A Sitting Pigeon: Cute Or Injured?

It can be difficult sometimes to notice if an animal is ill or not. Animals try to hide the fact they are ill, if there is something wrong with them. This is especially important in wild animals, because if an animal is ill or injured it may become shunned by others and even attacked by predators because they know they are weak.

In this article, we are going to tell you what it means to see a sitting pigeon and what you should and shouldn’t do.

What Does A Sitting Pigeon Mean?

Animal lovers love posting images of animals doing something that we don’t normally see them doing. This has included images of a pigeon sitting down. However pigeons won’t sit down like this because they find it comfortable. It is actually a sign of concern if you come across a pigeon sitting like this. 

Having a pigeon sitting on the floor anyway makes it very vulnerable from predator attacks. It can also be stepped on or kicked by pedestrians unaware of the bird or expecting the bird to just fly away. Seeing a pigeon sitting down means that there is something wrong with them. 

How Do You Know If A Bird Is Ill Or Injured?

Like humans and any animal really, the bird will show certain signs if they are ill or injured. You can tell by looking at the bird or you can tell by watching the bird’s behaviour. Here are some signs that you should look out for, if you are worried about a bird.


If you look at the bird and you notice that their eyes are swollen, then this is a sign of sinusitis. This is a bacterial/fungal infection that happens in one or both of the birds eyes. It can cause discharge to come from the bird’s eyes, which then leads to swelling too.

Another sign that a bird may be unwell is if you notice that their eyes are dull or an abnormal color than normal. Their eyes may also become sunken in too. These are signs that the bird is unwell.

Birds need their eyes to stay alert about any predators that may be trying to sneak up on them. Issues with their eyes could be fatal for any bird, because without sight then they can’t fly out of danger. If you notice that a bird has its eyes half closed, then this is a sign that there is something wrong with them, and they are sick.


As mentioned, if discharge comes from a bird’s eyes, this could be a sign of sinusitis. However you should also look out for wetness or crusting over the bird’s nose or mouth. This crusting over can be caused by discharge too. Either way, it isn’t a good sign if you notice any of this on a bird. 


Feather is very important for any bird. They help keep them warm and also help them to fly. If a bird starts to lose vast amounts of feathers, this is a very bad sign. Professionals and bird watchers believe that a parasite infestation is present, if a bird begins to lose a lot of feathers. 

Birds are very clean birds that take a lot of care over their appearance. If you notice that a bird is dirty, this can be a sign that they may be ill or too weak to clean themselves. If you do meet a dirty bird, you should see if their vent feathers are matted with poo. This is because matted feathers can also be a sign that this bird isn’t very well. 

However if you meet a bird that has their feathers all puffed or fluffed up then this could be a sign that they aren’t feeling right. It can be a sign that they are struggling to get warm or feeling unwell in general. Healthy birds aren’t known for fluffing up their feathers. 


Like with any human a lot can be said with what is going on with the bird by looking at their poop. You should see if there is any chance in the bird’s droppings, this can be color and consistency.

If the shape or consistency of the bird’s droppings has changed this could be something to do with what the bird is eating. They might be eating something that has gone off or just something that doesn’t agree with them, thus it is making them feel unwell. 

If the droppings are quite a loose consistency then you can assume that the bird has been drinking too much water. This could mean they are eating very salty foods or it can be an indication that the bird might have an infection. 


If a bird is wheezing, puffing or struggling to breathe through an open beak, this is a sign that something is very wrong. Also if the bird’s tail bobs everytime they take a breath, this is a sign that the bird is unwell and needs some help.


If the bird is bleeding, then this is a clear sign that the bird is injured. A pigeon might be sitting down, because they have been wounded and now are struggling to get up and fly away. 

Doesn’t Fly Away

It is quite normal when you approach a bird that they fly away. This is a survival instinct in all birds, that if a human or any animal (which could be a predator) comes near to them that they will fly away. If you come across a pigeon or any bird that doesnt instantly fly away when you get near to them, this is a sign that the bird is unwell. 


This one is a little more tricky to discover if your bird is unwell. Some species of bird will naturally keep their wings in an elevated or dropped position. This is to help them balance. Also this is commonly seen in young chicks who are still learning how to tuck their wings in. 

However if you do your research and notice that your bird shouldn’t have dropped or elevated wings normally and aren’t a chick, this could be a sign that the bird is unwell. Especially if the bird is sat down and their wings are dropped down,


Each bird has their own posture and there is a good and bad posture. A pigeon sitting on the ground in an unusual position is a sign that something is wrong. A slouchy posture combined with puffed up feathers, which are normally seen together, is an indication that the bird is ill. 

The posture of a bird is a huge indication if something is wrong or not. Seeing birds in usual positions might seem cute or funny to us, but to them they are only in that position because they aren’t well and not feeling right.


Like in humans, if you see a bird that is sleeping during the day, at times in the day when really they should be awake, this is a sign. If the bird just wants to sleep or is sleeping more than it should be, this is an indication that the bird isn’t very well.

Being Avoided

If you notice that other birds are avoiding this bird, then you can be certain that something is wrong with the bird. All animals shun away and even attack other animals in their pack if they notice that they are weak, which is normally caused by illness.

