Guest Post by Julie Zhang
Two days after a September 11 memorial service at UC Berkeley, a student group posted about a “Miss Birdie” who’d shown up in their office and wandered around looking adorable, but also clearly lost and confused. The bird was probably a “release dove” from the memorial service, they’d concluded, but “cage rent” in Berkeley was too high and this bird was going to be homeless.
At the time I was in class, and as a student of course I was torn between the mandatory attendance policy and this beautiful bird. I turned to my friend for help, and he replied: “Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”
Five minutes later, I found this impossibly adorable pidge sitting by himself in a corner.
I hadn’t planned on taking him home at all, until I realized that no one was coming to get him, and local authorities (police and Animal Control) either didn’t care or would euthanize. So I called home thirty minutes away and asked if they’d bring our spare birdcage from years ago. “What for?” they asked. Nothing, Mom, there’s just this bird who’s stranded and I’m taking him home. No, don’t worry, he’s super cute and he’d be homeless if we just left him there!
Another concerned student reached out to me, and told me about Palomacy. I sent a message, and Elizabeth replied immediately and was wonderful with all the advice and support she provided to make sure our nervous new resident was healthy and okay.
Our little pidge was terrified and wouldn’t move from his corner on the first night. The next morning, we woke up to him eating millet… and he didn’t stop all morning (we were getting a little worried, but he was just very hungry after starving for a couple days).
Then he immediately went adventuring the second I turned my back and practiced flying — he was still very weak, and could only fly a few feet at a time.
And so began Pigeo’s great adventure…
(Editor’s Note: You can buy the shirt Pigeo inspired Julie to design in support of Palomacy here.)
Julie is a student at UC Berkeley, primarily studying the pigeon population on campus. She has always been a closeted pigeon lover and has finally realized her dreams.
Editor’s Note: Palomacy is so grateful to Julie for stepping up to rescue dear little Pigeo! He’s a young Homer pigeon, the kind bred to be small and white and used for “wedding dove” releases. They are supposed to get home safely but many do not and, as domestic birds with no place in the wild and no survival skills, their life span, once lost, is usually only hours to days. You can learn about why “dove releases” are cruel here and you can learn about how to care for a rescued pigeon as a pet here.