Holly’s Story- Guest Post by Candy Cross

Holly post-bath by Candy Cross 20141112_134711-2


Holly’s story starts in the home that I share with my husband, three cats and two dogs. My name is Candy and I can honestly say that prior to this event, I had no strong emotions for pigeons…

Charly is our oldest dog, a bishi-poo that we so luckily found at a rescue three years ago. Charly woke us up one night around 2 AM and was acting like he wanted to go out into the back yard which was odd. He typically sleeps though the night and we go out first thing in the morning. Not sure what he wanted, I reluctantly got out of bed to take him. Once outside, he ran over to the side of our house and was looking up to the roof. I shined my flashlight up there and saw nothing and thought, What is he doing? He obviously wasn’t out there to potty so I told him, Come on we are going back to bed.

First thing that morning, just as we always do, I took Charly and Chloe (our six month old puppy) out to the back yard to potty. Again before relieving himself, Charly ran to the side of the house and was looking up to the roof. This time, I looked up to the roof and this is what I see.

White pigeon on the roof

A strange bird on the roof

Not thinking much about it I came back in and told my husband that Charly wanted to go out in the middle of the night to check on a bird that was on our roof. Now, every time I took the dogs out to the backyard, Charly would immediately run to that same area of the house and look up to see if the bird was there and sure enough over the next few days, the bird would be there. I thought this strange because you don’t typically see the same bird in your yard. Then a few days later, I was surprised when I went out to see this.

White homing pigeon dyed pink, obviously lost and weak, trying to hide in a bush

Lost homing pigeon- dyed pink and weak

I thought, What a pretty bird. I had never seen a pink bird. My husband and I were both out taking pictures and we could get fairly close and it didn’t fly away… I was really fascinated by this pretty bird and wondered why it was staying in our yard. We wondered, Did it belong to someone in the neighborhood? I started sending out its picture, asking neighbors and strangers if they knew what type of bird this was. Everyone was amazed at its pink color. Over the next week, I noticed it would leave around noon and I felt kind of sad not knowing if it would come back or not but, sure enough round 5 PM, I would go out and there it was back in our yard. One night it slept on a branch of our Oleander tree. I told my husband that I felt sorry for the bird and that we should bring it inside. My husband laughed at me and told me we were not bringing the bird inside as we have three cats… I started really wondering about this bird and what we could do to keep it safe. (We had noticed a cat snooping around our back yard that didn’t belong to us, our cats are all indoor cats.) Luckily, while searching on line for information about doves and pigeons, as we weren’t sure which this was, I came across your website MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue. I emailed you the picture and asked about the bird, not knowing if I would hear back or not. Almost immediately I received a response from  you, Elizabeth, telling me this was a domestic pigeon that someone had dyed pink, possibly to be released during a wedding, and that we needed to catch this bird ASAP or, lacking survival skills, it would most likely be killed. I rushed home from work that day and told my husband that we needed to catch the bird. He told me, We are not catching the bird. I showed him your email and told him I was going to catch the bird. So out into the back yard I go to see where the bird was and there it was on our brick fence separating us from our neighbor’s back yard. I tried luring her down with some bird feed I had picked up from the grocery store but no, she was not coming down from the fence. So I tried sneaking up on it and it looked up at me and flew into our neighbor’s yard. As I was waiting for it to come back, I received an email from you asking if we had caught the bird yet and I responded not yet but I was trying. I climbed up one of our Oleander trees to peek into the neighbor’s yard to see if it was there and sure enough she was there eating off a bench in the neighbor’s backyard. This made me wonder if it was their bird so I went next door (we didn’t know these neighbors very well) and asked if it was their bird. Kelly, our neighbor, responded No but they had noticed it was hanging around for a couple of weeks so they had bought some bird feed for it. That’s when I realized where it was probably going every afternoon, over to those nice neighbors that had put bird feed out in their back yard. After talking with Kelly, who I got to know so much better than I had before, Rick, my husband called me wondering where I was as it was after dark now and I hadn’t told him I was going next door.

Upon returning home, we went out to our back yard and this is where we found the bird.

