember that white homing pigeons are much bigger than white ring neck doves.  In addition the white homing pigeons have prominent pink fleshy rings around their eyes and nostrils.  A white homing pigeons nose bridge is aquiline and aerodynamic.  Offer it dove and quail seeds or pigeon feed from the bird shop or feed store.  Pigeon feed includes pop corn, cracked corn, wheat, safflower, and white proso millet.
  3. If the bird looks weak or won't leave after you feed it and you wish to assist it you may try to trap it with a net, a bird trap, or hose it down and dry it with a towel.
  4. If you trap it, put it in a box with holes for air circulation or cage away from cats and dogs. Give it clean water and seeds from the nearest pet shop or bird shop.
  5. If the bird produces green, lose droppings or sneezes, you can buy flu medicine for it at your nearest pet shop and try to nurse it back to health.
  6. If it has a bird band, try to trace its owner in the Internet. Search under "pigeon bird bands".
  7. If the bird is not banded and is a homing pigeon, you can release it after you nurse it back to health so that it can find its way home to its owner and family.
  8. If you decide not to keep the dove or pigeon, try to place it with relatives and friends near you.
  9. If you have a large number of birds, try to parcel them out to friends, relatives, bird shops or pet shops, and humane societies. 
  10. If you need further assistance, please contact the AWDRA member nearest you listed in the White Dove Release Directory of America.