June 18, 2015
by Elizabeth
2 Comments

Fleetwood’s Story

On 4/1/15, a brown & white Persian High Flyer pigeon with a startling injury approached a kind person in Sacramento who took him to Wildlife Care Association (WCA). The bird’s upper beak was entirely gone, torn from his face. Brianna of WCA took care of his immediate needs with pain meds, antibiotics and supportive care and reached out to us, Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions, for his long term care. Brianna named him Fleetwood. We were able, with the help of a volunteer from Mickaboo (our big sister parrot rescue), to get Fleetwood transported to our avian vets at Medical Center for Birds.

Injured pigeon missing upper beak

Fleetwood on intake 4/1

Injured pigeon missing upper beak

Losing half a beak is like losing a thumb

Aside from the disabling wound (which included a punture into the lower mandible as well), Fleetwood was in surprisingly good condition. The wound was recent. His injury was such that his beak would never grow back and, because there was not even a stump left for attachment, he is considered a poor prospect for a prosthetic beak. Now he needed to heal and relearn how to feed himself with only half a beak.

Fleetwood’s sort of injury is frequently seen among pet parrots who have fought and wounded one another with their incredibly strong-biting beaks but is much less common among pigeons. The best we can tell from the wound, he was attacked by an animal, likely a rat, racoon or cat. He had no marks anywhere else on his body and he may have been injured through chicken wire (something that is commonly used but which is totally inadequate for protecting against predators). Whatever the case, Fleetwood was very lucky to survive the attack.

He was hospitalized for a week. In the beginning, even though he was being tube-fed, he tried diligently (but unsuccessfully) to self-feed from the various types of dishes the clinic staff provided. After a couple of days, his efforts petered out. They cut back his tube-fed meals in order to increase his appetite and re-invigorate his efforts to self-feed but it didn’t help.

Very unhappy pigeon in a hospital tank

Depressed at the vet’s 4/9

I picked Fleetwood up on 4/9. After a week locked indoors in a hospital tank with all kinds of piles of food that he couldn’t eat, he was very depressed. I brought him home and he brightened up at seeing other pigeons. He needed to regain lost weight (arrived home weighing only 238 grams) so I increased his meal size and, though he hated tube-feeding, the extra nutrition seemed to also lift his spirits.

It doesn’t take a lot to make pigeons happy. Pigeons are very easy going and good natured. There is a saying about them: Pigeons bloom where planted. I have found this to be very true. They are expert at making the best of a situation, no matter how bad, and they are incredibly stoic about enduring hardships. Even so, they have their needs. Pigeons need companionship (preferrably other pigeons but if not, a really devoted person willing to learn some Pigeonese), they need sunshine, they need space to move, they need to be able to eat…

Much happier pigeon

Fleetwood much happier in the aviary 4/13

Happier pigeon with big wings spread

Fleetwood showing off his Persian High Flyer wings

I was able to offer Fleetwood most of these. I found that his favorite place to be was outside in the aviary with the flock. Initially I was concerned that he was not strong enough to manage out there (especially with only half a beak to defend himself) but I could see how much he preferred it. I saw he would scamper away when another pigeon accosted him. And Indy, a bachelor pigeon racing-survivor I foster, courted Fleetwood and spent a lot of time shadowing him so he had a buddy and bodyguard of sorts. (So much so that I thought Fleetwood was female for the first five weeks I cared for him.)

Injured pigeon Fleetwood accompanied by a pigeon friend

Fleetwood with Indy ever by his side

Amazingly, though I was tube-feeding Fleetwood big, filling, weight-gain-intending meals thrice daily, outside in the aviary, he continuously pecked (unsuccessfully) at the pigeon feed all day, every day. He wanted to eat! He was relentless and spent all his time peck peck pecking. He never altered his technique, just kept trying the same thing over and over, for hours every day. It was heartbreaking and encouraging both.

