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.
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.
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