Becoming Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions has been an awesome experience. We hatched in 2007 nestled under the loving wings of Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue and we will always cherish our first years as MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue (and we’ll always be MickaCoogars!) but it has been invigorating to transition from our accidental (and very reluctant) past into a new and chosen future. One of the fun discoveries I’ve had is how nice it is to see others dressed for (pigeon) success in our Palomacy shirts!
Compassion is beautiful!
A cool company called BonfireFunds that helps nonprofits sell shirts and raise funds is handling the production and distribution for us and we have been having a great time with our Palomacy shirt campaigns! Our first launch lasted for 2 weeks. We blew through our minimum goal of 50 shirts to sell 108 and we raised $1106 for bird rescue!
Then, by popular demand, we’ve re-launched with a second and now a third shirt sale campaign! We’ve sold 36 more shirts and raised an additional $335 so far!
Right now, you’ve got only two more days to order your Palomacy shirts (there are five styles to choose from). This sale ends Saturday, Feb 28th at 9 PM PST. So don’t wait! Order your Palomacy shirts right now. You’ll be helping the birds and looking great while you do it!
Palomacy shirts- what everbirdy cool is wearing
If you’d like to know more about how BonfireFunds works, I’d be happy to tell you about our experience. I highly recommend them as a way to raise awareness and funds for your cause while also rewarding your supporters with a great shirt. Their customer service has been excellent, the shirts are great and their prices competitive. We are earning an average of $7 for each shirt sold. There’s also a referral program so if you want to do this and use our referral code, we’ll earn an extra $100. (But I’d recommend them even without that incentive.) For more info, contact Elizabeth.
Elizabeth & Hester say Hi!
Check out Commander Holly’s Help a Birb, Buy a Shirt video!
Ajax, a dark-eyed King pigeon beauty with stunning black, white and grey plumage, has come a long way. She was found, at only 4 weeks old, near death in Alameda, CA in early November. Thankfully, she was rescued by Debbie, a kind person who took her home and nursed her back to life. When Debbie reached out to us for help, we were too full to take Ajax into our program but we coached Debbie on how to care for her. Debbie, though she had never intended to take on responsibility for a pigeon, did an awesome job and Ajax has flourished in her care.
Debbie, though unable to offer Ajax a forever home, has gone above and beyond to ensure that, while in her care, Ajax has a great life. She purchased and enlarged a fantastic Doc Woody aviary to be Ajax’s house, she provides daily out-of-cage time and then, so Ajax wouldn’t be lonely, she took on another pigeon to foster- King/Carneau cross Theo who, after more than three months at SFACC, needed to be rescued.
Debbie & Ajax met bachelor Jax at SFACC too
Theo, one month older than Ajax, was also found at the age of only 4 weeks old. He too was lotto-winning-lucky to have been found by a nice person before a hungry predator ate him. Theo loved Ajax right away and courted her in all his best young man pigeon ways.
Theo says, Hey there pretty lady!
Hey, what’s your name?
Ajax & Theo having bath time fun
Now Ajax & Theo are bonded, healthy, strong young adults. They are bi-cultural (pigeon & human) and will make an ideal pair of pigeon pets. They have each other and they have an awesome house, but they need a home! (Note- Theo’s feathers went from lots of brown to mostly white when he molted but he still has the striking golden eyes characteristic of Carneau pigeons.)
Childhood sweethearts Ajax & Theo
One of the biggest challenges to adopting pigeons is providing the right housing. Most bird cages are either too small for the birds or too big for the people. Many “coops” sold for chickens and rabbits aren’t safe for use outside without modifications to make them rodent & predator-proof. But Ajax & Theo come with their own awesome home! It is a very attractive mini-aviary suitable for use indoors or outside. (Note- They need safe out of cage time for exercise and enrichment but that’s easy to provide, especially with pigeon pants). It’s 3′ x 4′ x 5′ and an ideal enclosure for a pair of pet pigeons. Debbie will include this great aviary and its furnishings at no charge provided Ajax & Theo’s adopters make a donation to Palomacy (which in turn help us to keep helping the birds!).
Ajax & Theo’s awesome house
As much as Debbie would love to keep Ajax & Theo forever, she can’t. They need a home. But, thanks to her incredible devotion to these lucky foundlings, they have everything they need… except you. This is a fantastic opportunity for those of you who have wanted to have pet pigeons but were daunted by the housing challenge. (We love this aviary so much that we are hoping Debbie will help us to craft another and include a How To video and instructions.)
Pigeons make awesome pets! You can read more about life with pet pigeons here and you can apply to adopt here.
Ajax & Theo look forward to filling your life with the special happiness that only pet pigeons bring.
I am so happy to tell you that we are the proud recipients of a $10,000 grant from the craigslist Charitable Fund!
This grant helps us so much! Every month, despite the generous support of our donors and our extreme frugality, we teeter on the edge of being in the red. Every bird we help requires a tremendous leap of faith because we never have money in the bank… we struggle with financial insecurity as a constant threat to the work that we do.
And we are doing very important work! We are the only rescue in Northern California dedicated to helping domestic pigeons and doves. We may be the only one in the country! The work that we are doing is so unprecedented that we had to create a new word for it- palomacy.
We struggle every day to keep up with all that needs doing. We care for 100 pigeons and doves in our foster homes; we respond to the constant requests to help at-risk birds in shelters and found as strays; we counsel people with birds on how to care for them, keep them, do right by them… We work to promote awareness about homeless birds; to develop and coordinate adoptions; to provide humane education about these most common and yet completely misunderstood birds; to inspire compassion. And, while doing all of that, we have to fundraise too.
I asked Craig for a few words about why he chooses to support Palomacy so generously and he said, “I’d like to say that I love pigeons and doves, they’re plucky survivors, and after all, they’re God’s creatures. Plus, they dance well, and help feed our hawks…. and I need some way to be a little eccentric.”
So a grant like this- our largest ever – is extremely wonderful news! One of our volunteers asked what if any special plans I had for this grant. I said, Yes, I plan to exhale!
You can see more about Craig’s support for our work here.
On Friday, January 30th, animal lover and Palomacy supporter Charlene found a dove grounded and helpless in the gutter. His panic at being handled and the flocks of feral Ringnecks living wild in the area suggest he was living free rather than anyone’s pet. That evening his cocked head turned into full blown torticollis (a neurological movement disorder characterized by a twisted neck) that frightened Charlene who rushed him to me. (We are overfull and I was trying to find an alternate placement but accepted him when his condition turned critical.)
Charlene rescued Jimmy
He has a scrape on his chest and another on his head from some violent impact (no punctures found). I started him on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory.
Jimmy Friday night
There are many potential causes of torticollis including brain trauma, poisoning, spinal damage, vitamin deficiency, viruses, bacterial infection, tumors, etc. but in Jimmy’s case, I think he is suffering from brain trauma that has been exacerbated by a stroke.
He was in better condition on Saturday, January 31st, able to self-feed and with mostly normal posture. Sunday, February 1st was good too.
On Monday, February 2, his condition took a sharp turn for the worse. I think maybe a blood clot broke loose and caused a stroke.
He had a bad day on Tuesday, February 3 and another on Wednesday. He couldn’t stand properly and didn’t even try to self-feed. He spooked frequently. I supported him with tube-feeding. He fears handling and struggled pathetically, unable to control his body movements.
Wednesday night, for the first time, it occurred to me that the only mercy I might be able to offer Jimmy could turn out to be euthanasia. He was fearful, panic-prone, inconsolable, helpless, unable to eat. While Bell, another dove with severe neurological problems, finds joy every day, Jimmy appeared to me to be suffering. We have rescued more than 600 birds and only euthanized four. It is, to me, truly a last resort, saved for when a bird has no hope for improvement or relief. We have cared for many very seriously compromised birds- we prioritize helping those most ill and injured. Some have made incredible recoveries. Some have died in our or our vets’ care. If we can keep a bird comfortable, we provide hospice rather than euthanasia but, in the rare case we cannot comfort or ease the suffering of a bird, we have them euthanized. (See the story of Joy’s Death.)
On Thursday, February 5th, Jimmy resumed trying to self-feed- a sign that perhaps there was hope for him.
Friday, February 6th
Today is Monday, February 9th. Jimmy’s condition seems worse because, over the past couple of days, he makes pretty much no effort to self-feed. But today, for the first time in a while, he can stand (though his head rests on the floor of his crate) and so perhaps that is an improvement… He seems less panicky but I’m not sure if that is because my efforts to soothe and reassure him are working or if it is a sign of increasing weakness. He seems to be coping for the moment and if he wants time, I’ll gladly give that to him.
We’re seeing the doctors at Medical Center for Birds tomorrow. On the positive side, his GI system is working great and so far his respiratory system remains healthy (always a worry with a neurologically impaired, sedentary and/or tube-fed bird). We’re taking things one day at a time and I’m doing my best to keep him as comfortable as I can. We have seen amazing recoveries… I’m not yet sure what the future holds for Jimmy. Just know that he is loved.
Bundled safe while I fix his breakfast
My pet dove Lily checks our patient
UPDATE February 11, 2015
Jimmy’s condition started to slip on the evening of Monday 2/9.
Monday Evening 2/9/15
By morning, his digestion was slow, his breathing starting to labor and his unblinking eyes were losing moistness. Late morning, he vomited and I knew he wasn’t going to recover.
Tuesday Morning 2/10/15
We had a 2:30 appointment for him in Oakley at Medical Center for Birds that day but by 12:30, it was clear that he was uncomfortable and needed immediate relief. I dropped everything and rushed him to All Pets Hospital where he was euthanized. It is very difficult sometimes to know when death will be the greatest kindness. I never want to quit on a bird too early but they suffer if you wait too long. I wish I had the ability to euthanize at home. Jimmy’s last hour was one too many.
People from all over the world expressed their support for him on our Facebook page. He was loved. He is missed.
Please make a donation in support of our work if you can. Palomacy is the only rescue devoted to helping domestic (unreleasable) pigeons and doves in Northern California.
When I first found Aubrey, she was shivering, hungry and scared, trapped by some neighbors beneath a laundry basket. It was a warm Wednesday evening in Downtown Los Angeles and my roommate and I were on our way to pick up a few groceries at the store below our apartment complex when we came across them all in the hallway. When I asked them what was going on they told me that the bird had been hopping around up and down the hallway all day and nobody knew where it came from. From the way it allowed them to approach it and the band around its ankle they assumed it was domestic and caught it in hopes of contacting its owner. With that, my neighbors lost their inclination to help and went on with their evenings. Seeing how helpless the bird looked, I knew I couldn’t leave her in the hallway to starve so I scooped her up and took her home to my apartment, naming her Aubrey. After speaking to several animal rescues and doing a little online research, I knew Aubrey’s options were limited and I decided to adopt my first ever pigeon.
My three roommates were less than thrilled at the idea of keeping a pigeon inside the apartment at first, even a little grossed out. All of them had previously come from large cities, like Chicago, and considered them dirty. However, After living with Aubrey for a few days, one by one they began to fall for her charm. We let Aubrey have free reign of the living room and kitchen area during the day as there was usually always someone home to keep an eye on her. She quickly adapted to the rules of the house and even found a favorite lamp to perch on next to the window where she could enjoy her 8th floor view. For the next several months, Aubrey enjoyed her days looking at her reflection in mirrors, preening her feathers, bathing, and snacking on seeds. I quickly grew very attached to Aubrey and slowly gained her trust and affection.
Unfortunately, that January we were all to start our first semester at USC and I knew i would now be able to dedicate as much time to Aubrey as she needed. Thankfully, my family agreed to take care of Aubrey while I’m busy with school and even suggested adopting a second pigeon as a mate to keep her from getting lonely. After emailing back and forth with Elizabeth from Palomacy, we arranged to bring Aubrey to SF Animal Care and Control to meet with two other bachelor pigeons. There, she took a liking to a Birmingham roller named Hedwig, who we took home that very day. At first Aubrey seemed a little unsure but after a few days of being together I discovered Aubrey and Hedwig preening each others feathers and knew that they had bonded.
Aubrey’s loving family
Aubrey and Hedwig now live happy lives in my family’s home in the Bay Area where my mother and sisters take care of them. Although I miss Aubrey’s company here in LA, I know she’s living a much happier, spacious life and is waiting for me when I come home for break! Until meeting Aubrey, I never would have considered a bird for a pet or discovered how intelligent, and lovable a pigeon could be! They are beautiful, peaceful animals that have been unfairly stigmatized and deserve a shot at loving homes.
Donate $250 to Palomacy and Pet Food Express’ My Mutt Program will send a pro to photograph your pet and display the poster!
Pet Food Express, with 54 stores located throughout California, is one of the country’s leading independent pet food and supply retailers. As part of their commitment to animal welfare, they have helped find homes for over 61,000 homeless animals and work closely with numerous shelters and pet rescue organizations. We love them for all kinds of reasons and one is their My Mutt Poster Program! When $250 is donated to Palomacy, Pet Food Express will send a professional pet photographer to your home to shoot a My Mutt poster that will then be displayed in their stores!
This is a great opportunity to show off pigeons and doves as pets and a total win-win-win! (Pet Food Express does this free for us because people have donated to support our birds- there is no cost to us!)
And here are the amazing photos that I have to choose from for a new My Mutt Poster for Dylan… Which would you choose? (Click on the image to enlarge.)
And here are Lily’s best photos… which would make the best poster? Please help me decide! Add a comment below with your choices.
To learn more about Pet Food Express’ My Mutt Poster Program, click here and to donate to Palomacy, click here.
A big part of the work we do is outreach. People don’t know that birds are in shelters needing homes, people don’t know that domestic pigeons and doves can’t live wild and need homes, people don’t know what amazing pets these birds are… and so this Saturday a whole bunch of us, volunteers and birds, staffed our booth at the Bay Area Pet Expo in San Jose. Thousands of pet lovers attend this huge, free and fun event and we introduced pigeons to as many as we could. We answered lots of questions, debunked lots of myths and made a lot of new friends for these amazing but often-mistreated birds. Palomacy- it’s pigeon diplomacy!
Thank you to our amazing volunteers!
Left to right: Faye & Shimmy, Elton & Sparkle, Jill & Aurora, Tyler & Opal, Ashish & Valiant, Liese & Pat, Adina & Gemini, Clare, Lisa.
Thousands of pet lovers attend
Packed up and on our way
Morning volunteers Elton, Liese, Clare & Lisa
Liese soothing nervous Dallas
Lisa with Claudette
Clare and Dupree
Dylan laid her first egg the night before
Making lots of new friends
Liese and Pat have a thing
Liese has a gift for relaxing pigeons
Snack time- safflower and hemp seed treats
Faye and Amelio made a special connection
This is Palomacy- pigeon diplomacy!
We were all busy all day
Faye and Amelio creating life-long pigeon friends
Elton and Sparkle
Adina brought two of her four pet pigeons- Gemini…
… and Bubba
Janet fell in love with Pat
Wow! We had a great, big wonderful team of volunteers!
Cheryl and Opal
Jill with Amelio & Aurora
Look at Aurora’s happy forehead feathers!
Liana stopped traffic to rescue this young Homing pigeon
… and brought her to us to be assessed
Tyler taking photos while Opal oversees
Opal playing coy
Jill and Adina- each brought to us by a self-rescuer
Nikhill and Sherry love pigeons
We met Mike and Bixby of Where’s Bixby!
Bixby and Mike have pedaled 8K miles so far…
…promoting the importance of pet adoption from shelters and rescues
Diana brought Hedwig by for a consult
…He’s newly married to their self-rescuer and very full of himself!
We were contacted by SFACC shelter staff on December 9th about a “domestic pigeon in need of medical care”. The notes went on to say, “SURRENDERED DUE TO THE FLOCK BEATING UP ON HER. BIRD IS BANDED AND WAS BRED TO BE A RACING PIGEON BUT IS JUST A PET DUE TO HER DEFORMITY. SHE DRAGS HERSELF ON THE FLOOR OF THE COOP. BIRD IS NOT EATING ON ITS OWN.”
The young pigeon, whom we have since named Aries, had suffered a broken ankle. Without treatment, it had become infected, healed improperly and made it impossible for her to walk. One of our foster volunteers, Xavier, rushed to pick her up. She was filthy, emaciated and weak. (The fact that an injured racing pigeon was surrendered to the shelter by her owner rather than killed is atypical. We are grateful for the compassion she was shone.)
Infected, swollen, mishealed broken ankle
Emaciated but safe now in loving hands
Aries loves scritches
Dr. Kane examining Aries
In the two weeks since her intake, thanks to the loving care of her fosters and help from the vets, Aries has made remarkable progress. She’s eating on her own (ravenously), gaining weight and strength, her infection has been knocked out and her pain is under control. Now, instead of being neglected and picked on, she’s getting lots of love and support and she’s soaking it up.
She still can’t walk though and on December 20th she was hospitalized at Medical Center for Birds in preparation for the surgical breaking and resetting of her mishealed ankle.
Aries will have her procedure this afternoon, December 22nd, and will wake up with a newly-broken ankle that is positioned properly and hopefully, with time and care, will heal functionally. (For a similar story, see rescued racer Aurora.)
Please, if you can, make a donation to support the work we do.
Thank you for helping us to help Aries!
December 23, 2014 Update:
Aries’ ankle has been rebroken, repositioned and is supported in a special pigeon-friendly cast. She tolerated the anesthesia and procedure well and is doing great! Here are photos taken yesterday during…
She’s eating heartily, preening and is already able, with a little help from hobbles and a shoe, to use her legs (rather than her wings) to stand and to walk! Tomorrow, volunteers will pick her up and take back to her foster home to continue her recovery. Here she is today. Thank you so very much for helping us to help this sweet bird!
Bell is a little dove with a big problem. She has torticollis, a neurological movement disorder characterized by a twisted neck and tilted head. (There are many potential causes of torticollis including brain trauma, poisoning, spinal damage, vitamin deficiency, viruses, bacterial infection, tumors, etc.) Bell’s is so profound that the disorientation triggers somersaulting panic attacks which leave her bruised, sore and exhausted and, if uncontrolled, could lead to fatal injury.
Initially we thought she was having seizures but our avian vet helped rule that out. So far, the way we’ve been able to most reliably stop the panic attacks is by keeping a light blanket tented right over her. The super low ‘ceiling’ seems to help by providing enough orientation to stave off the panic.
Her tent keeps the panic attacks away
Exhausted but relieved to have hours fit-free
Bell’s therapeutic set up
When she’s not having fits, she’s self-feeding, preening and responsive to her mate Reed & the people caring for her. (Right now she’s snuggled in one hand while I type this with the other.) Despite her condition, Bell hasn’t given up. Some have suggested we euthanize Bell. If we reach a place where we are unable to offer any hope or relief to her, the mercy of euthanasia will always be available. We don’t need to start there.
Reed keeping Bell company
Reed & Bell
Bell helping me write
We only know the back story of Bell & Reed (formerly called Mocha & Latte) in bits and pieces. We know they were originally surrendered to San Francisco Animal Care & Control as part of a flock of 13 pet doves in August, 2012. Their person, Carol, hospitalized in the end stages of ALS, could no longer care for them. We were too full to take them in but we helped the shelter to care for and publicize them. My pet dove Lily and I visited Carol in the hospital to reassure her that we were watching out for them. She returned the kindness by promoting our rescue on her hospital door. She died on September 28th, 2012.
Originally surrendered in 2012
Waiting for adopters
Lily visiting Carol
Carol promoted MickaCoo in the hospital
Some of Carol’s doves were adopted by Kelly (a generous supporter of our work) and they are doing very well and making lots of friends at her store Leftovers.
Kelly adopted four doves
We don’t know about the others except that on December 13th, “Mocha & Latte”, two of the thirteen doves that had been adopted, were returned to the shelter. Their person said he thought one of them, “had brain damage from something the house cleaner sprayed”.
At SFACC 12/13/14
The following day we were contacted by shelter vet Dr. Anderson seeking rescue for the pair. The twist-headed dove was suffering from severe torticollis and doing backflips with what appeared to be seizures.
We were fortunate to be able to arrange a special foster home for the pair who we renamed Bell & Reed. After two visits to our vets at Medical Center for Birds and lots of trial, error and consideration, we are finding ways to help Bell through her ordeal. She’s on anti-inflammatory pain meds and a broad-spectrum antibiotic and we hope that with time, support, her tent blanket and relief from the terrible fits, she may recover.
MickaCoo joined with Mickaboo to celebrate at this year’s Holiday Party! We had a wonderful time thanks to Mickaboo’s great event, incredible support from our very hard working volunteers, priceless donated treasures and the amazing company of so many wonderful friends- new and old! Super special thanks to Mickaboo’s Pam Lee for producing the event, to Christiana for leading MickaCoo’s participation, to Jane, Mia, Cole and Josette for donating and volunteering and to Vinny for sharing his photographs. Palomacy is honored to continue what MickaCoo started. We are looking forward to an exciting new year. We wish you all a joyous holiday season.
MickaCoo & Mickaboo Holiday Party 2014
We joined our big sister parrot rescue Mickaboo for the 7th year
Christiana led our Holiday Party participation from start to finish
Dylan and I greeted folks at the door
Dylan & Katie
Randy, Noreen, Max & Dylan
Dylan & Max
Dylan & Laurie
Fred & Jill & Dylan
Treasures await you
Thank you, Christiana!
of incredible treasures!
Handcrafted stationery by Christiana
It’s Pigeon Time
Mia & her family worked hard all night
A great turnout
We announced our new name!
Thank you, Mickaboo, for helping us to come so far!
Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions!
Mickaboo CEO Michelle & Mickaboo Volunteer of the Year