Empire of Light (2023)
In the scene where the actors walk into a room and a bunch of pigeons disperse in different directions, prior to shooting the pigeons arrived in separate carry cages. On set, the pigeons were grouped underneath cages then on action the cages were lifted off then the birds pecked for the feed for a few moments before the trainer called the birds up to the catch-box on top of a small tower.
When the actor approaches a pigeon that was supposed to be injured, just before action the handler placed the pigeon on a shelf then on action she steps out of crane. The trainer placed a baa as safe around the bird’s body. The trainer then placed the bird on its mark just before action then stepped off camera until cut when she steps back in and picks up the bird. On action. the actor and actress bandaged the pigeon. They placed a bandage over the bird leaving its head sticking out but covering its wings and body
After the last take these hero birds are wrapped then join the others in the waiting vehicle.
In the scene where the actor visits injured bird and removes the bandage from its wing, then releases it out an open window. The handler passed the pigeon to the actor before each take then stepped out of the closed set and watched the release from outside the building on a fire escape off camera to the side of the window.
On the film it will look like it’s this hero bird that’s released but it’s actually the homing pigeons that are released.
American Humane’s On-Set Oversight