Rescue work of any kind is overwhelming and daunting and exhausting. And never ending. There are so many critical priorities facing us, so many worthy causes needing support- one has to ask, does pigeon & dove rescue make a difference?
After 6 years and more than 600 birds that we have saved by taking them into our care, my answer is yes.
Each of the birds we help reflects a series of choices- Does a volunteer fight traffic, crazy gas prices and her already-too full schedule to pick up an injured or ill bird facing death in an animal shelter? MickaCoo answers yes to that question. But that's only the beginning. Each bird requires care- sometimes for many months or even a couple of years and, in some cases- very expensive care. Each bird puts our tender hearts at risk- MickaCoo prioritizes helping the worst off and most at-risk. Why choose to help these birds when the costs are so high? What difference do the lives of these birds make?
On the night of May 31st, someone found a young King pigeon huddling at the corner of 33rd & Rivera in the heart of San Francisco's Sunset District and got him to SF's open-door shelter- Animal Care & Control. I first met him the following day when a concerned volunteer asked me to come in from the outreach event we were attending outside and do a welfare check on him. He was battered and filthy, scared and shut down but he didn't show any treatable signs. One of the shelter volunteers named him Gemini. I reluctantly put him back into his cage.
The next day, I stopped back in at the shelter to check on him. We were too full to take him in but I was worried and wanted to see how he was doing. I was happy to see that he was feeling better and was relaxed at the front of his kennel- watching the world go by.
I next saw Gemini at our 6/8 This Flock Rocks! Fundraising and Adoption event. He arrived scared in a travel crate with an ACC staffer to join us for the day and represent for the shelter. Despite the party atmosphere that had to be overwhelming, he got happier when we took him out and so we put pants on him and tried him as a brand new pigeon ambassador. Gemini was amazing! He soaked up the attention, charmed everybody and transitioned from his past as factory farmed poultry to a future of show-stealing companion animal in an afternoon.
Upon his return to the animal shelter, Gemini was promoted to living in the Lobby Cage where he sat in a place of honor presiding over the busy comings and goings of SFACC. Everybody loved him but nobody adopted him.
Months went by. On August 24th, we were notified that Gemini had been moved into the shelter's sick room and, with that, we chose to squeeze him in to our already overfull caseload of foster birds. A volunteer picked him up that day.
Happily, while Gemini did seem depressed and he was going through a pretty hard molt, he seems OK otherwise and is doing well now that he is in our foster care. For the first couple of days, he lived indoors where he could be given extra TLC and monitored while also getting increasingly longer visits to the aviary. Now he's living full time in a big, beautiful foster aviary. He is still getting extra attention from his foster mom and he clearly enjoys the snuggle time. We continue to monitor Gemini's health and of course, we need to find him a wonderful forever home.
So what difference does pigeon & dove rescue make? For Gemini, it is making all the difference. And I believe I speak for all of the folks who have helped Gemini along the way when I say that we are glad that when we had the choice to help or not, we helped; when we had the choice to care or not, we chose to care.
Thank you for choosing to care. Gemini owes his life to you. He asked me to tell you how grateful he is.
When staff at SF Animal Care & Control shelter contacted us on 5/28 to help a "king pigeon, young, sick", the request did not go out to a network of rescues. It came only to MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue. If not for us, there would have been no resource in place to help baby Rumi. Your support, in all the ways you provide it, is why Rumi is receiving care. If not for you, Rumi would not have had a chance. She would have been shut out from the rescue community.
Because of you, Rumi matters. She's got a loving foster home and the promise of a safe, happy forever home when she is ready for adoption. Her illnesses are being treated and her fears have been relieved. She is a very sick baby bird (as so many squab are), hospitalized now and fighting for her life. Rumi may not survive but she does matter and that is very important. You are giving Rumi the only chance she has.
There are so many things wrong in this world but here is something that we are making right. We are working together to repair a gap in the fabric of our humanity. And a more compassionate, less cruel world benefits not only Rumi but everyone. Together, we are doing culture-changing work.
Please never underestimate the impact of your support. You are making a real difference. For Rumi, you are making all the difference.
Your generosity and support is what empowers MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue to help birds that, unwanted, injured, ill and/or timed out in shelters, would otherwise be killed. Here's the story of just one little bird that YOU helped to rescue. Her name is Feathers.
Feathers was introduced to MickaCoo this way:
Dear Friends,A friend of my son dumped their white dove on us this summer when they went on vacation. My son tells me the bird is poorly cared for at his home, and that his friend hopes we will keep this bird for them. I don’t want to keep this bird. (I think they named him “Feathers.”) His cage is too small, he can’t fly, and there is something wrong with his feet since he seems to stand rather than perch. I would really like to transfer him to a rescue organization such as yours where he his health can be properly evaluated, he can be put in a proper cage, and outplaced to a good home.
When I saw Feathers' picture, I realized that she was not a dove but rather a little homing pigeon (the kind used for "wedding dove releases"). As always, we were overfull but a foster volunteer stepped up to take little Feathers in and so the handoff was arranged.
Feathers arrived scared, depressed and with some motor control issues. She needed a very quiet and simple environment and a lot of patience and TLC. Getting what she needed has made a big difference for little Feathers.
Here's a recent report from Jaclyn, Feathers' foster mom:
I just couldn't help but share with you what a wonderful turn around teeny Feathers has made. She was starting to come out of her shell when I visited you, but now it seems she has fully blossomed. I’ve never seen a bird’s personality change so much. At first she was very hard to read and wouldn’t make a peep. I didn’t know if she was scared, sad, had neurological problems or what to make of her. But now she’s full of confidence and character! Just a glance in her direction and her wings twitch with excitement while she bows her head. She does this with both Nik and I. And she has the cutest little grunts when she’s getting her head scratched. When she first started making sounds her voice was so tiny and scratchy, it was adorable but a little pathetic. Now her voice is louder and more consistent. She is so gentle and sweet, and I’m just so happy to see these changes in her. She is evidence of how unique each bird is, and animal for that matter, and the potential each one has. She will make a wonderful pet, no doubt!
Your support is what enables MickaCoo to do what we do. We thank you! Feathers thanks you! Your generosity makes a life-saving difference.
MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue has had both a very challenging and very promising year. We are getting ever more support and leadership from volunteers and seeing more outreach and placement efforts from Bay Area shelters. In 2012, MickaCoo’s foster volunteers saved more than 200 lives by caring for and housing pigeons and doves when no one else would. We've placed more than 100 birds with carefully screened adopters and counseled on behalf of the welfare of hundreds more.
The challenge is meeting the overwhelming demand for our service. We need more adopters, more fosters, more funding. What we are doing is valuable and meaningful and we are committed to becoming even more effective at doing this “impossible” work. We’re closing an historic gap in animal rescue. We are challenging indifference with compassion and changing the world for the better. You make the difference. Thank you.
Thanks to your support, MickaCoo is able to help pigeons and doves in all kinds of ways. We save birds' lives by taking in the sick, injured and/or timed out from shelters like like Elliot & Buster. Elliot, a sick baby king pigeon found in a parking lot with his friend Buster, was getting worse rather than better despite the shelter's efforts to save him. He was scheduled to be euthanized but instead we made room for him (and Buster) and took him into MickaCoo's foster care. He was so weak that we feared it would be hospice but Elliot responded and slowly, slowly began to improve. Today he is a very healthy and happy bird, still with his friend Buster, and fostered by the kind woman who found them stranded in that parking lot. You can read their rescue story and see lots of pictures here.
There are more stories than I have room to include here but, by clicking on these links you can see some of our recent adoptions, more rescues and get a sense of our ever-changing waiting list. Without your support, these birds wouldn't have a chance.
We also spend a great deal of time outreaching to the public to raise awareness and develop potential volunteers, adopters, donors and allies. In August, we hosted our first ever stand alone MickaCoo Adoption and Fundraiser event: We Can Be Heroes! in Tiburon. It was a wonderful success and we made new friends for pigeons and doves, raised funds and placed long-overdue-for-adoption Lola & Luigi with their forever family. You can see the story and pictures here. A lot of our time is spent advocating for pigeons and doves at pet fairs and adoption events throughout the Bay Area. In just the past few months, we've participated in Humane Education programs in Santa Cruz and Novato and attended adoption events in San Jose, Cupertino, Kensington, San Francisco, Novato, Berkeley, Carmichael and San Rafael (to name a few) plus we've gotten rescued pigeons on TV in Rohnert Park and several articles in print media.
Another big development has been the creation and launch of our own website- www.PigeonRescue.org. We are thrilled to have this new platform with which to help pigeons and doves and we're working hard to integrate all the key info, links and content that's needed.
Your donations make all this life-saving and mind-changing work possible. Please stay connected by subscribing to our newsletter and, if you're on Facebook, you can keep up with news as it happens by liking our page. And we would LOVE to have you join us in person- either as a volunteer or just for a visit- check out MickaCoo's upcoming events.
Thank you very much for your generosity and support. We are very moved by your investment in our effort to make this a more compassionate and humane world.
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