A Home Fit for a King: A Guest Post by Donut & Mia Skillern

Donut, 5/20/14

Donut, 5/20/14

Donut- age 3 months, as told to Mia,

Hi! I’m Donut, a young King pigeon. I was bred to be meat (squab) and when I was barely a month old, I was plucked from my life with my parents and sibling and sold at a live food market. I was dyed pink and used in a ceremony where doves are released as a “prayer to God.” Little do people know, often the white “doves” they think they are releasing are actually helpless baby King pigeons like me.

I guess you could call me a ‘glazed’ donut. I have a distinct pink streak that runs down my left side from my wing to my tail. I think that I was dyed to match the dresses worn during the ceremony. Anyways, because I was just four weeks old and because I am a domestic bird, I couldn’t fend for myself—at times I was nearly run over by cars. Luckily, I was found wandering around the intersection of Columbus and Broadway in San Francisco (near the park where I was released) by a kind person who brought me to San Francisco Animal Care & Control (SFACC). There, I was kept in a back room with three other baby pigeons. We were not in adoptable condition. We were underweight and we had respiratory infections. On May 20, Elizabeth Young, Founder of MickaCoo, rescued us. All of MickaCoo’s foster homes were full up with other birds, so she called a newly ready foster family. They said Yes and the next day, she brought us to the Skillerns’ backyard aviary. I enjoyed all the space and being with the other baby pigeons and the sunshine outdoors, but I didn’t like being handled and given my daily medicine (I prefer birds to people). Being the oldest and largest in the group, I was naturally the boss bird. For a while, life was good! But tragically, despite lots of special care from our foster family and the avian vets, my pigeon friends, Truffles, Speckles and Fluffball, died, too sick for their compromised immune systems to cope. Then I was alone again, but just for a few days. My family brought home a mated pair of pigeons, Homer-King cross Darius and his mate Harper, a gentle little Homer, to keep me company. They’re both older than me, so I’m no longer the king of the aviary. Yet, I am a pigeon full of liveliness and spunk and I know that I am lucky to be alive!

Mia & Donut

Mia & Donut

Young Mia cradling rescued King pigeon Donut

Donut & Mia

Mia Skillern- age 11 years, writes,

I first heard of King pigeons when I started volunteering for MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue. These sweet, beautiful birds are raised for meat and killed and butchered at four weeks old. Sometimes, a sympathetic person will set some babies free, expecting they can thrive on the streets like the feral pigeons they see. Unfortunately, these domestic birds have no chance of survival. They can barely fly, self-feed or evade predators. Most of them will become meals for cats, dogs, hawks, ravens and seagulls. Some of them are even killed by cars and mean people. Occasionally, ‘lucky’ pigeons will survive long enough to make it to the animal shelter. Even there, though, unless rescued, the baby pigeons are more likely to be euthanized than get out alive. MickaCoo rescues and finds forever homes for these wonderful birds. I give lots of thanks to MickaCoo volunteers and the vets at Medical Center for Birds and all the other people who helped Donut live to tell his tale.

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