Happy Rescued Ringneck Dove

Guest Post by Janie Krag

Introduction by Elizabeth Young, Palomacy Director

This is how the story began. On 5/13, I received this email from Janie:

Stray, domestic Ringneck dove living on borrowed time

Stray, domestic Ringneck dove living on borrowed time

I was just referred to you by the Wildlife Center.

Attached is a photo of a bird, which might be a Eurasian Collar Dove. It has been in my backyard, eating birdseed, for the past week and a half.  It is very tame and allows me to approach to about two feet from it. It seems to spend a lot of time cooing in a nearby tree.

I’ve been worried that it might be someone’s pet, but the Wildlife Center said these are feral birds, even though they can be kept as pets.

It has no band on its legs, that I can see.  I’m also very concerned that it will become an easy meal for the hawks that frequent this area in Los Gatos, or a loose neighborhood cat.
I would like to know what would be best for this dove ~ whether your organization could capture it and give it a safe home as a pet.

Thank you for your help!
Janie Krag

I responded:

Janie- you are right and I’m sorry to say that Wildlife Center is wrong.

This is not a wild Eurasian Collared dove.

It is a domestic Ringneck dove and yes- it needs to be rescued and given a safe home ASAP. (You’re absolutely right- hawks, gulls, ravens, cats, raccoons, rats, dogs, etc. are all threats.)
Please lure him indoors to your home or garage if you can with food… once inside he’ll for sure be catchable.

Or if you can catch him outside, that’s great but be warned that if you miss the first time, it will be much harder after that. (see this article for more info- http://www.pigeonrescue.org/resources/in-case-of-emergency/ it is written about pigeons but all the same applies for doves).

Once he is caught, we could teach you how to care for this clever, self-rescuing dove as a pet. (We’re very full up but will squeeze him in if we have to.)

And please- follow up with the Wildlife Center and fill them in. This is an easy one- this pied coloration is ALWAYS domestic, never wild.

If you really need help catching him, I’ll try to connect you with a volunteer who can try and help.

THANK YOU Janie, for advocating so tenaciously for this poor little dove. He is living on borrowed time and you are saving his life.


The next day, Janie sent this:

Jill arrived with all the rescue gear and I am enormously thankful for her kindness and bird expertise.

Palomacy volunteer Jill brought a kennel and her own pet dove Fava (caged inside) as a lure to bring the stray dove down from the trees

Palomacy volunteer Jill brought a kennel and her own pet dove Fava (caged inside) as a lure to bring the stray dove down from the trees

I sure couldn’t have accomplished this feat on my own!   I am so relieved that this bird has been saved from being hawk, crow, or cat dinner.  It’s amazing that it survived for five days last weekend when I was out of town and unable to provide seed (it had appeared two days before I left town and I didn’t have time to figure out this new twist in my life and I actually thought it was just an albino mourning dove, if such a thing existed, and hoped it would still be in my yard upon my return), plus it somehow wasn’t seen by the frequent hawks and crows flying around my neighborhood. And thank you, Elizabeth, for responding so quickly to my email yesterday.

Jill’s bird, Fava, was the “bait.”


Pet dove Fava caged inside the kennel/trap to serve as a lure

Pet dove Fava caged inside the kennel/trap to serve as a lure

The lost dove is in the large tree.

Dove Rescue Scout 051416 IMG_6686

Scout, my dog, was entertained with our antics. Jill said it’s tradition for the person who initiated the rescue to name the rescued bird, so I named it Scout because my dog was so calm and patient during this entire 3-hour adventure!

Scout Dog Scout Dove Rescue 051416 IMG_6689

Fava enjoyed being outdoors and watching the Titmouse birds eating black sunflower seeds nearby.

Scout Dove Rescue Fava 051416 IMG_6691

We waited for hours as we watched the to-be rescued bird above us and he watched us, while he preened and coo’d.  We even played Ringneck Dove Cooing videos on YouTube, hoping to encourage him to visit Fava!

We couldn’t take photos of the actual rescue (thankfully, Scout was snoozing on the grass) because we were afraid to leave our posts to grab our phones and then scare the dove. Here he is in a plastic container we used for transport.
Scout Dove Rescue 051416 IMG_6695

He was very calm once inside the house. Jill retrieved him from the dog cage and gently held him.  He then posed for photos with Jill, Scout and me. So happy for a happy and safe ending to this story!

Scout the dog, Scout the rescued dove and Jill the heroic Palomacy volunteer!

Scout the dog, Scout the rescued dove and Jill the heroic Palomacy volunteer!

Success!!!  Jill and Fava (her Ringneck dove) captured “Scout” in my backyard in only 3 hours!  We got her bird into a critter trapping cage, put that inside her dog crate, poured birdseed inside, set it on the deck and waited while the lost bird preened, coo’d and watched us (watching him) from the large tree in neighbor’s yard.  Then we decided to move the “bait” bird and cage to the lawn so he could see it better, and Jill was super creative as she attached string to the cage door in hopes of being able to pull it shut once lost bird inside.  After 3 hours he finally flew down to my deck and displayed to sign of walking over to the lawn, so we tiptoed the cage back to the deck where he was near the bird baths.  Since the lost bird is real tame and used to my presence, he didn’t care that we were within 3 feet of him.  We placed the “bait” cage where it had been previously located and made a trail of seed leading to the open cage door. Jill relocated to the other side of the deck with the end of the string while I stood six feet from the cage, waiting.  This bird is very curious and spent about 15 minutes walking around the cage, checking it out. Finally he hopped inside, eating the birdseed. In a couple minutes he got to the end of cage and then Jill discovered that the stringed door wouldn’t move, so I stealthly tiptoed over to the door and closed it. The newly christened bird, Scout, fluttered a bit but was easy to transfer to a smaller plastic container (after we punched holes it the top) after taking celebratory photos of the new Scout, and my dog Scout who waited so patiently with us on the lawn!

Thank you to all who contribute their time to this wonderful organization!
Scout joins our flock of rescued Ringneck doves fostered at Andy's Rescue pet Shop

Scout (shown here with Azuki & Kozmo) joins our flock of rescued Ringneck doves fostered at Andy’s Rescue pet Shop

Scout is available for adoption through Palomacy

Scout is available for adoption through Palomacy

We need more volunteers to help with all the requests we get for rescue, coaching & support. Please join us! Learn more about volunteering for Palomacy here.



  1. Wonderful rescue story, and I’m impressed with the uninitiated woman who was so lovingly concerned about the dove. I have a pair of rescues doves, and just adore them. They are the most beautiful, gentle birds, and I love the sounds they make. Their names are Lovey-Dovey and Sweetie-Pie. I wish I would have learned what wonderful pets they are when I was younger, so I could have enjoyed them for more years of my life.

  2. What an adventure and how wonderful for such caring people to have found Scout. :)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: