Backyard Birds

Noddy – the Blind Senegal Dove

by H.A. Samy
Noddy - the blind dove
This is Noddy at my sister’s a few days or weeks after we found him, he had an eye infection and nothing we tried worked.
Sickly Noddy
Above: This is Noddy – malnourished and sickly Below: Noddy looking much better
Noddy - looking much better
Noddy and Canary
Above: Noddy with his new buddy “Lucky” – the canary. He was called Lucky because he came from a tiny cage in a pet store. and now his cage is 20 times the size of the one he was in. Lucky was singing like Pavarotti.

How we found Noddy …

One day, as I was letting my dogs out, I found a baby dove on the ground. The mother was hanging around, but as I didn’t see the nest and we have many stray cats and kestrels around I couldn’t just leave him there. My husband later told me he’d seen him there a couple of hours before, but it didn’t cross his mind to pick him up. He tends to feel nature has a way of fixing things. Men can be practical that way I suppose. It’s a miracle he wasn’t eaten by a cat or kestel; and it’s a good thing I saw him before my dogs did.

I called my sister who’s had experience with these things, and she said to put him in a box and take him over. I picked him up with a hand towel and put him in a box and took him to her.

Noddy is sick …

A couple of days later my sister called to tell me that there was something wrong with his eyes. We tried everything: ointments, antibiotics, not having any avian vets here didn’t help.

Eventually, Noddy lost his eyes. Realising he would never be able to be released I didn’t want to impose on my sister so I took him and read as much as I could about doves. I even found a couple of books on Amazon. I wanted Noddy to be able to fly safely so I read about bird harnesses and came across avianweb. I emailed the owner who turned out to be very helpful and gave me a lot of advice on how to take care of Noddy. A vet supply shop here recommended some A,Dand E water soluble vitamins and my vet who specialises in cats and dogs told me to give him meat.

Noddy was very malnourished and weak, and his feathers were a mess. I gave him boiled meat, egg yolk, added vitamins in his water and seeds. I crushed egg shells and peanuts and gave those to him, too. All this had to be done by hand as he didn’t know how to eat. Even as he grew, he didn’t know how to eat as he couldn’t see. I felt he would never be able to eat on his own. Sibylle from avianweb sent me the harness and with it a sample of Herb Salad and some sprouts. She felt that the fragrant herb salad would help Noddy eat by himself and I really think it did. At the time I had another young dove recovering from a cat attack and she gobbled the Herb Salad instantaneously.

One day, Noddy got very sick, he was all puffed up and wasn’t moving at all. Sibylle kept in contact with me through this difficult time and gave me a lot of moral support. I felt his crop was lumpy so I read that giving a couple of drops of olive oil and some water could help along with some gentle massage. I did that and hoped for the best. The next day I took him to my vet who said his crop was ok but to give him some antibiotic just in case. Noddy wasn’t well though so I kept him warm and waited.

All the odds were against Noddy, but he pulled through and now he’s blossomed into a beautiful dove. He’s a tough little cookie and a survivor. He’s learned to eat alone now and lets me know when he’s thirsty by dipping his head so I bring him the water dish, sometimes he even finds it on his own.

The Happy End …

Saddened that he was doomed to be alone, I decided on getting him a canary as a companion, I felt the singing might cheer him up and now Noddy and Lucky the canary live together. Noddy is a gentle giant, he’s as sweet as can be. Lucky is a cheeky little monkey and they compliment each other so welll. They look a bit like David and Goliath.

Further Dove Information


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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