It took an online village to rescue a fancy pigeon abandoned at a Burnaby park last week.
Metrotown resident Ashley Viljoen was taking a pre-work walk at Central Park last Thursday sometime after 8 a.m. when she came upon a woman near a picnic table with an unusual looking pigeon.
“I could immediately see it was not a normal pigeon,” Viljoen said. “It had these ridiculous feathers going on and was just chilling right next to this woman.”
When Viljoen complimented her on the bird, however, the woman said it wasn’t hers.
She had found it, she said, and was attempting to rescue it and bring it to the SPCA.
“It couldn’t fly, and it would be eaten within a few hours,” Viljoen said. “Honestly, it was surprising that it hadn’t been eaten because there’s a lot of coyotes and eagles and stuff in the park.”
Seeing that the woman, who had a dog with her, was in no position to take the bird, Viljoen stepped in.
She tucked it into her shirt and asked her partner to meet her nearby with a cat carrier.
Back at home, they set the pigeon up in the bathroom with a dish of water and some apple slices.
“The cats were just camped outside the door,” Viljoen said. “They were very interested.”
She left a message with the SPCA but didn’t get a call back, so she put out a call on Reddit.
Within minutes, Chrissy Chin, who lives on a farm in Aldergrove, said she could take the bird.
“She said she had six or seven pigeons that she’s rescued,” Viljoen said.
But Viljoen had meetings coming up for work and no time for a drive into the Valley.
That’s when another Redditor, Lesley DeHaan, stepped in and said she’d be willing to transport the abandoned animal.
By the end of the day, the pigeon was safe and sound in Aldergrove — as evidenced by a TikTok video posted by Chin.
“It was fun,” Viljoen said of the rescue process. “None of us knew each other.”
Pidgey, as Chin has dubbed the fancy bird, is “doing great” and “living well” with the chickens in her barn.
“We allow it to free roam our farm,” Chin said.
The avian drama sparked numerous comments on Reddit, with many celebrating its happy conclusion.
“This pigeon really made my day!” one post said. “Thank you to the Redditors who made this possible. You’re all wonderful people.”
“I’ve been so invested in this today,” stated another post. “So glad that this gorgeous bird is safe.”
Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor