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Birds--General/Injured mourning dove


I found a mourning dove in the snow about 24 hours ago.  It had hit a window so I brought it in and warmed it up.  She became alert rapidly so I let her go as her wings were fine.  However, she was able to fly for short low distances before hitting the ground and tumbling where she was not able to right herself.  It was then i noticed her right upper breast was very swollen and while sitting she listed to that side.  She was not able to use her feet well.  Since then she has slowly been increasing the use of her feet but the one on the side where the swelling was is still a problem.  The swelling today is virtually gone.  Her appetite is good and she flaps her wings but when she moves she rolls over on her back and can't get herself upright.  She has gained the ability to clutch my finger with the affected foot in the last four hours.  Her other foot seems fine.  Is this inability to correct her position something that will get better?  It is very cold here and I want to make sure she has a good chance when I release her.  There does not appear to be any broken bones.

Thanks for your concern for the bird. I can't tell you what the problem is for sure but I suspect it has to do with the swelling and perhaps pressure on the nerve. If that's the case, she/he should recover. If, however, there was brain damage, that might be permanent. It sounds optimistic, though, so let's hope that's the case.


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Roger Lederer


Any and all questions about WILD birds - not caged, domestic or poultry. Can answer questions about identification, taxonomy, behavior, courtship, plumage, flight, or anything else. Wild birds only, please.


Taught ornithology (the study of birds) at the university level for 30 years. Have written five books on birds, published 30 scientific articles, write a blog on birds, have the website, lectured to hundreds of groups on birds,and have traveled to 90 countries studying birds.

A variety of ornithological and conservation organizations.

Real Simple Magazine, Enterprise-Record, and several ornithological and ecological journals.

PhD in Zoology with emphasis in ornithology.

Awards and Honors
Professional Achievement Award, Jack Rawlins Chair of Environmental Literach.

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