May 22, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Palomacy & Animal Place Working Together to Help King Pigeons

Elizabeth & rescued King pigeon Dylan (bred to be butchered as squab) visited Animal Place Farm Sanctuary’s Rescue Ranch in Vacaville to firm up plans for a collaboration that will help save the lives of King pigeons who have evaded the butcher and survived “release” to the streets but face death in Bay Area animal shelters for want of adopters.

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May 11, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Sunshine Makes a Difference

Laura Ann Quills Young Sunshine Prism

Sunshine makes a difference

Guest post by Laura Lee

Sunshine took our world by storm. On a frigid Canadian winter’s day, Sunshine was rescued by our special friend Bob. How something so sweet could be found alone in a garbage can, I will never know. I had no previous experience with baby pigeons but I have a trained ear now for their disinctive ‘squeak’. Bob gave me Sunshine but both of us knew it was unlikely the chick would live. My boyfriend chose the name Sunshine for the little squeaker because of the brilliant yellow fuzzies that covered the baby’s body. I felt at the time that every single day Sunshine stayed with us was a gift while hoping for the best and expecting the worse.

Sunshine Laura Lee FIRST EVER open eye photo

Sunshine opens his eyes for the very first time

Sunshine had the unlikely company of my Society Finches who even tried their ‘beak’ at feeding him. My pet white doves were also excited to welcome this yellow fuzzy baby even though he rapidly grew larger than they were!

Laura Lee pearl and Sunshine chick

Foster dove mom Pearl nurtured baby Sunshine

Sunshine showed a strong character even before his eyes opened. I told Bob and his wife Debbie how this amazing little bird grew up, feathered out and chased toys up and down the hallway. Tragically Bob passed away before he could see the vibrant bundle of healthy energy and love Sunshine had become. Sunshine is a daily reminder to us of the incredible people Bob and his wife Debbie are. Anyone who has seen Sunshine play fetch with his ball or watched him having a party in his splash pool cannot help but smile. And that happiness we all feel is because Bob believed every bird makes a difference.

Bob never got to see Sunshine grow into the vibrant healthy pigeon we know and love. Sunshine wants to say thank you to his rescuer by doing what Bob loved best- spreading awareness of the needs of birds… Without Bob there would have been no Sunshine.

To thank you for helping pigeons, Sunshine has created a very special gift set: Introducing Palomacy Awareness Ribbons!  Sunshine will send one of his handmade satin Palomacy Awareness Ribbons to the first 50 donors who give to Palomacy on 5/13/15 through GlobalGiving! They come in three different designs, each with a high quality lapel pin.

Sunshine Laura Ann Quills Palomacy Ribbons 1

Sunshine working on his Palomacy Awareness Ribbons

Laura Ann Quills Palomacy Ribbons Quills Approves

Quills inspects each ribbon

Sunshine Palomacy Ribbon IMG_1956

Sunshine’s Palomacy Awareness Ribbons are ready!

And there’s more! Sunshine would also like to give you a handmade bookmarker with a silk tassel and little, tiny ringable bell. They are made from pictures of Palomacy diplomats such as Bell and Dylan and Amelio as well as one of baby Sunshine and one of rescue dove Queen Quills! Which one would you like?

Sunshine Bookmarks Laura Lee IMG_1875

Sunshine’s Palomacy bookmarks

Still not sure you are going to make a donation to Palomacy right now?  Sunshine is a persistent little guy and he wants to give you yet another thank you gift… a Palomacy dove fridge magnet!

Sunshine Fridge Magnet

Sunshine’s Palomacy fridge magnet

All expenses including printing, ornamental pins for the handmade satin ribbons, dove magnets, shipping and handling – everything… will be paid by Sunshine. That is how important it is to Sunshine to thank Bob for rescuing him- and to thank you for helping Palomacy rescue more pigeons and doves and find them forever homes. Help Palomacy bring more ‘Sunshines’ into our lives.

Help Sunshine prove the difference one pigeon can make! Please donate to Palomacy during GlobalGiving’s Bonus Match on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

On Wednesday, May 13th, 2015, every donation made to Palomacy via GlobalGiving (up to $1000) will receive a bonus match from the $75,000 fund and the first 50 donors will receive this super, extra special thank you inspired and created by Sunshine whose life was saved by Bob Johnston.

Bob Johnston was a very active bird advocate and he and his wife served as leaders in the Parrot Community in Ontario. Bob passed away six weeks after he rescued Sunshine, a year ago this May 12th, 2015. Bob’s wife Debbie says there is nothing Bob would have enjoyed more than the gift of Sunshine’s ribbons helping promote awareness of Palomacy, helping birds. Download Bob’s article “Your Future – Your Pet”

Debbie Bob and Indigo

Debbie and Bob with Indigo

Laura Lee, along with Sunshine, Quills, and lots of other feathery friends lives in Niagara Falls, Ontario and is employed by Pawistive Products as their sole bird handler caring for ducks, doves and a large flock of parrots. She has worked in Equador at a rescue center for illegally trapped parrots and in Africa with endangered birds. Laura writes, “After sharing my life with my doves and pigeons, I really want to give back to these amazing and often misunderstood birds. I’ve read about how the Dickin Medal was awarded to 32 pigeons for saving lives in WW1 and WW2. Still more than not people treat them mean – yet don’t mind exploiting pigeons’ talents if it suits them. Palomacy promotes awareness of how special doves and pigeons truly are and how they can become loved family members. Following Palomacy’s posts on Facebook has given me a chance to learn more their work, volunteers, community involvement – and the sweet precious birds in their care. I want to help any way I can to be apart of such a valuable cause.”

Laura Lee with Jazzy and Indigo

Laura with Bob and Debbie’s parrots Jazzy & Indigo

Sunshine at play

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April 27, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Feather & Bone

Young emaciated racing pigeon

Starved very nearly to death

This young pigeon, now named Vivian, is extremely lucky to be alive.  She was bred to be used for pigeon racing. Taken miles from her home and “tossed” to her fate, she tried her best to fly home. But she failed. And she very nearly died because of it. I checked on Vivian at the request of Bruce, the kind man who rescued her. She weighs only 232 grams. She should weigh 400 or more. She is feather and bone. She is so emaciated that her body consumed its own breast muscle tissue in the fight to survive, grounding her without the muscles needed for flight.

Emaciated pigeon on scale showing 232 grams

Vivian lost nearly 50% of her body weight to starvation

Thanks to Bruce, she is slowly coming back to life.

Kind man Bruce with rescued racing pigeon

Vivian asked Bruce for help and he saved her

Bruce writes, “The rescue began as I was outside our building in Point Reyes Station, watering plants.  It was about 6:00 pm. I was filling up the watering can & she walked over to me from underneath our car.  She just sat there watching me as I watered.  I knew almost immediately that something was different about this pigeon.  There are quite a few in the belfry of our building. I walked over to her & saw the numbered blue band around her leg. I sat next to her for a bit, and then walked up the stairs to go inside. She followed me up the stairs! I brought down bread for her (she wasn’t interested). I went back upstairs to get Neil & when I returned, she was walking all alone down the street (cue sad, heart breaking music here!). I followed her & she let me pick her up. There were ravens & hawks around, and I knew there would soon be cats. I brought her inside, put her in a box with sesame seeds, wild rice (that’s all we had) & water. Neil went to the market for bird seed. She happily ate everything we gave her. We assembled our pup’s old dog crate, which was perfect. We made a perch & lined the crate, and Vivian went to sleep. She seemed very…relieved. As were we.”  

Exhausted survivor of pigeon racing

Vivian is still exhausted & recovering from her ordeal

Vivian’s successful self-rescue is a miracle. Most of the racing pigeons that get lost, injured and/or starved aren’t so fortunate. Despite their heroic efforts to find their way home, they will, for the “sport” of others, suffer and die.

Racing pigeons, though they look very much like their wild cousins the Rock Pigeons, are domestic birds. They have been bred and raised by people for so long that they are no longer wild. They no longer have the skills needed to survive on their own and so when they are taken away from their home and released to “race”, they are highly likely to die in the wild. Vivian’s approaching Bruce for help is not unusual. Pigeons are very smart and, having been raised by and depended on people for care, will often attempt what we call “self-rescue” by approaching people when they are in trouble. What’s unusual is that Bruce didn’t dismiss her. He saw that she was asking for help and he gave it.

So Vivian is safe now. She has been saved. She has a home and family that loves her and who will not play games with her life. She is a survivor of pigeon racing.

Lucky pigeon in a beautiful family photo

Bruce with Vivian, his dog, his sister and his son

Learn more at What’s Pigeon Racing?

Donate to help us help the birds.

See our adoptable birds.

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April 25, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Garage Sale Fundraiser (#7!)

Cheryl smiling and waving a garage sale sign

Cheryl is our Garage Sale Queen!

On Saturday, April 25th, 2015, Cheryl hosted her seventh Garage Sale Fundraiser for Palomacy! Since the first one held in April 2012, she has collected, stored, organized, sorted, stacked, displayed, sold, repacked and transported donated treasures that have raised $7000 for the birds! Each Garage Sale involves mountains of stuff and hours of work and even though many of us help, all of our efforts combined don’t come close to matching all that Cheryl does.

The first one was on April 7th, 2012.

 

Cheryl’s got a good location for garage selling but her extra efforts, including collecting huge quantities of donated goods, hanging big signs at all the key intersections, posting online and organized displays, are what crank these events up to be super fundraisers! The first one Cheryl hosted raised $1058 for the birds!

You have to sell a lot of $1 books & housewares, $2 pairs of shoes & sweaters, and $20 collectible treasures to raise $1058. But that’s what we did and so the Garage Sale performance bar has been set very high right from the beginning.

I’ll never forget being in the middle of the first one, exhausted from all the prep work and knowing there were many more hours of work ahead, when Cheryl offered to host another one! Super Cheryl is amazing like that!

And so, there have been six more. All have raised about $1000 each, one way or another. (Sometimes Cheryl writes a donation check to make up the difference if our sales are off!)

 

Our latest Garage Sale was full of drama. Rain (so needed for our drought-striken region) threatened but Cheryl held steadfast. And the weather was fine. We mobilized a great volunteer team and got lots and lots of stuff donated but we didn’t have as many shoppers as we usually do.

 

Our volunteer team was awesome!

Smiling team of hardworking volunteers

Volunteers L-R: Reza, Rhonda, Cheryl, Shae, Chris, Clare, Josette

And we had fun along the way…

 

When the sale was over, there was still lots of work to be done.

 

In addition to the $605 we raised from the event, we will earn money from the three large loads of treasures we donated to Community Thrift (they share proceeds from sales) and once again, Cheryl wrote a very generous check to bring us up to $1005!

And we need every penny. We’ve had a lot of birds needing a lot of vet treatment this month including Josie, Evan, Rose, Oakley, Fleetwood & Muriel.

Thank you to everyone who donated so generously, worked so hard and shopped so enthusiastically to make this Garage Sale Fundraiser yet another epic success. Extra, extra special thanks to our amazing host, Super Cheryl!

Super Cheryl (flying with cape)

If you want to host a Garage Sale Fundraiser for us, we would be honored. Or you can donate items in our name to Community Thrift or you can donate directly. One thing is for sure- your support will make a life and death difference for the birds who need our help.

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April 23, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Thank You Doc’s Clock!

Doc's Clock Showed Us a Great Time!

Doc’s Clock Showed Us a Great Time!

On Saturday, April 11th, Doc’s Clock hosted a very special fundraiser for us! Not only did we get to share cocktail time with lots of our favorite people, but we got to bring pigeons in pants too! And while we were having fun, Doc’s Clock raised a much appreciated $911 for us to support the birds! Thank you all for your wonderful support!

Musette & Pat with Kay

Musette, Pat & Kay

Alice with Mr. Stinker & Henry

Alice brought Mr. Stinker & Henry

Wendy & Indy

Wendy & Indy

Aria & Joolee with Indy

Aria & Joolee with Indy

Hazzel with Baby

Hazzel & Baby

Amanda & Pat

Amanda & Pat

Amanda, Ariana & Danielle

Amanda, Ariana & Danielle

Barna with Mookie

Barna & Mookie

Palomacy Loves Doc's Clock!

Palomacy Loves Doc’s Clock!

Cocktail Time with Palomacy!

Cocktail Time with Palomacy!

Raise a toast to pigeons!

Raise a toast to pigeons!

Thank you so very much to Carey, Kay & Lisa of Doc’s Clock for treating us to such a wonderful afternoon and to supporting our work with their generosity! Palomacy loves Doc’s Clock! And great big thanks to all of our wonderful supporters who came out and toasted the pigeons and showed us so much love and support!

 

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April 6, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Palomacy at The Conscious Eating Conference

Karen Davis, founder & director of United Poultry Concerns with Pat

Karen Davis, founder & director of United Poultry Concerns with Pat

I had an amazing day on Saturday, April 4th, 2015. Pat, a rescued King pigeon (bred for meat- squab), and I attended the fourth annual Conscious Eating Conference put on by United Poultry Concerns & Animal Place. We learned so much! T.J. Tumasse of Animal Legal Defense Fund presented on what investigators find happening to farmed animals and if only a few moments of what he showed was common knowledge, people would look at their food very differently. (Farmed animals need their own Blackfish-type film to awaken consumers.) Mary Finelli of Fish Feel gave a mind-blowing  presentation about the trillions of fish being killed annually- far more and even more wastefully than any other animal. Kim Sturla made the case for why farm sanctuaries have to be educators, providing “classrooms without walls”. Karen Davis who, 25 years ago did what everybody said couldn’t be done and created United Poultry Concerns, spoke eloquently on the role of single issue campaigns. When Karen wanted to start UPC, she was told that if people couldn’t even be inspired to care about whales, they could never care about chickens but she has proved them wrong. Victoria Moran, author of Main Street Vegan and The Good Karma Diet (among other titles) gave an uplifting call to the abundance of vegan living. It was a great conference and we were privileged to be there advocating on behalf of pigeons and learning from animal rights leaders. Click on the photos to see full size.

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March 17, 2015
by Elizabeth
1 Comment

Josie: An Almost-Survivor of Pigeon Racing

Helpless at the Oakland Airport parking lot

Helpless at the Oakland Airport parking lot

March 12, 2015  It was 5:15 and I had just finished up a presentation about pigeons to a youth group at the Marin Humane Society. I checked my email before heading to my next appointment (a care consult for a self-rescuing pigeon named Snezhok) and read this:

“Hi Patricia – thought to reach out to you as you are a close-by bird friend. I’m about to board an airplane out of Oakland airport and came across an injured pigeon in the parking lot. WildCare in San Rafael will take him but he needs to be picked up and held overnight as they only accept during business hours. Think you might be able to get him tonight? If not I am flying back tomorrow and will look for him. I just thought to reach out in case bc I feel bad for the guy. Please text me if so.  :) thank you and hope I’m not coming across as a crazy person. Marla”

Patricia, a fellow bird rescuer and the Budgie Coordinator for Mickaboo, had forwarded this to me an hour earlier. My heart sunk at the low probability of being able to mobilize a successful rescue for this bird but I had to try. I sent out some emails and posted to social media in the hopes of finding someone willing to fight rush hour traffic and search an airport parking lot for an injured pigeon.

I went on to my next appointment and afterwards, with no one yet looking for the pigeon, started making phone calls to give it one last try. When I reached Josette (another dual Mickaboo and Palomacy volunteer) at 8:26 PM, she immediately said yes, she’d go. All the information I had to offer was: “It is in daily parking lot across from the post E4, under the monorail track. There is a huge black pickup truck sticking out, he is there…alert, just appears to have injured legs.” And the heartbreaking photo.

I didn’t hear back from Josette until 10:22. (I was about ready to send out a rescue party for her.) After more than half an hour of searching, she had against all odds, found the injured pigeon. The bird had dragged herself (using her wings) yards away and was crouched under the curve of a car’s tire. My heart soared! Josette had made the impossible happen. She had dropped everything and headed out into the night to try and help an injured bird. And she had found her! I couldn’t believe that we had actually pulled it off and been able to save this poor, stranded pigeon.

Josie- grateful to be helped

Josie- grateful for some comfort and care

Josie, as this miracle bird is now named, is a one year old survivor of the cruel “sport” of pigeon racing. At least we are hoping she will survive. She was brought here to the Bay Area, hundreds of miles from her home in Reno, NV, and “tossed” with thousands of other racing pigeons to try and find her way home fast enough to win. (Learn more about pigeon racing.)

Instead she was severely injured, likely from colliding with a high tension wire, and has spinal trauma and impaired motor control, a large open wound exposing most of her keel and breast muscle, a broken leg, is emaciated, septic and shocky. Dr. Sanders of Wildwood Veterinary took her home with him to provide the care she needs through the weekend. We have seen badly injured birds make incredible recoveries. (See Ava’s amazing recovery.) We are not going to give up on Josie. She’s alert, eating and clearly thankful to be safe and more comfortable. Pigeons are so smart. I can’t imagine how miserable she must have felt grounded and helpless in that parking lot with no hope in sight. No matter what happens, I am so grateful to be a part of a community that was able to rescue this fellow being from such a terrible fate and to give her the chance to live.

Emaciated and then badly injured

Emaciated and then badly injured

I have since learned more about Josie’s story from Marla, the person who initially found Josie. She writes,

“To shed some light on the story – I thought she was a feral pigeon. I actually still know nothing about pigeons, so am assuming a racing pigeon is different than a wild one? Anyway, I spotted her on the ground as I was driving around looking for a parking spot and immediately decided I would check it out after I parked. I was really devastated when I saw her, and especially because I couldn’t take her home myself… I had a business flight which I absolutely couldn’t miss. First I gave her some food, which you see in the picture (I work for an organic food company, so had one of our apple carrot chickpea bars in my purse).  

After I stayed with her for about 10 mins, when I walked away she totally scooted after me which tugged my heart strings for sure!

I first looked on the MickaCoo/Palomacy website actually (I used to volunteer with Mickaboo so knew about MickaCoo) but read in the FAQs that they only accept domestic pigeons.  Thinking she was wild, I saw the reference to WildCare so called. Normally they have volunteers that can do onsite rescue – however, they told me the volunteers weren’t available that afternoon. I then called a few friends and asked for their help and they weren’t available. Finally, and by then totally distraught sitting on the plane, I emailed Patricia who I knew from Mickaboo, who forwarded everything to you. From my perspective, it was unbelievable that after my flight landed I get a call from Josette, telling me she was going to get the bird! So incredible. After I gave her directions, she even called me from the parking lot and I was able to talk her to where Josie was previously. And of course, just amazing that she found her across the lane from where originally spotted!”

March 16, 2015 UPDATE: I’m very sorry to report that after initially showing a little improvement, Josie died sometime last night, despite the best efforts of Dr. Sanders and all involved in trying to save her. She didn’t die alone in that parking lot though. Thank you for all of your support. Thank you for your compassion.

Author’s note about pigeon racing: Pigeon racing hobbyists strive to selectively breed or purchase champions. They control every aspect of care in an effort to increase their chances of winning. Pigeon racers then release millions of domestic racing pigeons, hundreds of miles from their homes, in competitions most of the birds won’t survive. The birds aren’t racing at all. They are just flying their hearts out, trying to get back to their home. A great many never will. They will die trying. Pigeon racers will tell you the birds that don’t make it home join up with flocks of feral Rock Pigeons. A very, very few do. Check every pigeon flock you see for banded birds. (Racing pigeons are banded.) You’ll rarely ever see one. Pigeon racers will tell you that feral pigeons die too. Yes. We all die. But Pigeon racers need to take responsibility for the needless suffering and deaths caused by their hobby. (The hobbyists actually kill lots of their own birds- culling the “inferior” or weak or ill. Read The Secret of the Champions.) Josie didn’t want to be taken hundreds of miles away and “tossed” to try and get home for someone’s amusement. She should have never been having to fight for her life. She should never have been stranded and crippled in a parking lot hundreds of miles from home. And yet she was one of the lucky ones. Most of these birds will die alone and without help. Don’t breed animals and use them for your amusement. Don’t risk their lives for your fun. And, if you do, at least own it. Say yes, I know racing kills pigeons but I like it and I do it anyway. 

Not only racing kills pigeons, the racers do too.

Not only racing kills pigeons, the racers do too.

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March 17, 2015
by Elizabeth
1 Comment

The Beauty in the Birds

On a chill night, I put three pigeons in my car and headed east from San Francisco to an Oakland photo studio. Palomacy volunteer Jill did the same except traveling west from her home in Sunol. We met at Nuena Photography where award-winning, Best in the Bay photographer Kira Stackhouse was donating a professional photo shoot for six of our foster birds.

Kira helps rescues throughout the Bay Area

Kira helps rescues throughout the Bay Area

We are thrilled to have these exquisite pictures. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Indy

Indy

Dylan

Dylan

Jacob

Jacob

Hester

Hester

Sam & Slick

Sam & Slick

Aurora

Aurora

Aurora & Jill

Aurora & Jill

Elizabeth & Dylan

Elizabeth & Dylan

We are so grateful to Kira for her incredible talent and generosity. Her photos help us to show the beauty of these birds. They are fellow beings. They want to live. They are worthy of our compassion. See these and many other birds we have available for adoption.

Dylan

Dylan

The Photo Shoot

The Photo Shoot

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