You are receiving this project report because you support MickaCoo's life-saving work with your donations. If not for you, Aurora's story would be very different. She is just one of the hundreds of birds you are helping through MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue. And, if you can give today, GlobalGiving will add a 50% bonus match (up to $1000 per donor until match funds run out) to your gift!
If Aurora could write her story, I imagine it would go something like-Thank you for helping me! My name is now Aurora. As a young racing pigeon on one of my first flights, I got injured and grounded. The people who found me were well-intentioned but were uninformed and they kept me in an unsafe and uncomfortable enclosure. They never got me any help for my broken, backward leg and, while I healed the best I could on my own, I was miserable. I was in pain, scared and lonely.But not any more. Now I am safe! On the Fourth of July, even though MickaCoo is full, their volunteer appeared to truly rescue me. She held me carefully with loving hands and spoke gently to reassure me. She took me to her home in a crate lined with an extra soft towel to provide relief to my tortured feet and aching legs. She scratched my head and loved on me and the very next day I was at the vet getting expert care.While I have a long recovery ahead of me, I already feel so much better! I'm getting proper food, lots of love, vet care for my wounds and pain medicine to help me through. I've been x-rayed and the doctors at Medical Center for Birds are conferring about how best to surgically repair my leg. There is hope that I will be able to walk again! I am so happy that they are having a hard time keeping me from celebrating with baths in my small water dish. I am saved! None of this would have been possible if not for your generous support. Thank you!When "MickaCoo is full", it means that our foster homes and aviaries are full up, that we have more expenses than funding and more work than people-power to get it done.And we are full. But on Friday, July Fourth, when I received emailed photos showing two pigeons being kept in completely unsafe and inhumane conditions, we had to save them. I reached out to MickaCoo volunteer Jill and, despite the holiday, she dropped everything to help.
Jill picks up the story:Arriving to pick up the pigeons, there were dogs, big and small, milling about the front yard, barking and jumping. When I picked the broke-leg racing pigeon now named Aurora up off the wire cage floor, I could immediately see that she was dealing with not only a broken leg healed wrong but a 'good' foot/leg that was seriously compromised. Her racing band was cutting into her swollen leg and I was not surprised to see she had bumblefoot, a condition common among birds housed on wire. It's very painful.
The wing-injured pigeon housed in the backyard (now named Indy) had been attacked by the neighbor's dog. Despite the lack of treatment, her injury has healed, though she can't fly. She was kept in a makeshift cage fashioned out of chain link fence, boards and wire leaned together haphazardly. There were huge gaps and it's a miracle she wasn't killed by predators.
Aurora seemed to know I was there to help her. As soon as I put her in the padded crate, she went crazy eating pigeon feed! Yay! Good and proper pigeon grub! After getting this little bird home, she quickly settled into a nicely padded cage and welcomed neck scratches gratefully. I can only imagine how good it felt to have some relief and proper care.
Indy has settled nicely in one of my aviaries and is now defending 'her territory' with great fervor. She'll be married (if she is really a hen) soon I imagine, since we have lots of bachelor pigeons.
The very next day, Jill was at Medical Center for Birds with Aurora. MickaCoo depends on your donations to fund this work and we really need your help to pay for Aurora's (and many others') veterinary care. Aurora underwent surgery to rebreak and correctively reposition her backwards leg on Wednesday, July 9th and was discharged Monday, July 14th. Dr. Speer says that in a couple of weeks, we'll hardly be able to tell which leg was backwards.
Thank you for helping us to save sweet souls like Aurora! We can't do it without you.
I first met fledgling King pigeons Donut, Fluffball, Truffles & Speckles in the back room at San Francisco Animal Care & Control on May 20th. They weren't in adoptable condition. Donut had been found as a stray on May 18 at Broadway & Columbus. The other three had been rescued from Baker Beach on May 15 at 9:30 PM. (Who knows how many squab had been purchased from a live poultry market and "released" or used in a ceremony there. I can pretty much guarantee that others were killed by hawks, gulls, ravens, etc. before Animal Control Officers arrived on the scene.)
All four youngsters needed more care than the shelter can offer. Adult pigeons are hardy but these babies, only 4 weeks old and so already frail, were also traumatized and weakened by the rough handling and high-stress predicaments they endured.
While some rescues triage to save the strongest, we prioritize those that need us most, whose lives hang in the balance. We do our very best to help the injured and sick, no matter their chances. But we were full up. Our expert fosters were maxed out.
Ever since we started in 2007, the demand for our services has exceeded the resources we have available. When we had capacity for 8 fosters, we were full. When we grew our capacity to help 40, we were full. Our caseload has grown to be more than 100 birds at any time and we are still always full with a waiting list. But how do we tell birds, stranded sick in a shelter or found injured and stray, that we are full?
I contacted a newly-ready foster family, to see if they might be willing to take on the extra challenge of fostering these frail babies and, very bravely, they said yes. The next day, I picked up the foursome and delivered them to their new family, along with meds, heating pad, a crate for indoor nighttime fostering, etc.
