Palomacy is pigeon diplomacy.
When we started doing this rescue work in 2007, it was because there was a strange and deadly gap in the animal welfare network. Shelters got in domestic (unreleasable) pigeons every week but, instead of providing them with the care and service that all the other shelter animals received, they were for the most part ignored until they were euthanized. Even in the best shelters, even in the ultra animal-friendly San Francisco Bay Area.
Pigeons in shelters need homes too
If they had any injury or illness, no matter how minor, they were euthanized rather than given vet care.
While other animals were named and photographed and promoted on the adopt-a-pet websites, the pigeons were not. No one even knew they were in need of homes and not surprisingly, they didn’t get adopted.
And while all the other animals brought to the shelters- the dogs and cats, rabbits and parrots, rodents and reptiles, wildlife and farmed animals- had at least one rescue dedicated to trying to save them, the pigeons did not.
This gap is especially strange when you consider not only how closely connected humans and pigeons have been throughout our history but how common they are. Humans have been breeding and using pigeons, as meat and messengers, for sport, hobby and ceremony, for thousands of years. Pigeons were the first domesticated bird.
First century BCE Mosaic of Scene with Egyptian Columbarium for Breeding Pigeons, Photo from Biblical Archaeology Review
Right here in the Bay Area, there are lots of pigeon racing clubs, fanciers and hobbyists breeding thousands of domestic birds they fly the wild skies every year. But no one was rescuing the pigeons who predictably get lost or injured yet lucky enough to make it to a shelter.
And all of this is made even more surprising by how smart, gentle, charming and wonderful pigeons are as companions. They are easy to help! They don’t bite. They’re not destructive. They’re quiet and calm and make wonderful pets. They are domestic and unable to live in the wild.
When we started rescuing and rehoming these domestic pigeons and doves, we had to begin bridging this strange and fatal gap. We had to do something that wasn’t being done. We have a name for this work we do: We call it palomacy.
Susan Gilbert & her adopted pet Little Cloud making new friends for pigeons. Photo by Megan Wolfe
We believe that everyone deserves compassion, everyone deserves a chance. We advocate for pigeons and doves- all of them- wild, feral and domestic- every day of the year. We know that pigeons are a gateway to compassion. While most of the thousands of people we meet may never see another domestic pigeon, all will encounter the feral Rock Pigeons who are somehow able to live their gentle lives on our mean streets. We speak up for those birds, we debunk the myths, we inspire compassion. Pigeons don’t spread disease. Petting a dog or cat or eating meat are greater risks to your health than pigeons are. Those pigeons foraging for crumbs on our sidewalks are highly intelligent; they remember and recognize faces; they mate for life; they can fly 55 mph. They deserve compassion- as we all do.
Domestic Blanco & unreleasable feral Bean had an amazing romance
Palomacy is pigeon diplomacy. And while our name is changing from MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue to Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions, our mission stays the same. We save homeless domestic pigeons and doves in the San Francisco Bay Area from being killed. We provide guidance, referrals, education, foster care, avian vet treatment and adoption services. Thanks to the support of our many volunteers, donors and partners, we have saved the lives of more than 600 birds since we began in 2007 and helped countless others.
To learn more about Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions, please visit our About page.
See the video announcing our new name.
Thank you for all of your support and compassion. We are looking forward to helping many more birds and the people who love them in the coming year.
Elizabeth Young, founder & director Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions