Torresian crows preying on sick feral pigeons

To: "" <>
Subject: Torresian crows preying on sick feral pigeons
From: Peter Shute <>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 2010 20:39:32 +1100
When I kept pigeons years ago, I would capture wild pigeons living around 
schools, etc. They came from squalid conditions, the roosts and nest sites 
being inches deep in droppings and deceased birds.

There were sick birds, but not that many. I may be wrong, but I would have 
thought if any species was capable of shaking off a disease infecting a flock, 
it would be feral pigeons.

Is it possible that the dying crows have been affected by the birds they ate?

Peter Shute

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From: Belinda Cassidy
To: Peter Shute
Sent: Wed Nov 24 20:03:45 2010
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Torresian crows preying on sick feral pigeons

Dear Peter & Storm,

I really hate seeing the feral pigeons suffer, so I've tried to learn more 
about their ailments. What I think is happening with them is they have a highly 
contagious bacterial infection in their flock, probably salmonella or e-coli.  
You can tell from their droppings (ie diarrhea) , emaciation, and rapid death. 
The problem with these bacterial diseases is many of the flock who have 
recovered from it will be carriers for life, and also the bacteria can live for 
years in the soil and even in the air. So you can't really control it in wild 
populations. I had a wildlife carer check 3 of my dying wild pigeons this month 
for canker, and they couldn't see any signs in their throat, so I think its not 
the primary cause of death in most cases (but may be present as a secondary 
infection). We've also had some sudden crow deaths this year, they were all 
emaciated when I found their bodies. So I'm not sure what to do.

On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 6:31 PM, Peter Shute 
<<>> wrote:
I don't know if crows killing or eating pigeons is normal, but the sickness 
rate in "your" flock seems unusually high. It makes me wonder if they're being 

Perhaps you should raise that possibility next time you take one to a vet, if 
you haven't already.

Peter Shute

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