When I brought him indoors after a day in the aviary, I returned him to a cage full of pigeon food in deep bowls that, if he plunged his face into, he likely could have self-fed from, but he wouldn’t. He only wanted to try and eat seeds from the ground in the aviary. Ideas and suggestions poured in and I tried everything we could think of to enable him to self-feed. I tried hand-feeding, feeding gruel in a baby-pigeon feeding-type tube, different types of food in different types of containers…

Seeing how committed he was to pecking at the ground, I had what I thought was a stroke of genius. I filled the bottom of a plastic box one inch deep with all kinds of bird seed- large pigeon feed grains as well as tiny canary and budgie-size seeds. I put him in sure that the “feeding box” was the solution. He could stand in the seed, peck peck peck away and, because there was only seed an inch deep, never miss! It seemed, at first, like it was going to work. He did peck at the seed and I think might have even got a couple in. But being in a box, even a clear one that he could hop out of when he wanted to do, seemed unsatisfactory. He only tried pecking in it a couple of times. Eventually he would completely ignore the lush carpet of food at his feet when I put him in and I finally put the box away.

As the weeks went by, Fleetwood had slowly regained a little of the lost weight (getting up to 290 grams) but he was still very thin and he hated- hated – being tube-fed. It was the thing that we both had to do every day that we both hated the most. Some birds warm up to being tube-fed, appreciating the full crop it delivers, but not Fleetwood. And because he hated having it done so much, I hated doing it. He also endured a flare up of infection to the wound in his lower beak that required another course of antibiotics. I’m sure it was painful. I worried that he might lose his lower mandible as well. (At the same time, there was speculation that without his lower beak, he might be able to self-feed.)

Pigeon missing upper beak with wound in the lower

Fleetwood’s lower beak wound became reinfected

I rarely see problems for which euthanasia is the solution but I was beginning to wonder if that might be what lay at the end of the road for poor Fleetwood. (Some had suggested it right away but my theory is, we don’t have to start with euthanasia, it will always be there as an option.) He wasn’t happy. He couldn’t eat. He wouldn’t even drink water though it was always available to him. I even made a point of offering him the chance to sip from a water cup whenever I handled him (something most pigeons appreciate) but he always recoiled from it.

We count a few especially talented pigeon people amongst our supporters, people who have an uncanny ability to befriend and soothe even the most challenging birds. I had scheduled an upcoming weekend, 5/22, for Fleetwood with one of ours. I hoped that together they could have the feeding breakthrough that we were not…

Then, on 5/13, Fleetwood had his own breakthrough and took a bath in the aviary for the first time! (Pigeons love to bathe and most do it nearly daily so it’s always really encouraging to see a recovering pigeon decide it’s time to bathe.) I was very happy! He gave me a lot of new hope with that bath.

Fleetwood 5/13, after his first bath since being injured

Fleetwood 5/13, after his first bath since being injured

And then, all of a sudden, on 5/15, as I was about to feed him for the 105th time, Fleetwood and I finally had our big feeding breathrough!

I had brought him in for his afternoon tube-feeding, something we both dreaded, and, for the first time ever, rather than fight my fingers, he nibbled at them! Little ‘feed me’ nibbles! Oh my goodness, I was so excited! I immediately dropped the tube-feeding stuff and instead got pigeon feed that I could finger-feed him. And it worked! When he wanted me to finger-feed him, it was easy and fun! (Previously, when he resisted, it was basically impossible.)

Fleetwood & I ecstatic after our first successful finger-feeding 5/15

Fleetwood & I ecstatic after our first successful finger-feeding 5/15

That day marked an incredible turning point for Fleetwood. He’s never been tube-fed again. The following day, I saw him take a big drink of water and so that was really good news, too. Now, twice a day, I finger-feed him pigeon feed that has soaked in water for a few minutes (it swells up, is easier to feed and helped provide extra moisture when I was worried he wasn’t drinking enough) and we both love it! What had been the worst part of both our days is now the best part. It’s hard to express how much satisfaction we both get from it.

Pigeon feed soaked in water a few minutes is great for finger-feeding

Pigeon feed soaked in water is great for finger-feeding

He still peck peck pecks outside in the aviary all day and sometimes he is actually successful! Sometimes I can feel a small amount of seeds in his crop when I bring him in for his bedtime dinner! I am pretty confident that he’ll be able to self-feed enough to no longer require finger-feeding. He may already be at that point (he’s put on a lot of weight and is 350 grams now!) but he and I so both enjoy the finger-feeding that we are not ready to give it up quite yet.

As soon as Fleetwood started getting finger-fed instead of tube-fed, his demeanor changed. He became so much happier! And he made it clear that he was all male- strutting and flirting and expressing himself with great machismo.

When I went to Sacramento on 5/19 for the ASPCA’s Paws for Celebration event, I took Fleetwood along so that his original rescuer, Brianna, could see him again. I wonder how he felt seeing Brianna again? (Pigeons are proven to remember and recognize human faces.)

Fleetwood visits his rescuer from WCA Brianna & her son Phoenix

Fleetwood visits his rescuer from WCA Brianna & her son Phoenix

And Fleetwood, through updates about him on social media, has won a lot of hearts. He is an inspiration to many.

Art by Shawnelle Frady in honor of Fleetwood

Art by Shawnelle Frady in honor of Fleetwood

Fleetwood suffered a devastating, life-altering injury but thanks to all of us along the way- the partners and volunteers and donors, his amazing spirit has won out. Fleetwood has a long life ahead of him. He still needs to meet a nice single lady pigeon and he still needs his forever home but he is here- alive and well, thanks to the rescue community that you support. He is happy to be alive and grateful to you for giving him the chance to live.

And I thank you for giving me the privilege of leading this amazing community. We are helping animals for whom there used to be no rescue. We are closing a fatal gap in the animal welfare community. We are making a real life and death difference.

Thank you for saving Fleetwood’s life and so many others.

Elizabeth Young, founder & executive director
Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions

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June 12, 2015
by Elizabeth
2 Comments

Life Finds a Way, Guest Post by Jill McMurchy

Fledgling pigeon

Oops baby

My small aviary, already at its limit but doing fine, went from eight birds to twelve within the span of two days. How? Oops babies. Two couples, two eggs each = four new beings. Being quite involved in Palomacy since rescuing my first pigeon, a racer, in 2011, it is one of my mantras when I speak to people about having pigeons as pets. It’s one of Palomacy’s mottos as well. Don’t breed, don’t buy, ADOPT! I tell people over and over again about the importance of pigeon birth control so how does one of Palomacy’s biggest advocates and fans have oops babies? Life gets busy. Busy is a word that I don’t like because it seems to be over-used these days. Of course people are busy. We have relationships, friendships, kids, pets, jobs, etc. etc. We must try to balance all of our responsibilities and sometimes we become complacent with those things we do every day. It becomes a motion without much thought, especially those tasks that we don’t enjoy and perhaps even dread. One of those jobs is checking for new pigeon eggs and replacing with dummy eggs. Every time I pull real eggs out from under a pigeon, it breaks my heart. They live to raise babies and are amazing parents. I’ve had four oops babies in the past and while (at first) exciting and joyful; they grow up so quickly that we barely have time to savor the sweetness. From hatch to fledging is give or take four weeks. Within the space of a month you have one more grown bird competing for space, attention, food, water, bath time, and perhaps even avian vet care (which isn’t cheap).

Let’s get back to my flock. I have what is called a ‘soft’ aviary. All are gentle birds, no big thugs, no trouble makers (mostly). Most of my pigeons are on the smaller size, even my two king pigeons! So there are eight sweet pigeons, all occupying a space of 4 feet by 8 feet, fine and dandy. Everyone knows the rules (and there are rules!). Everyone is compliant and respectful (mostly). Having 8 birds in that space is pushing the limit and on more than one occasion, our dearest Elizabeth has commented that it is unusual and even impressive that things were going as wonderfully as they were for so long – until life got even more crazy and we had a family crisis that took me unexpectedly away from home for a few days. Right about that time two of my couples laid eggs. When I returned, I went through the motions, my mind somewhere else, while tending to my sweet pigeons.  My pigeons bring me so much joy, so after dealing with family sadness and grief, I basked in the lives and loves of this wonderful flock, mind still reeling from our recent tragedy.

We, who are pigeon keepers, know the egg cycle and most of us can keep track pretty easily. We know that they sit on the two eggs for 17 – 19 days and them they quit their eggs and the cycle continues. When I realized I hadn’t done an egg check in a couple of weeks, I found 2 pipping eggs. When I put my ear to the eggs, I could hear movement in all four. It was too late to pull them so I was resolved to watch nature play out and see four new lives come into the world. It really should be a wonderful time but all I could think of was how disappointed I was in myself to be doing what I ask people to be careful of over and over again, bringing more pigeons into the world when we have so many that need homes already. Four more lives in a space that is meant for half that is in my aviary. With babies that would increase to twelve. My aviary is really meant for six, max.

What happens when pigeons are stressed? They get sick. They become agitated and their immune systems become compromised. Viruses or illness that their immune system is doing a good job of suppressing may surface. This is what happened to my flock. I had an outbreak of PMV in the aviary which could have been prevented. I had to add another aviary in order to reduce the overcrowding. This takes time, energy and money, all of which are in short supply these days in my world.

It’s heartbreaking to see pigeons you know and love getting sick, knowing there is not much you can do but provide vet treatment, supportive care, reduce stress, wait and watch. All four parents of the new babies became sick. Watery poop, fluffed up, having a hard time coordinating beaks to seeds, crash landing, wobbly walking. This will likely last another month or so and so far so good, but I can’t stress this enough – this was preventable.

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Elinor, sick

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Pippin, sick

Although these new lives are much loved and will always be well taken care of, having more babies was irresponsible to the pigeons I already take care of. I take their lives seriously. I consider these little souls family – as much as I do my dogs. Those who know me know this. I would love to be able to foster more birds for Palomacy and now I am very limited with the help I can offer, space-wise.

I want to share my experience with everyone who has and loves pigeons, whether it is two or 20. We know that reproducing means so much to these lovely birds, so much so that they can often lay a third egg once we’ve switched out their pair (yes, that’s happened to me). It’s our responsibility to make sure we don’t bring more lives into what is already an unfair world to pigeons. While we are making great strides with pigeon diplomacy (yay!), we are inundated with so many that need our help and in some cases turning some away from being saved.

In my case, I was loaned an aviary on an emergency basis and moved four of my pigeons into it until I can figure out the logistics of building a bigger aviary for all of my birds. Had I brought this same loaner aviary home without having to move my own birds into it, I could have offered foster space to four in- need birds. In the meantime, I now have a strict regimented routine that I will follow to check every nest, every day. I will also make sure that even when routines are disrupted, I will be able to have a family member, neighbor or friend check and then double check my nests. I will set an alarm on my phone to make sure I am reminded to do my daily egg check. We all make mistakes. I have reconciled with myself and am writing this article in hope that I can help my fellow pigeon advocates be reminded of the solemn and important duty of practicing conscientious pigeon birth control.

Addendum – Two of my pigeons died after writing this. My beloved Bijou, a fun, friendly, inquisitive little being who was always the first to fly to me when I entered the aviary. She was the mother of two of the oops babies I recently had. I saw that she was losing weight and at the time I was only suspecting PMV. I took her to the vet thinking I wasn’t giving her the at home supportive care she needed. She passed away while they were taking blood samples. Her death surprised the vet and myself as she didn’t appear to be that frail. Her necropsy showed that she was full of roundworm – the cause of her death.

Bijou Jill by Lori Stoneman

Bijou & Jill (Photo by Lori Stoneman)

Pretzel, who resided in another aviary next to the bigger one also passed away. I found her dead on the aviary floor the morning I was to take her and Bijou to the doctors. She was Opal’s mate. A beautiful homing pigeon, not fond of people but she made my Opal a very happy pigeon. Her necropsy showed roundworm as the cause of her death as well.

I do worm my pigeons – religiously. I had just wormed everyone on April 15th and lost Pretzel and Bijou early June. According to the doctors, that’s not enough time for those large levels of roundworm to take hold. We are not entirely sure how the roundworm infestation in both birds could have gotten to such deadly levels. The speculations are:

  • Stress levels bring about illness in birds that otherwise would be kept at low levels. As a matter of fact, low levels of any disease or parasite is beneficial as it keeps their immune systems healthy. When stress levels are high, parasites, virus and disease can take hold. It’s very stressful for any animal to be in reproductive mode.
  • The wormer I was using may have been stored improperly or had expired. This, exacerbated by stress, is probably the most likely cause of the deaths.
  • The worms were resistant to the particular wormer I was using. I am now using two different types of wormer on my flock. Moxidectin and Pyrantel. This scenario is probably not the cause but since both of those medications have a wide safety margin, I am going to use both and rotate them.

I do blame myself for their deaths. I could have prevented the stress that might well have given the parasites the opportunity to take hold. Please do your best to swap their beloved real eggs for fake. You are actually doing them a favor. Think about my birds and what happened to them.

Learn how to replace real eggs with fake eggs for hatch control.

Download our Hatch Control Handout

Palomacy Recommendations for Preventative Care (including worming)

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June 12, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Foster & Forever Homes Urgently Needed

Domestic pigeons in an aviary

Eight more to go

Our largest foster aviary, the Wulf Aviary, always housing 24 pigeons and sometimes surging to 28, has been an incredible, life-saving asset to Palomacy for almost five years. Foster volunteer Linda, who was new to pigeons when she began and who has lovingly and successfully cared for our largest flock (see her story Why I Care for 27 Pigeons), is starting a new chapter in her life and moving abroad. I cannot tell you how much we will miss her dedication, warmth and huge contribution to our rescue. I’ve told her she needs to start a pigeon & dove rescue called Shalomacy once in Israel.

Volunteer hugging rescued King Pigeon Jitsu

Linda loving on Jitsu

We’ve known about this transition for a year and we have been working diligently all this time to increase adoptions, reduce intakes, develop new foster partnerships and be ready for when the time came. And now the time is here.

We are down to the final eight foster birds and they must be relocated in the coming two weeks. Our current foster volunteers are full (and overfull). We urgently need YOUR help.  

We work carefully to prepare and support our fosters and adopters. No experience required. We match the needs of pigeons with the homes available and we have all kinds- from those who need a small, quiet environment to those who would be thrilled to just be birds in an aviary. (We call it Pigeon Tetris.)

Rescued Rock Pigeon & Racing Pigeon

Gentle March & Grace need a quiet home

Rescued Racing Pigeon & King Pigeon

Mackenzie & Niban are flexible, interested in both people & flock life

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Meulin (unreleasable Rock Pigeon) & Jitsu (King) would love to be adopted!

The Wulf Aviary is a big foster home to lose.

Beautiful big aviary for rescued pigeons

We need your help to restore the foster capacity we are losing

Please help! Learn the basics of pigeons as pets- either outside or indoors here. See the birds we have available here (updates are happening all the time). And please- apply to foster or adopt! The birds need you!

Thank you!

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June 12, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Pigeon Appreciation Day 6/13/15

Yuzu and Quince Palomacy Pigeon Appreciation 2015 by Shae Irving

We appreciate pigeons every day- for their gentleness, their loyalty, their courage. Let’s share our love of these birds with everybody on Pigeon Appreciation Day- June 13th, 2015! Artists have shared their pigeon appreciation imagery with us and we encourage you to share them far and wide. Pigeons are the angels among us and they deserve a lot more appreciation than they get! Here’s the gallery of images from which you can choose your favorites to download and share! You can always make a donation in support of pigeon rescue here. Please use #PigeonAppreciationDay in your tweets, Instagram & Facebook posts!

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You can download these photos and share them with your friends and family to celebrate Pigeon Appreciation Day! (Click on the photo, click on Actions menu above, click Download photo.) Pigeons are amazing and they need us to speak up on their behalf. Palomacy- it’s pigeon diplomacy!

Click on Actions menu & Download photo to share

Click on Actions menu & Download photo to share

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June 11, 2015
by Elizabeth
1 Comment

Pebbles: An Almost-Survivor of Pigeon Racing

Pebbles, a victim of pigeon racing

Pebbles, a victim of pigeon racing

Pigeon racing hobbyists breed thousands of domestic pigeons, transport them hundreds of miles from home and then release them in a competition to see which birds return first. Unfortunately, many (sometimes most) of the pigeons will never make it home. They get exhausted, lost, blown off course, injured, starved. The luckiest among them are found by nice people.

On June 9th, I received this email:

I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. I found your website www.RescueReport.org while trying to do some research.

This morning, we found a pigeon in our yard.  We normally don’t see pigeons in our neighborhood, so that alone was unusual.  But, upon closer look, this one has a band on each leg.  I don’t know if he couldn’t fly or was just choosing not to, but he let me pick him up this morning.  I’ve contacted the International Federation of Pigeons for help locating the owner, but so far no one is interested in helping us rehome him.  I guess they feel that if he can’t find his way home, then they don’t want him.

He or she is very sweet.  He is currently inside with us in a cat carrier with some fresh water and some wild bird seed that I have.  He lets me hold him and my daughters have been able to pet him.  I’m not opposed to keeping him as a pet, but I don’t know where to start.  I don’t have the space to get a very large cage.  Can you please point to some websites that may have information for the minimum requirements to keep a happy and healthy pigeon?

Thank you so much for any help you can offer.

Sincerely,

Erin

Erin and I exchanged emails (you can see them below) and the following morning I received this heartbreaking message. I was very moved by how quickly and deeply affected Erin and her family were by Pebbles the pigeon and by the love and respect they gave her.

Hi Elizabeth,

I am sorry to tell you that our pigeon passed away last night.

My daughters decided that it was a female and they named her “Pebbles” because she’s a rock pigeon. 

After I received your last email, I called the pet store to see if they sold any pigeon or dove food.  It didn’t seem like Pebbles was eating any of the wild bird seed that I gave her. The pet store told me that they usually feed the doves in the pet store a combination of parakeet and cockatiel food.  Our neighbor has a few parakeets and she gave a tablespoon of the food that she uses that also has some grit in it.

I offered some of that food to Pebbles along with some shredded broccoli stems, but she didn’t eat.  I wasn’t too terribly concerned because I thought maybe she needed a day to get used to her new surroundings.

I changed her newspaper and her bedding around 10:00pm last night.  At that point she still looked like she did in the photos I sent you.  But, I did notice that when I placed her back in the carrier, she seemed to have a difficult time getting her feet under her.  I picked her up and tried to right her and then she seemed okay.  She laid in the spot that I had put her in.  I told her that we were going to give her a new home and that she would be safe and cared for here.  And I decided then that once I got her to a vet, I wanted to have her bands removed so she would be free of that abuse.

I checked on her around midnight and she was still in the same spot and her eyes were slightly closed.  So I figured she was sleeping and I felt comfortable leaving her for the night.  

Then around 3am I heard her moving around.  And when I went to check on her, she looked almost like she was having a seizure.  She was laying down, but her head was dropped to one side, her beak was opening and closing, and her body was shaking.  A few seconds later she stopped shaking and passed away.  

It’s amazing how attached we got to her in only a few hours.  But, I’m grateful that she’s not hurting anymore.  And hopefully we contributed more to her life than we did to her death.

We’ve decided to bury her in our garden without her bands.  She’s a free pigeon now!

So sorry we couldn’t do more.

 

Here’s our entire exchange.

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You can learn more about pigeon racing here.

 

 

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May 29, 2015
by Elizabeth
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Pigeons on the Catwalk!

We had a fantastic time at the SF SPCA’s spectacular fashion show Dogs on the Catwalk and showed a whole lot of people a completely new way to see pigeons. Extra special thanks to the SF SPCA for including us, to Mandy Newkirk for the VIP treatment, to Nuena Photography for the amazing photos, to Betabrand, ClaireFarwellLondon and Jill Milan and all the models for showing off the beauty of pigeons so gloriously, to Palomacy volunteers Carole Craig, Steph Fries and Leda Hosier for making it possible and most of all to our pigeon ambassadors- Indy, Pat, Dylan, Amelio, Shimmy & Ragweed who worked so hard and looked so damn good doing it! (Pigeon Pants from The Bird Boutique)

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Steph, holding Indy, tabling for Palomacy at the SF SPCA Fashion Show Benefit

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The SF SPCA Humane Education Specialists love pigeons!

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To meet a pigeon (Shimmy in this case), is to love a pigeon.

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Steph, Amelio & Indy getting ready for the show

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Pigeon racing survivor Amelio looking fine in his Gold Tie Tux (by Jing of The Bird Boutique)

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Ready for the catwalk with the models of Betabrand

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Standing room only for the fashion show (photo courtesy of Nuena Photography)

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Betabrand model with rescued King Pigeon Dylan (photos courtesy of Nuena Photography)

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Compassion is beautiful! (Photo courtesy of Nuena Photography)

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Indy charmed Haylee (and visa versa)

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A model backstage with Indy (a survivor of pigeon racing)

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Fashion & compassion with Dylan & Amelio

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Palomacy- it’s pigeon diplomacy.

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Ragweed & Leda

Steph Fries and Indy SF SPCA Fashion Show 052915

Steph & Indy

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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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