Seeing the Beauty

Natalia & Snezhok photographed by Elisabeth Millay

Natalia & Snezhok photographed by Elisabeth Millay

Please vote for us in GlobalGiving’s 2015 Photo Contest!

When Natalia saw the nervous, hungry white pigeon looking so lost on a busy San Francisco sidewalk, she knew that the bird needed help. It wasn’t until after the fact that she learned the King Pigeon she rescued and named Snezhok (snowball in Russian), was only four weeks old, a survivor of both the squab industry and an inhumane “release” and completely unable to survive in the wild.

Domestic and defenseless, Snezhok was incredibly lucky to be rescued into a loving family and given a home. Natalia writes, “Snezhok has the most loyal but at the same time independent spirit. Surprisingly for a bird, who has no means of defense and does not fly very well, she is not afraid of anything and faces challenges fearlessly: from the streets of San Francisco, where we found her abandoned and starved but her spirit still unbroken – to living with humans and adjusting to other pets.”

We created Palomacy to help birds like Snezhok and people like Natalia. There was a deadly gap in the animal welfare community so, while domestic (unreleasable) pigeons were going in to animal shelters, they weren’t getting out.

The shelters didn’t know who these birds were, they didn’t post them to their websites nor include them in events. People didn’t know they existed and they didn’t get adopted. Yet all the other animals had at least some hope of getting adopted or rescued. Just not the pigeons. Strange.

Pigeons are among the most commonplace of animals in our lives. Our cities have flocks of wild Rock Pigeons. There are countless pigeon breeders, hobbyists, fanciers and squab producers hatching millions of domestic pigeons in the US alone every year. Plenty of people are seeing pigeons but somehow they aren’t really seeing pigeons.

But those of us who have seen the beauty, the intelligence, the soulfulness of these earthbound angels, we know they deserve compassion.

And so, we are super excited to have not only Natalia & Snezhok’s photo by Elisabeth Millay Young selected as a semi-finalist in GlobalGiving’s 2015 Photo Contest, but also a portrait of pigeon-racing survivor Indy as well! This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to show who pigeons really are.

Pigeon-racing survivor Indy, photographed by Kira Stackhouse, is an incredibly gentle, sweet bird. As a racing pigeon, he was bred to be a “champion”, taken hundreds of miles from his home and “tossed” with thousands of other pigeons to begin the desperate “race” to find his way back home. Despite flying their hearts out, most never do. Indy was lucky in that, when he was grounded with both a broken wing and broken leg, he was found by a well-meaning person rather than a hungry predator, but he wasn’t out of danger. He was kept unprotected in a backyard, given no vet care and he likely would have died there if he hadn’t been rescued by Palomacy. Now he has a happy life ahead of him.

Rescued Pigeon Racing Survivor Indy photographed by Kira Stackhouse

Rescued Pigeon Racing Survivor Indy photographed by Kira Stackhouse

Please vote for your favorite photo (shot pro bono by professional photographers who support our work) and invite all your friends to vote for us in the GlobalGiving Photo Contest! First prize is $1000 for the rescue! Voting starts Monday, August 3rd at 9 AM PT and the photo with the most votes this Friday at 9 AM PT will win $1000. (Only your first vote will count and email confirmation is required.)

Please help people to see who pigeons really are. Pigeons are worthy of our compassion.

Thank you for all of your support!

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