Vogelklappe and Avian Vogelschutz-Verein e.V. (bird protection)
Corvids bird family (crows, jays, magpies, jackdaws)
Raising by hand
Rehabilitation and release of wild birds in Berlin
Pigeons and doves
Public pigeonry in Berlin
Sterilisation of feral pigeons
Release of hand raised or rehabilitated corvids and other songbirds in Berlin at the "Vogelklappe"
Since 1997 wild birds are released from large garden aviaries in Berlin in private initiative. The birds come from animal shelters, veterinarian practices and people who asked around until they found us, and also from the police and fire department of Berlin. The private station received approval from the respective local authority and the birds in captivity are reported there annually, because some native birds taken from nature had to be kept longer than one season, thus requiring notification of the authority.
All birds are examined by a specialized veterinarian, raised according to their specific needs, and as soon as they are able to fly, they are released by opening horizontal doors, on which they continue to find enough food, until they can be on their own. Successfully released species are among others: crows, jackdaws, magpies, jays, blackbirds, sparrows, finches, chickadees, redbreasts, redstarts, nuthatches, and woodpeckers.
With „Vogelklappe“ becoming increasingly renown and very few alternatives, the requests for consulting and intake of birds rose every year with up to 50 incoming phone calls per day from April to August. Since the private station can be funded only with professional work in other areas, and personnel for the birds cannot be paid, we need to rely on other private help for chicks and young birds that still have to be fed, who can also barely ensure raising the large amount of birds at own cost.
Often injured or visibly sick birds are reported to us, the examination and care for which we are not equipped. Such a bird should first be presented to a veterinarian knowledgeable of birds, like the “Vogelpraxis Kling” (www.vogelpraxis.de).
In order to help effectively it is important to determine the bird species. This can be achieved best by comparing the bird with photographs on the web pages of “Wildvogelhilfe”, on which young birds of all age groups can be found. http://wildvogelhilfe.org/aufzucht/artbestimmung.html
Young birds covered completely with feathers including their stomach and alertly hopping around must not just be taken away, because they are fed by their parents also on the ground, until they can follow them flying. An exception are common swifts, who are always helpless on the floor. http://www.mauersegler.klausroggel.de
Naked chicks cannot keep themselves warm and have to be kept handwarm, but not warmer in order to keep the metabolism going. They must not be given water and by no means wrong food. All songbirds are raised with insects. Well meant advise like cat food or egg with or without curd as an emergency solution lead to a painful death in many species. In a veterinary practice bioserin can be obtained and carefully given along the beak until the right food is available. The least damage is done with feeding small flies or gnat larvae, which can be bought as fish food.
A lot of wild pigeons live in Berlin, mostly ring-neck doves, of which one pair each nests in trees. Collared doves are fairly rare. Like all wild animals these species breed only from spring to fall.
Feral pigeons are escaped pets and descendants of the rock dove; therefore they will always seek to stay close to humans and brick housing and appear up to unwanted numbers as long as good food and breeding spaces are present. Since they have been bred to reproduce all year, any type of removal will be compensated in a very short period, even if starved by a total ban of feeding. Due to inadequate living conditions wild house pigeons are often not in the best health state, but the risk of contracting a disease from them is proven not to be any higher than that of any other vertrebrate (annual zoonoses reports of the BfR; federal institute of risk assessment).
In the „Vogelklappe“ pigeon chicks are given to foster parents, who raise them appropriately for their species. Elder young pigeons are raised by dedicated private persons, nursed to health and released in an attended dovecot. Some of the adult pigeons are surgically sterilized with narcosis in a cooperating veterinary clinic in order to stop reproduction for good, but still keep the breeding locations occupied. Catching birds in the wild with nets or traps and killing is prohibited in Germany also for the species without specific protection. For the purpose of surgical sterilisation and veterinary care an exceptional permit for live catch has been obtained from the competent authority.
Domestic pigeons belong on the streets for uncontrolled reproduction as little as dogs and cats, but should be provided with accessible breeding places, clean grains, water and grit. Therefore they should be offered a pigeonry with nesting areas, and alternative spaces should be closed. Only direct influence on the reproduction, like the exchange of fertile eggs with artificial dummies lowers a population in the long run. In some districts of Berlin new pigeonries have been set up.
We ask you to always report injured pigeons, even if your are unable to help yourself, because these tough animals often have to suffer extraordinarily long, before they can die. If possible, you should secure an animal on the ground by covering it with a carton and ensure that it can be taken care of in due time. Unfortunately there is no complimentary pick-up service for animals needing help in Berlin. We therefore have to rely on the availability of a volunteer.