Save Domestic Pigeons and Doves From Euthanasia

by Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions
Vetted
Miu is safe & happy now (Photo by Cynthia Zhou)
Miu is safe & happy now (Photo by Cynthia Zhou)

We are here, able to help birds in need of rescue, because of you.

Miu was one of more than 40 birds displaced when their person, a San Jose resident, died in November. There were 20 finches, 10 budgies, lovebirds, rosellas, doves and two pigeons. (He had bred and sold birds for many years. In the past, he had hundreds.) The deceased’s family reached out to Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue (the parrot rescue with whom we partnered for our first four years as MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue) to take the birds out of his backyard aviaries and into their rescue (except for the two pigeons which they just let out of the aviary). One of the pigeons was promptly attacked by their dog. The other eventually went back into an empty aviary. Michelle Yesney, Mickaboo CEO and one of many Mickaboo volunteers who worked on this big rescue, closed her in to keep her safe and contacted us.

We are beyond full… stretched to the breaking point caring for 130 birds in 27 volunteer foster homes/aviaries (and coaching, referring, counseling on behalf of many more) but every day, we have to figure out how to help the birds that no one else will. And so we stretched some more. I reached out to Faye, the volunteer who coordinates our foster Lobby Pigeons team at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley in Milpitas, who could transport and to Clare, our Leadership Team Chair who could short-term foster, to put together a rescue team for this pigeon in need.

As soon as Faye arrived on the property and spoke to Michelle, the lonesome pigeon, from a aviary far down an empty row of structures and out of sight, began cooing, calling for help.

Faye took her home overnight while she waited to go to Clare’s the following day. It was a big improvement in her situation! The little homing pigeon (the kind bred and used for "dove releases") was very tame and immediately set about making friends with Faye. She loved being petted and spoken to. When Faye would leave the room, the little pigeon would coo and coo to call her back. (See a short video.) Pigeons will vocalize to communicate with people just as they would call to one another. She was saying, Come here. Be with me. Stay with me. This is the behavior of a very tame, bi-cultural (pigeon/human) bird. 

The next day, the little Homer was transferred to Clare’s house for foster care. She took to wearing pigeon pants with ease. And just as she had quickly won Faye’s heart, she won Clare’s too.

In the meantime, I had posted about the little lonesome Homer on our Facebook page as part of the effort to find her a long-term foster or forever home… 

And Cynthia, a bird lover and Palomacy supporter who’s been thinking about a pet pigeon for a long time, saw her photos and was moved to complete our application. We talked through the requirements and what goes into caring for a pet pigeon and Cynthia set about getting ready. She suggested the name Miu which means “beautiful feather” and “kind-hearted” and so Miu she is. The following week, on November 27th, Cynthia went to Cupertino to pick up Miu. And they have been having a love fest ever since.

Last night I asked Cynthia for the Miu Report and she wrote,

The Miu Report is looking bright! She seems to have settled in very quickly and already claimed a few favorite spots around the room. The doves have left her alone, although they once flew over to a table near her food and I saw her give a warning peck in their general direction. She’s done this less with me, but she often flies over to Mako to land on his head or back, and it’s the cutest thing. We’ve had several friends meet her, and they all adore her. She’s something of a minor celebrity at the moment, and several people have asked to visit us so they can meet her. It’s finals week for us, so we’ve been spending a lot of time at home but we’re usually focused on studying, and she’ll sometimes walk over our keyboards to get our attention. We would love to adopt her, because fostering is going well (and Mako and I are very attached – we consider her part of the family already). She’s made herself right at home and our daily routine involves so much time with her that it’s hard to believe she came into our lives less than a month ago. I hope she gets to stay for a long, long time.

And so, with the help of a whole team of dedicated volunteers and supporters, Miu has been saved. She is safe, loved. She is home. Thank you for helping rescues like Palomacy (and Mickaboo) to help birds like Miu.

We couldn’t do this without you! 

Waiting to be rescued
Waiting to be rescued
Lonesome rescued pigeon happy to be getting love
Lonesome rescued pigeon happy to be getting love
Miu meeting her new person Cynthia
Miu meeting her new person Cynthia
Mako, Cynthia & Miu
Mako, Cynthia & Miu

Links:

Pigeon-racing survivor Perry saved from euthanasia
Pigeon-racing survivor Perry saved from euthanasia

Happening Now: Our Last Bonus Match of 2016!

Today, right now, is one of our most important fundraising opportunities of the year.

For just a very few minutes until they run out, there are bonus match funds available to help boost your donation by a much needed 30%. Please, if you can, make a donation right now so that we can continue making this life-saving, culture-changing difference.

Together, we are rescuing birds that would otherwise go unserved, unnoticed. Through our work and your generous support, we are able to heal, foster and adopt hundreds of birds every year and help countless more through our coaching and referrals (across the country and beyond).

We exist because of your donations. We depend on your support to help the birds that no one else is helping.

Thank you for your compassion. Without you, there'd be no Palomacy.

Squab-survivor Rebel
Squab-survivor Rebel's infected hock required care
Kendall needed surgery to remove cancerous tumors
Kendall needed surgery to remove cancerous tumors
Homer Domino & wild Zaichik saved from euthanasia
Homer Domino & wild Zaichik saved from euthanasia
Thank You So Much for Helping Palomacy Help Birds
Thank You So Much for Helping Palomacy Help Birds

Links:

Caboodle- crippled legs, big attitude & an eyebrow
Caboodle- crippled legs, big attitude & an eyebrow

Can you imagine how it feels to be an injured pigeon dropped off at a busy animal shelter? Dogs are barking, people are hurrying past... You'd wonder, What now?

On August 18th, two young Roller pigeons were brought in to Oakland Animal Services as "strays" by the person we suspect is actually breeding them. Both suffered from malnutrition and have crippling bone issues and wounds as a result. (Often pigeon hobbyists will cull -kill- imperfect or unwanted birds so we are grateful that they were at least surrendered to the shelter.) We knew that, without our help, these birds would be euthanized as unadoptable. Somehow, overextended as we are, we had to fit them in and so we have. We've named them Kit and Caboodle. Both are tiny and adorable and, despite their issues, full of life.

Kit is very young- not even two months old. She came in very thin and with her left foot so damaged that the tissue had died and soon fell off. With the help of antibiotics, pain relief and loving care from her foster mom, Kit is healing up beautifully. She's gained weight and strength. She stands up proud, hops to get around and has even started testing out bearing weight on her stump. Kit has a happy life ahead. She will make some lucky adopter an amazingly dear pet.

Caboodle is only slightly older at about 6 months of age. His legs too are bowed from malnutrition and his radiographs show old breaks in both. His left leg is so bowed that it has knuckled his foot completely under and he needs corrective surgery to prevent further damage to both legs. His ability to stand and walk at all are at risk. I fall in love with all of our birds but Caboodle has stolen my heart in his own special way. He is such a tiny but fierce and feisty little bird! He is full of confidence and opinions and is not at all shy about expressing himself! He is full of attitude and has a dramatic eyebrow marking over one eye that makes him look extra angry (and cute)!

Your generous support is what enables us to save the lives of birds like Caboodle and Kit.

Thank you for making Palomacy possible!

Kit arrived underweight, infected from a dead foot
Kit arrived underweight, infected from a dead foot
Caboodle & Kit on the way to their first vet appt.
Caboodle & Kit on the way to their first vet appt.
Caboodle needs surgery to continue using his legs
Caboodle needs surgery to continue using his legs

Links:

Corrina & I volunteering at an outreach event
Corrina & I volunteering at an outreach event

I first learned of Palomacy (then MickaCoo) nine years ago when my husband and I were seeking a feathered companion for Peggy Sue, our tame and unreleasable feral pigeon. Like most people, I had never heard of a domestic pigeon and had no idea that so many of them were winding up in shelters with little to no hope of finding homes.

We adopted Claudette, a lovely King pigeon with a calm and gentle temperament. During the adoption process, I became captivated by the rescue stories on their website and was deeply moved by Elizabeth and the many volunteers’ dedication to helping these sweet and vulnerable creatures.

In addition to adopting, I wanted to help in any way I could and I've been volunteering ever since. I help raise awareness through outreach at adoption events & raise funds at special events. I chair Palomacy's advisory committee, help design and build aviaries, and we have an aviary in our back yard for special needs foster pigeons. We've also adopted two more pigeons, Dupree and Corrina, each with their own unique and charming personality.

There are lots of ways to help. Palomacy is caring for more than 100 amazing birds waiting to be adopted, waiting to go home... And, if you can't adopt, we always need more foster homes, volunteers and donors. 

And right now, if you make a donation to Palomacy through GlobalGiving here, your donation will earn a much needed +50% bonus match (while funds last)!

Palomacy provides vital rescue service, medical care, long term foster homes and adoptions for so many pigeons and doves- locally, nationally and beyond. Your support- as an adopter, a volunteer, a donor- saves  birds' lives. 

Thank you!

Peggy Sue- the pigeon who brought me to Palomacy
Peggy Sue- the pigeon who brought me to Palomacy
Claudette & I (Pigeons are amazing pets)
Claudette & I (Pigeons are amazing pets)
Beloved special lady foster pigeons Louie & Abby
Beloved special lady foster pigeons Louie & Abby

Links:

Vet tech Tania saved Prince from being euthanized
Vet tech Tania saved Prince from being euthanized

Here's just one example of the culture-changing, life-saving difference you are making.

On Saturday, April 23rd I got a frantic call for help. A vet tech named Tania, who loves animals, was desperately searching for someone to help a badly injured baby pigeon. He was barely three weeks old and had somehow survived being attacked by an animal. He was beat up, his beak was broken (top and bottom) and his wounds were infected. She saw the curiosity, liveliness and will to live in his bright eyes and she had stopped the euthanasia process that had been initiated upon his arrival. Everyone she called had said they too would euthanize. But I said we would try to save him. Our motto is that we don't have to start with euthanasia.

Tania knew from the person who had brought him to her at the vet clinic that Prince had been living on the ground at a gas station for at least a week before his rescue. His parents continued to feed him that whole time and somehow, he had survived the attack that had ripped out his tail feathers, hurt his elbow, left him cut and scraped around the neck and head and broken both his lower and upper mandibles. But he needed more help than they could provide.

So Tania drove 30 miles one way to deliver the baby pigeon to me. When she got in her car, the song When Doves Cry was playing on the radio and she so named the little bird Prince in honor of the beloved musician who had died two days before.

When Prince arrived, I could immediately see how full of life he was. He was in a bad way but he didn't act it. He squeaked and begged to be fed like every pigeon child does, despite all his painful injuries. The biggest concerns were fighting the infections (including trich) & trying to save his broken mandibles. A pigeon's beak is so important! They use it to eat, to drink, to preen themselves and their mate, to kiss their mate, to gather and assemble nest materials, to feed their babies, to defend themselves and fight rivals... We have a pigeon fostered in our care, Fleetwood, who came to us missing his upper mandible (lost to a predator attack) who I have handfed every day for more than a year. He is very happy to be alive but I see what a disadvantage his half-beak is for him.

When he first arrived, I wasn't sure if he'd survive but we were lucky and things went really well. I had to tube-feed and medicate little Prince and it was scary. I was terrified I would further damage his fragile and unstable mandibles. Our vet is closed on Sunday and so we were on our own till Monday morning. Holding my breath and opening his fragile beak as carefully as I could, I got his medicines and baby bird formula in and he squeak squeak squeaked for more. He was hungry! The antibiotics started working immediately and his infections began to resolve. He lounged in the sun watching pigeons through the window, preened the feathers that hadn't been yanked out of him when he was attacked, tried to persuade Dolly, another foster pigeon living in the house, to be his mama bird (she declined) and snuggled with me.

