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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!)