If a bird is ill they will try to hide it from other birds, so as to not get attacked or shunned away. By being shunned away, this makes them even more vulnerable from predictor attacks as they are now alone and no one is helping watch over them.

Hence, if you see that a bird is being left out, it is probably because the other birds have discovered that they are unwell and weak. They don’t want them a part of their flock. 

Tucking Head Under Its Wing

 It is very common for an ill bird to tilt its head to one side and try to tuck the head under their wing. This is one of the most notable behaviors of an unwell bird.


Most birds are incredibly stable on their feet as they are able to perch on telephone wires. If you notice that a bird is constantly losing its balance, it may be unwell or even injured. If it keeps falling from great heights, this can hurt the bird even more and they need some help.

Personality Changes

If a pet bird, or a wild bird is being aggressive without being provoked then this is a cause for concern. Birds are naturally peaceful creatures, so this personality change could mean that the bird isn’t well. Also by becoming aggressive without being provoked this could lead them into more trouble. 


An ill bird is likely to eat less and if they are refusing to eat their favorite foods then this is a bad sign. An ill bird may start to eat and drink more than they usually do, but that is uncommon. Normally if a bird goes off their food, that is an indication that something is wrong with the bird.


Some birds can regurgitate, it can be used in courtship rituals or when feeding young. However when a bird is throwing up for no apparent reason, this is a sign that the bird is unwell and dealing with nausea. 

Some Common Illnesses To Look Out For

From the symptoms mentioned above, your bird could be dealing with some of these common illnesses.

Mycoplasmal Conjunctivitis

If your bird has crusty or runny eyes alongside redness and sometimes swelling. Then your bird could be suffering from Mycoplasmal Conjunctivitis, otherwise known as House Finch Eye Disease.

Avian Tuberculosis

Most birds can get a bacterial infection and this illness can lead to the sudden death of a lot of wild birds. If your bird has been losing weight incredibly fast, struggling to breathe, alongside runny poop and drinking vast amounts of water, then they could have TB.


Canker affects a range of birds, including doves and pigeons. This is one of the deadliest diseases for birds. If a bird has Canker they will have trouble breathing and swallowing. While also they will have fluffed up feathers and vomiting. 

Mites/Mange Infection

Most birds die from this disease and it is quite common. You will notice if this illness is present if your bird is losing feathers and has sore spots.

What Do You Do If You Find An Oll Or Injured Bird?

You must be really careful when trying to help a wild bird, as they are not used to much human interaction. Even with pigeons you should be careful with what you do. If you have detected that the bird is ill, keep your distance because an ill or injured bird can show signs of aggression if they begin to feel threatened by you.

The best thing to do is to place the bird in a warm, dry and comfortable place and consult a vet. Don’t try to feed any ill or injured bird; you may make things worse.

You can place the bird in a cardboard box and line it with an old cloth or even paper towels. Once you have put the bird in the box, find a dry towel and cover the box with it.

You can place a bottle of warm, not boiling water near the ill bird. While you put the box in a warm, dark and quiet place. This is to calm the bird down and know they are safe. This is great to do while you wait for a professional to come and look at the bird.

With a small bird, you handle them very gently. If the bird can fit in your hand, place your other hand over its head. Their head should end up between your forefinger and middle finger. With a middle sized bird, place both hands against the bird’s wings and hold their wings towards their body.

When it comes to larger birds, don’t attempt to pick them up, you should phone a professional. Otherwise the larger bird could cause you a lot of harm, especially if you aren’t used to handling larger birds.

What You Should Do With A Sick Or Injured Bird

If you are going to handle an ill or injured bird, you need to be extra careful and delicate. Don’t hold the bird too tight. This is because birds don’t have a diaphragm so if you hold them too tight, you’ll just end up suffocating them. 

Alongside this, like humans or any animal, keeping the birds warm will help them alot. By placing the bird somewhere comfortable and putting it somewhere where there isn’t much light will keep them calm and relaxed. Try to keep the ill or injured bird away from any other animals that might try to disturb and aggiate them.

You must call a professional as soon as you think there is something wrong with the bird. While also after handling the bird, make sure you clean your hands thoroughly, as you don’t want to transfer their illness to anything or anyone else.

What You Shouldn’t Do To A Sick Or Injured Bird

As mentioned above, if you do bring the ill or injured bird inside, then try to keep it away from any other animals. Otherwise this will scare the bird and they will begin to freak out, which could cause the bird more harm to themselves.

Also you shouldn’t try to feed the bird or try to give them water. Just wait for a professional, as they will know what to give the bird and how to do it properly. 

Finally, don’t assume that just because the bird is ill or injured that they will be friendly. In some cases it is the opposite, as illness and injury is a sign of weakness, so they can become aggressive. 

Final Thoughts

If you do come across an ill or injured bird and are able to spot the signs from our list above, then approach with caution. You can help an ill bird, like a sitting pigeon by providing them a safe and comfortable place to stay, while you watch for a professional to come and help them. 

Birds get ill like any animal, you can try to help but really the best thing to do is to call for professional help. Never try to feed or give water to an ill bird as you don’t know how they will react. A sitting pigeon might look cute, but really it is a sign that something isn’t right with them and they need some help.