Prince is such a vital and charismatic little pigeon! In the car for the hour and fifteen minutes it takes to get to the vet, he busily preened and looked out the window as if he took road trips all the time. Once at the vet's, he won everyone's heart with his courage and charm. It was decided that the best thing we could do for him for now was continue what we were doing... antibiotics, pain management, and lots of careful tube feeding to help him heal and grow. His mandibles were too unstable and surgery too risky. I was relieved to take him back home with me knowing we were on the right track but there was still a very real possibility that he could lose one or both of his mandibles.

Over the next few days, dead tissue and caseous material built up in pockets in his beak creating pressure and threatening his recovery and so that Friday we returned to the vet. Dr. Speer sedated him and was able to clean out a lot of debris while still preserving the delicate bits of tissue that were keeping his mandibles attached. I was as thrilled to bring him back the next day as he was to be back.

In the weeks since, Prince has steadily improved. The swelling and infection in both his elbow and lower mandible disappeared. The little bit of tissue holding his very crooked (nearly torn off) upper mandible healed up and my fear that he would lose it diminished. (A crooked beak is better than none.) He's grown in a whole bunch of new feathers to replace his missing tail and wing feathers and to fill in the many bald spots. His appetite is huge! He came in weighing only 190 grams and now weighs a little more than 300. I tube fed him 30 ccs of baby bird formula (with applesauce and mixed veggies baby food mixed in) three times a day and he learned to supplement that by eating mush (mostly by slurping it up with a lot of tongue action). He's a very eager and messy eater and gets it everywhere! 

I sent Tania frequent updates about Prince and she and her mother came to visit him. As he's healing and growing up, he's started spending time outside in the aviary with the big pigeons. Supervised at first but now he's strong enough to hold his own with the flock. He's been self-feeding lots of mush every day and still being tube fed too. He's a had a few check ins back at our vets and just recently I took Prince to be an ambassador at his first outreach event and he made a lot of new friends for pigeons.

Prince, with his funny face, is a star on our Facebook & Instagram pages and his determination inspires a lot of people. Tania had seen right away that, despite his terrible condition, he wanted to live and she was so right. This little pigeon is full of joy and doesn't let his crooked beak hold him back. On May 29th, Prince taught himself to eat pigeon feed! It isn't easy and he must make multiple attempts to get one seed but he's doing it! (He needs a deep dish of seed and extra time to eat.) Since eating his first seed, he's been completely self-feeding and not only is he maintaining his weight, he has actually gained a couple of grams! 

Prince will never be releasable. He's too tame and his crooked beak would be too great a disadvantage if he was trying to make it on his own as a wild bird. (Surgery to straighten his beak has a high risk of failure and a low chance for success and we don't see a prosthetic helping him.) He will though live a happy and full life as a cherished pet- either indoors or outside in a predator-proof aviary. And Prince wants to live. That is a fact. 

Thank you for helping us to help birds like Prince. We couldn't do it without you.

  

Prince brave at the vet on 4/25
Prince brave at the vet on 4/25
Who is prouder- Dr. Speer or Prince?
Who is prouder- Dr. Speer or Prince?
Prince learns to self-feed mush & loves it!
Prince learns to self-feed mush & loves it!
Prince healing up & enjoying R&R in the aviary
Prince healing up & enjoying R&R in the aviary
Prince & I thank you for helping to save his life!
Prince & I thank you for helping to save his life!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions

Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.PigeonRescue.org
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Young
San Francisco, California United States
$126,276 raised of $160,000 goal
 
2,176 donations
$33,725 to go
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