Pigeon Self-Rescues Through the Cat Door

Polka Dot the self-rescuing racer

Polka Dot the self-rescuing racer

Last October, an exhausted racing pigeon limped into Laurie’s kitchen through her cat door. Laurie was quite surprised to find him there. But Laurie is an animal lover who rescues cats and has volunteered with wildlife rescue and she knew that this brave little bird needed help. She delivered him to WildCare (who kindly took him in despite his being domestic) but fretted knowing that once he healed up, if not claimed, he’d be transferred to a shelter and perhaps killed for lack of an adopter. Coincidentally, Laurie had just met Linda, one of MickaCoo’s volunteers, and the flock that she fosters in her beautiful backyard aviary. Laurie reached out to Linda and Linda put Laurie and I in touch.

Of course, MickaCoo was full with a waiting list so taking Laurie’s self-rescuing pigeon into our care wouldn’t be easy but I gladly talked with Laurie about how she could provide a home for the racer when he was ready to leave WildCare.

By mid-November, the self-rescuing racer was doing well and Laurie had decided that she just might want to create an aviary for him. I had the pleasure of doing a home visit with her in December. I brought along rescued King Pigeon Olivia to assist and we talked about all kinds of lovely aviary possibilities that could be created.

Laurie Meets Olivia

Laurie Meets Olivia

Gary & Olivia making friends

Gary & Olivia making friends

Gary & Laurie in the spot that will become Polka Dot's aviary

Gary & Laurie in the spot that will become Polka Dot’s aviary

As things often do, it took a little longer than planned but by January 30th, Laurie’s beautiful new aviary was ready and she went to WildCare to pick up not only her self-rescuing racer, but also a little Birmingham Roller that had bonded with him through their cage bars. She named them Polka Dot and Pansy.

I was there to help introduce them to their new home (!!!) and it was an amazing afternoon. Polka Dot, the racer, is male and Pansy, the roller, is female and they were married within their first hour together in their incredible new aviary.


A beautiful, safe home


Polka Dot & Pansy fell in love while healing at WildCare

Pansy, rescued thanks to Polka Dot

Pansy, rescued thanks to Polka Dot

I call it the Aviary that Polka Dot Built. Not only did he rescue himself by walking into exactly the right cat door, but he also rescued Pansy! And his amazing feats continue! On April 13th, Laurie spent her first day as a MickaCoo volunteer doing Pigeon Diplomacy with Jill at the Berkeley Bay Festival.


Shadow showing off her Pigeon Diplomacy


Laurie is a natural Pigeon Ambassador

And Laurie is an award-winning artisanal perfumer and the owner of Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery. She’s writing about Polka Dot and pigeon rescue in her blog!

Laurie's story

Laurie’s story

And she is donating a Custom Perfumery Experience to benefit MickaCoo (more details to come soon)!

Custom Perfume Adventure

Custom Perfume Adventure

AND Laurie has opened her heart and home to foster two of MickaCoo’s pigeons, Lulu & Ed, in her beautiful patio aviary!

Foster pigeons Ed & Lulu

Foster pigeons Ed & Lulu

The good life

The good life

Jill & Laurie- MickaCoo friendships flourish

Jill & Laurie- MickaCoo friendships flourish

Self-rescuing pigeon Polka Dot is what we call a SUPER Bird! He makes me smile just thinking about him. And he has a perfect view of that fateful cat door and his beloved Laurie from his aviary. I think that makes him smile.

SUPER Polka Dot!

SUPER Polka Dot!

Laurie (with Olivia) at the cat door

Laurie (with Olivia) at the cat door

Thank you Polka Dot & Laurie! MickaCoo is so lucky to have you in the family.

Readers- please help support MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue: Donate, Shop, Sponsor a bird.



  1. the goood news keeps coming – i didn’t know you were fostering too, now, Laurie! That is great. excuse mistakes as typing on strange computer from vacation in Israel. Love, Linda

  2. very nice story!

  3. Absolutely wonderful all around.

  4. Great story, Elizabeth! I just love and adore these pigeons, not to mention all of the most fun and wonderful new friends I have made curtesy of them! We even stayed in Mendocino the last few days through a connection of Polka Dot! What fun they are up to! Thanks to everyone that helped us in this new chapter~ Elizabeth, Jill, and Linda and Wildcare!

    What you are doing, Elizabeth is so important, these sweet animals make great pets and more!

  5. This is such a heartwarming story – I love when people will take care of animals in need. If there were an animal rescue around here, I would be more than happy to volunteer.

  6. Absolutely brilliant! What we can strive for with each animal we rescue.

  7. How do I encourage a pigeon to leave? It showed up yesterday to take a drink from my dog’s water bucket and decided to stay. It spent the night on top of my patio. It seemed very tame as we could get very close to it but it tried to peck our hands if we got too close. I have not given it anything to eat. I am worried about it getting picked off by owls or hawks. It does not seem to be injured in any way and I don’t want to take it to the animal shelter as they would PTS. I live in Livermore (SF East Bay Area).

  8. Hello, Dayna-

    Thank you for your inquiry about the pigeon who is seeking your help. It’s likely starved and possibly injured. If you feed him (any bird seed will help), he may be able to recover enough strength to continue his effort to get home. Or he may stay around until, as you say, a predator kills him.

    If possible, please catch him (you can contain him in a pet crate). He can’t hurt you and, if he’s indoors in a pet crate, he’ll be safe. Here’s a link to more info about how to help a pigeon in trouble- http://www.pigeonrescue.org/resources/in-case-of-emergency/

    The animal shelters that will help pigeons are Hayward Animal Care, Tri County, Berkeley Animal Care, Peninsula Humane Society, Marin Humane Society and SF Animal Care. We are too full with more than 100 rescued pigeons & doves in our foster care and so unable to take this bird but here are other resources that might be able to help

    Pigeon Talk at http://www.pigeons.biz/forums
    Pigeon Chat http://www.pigeonchat.net
    Pigeon Angels http://pij-n-angels.forumotion.net
    Petango http://www.petango.com/Forms/Search.aspx

    Please write back and let me know what happens. It’s so hard to not be able to help each one of these dear birds.

  9. Love pigeons I will be open a dove release company using white racing homers soon

    • Hello, Andge- If you love pigeons, please reconsider exploiting them this way. We do our best to rescue as many of the lost and injured “released” and raced pigeons that we can but we can’t keep up. By opening a “dove release” business, you are contributing to the problems that we are all working so hard to address. Please- if you love pigeons, create a pigeon rescue instead. You can see just a brief introduction to some of the problems “dove releases” contribute to here. Never “release” domestic birds!

  10. Hi on looking for baby pigeons.
    I live in Tarzana and I’m graduating next week!!!!!

    • Hi, Tawny- Congratulations on your upcoming graduation. Regarding baby pigeons, caring for them requires a 15+ year commitment. Please- get involved in pigeon rescue and rehab first. Learn about what all it takes to care for pigeons. They are not something to take responsibility for without a lot of resources and stability in place. There are several pigeon rescuers in the Southern California area and they always need help. Visit Pigeon Talk at http://www.pigeons.biz/forums to find a pigeon-rescuer in your area.


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