Officially his patient number is 12-1127 but during his one month stay at the WRA Care Centre they called him “Train Wreck”. This battered and bruised pigeon came back from the brink to become one of our most amazing rehabilitation stories and the most photographed pigeon in the WRA’s history.
He was originally spotted at Stadium-Chinatown SkyTrain station in Vancouver on May 27. He was limping and cowed in a concrete corner surrounded by cigarette ends. It was obvious that he was in bad shape but the true state of his injuries only became apparent in the Care Centre exam room.
His feathers on both wings, his rump and his tail, were shredded and he had a wound that ran down the back of his head and back. Rehab staff held out little hope of a recovery. But past experience had shown that pigeons are extremely resilient and so they summoned all their experience and expertise to give Train Wreck the best chance of recovery.
During a procedure to suture the wound, Train Wreck’s heart stopped beating. Drugs were administered to re-start it, and staff decided to give him a night of rest to recuperate. In the morning he was still alive, and staff went ahead with the second attempt to suture and clean his wounds.
This time there were no dramatic incidents and his miraculous recovery began. Every day saw an improvement. He ate well; new feathers grew, until finally, exactly one month later, he was ready to return to the wild. He was released yesterday evening with a group of other rescue pigeons and he was the first one out of the transport cage. Train Wreck, now barely recognizable from his intake pictures, was last seen circling high above New Brighton Park.
The amazing work carried out by rehabilitation staff, volunteers and interns at the WRA Care Centre is only made possible by our supporters and donors. Visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/wildliferescue for more photos.