This group is for people who live in or around DC or travel to DC on a fairly regular basis and want to take action to help wildlife suffering from people's littering. We can't do anything hands-on to help the sea turtles who are eating plastic deep under the oceans, but we can do something to help the pigeons we see limping around right in front of our eyes on the city streets. This is another form of plastic pollution because most often what I find tangled around pigeons' feet is synthetic hair from hair extensions, and the synthetic hair is made from plastic. The synthetic hair (or string, thread, etc.) that gets wrapped around pigeons' toes and feet slowly and painfully amputates their toes and feet, crippling them and sometimes killing them. These pigeons are called stringfoot pigeons.
What we can do for stringfoot pigeons is catch them, remove the hair or string, and set the birds free. Trust me, you get a great feeling from doing that! For cases where the injury is at an advanced stage---for example, already cutting into and/or stuck in the bird's toes, foot, or leg so that the impediment cannot be removed easily with suture scissors and tweezers---I'm looking for a vet in the DC area who is willing to work on these birds on a voluntary basis without being too inclined to euthanize them.
Goals for this group:
The main goal is to prevent and alleviate the unnecessary suffering of pigeons caused by people's littering. This is basically volunteer work for wildlife, and if you like to help animals, it's very rewarding. And we can make new friends and socialize along the way!
Because I don't live in DC, I can only check the Union Station pigeons for foot injuries about once a month. That means if I see an injured pigeon and fail to catch the bird at that time, the next month when I come back the bird will likely have already lost toes or feet. I'm looking for the birds to get checked more often---twice a month or once a week. We could take turns doing it. I'd do it one week out of the month, and other members could take the other weeks.
I'm looking for at least a few members to join me at the meetups. I like working solo, but more pigeons could get helped at one time if a couple people were catching pigeons while another couple people were de-stringing their feet.
Currently if I catch an injured pigeon who needs a couple days of R&R in a pet carrier at someone's home, there's only one person I can take the bird to, and that person is not a member of this group. So I'm looking for members who live near Union Station who can keep birds at their places for an overnight stay or for a couple days or so.
I'm also looking for someone who has a place near Union Station, ideally within walking distance, where I can bring a bird to work on indoors instead of outside at Columbus Circle. This would be especially helpful during the winter months.
I need help transporting injured pigeons. I don't have a car. I used to transport pigeons by cab, but that got too expensive.
If the group reaches 50 people, I'll have to remove inactive members because I'm paying Meetup.com $59.94 every six months for a basic organizer subscription plan, which means I have to keep the group under 50 people. The subscription fee is higher for over 50 people. I only need a small group of people who can help the pigeons on a regular basis like I do. Because of the fee, I will probably move the group to Facebook after I get enough active members.
Remember that even if you don't have time to catch and de-string pigeons, everyone can pick up and throw away synthetic hair, string, etc., when they see it on the ground, and that's a great way of preventing this problem. Another great way of preventing the problem is to tell everyone you know about it so that they will also pick up litter before it harms or kills wildlife.
In addition to the Meetup subscription fee, my costs for this volunteer work include paying Greyhound or Amtrak to travel to and from DC when I can't get a ride, buying supplies (food for baiting the pigeons, pet carriers, antiseptic spray, etc.), and donating to organizations that help me help the pigeons (City Wildlife and Sanctuary Farm Everlasting Care). If you don't have time to catch and de-string injured pigeons but want to support my volunteer work helping pigeons, please consider shopping at my store on Zazzle (www.zazzle.com/store/letmemagnetizeyou), where I earn 10% on products with my photos and designs on them.
Here's a short instructional video by the people of Chicago Pigeon Save that shows how we can catch and help stringfoot pigeons: