Denis the pigeon owes his life to Gail Daniell. The Fauna Rescue SA volunteer from Adelaide, Australia, helped nurse the frail, ant-covered bird back to health - and she also performed CPR on him. Ms Daniell had been caring for the crested pigeon for about four days when, during an attempt to feed him, he started to choke and stopped breathing.
"Denis just stopped breathing and I didn't even think twice, I just started with the CPR," Ms Daniell said. "I gave him probably three or four little breaths and pumped his little chest a few times and he started to come back to life. He came to me very sick, covered in ants and in a lot of pain. He was with his little brother, but unfortunately he didn't make it past the first day or so."
Ms Daniell, who has helped care for 50 animals at her home in the last six years, learnt the life-saving skill in a first aid course for humans a decade ago. Fauna Rescue SA chairwoman Liz MacGuinness said it was the first time in her 19 years with the organisation she had heard of CPR being administered to a bird.
"I know it can very occasionally happen with puppies, but it's very unusual, not something I've ever heard of with a bird or any other type of animal really," Ms MacGuinness said. "Birds especially are difficult because they're just so tiny and fragile," she said. Ms Daniell hopes Denis will be strong enough to release into a nearby park in coming weeks. "But it is hard to say when he'll want to leave," she said. "He's being a bit of a sook, he doesn't like to be too far away from me."