A neighbor called me up last week and asked me to remove two babies from her terrace. Everything I said to her didn't dissuade her in the least. I asked her if she realized how devastated the parents were going to be and her answer was that she didn't care; that she didn't invite them to her terrace. The tragedy is that the woman doesn't use her terrace. She's too ill to go out there so it was totally empty.
These babies were about a week and a half old and to save them, I had to take them and raise them.
Your bird is probably about between three and four weeks old. I do remember reading of your plight on pigeons.com and have to tell you that I have a great deal of respect for what was done to save this bird.
The problem with a pigeon is that if you raise him from a very young age, it looks at you as the parent. It's the same way with most birds. If you purchase a baby parrot, you have to feed with a syringe and bonding becomes inevitable. The difference is that with the parrot, you are going to keep him. With the pigeon, you would rather not. So, what does one do with a pigeon that is no longer raised by parents in the wild?
He doesn't know how to forage for food.
He doesn't have a flock to learn of dangers.
He doesn't know what a car can do to him and for that matter,
He doesn't know to be afraid of people and as you know, he should be.
The truth is that in the desire to save a life, we hold a tiger by the tail. Some birds raised by people can survive. Those birds are fast learners and are smarter. Who can say if your bird falls into that category? There is simply no way of knowing.
The advantage that my two little babies have is that they are in with an older youngster who eats on his own so eventually, they will learn to imitate him and start to self feed.
They will be going to an open coop where feral pigeons come and go as they please but there is always food and water available to them.
There is going to come a point in time at about 5 weeks that you are going to have to excercise some tough love and reduce the amount of food you are feeding in an attempt to get him hungry enough to start to peck and then eat on his own.
On top of all that, we are protecting the bird from diseases that are common in the wild and without being exposed to them for a long time, the immunity system is not prepared to handle anything that comes along.
To release or not to release is an abysmal dilemma
We put a tremendous amount of time into the bird...
...and it could all go down the drain as soon as we release.
I don't have an answer for you. If you do release, all I can tell you is make sure this bird has been allowed to develop its wing muscles and can fly well. Also, make sure he eats completely on his own. You might as well try to get him interested in pecking at the seed by playing with it in front of him. Keep fresh water and seed available to him 24/7.
The problem with a pigeon is that he isn't a canary. He can't be alone and caged all the time. These birds crave attention and need to be out of the cage unless we are talking about a coop filled with pigeons. In a home, they must come out and be allowed to explore. These are very smart birds and can't be deprived of satisfying their curiosity, excercise and need for human companionship if we want him to be a happy bird. we aren't saving a life if the bird is caged and forgotten about. We are simply prolonging agony. Parrots that were ignored and left to linger in their cages, alone, have been known to go insane. I can't see that it would be any different for a pigeon.
If you keep him, you will have to put up with his droppings and clean up after him. I don't own pigeons but do have 5 birds in the parrot family. They must come out of their cages. I have to clean up after them and it's not pleasant to see what they do to the furniture but that is a price that has to be paid if we want birds.
It all has to be your decision so I simply cannot tell you what to do but just give you the options and what possible consequences there are for whichever way you do go.
Ask yourself one question.
You now know you can save life. What do you do the next time you come across a baby pigeon? An adult, you could treat and release but what do you do with another baby?
This is very rough.