We spent hours examining, spraying, weighing, assessing and pilling the babies. For their part, while the birds weren't thrilled with all the scary handling and procedures, their little pigeon faces were lit up with pleasure at feeling sunshine and fresh air and having the space to stretch out and explore. Jane's family has impressed me with their ability to absorb this crash course in pigeon rescue. Eleven year old M says, "It's very fun and so amazing to watch the birds grow up."
Instead of taking on the incredibly low-maintenance, ready-for-adoption, pair of adult pigeons they had been expecting, they had opened their hearts and home to four frail, needy, high-risk youngsters. These birds required multiple trips to the vet, daily meds and weigh-ins, and lots and lots of follow up. Their foster family never complained. They rose to every challenge and did an amazing job- better than I could have hoped. And the babies loved their spacious aviary, their cozy heating pads, the sunshine and tender care.
But tragically, heartbreakingly, despite all of our best efforts including avian vet hospitalization, Truffles and Speckles died. Their immune systems were too compromised and we could not save them. They had some really good days and they came so close to living happily ever after...
What we do matters. Many of us came together to give four weak, unwanted squab their best and only chance. For Fluffball and Donut, the future is promising. They are continuing to grow stronger, their foster family is ready to adopt them and, when the time is right, another pair as well. For Truffles and Speckles, their time in the sun was too short. But they will never be forgotten.
It is a constant challenge to sustain enough support to care for all the birds for whom we are already responsible, to respond to all the new requests for our help and to not over-stretch to the breakdown point, harming birds, volunteers or the organization along the way. It is your generous support- your time, talents and donations that enable us to do this life-saving, culture-changing work. Thank you.
P.S. Today, June 13th, is Pigeon Appreciation Day! Please know- the pigeons appreciate you everyday!
When the Good Samaritan arrived at my house on Friday night, he had two boxes taped shut with a total of ten pigeons inside. SFACC shelter staff had tried their best to persuade him to bring the birds to them the night before but nothing they said could convince him that they would help rather than kill the pigeons.
When we had spoken on the phone, I had offered to pick up the pigeons he was surrendering but he didn't trust me either and wanted to see where they were going. I appreciate that concern and wish that more had it. Too often people blithely hand over their birds with very little knowledge of where they are going. But I was not at all happy that ten pigeons, including three sick squeakers squeezed in with angry adults, were in the small, filthy boxes.
And there were more. He had saved 20 King & Carneau pigeons from being killed as poultry and had set loose the other ten at a shopping center parking lot the night before. He had mistakenly assumed that because feral pigeons lived there, that these domestic pigeons would be alright. They weren't. He realized almost immediately that he had made a mistake when he saw the pigeons being nearly run over by cars.
I quickly settled the seven adult pigeons in one foster cage and the three sick babies in a crate and then we drove to the parking lot to see if we could save any of the birds he had left there the night before.
We found and caught two and a third, with a broken wing, was rescued by one of several volunteers who had also searched to try and rescue these birds but seven are still unaccounted for and have most likely been killed by hawks if not run over.
We were already full up with 100 birds in foster care but these birds needed our help- immeditately. This was 911. And so now we have 113 birds in our care. The new birds include three fledglings- Daisy, Max and Sparrow. A big, old picked-on and sick adult I've named George (though I think she's actually a hen), broke-wing, poor-appetite Hester (currently sitting in my lap after a hand-fed dinner), a pair of Carneaus I call RedMan & Lucy, and the others yet to be named. Each and every one of these birds clings to their aliveness as much as any other being. They are cheering up and getting better. We need foster homes and adopters for them and of course donations to sustain this work.
YOU saved these birds. MickaCoo is a manifestation of your support and involvement.
Thank you. Thank you for saving these innocents.
Thank you for making what we do possible. Before MickaCoo, there was little hope for the hundreds of domestic pigeons and doves that were found and surrendered to Bay Area animal shelters every year. The shelters had no adoption programs for these birds and the vast majority were killed when their time was up. As the only Bay Area organization dedicated to rescuing unreleasable pigeons and doves, we are closing this fatal gap in the animal welfare network and we are saving lives- more than 600 so far.
And if you are reading this, you are helping to bring about this transformation. Together, with your generous support, we are doing something that none of us could do alone. Your donations power MickaCoo. We can't do this without you.
And with you, MickaCoo is able to save the lives of these innocents. Every pigeon and dove that we take in is given the chance to live a full and happy life. Pigeons and doves are gentle, loving birds that form powerful emotional bonds. They are common and often the birds people see the most. Pigeons and doves can be gateways to compassion and that compassion is life-changing, both for those who give and for those who get it.
Together, with each of us doing the part that we can, however big or small, we have formed a compassionate community dedicated to helping these overlooked and underserved birds. Our network of volunteers provides advice to people when they find stray or injured pigeons and doves all over the country; mobilizes to rescue birds timing out in shelters; and works tirelessly to advocate for the birds who previously had no champions.
Please continue to help MickaCoo.
Thank you with all our heart. It is an incredible privilege to share our unique mission with you. Together we are helping birds that no one else is. Because of you and MickaCoo, unreleasable pigeons and doves now have the dignity of a rescue of their own.
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.
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