Weak white pigeon trying to hide in bushes hide at night

At risk but trying to hide

It appeared to be trying to hide for the night on the fence behind one of the Oleander trees… I then received an email from Janice, a new-to-bird-rescue person  who also lives in Arizona that you referred to us. She said if we could catch the pigeon she would come pick it up on Thursday. I then emailed you a picture of the pigeon on the fence and told you we were unable to reach it and what should we do. I then received a text from Jennifer, another Arizona rescue person who told me she and her husband were ready to drive down from Tucson to help us catch the bird. It was now 8 PM and Tucson is a two hour drive… I told my husband that there were people in Tucson who were willing to drive down that night to help catch this bird. I could not believe the dedication that these people had to helping this bird so I called her as I wanted to talk with her about what to do. I was on the phone with Jennifer when my husband came into the house and informed me he had caught the bird and it was now in Chloe’s old crate.

Rescued homing pigeon resting safely indoors

Safe at last and already looking happier

We were all so relieved that this bird was no longer in danger of being prey to some predator. When I informed my husband that someone would be coming on Thursday to pick up the bird he replied, What if we want to keep it? Something I had been secretly thinking about as I felt some type of connection with this bird that had found our backyard as a safe refuge from whatever had happened prior to it coming to us… I started looking for a larger bird cage as this small one did not seem large enough and luckily I found an ad on Craigslist for a bird cage and a bonus, they would deliver. The next day they delivered the bird cage and I informed Janice that we would like to try fostering the bird to see how it would be having a pet pigeon. We now enjoy providing a safe haven for Holly. (We named her Holly as it was around Halloween that she found us and we are not sure if she is a she or a he but since she is pink, we call her Holly.)

This is Holly enjoying the sunshine in her safe haven, with Charly, the dog that helped save her from predators. Luckily the cage has wheels and we wheel her into the sunshine once the sun comes out and other times she is visible to our family room where our cats and dogs can view her without risk of any harm. We wonder now about how to keep her warm in the winter and cool in the summer, any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much for your guidance and helpfulness with this pretty bird that chose us to care for… I could tell by the way she would look down from the roof that she needed help.


Rick & Candy


Rescued pigeon sunbathing in her new cage with Charly the dog nearby

Holly with her special friend Charly

A note from Elizabeth- Every day selectively inbred domestic pigeons like Holly are exposed to the risks of the wild by hobbyists, racers and “dove release” people. They are gambling with the lives of the innocent birds who have no choice in the matter. Holly was very lucky to survive her time on her own. Many birds do not. Thank you to Candy & Rick for saving this one. (Learn more- Never Buy & Release Birds!)



  1. awesomw job, Candy. I’m so glad it worked out. Our stories are sort of similar and we have three cars, too. Check out my story on this blog: “Woot! there he is.” I am continuously learning about their care.

    • Hi Janice I enjoyed reading your story of Woot very similiar stories. Would you like to come over for coffee sometime? We can talk pigeon :)

      • Thanks, Candy. Just picking this message up now. I’d love to. Let’s make this work after the holidays.

  2. Thank you for helping this bird. Don’t you think she would enjoy another bird for company? I have a male and female roller pigeon who are delightful. Take care and smart dog!

  3. Dear Candy, thank you for staying with this and not turning away from such a poor creature of God, when you so easily could have just ignored the little voice.

    I have six doves, which I keep indoors in large cages. I do know birds don’t like drafts, so when applying heat and cool to them, you must use methods that don’t deliver too strong of air flow. How about a cheap electric radiator, the kind that is on casters and is filled with oil, I think. It can be placed right against the cage and she can move toward and away as she likes. My doves enjoy butting their butts right up against a heat source — scandalously funny!

    I gather you live in AZ. For summer you will need to keep her cool without applying too strong a breeze directly and yet I would imagine also do not let the air err on the side of becoming too still and stifling — nor too cold!

    You need to give her a chance to take baths several times per week. Use s pan from the kitchen and fill it with several inches of quite warm water, as warm as you’d shower in. Let her play until she gets out. She will love stretching out in the water. It’s wonderful to watch.

    As with all domestic birds, and doubly so for a bedraggled one who is now recovering from probably poor nutrition, you need to supply her with grit. If you go to the farm feed store, not a pet store, you can get grit (maybe it’s sort of an oyster shell) that has a harmless coloring added to it. There may be several to choose from. Ask the employees. This grit includes minerals and vitamins. She will always need this in a separate dish.

    You may also consider giving her a simple multivitamin dissolved into water, in a separate dish from her drinking water. Let her have the vitamin water for an afternoon and then throw it out. Do this at least once a week, I’d say. After all, we take vitamins every day.

    Also give banana and surely any other fruit she expresses interest in.

    And how about peanut butter for some fat in her diet?

    She may have worms form her previous life. Ask a vet about de-worming.

    I wish your family the best!
    Brad in CA

    • Thank you Brad for all the great advice. So far we are staying pretty warm in Az….in the 80’s and Holly loves the afternoon baths :)

  4. I have a white rock dove (pigeon) and she is a happy bird.
    Plays with toys more than my other five parrots do. She is very active and entertaining. She stays inside. Best if luck!

  5. WTG, Candy and Rick!! I have two self rescuing pigeons at my house! One found me in the Great Smoky Mountains, the other found Lisa in Nashville who couldn’t keep him. Mickacoo helped Lisa find me since I had another and lived fairly close in Knoxville, TN. Jill, with Mickacoo, was a friend from a Women’s support board on the internet, so I immediately contacted her when Sami showed up at our place in the mountains. I’ve had them almost two years and love them so much. I never knew what quirky funny creatures they are! Oh, and I have 16 cats and 3 dogs!!

    • Hi Kim thank you for your response…we are enjoying Holly…..it is amazing how they find people who care for them such as you. Happy Hollidays to you and your lucky animals:)

  6. Wow, what a wonderful story, Candy! Thank you so much for making this sweet bird’s story one with a VERY happy ending!! Kudos to you and your husband (and Charly!) for opening up your hearts and home to this little bird. She landed on the right roof, that’s for sure. What a lucky pigeon Holly is. ☺

    Brad and the other commenters above gave some GREAT suggestions about issues like companionship, baths (pigeons LOVE the water–our bathe almost daily!), nutrition, and health. The MickaCoo website also has so much great info. on these topics and more. Elizabeth and MickaCoo helped me SO MUCH when we rescued our pigeons and were learning about their needs (like you, I knew nothing about pigeons before rescuing one….it has been fun learning all about them and of course watching and interacting with them every day!). Candy, thank you, again, for your kindness–and all the best to you and Holly! ☺
    ~ Christine in Florida

    • Hi Christine we have discovered that Holly loves bird baths :) We love Mickacoo and Elizabeth has been wonderful to help us take care of Holly…thank you for your response.

  7. Hello. My son came home almost a week ago holding a feral pigeon he found in a school parking lot just sitting there. I think it was in shock. Looked like both eyes were gone and one injured leg. He brought it home thinking it was going to die and wanted the poor thing to die in peace. I agreed with him and we put the bird in a box lined with a couple of old towels and partially closed the top. Next day it was still hanging on. Hardly moved but still alive. As the week has progressed it has grown much stronger. One eye may be good. Don’t think the other is. Limps when he’s on his feet. I have looked for a pigeon club here in town but with no luck. I honesty don’t know what I should do for him. I have indoor and outdoor cats and am afraid even if I had him caged they would scare him half to death trying to get at him through the bars. Am wondering if I should release him or if he would die out there as I am still not sure he can see. Please help! Julie from Corpus Christi, Texas

    • Hi, Julie- Thank you to you & your son for helping this poor pigeon. Don’t release him but do find a pigeon expert in your area to help. Contact Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in NC as they might be able to refer you. And contact Burge Bird Rescue in KC, Missouri as they can help with referrals too. The pigeon won’t be that scared by the cats (as long as he is safely caged and they can’t get him). Pigeons are very smart! Please find a local pigeon expert to help you help him. You can look on Pigeon Talk at http://www.pigeons.biz/forums as another resource to find help. (And check out our Resources page for more info.) Thank you for your compassion. Good luck!


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