Save Domestic Pigeons and Doves From Euthanasia

by Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions
Vetted
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:

Now that she is getting love, River is healing
Now that she is getting love, River is healing

Thanks to your support, when River had no place else to go, we were here for her.

On January 17th, 2016, River came to us named Crippled God. She was a wild pigeon who had been rescued a year before in a Berkeley parking lot where it is thought she had been clipped by a car as she flew by. She had lost a foot and control of her legs. In the early days after her initial rescue, her legs would hang down straight rather than tuck up under her in the proper position when she tried to fly. She couldn't stand, sit or walk and she was terrified. In her panics, she thrashed her feathers and eventually couldn't fly anymore either.

Usually injured or disabled pigeons adjust incredibly well to their new circumstances but River had not. Though she was kept in a safe setting with happy rescued birds around her and all her physical needs met, she never relaxed. She huddled by herself in a corner, sometimes staying all day with her head hidden in her blanket. Because she was so terribly frightened, she was left alone.

I've cared for other stressed and scared birds before but never one like this. Even when she was perfectly safe, she was always on the verge of panic.  She was more disabled by her anxiety than by her physical limitations. I thought of her as a PTSD patient.

I rarely change the names of the birds we take in but I needed a way to begin to connect with her and the name Crippled God felt more like a barrier than an entry way. I renamed her River and hoped it would help her find her resilience, her strength and flow.

Though River didn't invite it, I knew she needed friendship. She had been alone in a crowd for a year, with no close connection or bond with anyone. Pigeons are incredibly emotional and loving birds. They hatch as twins and snuggle constantly with their sibling and then, when fledged and sexually mature a couple of months later, mate for life. (Please see Shimmy & Dallas- A Pigeon Love Story for more on the importance of love to pigeons.) I hated scaring her when I picked her up to be held and soothed but she desperately needed a social and emotional connection. She needed to know that she was safe and loved. (She'd already been left alone with other special needs birds for a year and that hadn't worked.) Once in my hands, she'd gradually relax just a little. She'd flinch at any sound or movement but then relax a little again. If I set her down on the rug, she would scuttle wing walking as fast as she could towards any possible hiding place. She was afraid of open spaces- she had PTSD and agoraphobia too.

We made slow progress though and I was thrilled when she would eat safflower seeds out of my hand. She didn't trust me and she ate them super fast and furtively, but it was a big step forward for us. I knew we were heading in the right direction.

I kept River's life very routine and sheltered for the first couple of weeks. Seeing how everything terrified her, I held off going to the vet or to see our most expert pigeon whisperers, volunteers who are exceptionally good at connecting with birds. River spent her days in her cage in the special needs bird room. She was more comfortable and didn't hide as long as she was in her space. Every evening, I'd hold her close, rub her ears, scritch her feathers and feed her safflower seed treats. It was very therapeutic for both of us.

On January 31st, I took River outside for a visit to my aviary. I wondered if she might feel better outdoors. If she did, it was negated by her agitation at not being able to stand, hop or walk. She was very awkward and that made her nervous. I put her in a nice, soft patch of grass and she felt better sitting there, mostly hidden, while I worked close by, protecting her from overcurious pigeons.

By mid-February, I moved River into a bigger cage that provided more choices for where she could spend her time. Her posture was better- more consistently normal, less tipped and awkward. I was always happy when I would check on her and find her using a different bumper to lean on or sitting in the sun looking out the window or self-sequestered in her nest box hideaway.

We kept up our routine and River was gradually becoming less fearful and more content. She still couldn't stand or walk but sometimes she would hold my finger with her little foot while we sat together in the evening. And melt my heart.

On February 25th, I checked on River in the morning and was happy to see her sitting in a new spot in her cage. When I checked on her a couple hours later, I was stricken to discover that she was there because the poor dear had gotten her wing stuck between the horizontal bars. She had badly bruised and abraded her wing, both on top and underneath, trying unsuccessfully to untangle herself.

I got her out and soothed her and expected a big set back but for that day she seemed fine. The next morning though, I found her burrowed into the folds of her fleece. She hid in there the whole day.

On February 27th, I drove her to see our vets at Medical Center for Birds in Oakley. It was there that I could see, even after the terrible setback of getting stuck and hurting her wing, how much progress she had made, how much of her natural self-confidence was starting to come back. She did great! She was, as pigeon rescuer Dan says, "Getting her bird back".

The doctors prescribed Meloxicam for her bruised and swollen wing. They could find nothing that would explain why River can't stand on one leg as pigeons missing a foot typically do. The problem seems to be more in her head than in her body. Her asymmetry throws off her balance which upsets her, which escalates into panic. Now that she is less terrified, it seems that her functionality can improve. And the doctors think that she may be a candidate for a 3-D printed prosthetic foot! (This possibility is being explored.)

From Medical Center for Birds, we went to River's new foster home with Palomacy volunteer Jill where I knew she could more fully recover. And River is becoming a new bird. She's already made huge progress since she arrived! Jill is truly gifted in her ability to soothe and comfort and connect with birds (maybe everybody). River fell in love with Jill within minutes of being taken into her loving hands.

Here's a short video of River on March 3rd, feeling so much peace and calm and love with Jill. River needs this emotional healing to facilitate her physical healing. Love is strong. 

Please mark your calendar- next Wednesday, March 16th, donations made to Palomacy via GlobalGiving will earn a bonus match. Learn more here.

Thank you for helping River and all the other birds like her.

      

River
River's leg injuries completely incapacitated her
Shy River watched the flock from her hideaway
Shy River watched the flock from her hideaway
River self-soothed by hiding in her blanket
River self-soothed by hiding in her blanket
Jill helps River with her standing therapy
Jill helps River with her standing therapy
Jill
Jill's loving care is healing & transforming River

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
2016 Year End Campaign
Time left to give
$125,144 raised of $160,000 goal
 
2,123 donations
$34,857 to go
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