Last April, Marquês, a pigeon, landed on the London doorstep of Joana Jesus and her husband, João. At the time, he was less than a month old and appeared to be depressed, Jesus told The Dodo.
They soon noticed that he was sick with an eye infection. And because he was still a fledgling who had just left the nest, he couldn't fly.
"We would either assist him or he would be caught by the neighboring cats on the street," Joana said, adding that she knew the sick little bird wouldn't stand a chance on his own. And so the couple decided to take him in.
From that moment on, Joana said, she and her husband started to research everything they could find about raising baby pigeons. Joana admitted to being frightened by Marquês initially, but said it took just a few hours for her to swallow that fear and let unconditional love take over for the young bird who needed her.
Not only did she have her husband's backing, but Joana's colleagues at work supported her undertaking as well, allowing her to work from home a few days a week in order to care for Marquês. One notable day, a family of wild birds, whom Joana believes might have been a part of Marquês' family, stopped by to visit him.
"After three weeks he started pecking on seeds," Joana said. "Two months later, he had fully recovered from his eye infection and he was ready to go to the park.
"At the park, and still looking much younger than the other pigeons, he flew around, but came back to our shoulders," she said. "He walked next to us on the grass, like a little duck."
But despite being able to fly …
… and having recovered from his eye infection, in addition to other health issues related to dry skin and not eating, Marquês refused to take off into the sky to be with his fellow birds.
"From that moment we knew that leaving him outside was a death sentence," Joana said. "He wasn't afraid of humans ... and he was not interested in the food that other pigeons were eating. There was a strong connection between us. So we brought him home with us."
Marquês has been living with his mom and dad ever since, and they make certain to take him out frequently for both fresh air and socialization with other birds. When indoors, he wears a special diaper to spare the carpeting and other furniture.
Joana said that ever since Marquês came into her and her husband's life, the three of them have had nothing but fun together.
Marquês' many hobbies include "playing" guitar …
… indulging in his weekly baths …
… giving his mom kisses …
… and falling asleep to loving head strokes.
He's just another member of the family …
… and is always up for starring in a photo with his parents.
"I am pleased to share his story as it has supported me to change my relationship with pigeons and to question the myths and the judgments that these lovely birds became the target of," Joana said.
Joana added that she is working through Marquês …
… to help redefine negative beliefs held toward pigeons.
"He is the cutest animal I have ever met," she said.
You can keep up with Marquês' adventures on the Jesus' Instagram feed.
Watch Marquês bond with his mom in this video clip: