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Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Wildlife Preservation & Protection

Mission: Palomacy Pigeon & Dove Adoptions saves the lives of domestic (unreleasable) birds that are otherwise killed by providing guidance, referrals, education, long-term foster care, avian vet treatment and adoption services. Palomacy is a volunteer-powered, donation-supported project of Community Initiatives. Thanks to the support of our volunteers, we have saved the lives of more than 800 birds since we began in 2007 and helped countless others. Please visit us at www.PigeonRescue.org and at www.Facebook.com/PigeonDiplomacy

Results: Last year, Palomacy saved more than 300 pigeons & doves from being killed by providing avian vet care, foster and forever homes. The need is nonstop and we are working hard to provide rescue to the pigeons & doves in seven SF/Bay Area counties as well as coaching & referral assistance all over the country & even internationally.

Target demographics: save the lives of domestic and unreleasable pigeons and doves that would otherwise be killed for lack of homes.

Direct beneficiaries per year: More than 300 pigeons & doves

Geographic areas served: San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano & Marin Counties

Programs: Support for unreleasable pigeons & doves in animal shelters, avian vet care and rehab for ill & injured, foster homes, humane education and placement in screened and approved forever homes.

Community Stories

195 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jill20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for Palomacy for four years now. I am honored to be a part of educating the public, especially children. Pigeons get such an undeserved reputation. It never ceases to amaze me how little the general public knows about these sensitive and smart birds.

Recently, Palomacy was contacted by a child who was present for a summer school class I presented at last year. Because she was now aware of their needs, she was able to save and even adopt a domestic racing pigeon that was hanging out at her friend's house. Had she not learned about racing pigeons, she wouldn't have known to help this bird and sadly, the bird would have been among the thousands each year that get lost, injured and die slow, painful deaths tring desperately to find their way home.

It's rewarding to be a part of a small army of people who are giving pigeons the help they deserve.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If not for MickaCoo, my beloved Elinor wouldn't be alive and healthy. I found Elinor on the side of the freeway after having been hawk struck and left for dead. I couldn't drive past him so I stopped, scooped him up and took him home. He had severe injuries to his wing and head. I posted an ad on Craiglist asking for any help or advice (having no pigeon experience) and a volunteer from MickaCoo notified Elizabeth, MickaCoo's founder. She let me know what the best options were for him. He would have been likely killed had I taken him to a local vet or animal shelter. Long story short, MickaCoo paid for his surgery at Medical Center for Birds in Oakley and I have adopted him. Since adopting him I offered to foster pigeons for MickaCoo and Eli(nor) fell in love with a foster girl, now adopted by me. They are living life in an outside aviary with other pigeons and are happy and healthy. His previous owner was notified of his injury and asked if he wanted to reclaim him. He said no as is often the case with racing pigeons. If they can't fly, they are useless to the owner.The owner asked to have him euthanized, but MickaCoo had other plans for Eli. I thank Elizabeth (MickaCoo) for her tireless work in educating the public about pigeons and what wonderful pets they can make. Not only are they clever, and loving, they are beautiful to look at. Keep up the great work, MickaCoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

They have helped me with learning the proper care of my newly rescued pigeon. I didn't adopt my pigeon from them as I live to far away. So I scoured the areas near me to find her. The folks at Palomacy are a great help and are doing so much for wounded, sick and homeless domestic pigeons and doves as well as other birds ... I am even making stuff for them to auction off to help the birds in need.

Great nonprofit group!!
Susan L. Britt

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

From the beginning, Elizabeth and the helpful comrades at Palomacy have been great. Supportive, available, and passionate about what they do. Not only are they doing amazing work, they do it with enthusiasm, expertise and grace. Love these guys and the bird populace is grateful and clapping their wings!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I wholeheartedly support Palomacy as they have been a great ally for pigeons and doves and provide support in the care and keeping of happy and healthy birds.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted three rescue pigeons from Palomacy: Minka, Ralph and Mimi. Elizabeth and her rescue network went to heroic lengths to help get them down to me (I don't live in the bay area) and Palomacy has been a wonderful resource for pigeon information and adoption support. Thank you!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved with Palomacy (formerly MickaCoo) several months ago, and have since developed a much more complete understanding of the issues that Palomacy has sought to address for so many years as well as the difficulties that are inherent to functioning as a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that relies on the generosity and hard work of both its own members and that of all the other individuals and organizations that allow groups like Palomacy to function. Palomacy has taken upon itself an enormous task; there is an absolutely huge number of pigeons and doves that need homes (both temporary and permanent) and/or immediate medical intervention. Many of Palomacy's volunteers consistently care for large numbers of often sick or needy pigeons/doves, Palomacy itself is virtually always over-capacity and in need of permanent homes for many of the birds it takes in and is always finding out about more pigeons/doves that desperately need homes or rescue. Because Palomacy is essentially unique as an organization (I know of only one other organization dedicated to rescuing pigeons, and it doesn't come close to operating on the scale that Palomacy does, nor does it offer as many services), everyone involved with Palomacy realizes that there's no one else to turn to if they can't find a way to accommodate the overwhelming number of requests for their help. No one is more aware of this than Palomacy's leader and driving-force, Elizabeth Young. Like most people, Elizabeth was once unaware of the huge numbers of pigeons/doves being euthanized for lack of homes and advocacy. She saw the consequences of this first-hand and has worked tirelessly for many years to create the organization that Palomacy is today.

Elizabeth and many of the other members of Palomacy put a huge amount of effort into caring for animals that have been assigned an unfairly negative public image, and who are regularly abused by people who dislike them and those who view them as objects to be exploited for personal gain (see: pigeon racing, white "dove" releases for weddings, many breeders, etc). Although they deserve the same respect afforded to more commonly adored animals like cats and dogs (and even other birds), they face another disadvantage in the form of that negative image. Not only does Palomacy have to coordinate rescues and work to find homes for unreleasable or domestic pigeons/doves, but they have to wage a never-ending campaign for the pigeon as an animal and as a pet; many people seem to have decided, without much thought or personal experience, that pigeons are dirty, unremarkable pests with no redeeming qualities. All of those things couldn't be further from the truth, and Palomacy works every day to confront those incorrect assumptions and show people firsthand that pigeons can be (and are) charming, intelligent, affectionate, playful creatures that are obsessed with personal hygiene and make excellent companions for those willing to see them for what they are.

Palomacy is an excellent example of an organization that truly practices what it preaches, and I've witnessed firsthand how donations and other funds are used (an astounding amount goes towards paying for crucial, extensive medical care for birds that would otherwise face suffering and certain death) and the lengths that people like Elizabeth are willing to go to to ensure that every pigeon/dove that is brought or referred to Palomacy is cared for in the best way possible. Palomacy members (and, once again, this is especially true for Elizabeth herself) will spend hours and hours coordinating the rescue of an injured feral pigeon, or finding a sanctuary for an orphaned baby pigeon, or ensuring access to life-saving medical care when a veterinarian is not readily available. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that, despite the extremely challenging and exhausting nature of its work, and an overwhelming need for its services in communities both local and far away (the list goes on), struggles to do the best that it can with the resources it has, and refuses to let even a single pigeon/dove in need fall through the cracks.

Palomacy has defined itself by showing just how much a relatively small group of people with limited resources and a shared passion can do to address a problem that seems insurmountable. If you believe in Palomacy's stated goal, I highly recommended that you do whatever you can, be it donate, volunteer or simply spread the message.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have adopted the most wonderful sweet nun pigeon from Palomacy. They have also helped me sooo much when it comes to birds I have found. And helped me to help them. Truly an amazing rescue!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Enough could not be said about the amazing work, love & dedication and expertise at Palomacy Pigeon and Dove Adoptions. I am a proffesional parrot handler and although I always liked pigeons I never before considered them a companion bird. Palomacy opened up my world. Racing and wedding release pigeons are common where I live. To learn about the reality of birds who work in those industries was totally shocking and heartbreaking to me. Palomacy doesn't just talk about issues - they actively and tirelessly rescue lives and educate people about pigeons. I adopted my first pigeon in March 2014. He was a rescue bird and I had a lot of questions about his care and behaviors- and I still do! And Palomacy has been there for me with answers and sound advice. I share my life with a variety of macaws, African Grey and Cockatoo. I'm no novice when it comes to birds- atleast that is what I thought! I honestly had no idea of the personality and affectionate nature of pigeons before. My pet pigeon totally amazes me with the way he plays with toys, brings me wicker jingle bells and makes piles out of clothes pins and buttons I give him. He spins in circles like a little feathered 'helicopter' and makes a variety of different vocals than just 'coos'. My favourite is the very soft purring he does before he falls asleep in my lap. It is not just the pigeons Palomacy is helping - it is the people who have the pleasure of welcoming such intelligent and delightful birds into their own family. My boyfriend doesn't have FB and when he comes over to visit with me with always checkout the latest news from Palomacy together. Whether it be smiling people holding pigeons for the first time, the exciting news of pigeons finding their forever homes, seeing pictures of the rescue birds or the heartwarming photos of two lonely pigeons finding love together - or the somber news of pigeons in need of serious operations or other sad realities.... Palomacy continues to shine with their love, awareness and fierce dedication to do whatever it takes to help birds.

1 Candy10

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband and I recently noticed a "pink bird" that seemed to have taken up residence on our roof. Actually one of our dogs brought it to our attention that this bird was on our roof and hanging around our back yard. It was so unusual to see a "pink bird" so I started emailing different bird websites that I found on line asking if they knew what type of bird this was. It was consistently in our yard for almost two weeks which seemed very odd to me. Luckily I came across Elizabeth's website and sent her a picture of the bird asking if she knew what type of bird it was. Elizabeth emailed me immediately telling me that his was a domestic bird that someone had painted pink, probably for a wedding or some event and that we needed to catch it right away or it was very likely to be scooped up by a predator, being domestic it has no survival skills. To make a long story short, we caught it thinking we would be turning it over to someone local that was part of Elizabeth's team....however, my husband and I got a little attached to it so it is now living safely in a large cage in our back yard safe from harm. Elizabeth was and continues to be a great resource for us and I can't say enough about her devotion to these vulnerable birds. They really do make nice low maintenance pets.

Stefanie Hutson

Donor

Rating: 5

Mickacoo is one of my favorite nonprofits because they support an often overlooked and unloved animal - the pigeon (and doves, too, which are basically the same thing but smaller). Founder Elizabeth Young works tirelessly to give homes to as many pigeons as humanly possible, and she's also very generous with her time and advice when people have pigeon or dove questions.

One of my best friends rescued a lost ringneck pigeon and contacted Mickacoo about finding a spouse for his new dove "Penelope". Mickacoo brought him Petunia, a petite white dove with a sweet and slightly shy temperament. In the end, Penelope turned out to be a boy, Petunia was indeed a girl, and it was love at first sight. The pair has been "married" for a couple years now, and they're very happy together as the only two residents of a large outdoor aviary. Mr. P loves his little wife and constantly watches over her and offers her presents and songs.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This non-profit is unbelievable. After a lost racing pigeon ended up in our backyard, my husband and I did not know what to do. An Internet search yielded MickaCoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue, which may very well be the only organization of its kind nationally and internationally. Elizabeth Young is an expert, and provided tons of support. First, she introduced me to other people in my area. Second, she personally wrote back to me and once even spent an hour on the phone helping me. Finally, the website and its resources are top notch. There is a plethora of information on there from what to feed pigeons to how to build an aviary. Unbelievable support to the community.
Janice

Bonnie70

Client Served

Rating: 5

I met and fell in love with my first pigeon last year. Since then I have acquired 3 more, and recently I adopted two birds from Mickacoo. The pigeon is a bird who is often times despised in society, and what impresses me most about Mickacoo is their devotion to changing this perception. They work constantly doing outreaches in the public, presenting these birds in pants at events, and showing the general public what awesome birds pigeons really are. I had no idea. Rescue work is exhausting and sometimes heartbreaking but they keep hanging in there and doing it. Their adoption site showing all their birds is fun to look at, and a pigeon will be your best friend! They are the best non profit!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There are no words to express the joy that MickaCoo has brought me. They helped me to adopt my two beloved pet pigeons, Coo Jackman and Talma, and their volunteers have stuck close by me in the year since the adoption, giving me advice on how to care for my birds, and answering the many questions I've had in an incredibly timely fashion. They have also given me many wonderful opportunities to share my joy with the public as a volunteer during outreach events. We teach thousands of people each year about how intelligent, noble, and charming pigeons are, and present them as excellent, hearty pets. The MickaCoo volunteers are kind, clever, capable, lovely people who do amazing work using the most meager of funds and supplies. I can only imagine the miracles they could perform if they reached their funding goals! This is a highly ethical organization that I recommend without any hesitation to anyone seeking to help animals.

forest

Client Served

Rating: 5

Mickacoo helped me adopt an amazing little bird who brings joy to my household every day. Elizabeth Young works heart and soul for this rescue, bringing together laymen and experts in aid of living beings whose feeling individuality goes generally unnoticed and devalued . Mickacoo saves and heals birds for whom there's no other hope, educates the public and brings unexpected happiness to those who adopt, foster or just visit with these remarkable creatures. I feel great admiration for Mickacoo, and will always do whatever I can to support this humane, determined and well-structured effort.

P.S. First I put "a lot" under the "help received" section below because I thought "life changing" might sound excessive for having gained a little avian friend by adoption. But you know what -- I was wrestling with a real depression and human loss, and the bright spirit of this tiny, playful, affectionate being, supremely vulnerable yet alive and courageous against all odds -- that is a lift every single day. Yes, it is "life changing."

Julia42

Donor

Rating: 5

MickaCoo is one of a kind. The plight of homeless domestic animals is significant, and that of domestic pigeons and doves all the more so because no one even knows about them. Most people have such misinformed ideas about pigeons, and MickaCoo does amazing and necessary work by reaching out to the community and showing people that (domestic) pigeons are kind, intelligent birds full of personality who deserve loving homes. I have been in contact with the founder of MickaCoo, Elizabeth Young, and she has been so helpful and supportive in answering all of my questions regarding my own adopted pigeons, even though she is incredibly busy. She truly cares about pigeons and doves and it warms my heart to know that there is such an amazing organization out there advocating for these under-appreciated birds.

Kate79

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I fostered a pigeon and had very little experience working with birds. MickaCoo was very supportive and helpful, giving me very specific advice for keeping Woofle happy and healthy while in my care. MickaCoo also found a perfect home for him and he is happily settled in his forever home now!

Donor

Rating: 5

MickaCoo truly serves the welfare and rights of domestic pigeons, a bird too often maligned. I'm often surprised by the dedication and compassion of their staff, volunteers and supporters by how they go to great lengths to rescue pigeons found lost outdoors or in shelters and needing medical care. MickaCoo addresses all aspects of this issue, not just rescuing and caring for these birds, but doing adoptions, education on how great pjs are, and classes on caretaking. They partner with local groups and agencies to offer these services. I don't have much money for donations, but always feel that some must go to this organization.

Maximilien B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've had an appreciation for pigeons for some time, I had a bird of my own, a King pigeon named Darius, when I got sick I could no longer care for him. I went through caigslist and all I got were sketchy people that would've probably used him for squab. Then someone suggested MickaCoo. I contacted Elizabeth and she was amazingly supportive and helpful. She invited us to her house and showed us where Darius would be staying until he was transferred to a place more suited for him. We got to spend some time with him before he was brave enough to hop into the mix with the other birds. I've been getting updates throughout the years, he's now going to his forever home with his wife Harper and I couldn't be happier.

MickaCoo saves so many birds and makes so many sacrifices to save every bird they possibly can, it is by far the most dedicated rescue I've ever encountered.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first discovered MickaCoo, I was in an awful place in my life, it was the first time I was admitted to the hospital. At that time I had a pigeon named Darius, he was a king pigeon mix that I had for two years, and though he could be a little brat most of the time, he was still a sweet heart that would make a nest around his little beanie baby friend.

When I was sick and needed to go to the hospital, my mom was unable to care for him, so as a last resort we found Mickaboo, who directed us to MickaCoo. The last thing I wanted to do was rehome him, but at the same time it would be good for him as well to have other pigeons around. Elizabeth Young and I shared a few emails and pictures, I sent of Darius, and she sent of where he'd be living. When it came time for him to go, she invited us to her house and back into her aviary where Darius would be staying a while.

Darius eventually went to an aviary in the Berkeley hills where he found his mate Harper.

Since then, I was having housing trouble and was unable to foster or adopt, so I did what I could to help out, went to events to talk about birds, cleaned up aviaries and what not. Now I have my own little apartment, fostering birds and caring for sick pigeons I find.

Thanks to MickaCoo, I found my passion for birds again, and if it weren't for these birds I would still be in that really terrible place. They are the perfect pet to just have around as a companion, easy to care for and so loving, and MickaCoo has saved so many of them from the cruelty of the streets where people mainly see them as a nuisance rather than the amazing birds they are.

So please, don't breed, don't buy, adopt!!

jonathanharris

Donor

Rating: 5

Pigeons and doves are remarkable animals. They can hear the sound of wind rushing over mountains a thousand miles away. They see colors we can only imagine. They have spectacular memories and retain hundreds of mental images for years. They may be among a small number of animals capable of passing the "mirror test" for self-recognition. They are loving parents—sometimes even foster parents to other species—and affectionate companions.

Almost singlehandedly, MickaCoo has taken responsibility for helping these gentle creatures in a world where they have been misunderstood, often hatefully stereotyped, abused, and routinely euthanized at animal shelters. Not only have MickaCoo volunteers rescued and rehabilitated hundreds, releasing those who could rejoin wild flocks and finding homes for those who could not; in doing so, they are fundamentally changing common misperceptions of pigeons and doves: first among their many volunteers and supporters, who foster, adopt, and come to know these birds as intelligent, loving, and unique individuals; then, more broadly, as their experience and understanding is shared among among friends and spreads to the public at large. MickaCoo is one of the most dedicated and effective volunteer organizations I have ever known. I wholeheartedly endorse and support their work.

Katie94

Client Served

Rating: 5

The MickaCoo organization is truly exceptional in that its volunteers go above and beyond in order to secure safe, happy homes that are specifically appropriate to each individual bird. After rescuing a wounded baby dove last summer, I was at a loss for what to do with the little guy. I ended up raising him myself, as one of his legs was permanently crippled and he could not be released into the wild. I searched for months trying to find a home for him, only to be met with closed doors and negative reactions. After stumbling upon the MickaCoo website during one of my searches, I immediately emailed the organization. MickaCoo began the process of pairing my dove with suitable partners (both human and dove). I was touched by their concern for the welfare of this tiny creature. When the time came to give "Tweet" up, I was confident he was in good hands. The work MickaCoo does is invaluable, and gives precious, oft overlooked birds, a chance at a healthy, happy life!

PigeonPassion

Board Member

Rating: 5

MickaCoo is unique in that it addresses an group of animals overlooked by the majority of rescues. Not only does MickaCoo rescue, provide foster care and avian medical care, and find forever homes for domestic pigeons and doves, but they are changing the rescue culture by educating rescues and the public about these amazing birds. I am amazed daily by how much is accomplished on the tight budget they have. With only 1 paid employee, volunteers are critical to MickaCoo's success. They are exceptionally caring and devoted to making a difference in the lives of these beautiful, intelligent, and gentle birds. Imagine what they could accomplish with a larger budget!!!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This unique rescue is the only one I know of that promotes the cause of domestic pigeons and doves. Like everyone else, I thought of the wild pigeons and knew nothing of the domestics. Elizabeth Young's enthusiasm is contagious, she is so passionate about the pigeons and doves. I caught 'the fever' when a homing pigeon, Little Cloud, came into my life. He adopted me, and we are both so very happy. He is a special member of the family. We want to share the domestic pigeon and dove story with everyone. They are smart and beautiful and make wonderful pets and companions. They are easy to care for, quiet, and calming. MickaCoo teaches anyone interested in adopting how to care for the birds and provide a safe enclosure indoors or out. This is a fantastic non-profit run by an incredible woman and staffed by devoted volunteers.

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Susan129

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

MickaCoo is a great program with many devoted volunteers and community supporters. They help care for, find homes for and, even more importantly, educate the public about releasing pigeons and/or doves at ceremonial events, about producing birds for squab, as well as use for hunting practice and live pigeon shoots. Having MickaCoo as part of our community is invaluable...and hard, hard work! Thank you, MickaCoo.

2 ingridtaylar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

MickaCoo had my heart at the word "pigeon." An organization that rescues, rehabilitates and champions animals who so often get the short shrift in our world earns my affection and respect for that endeavor alone. But MickaCoo transcends even that valuable role. They exceed all expectations of compassion when it comes to interpersonal advocacy.

Several years ago, my husband and I found ourselves with a lost and unwanted racing pigeon, no outdoor space, and no real guidance on how to care for our new rescue. Even as a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, I had precious few contacts in terms helping domestic pigeons.

Despite an always overwhelming case load, MickaCoo stepped up to offer us counsel and resources. It was through MickaCoo that we learned how to properly house, feed and care for our wayward bird. MickaCoo came in to help when we encountered a rescue situation that was beyond our capacities to handle. And it is entirely because of MickaCoo -- and the deep care they showed for the birds and for us -- that we ourselves, became allies and advocates for the well-being of pigeons.

It's difficult to assign a value to the tireless work of animal rescue and advocacy groups. No quantification can possibly capture the totality of what they do. But I can think of no greater measure of an organization than its ability to change hearts and minds. MickaCoo and its volunteers, through their own passions and commitments, did just that. They engendered in us a deep ethic of care for these birds -- and they continuously create a lasting legacy of compassion, one by one, bird by bird.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My two beautiful ringneck doves were adopted from MickaCoo. As an adopter I've received all the support I needed to make the birds happy and healthy members of the family. They are thriving thanks to the skill and kindness that flows from MickaCoo.

As an organization, this group is a class act. Few rescues work as hard or as effectively as they do. I'm proud to be a continuing donor to their honorable cause of rescuing and homing these deserving birds.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am not a supporter of most organizations that ask for donations, as I know that most of the money is pocketed and not spent in the manner one would hope (or what is marketed). But MickaCoo is the first organization EVER that did not need to ask for a donation, I JUST HAD TO SEND MONEY to help Elizabeth and her incredible work. I had rescued a poor Pigeon, who experienced a Hawk attack, and MickaCoo helped me rehab this darling Pigeon (Homie-the-WunderBird) back from the brink of death. Elizabeth found me a local experienced Pij person, to not only increase my education on their care, but also to check out Homie to make sure she was ok. And just this week, I am happy to say, that Homie has fallen in love with one of the MickaCoo adoptees, and now 'Bubba' is a member of our family. I will likely adopt a 'couple' (2) pigeons to finish out Homies new aviary, and help lessen Elizabeths load, just a wee bit. In Elizabeth I see a passionate, woman, who cares for an underserved population, the Pigeon, and does superhuman work to make sure all are carried for, none are bred and many humans learn about the wonderment of being owned by a pet pigeon!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WHY I FOSTER 24 PIGEONS

I was never very interested in birds. I love dogs, I dream of galloping on my own horse, I bonded with my future husband over rabbits, we have fostered kittens. But birds don’t have names, or personalities, or loveability. So I thought.

When I first signed up with a new rescue association for pigeons that could not be released into the wild, my reasons were hardly persuasive. The rescued rabbits that we kept for years in a huge aviary-style outdoor cage had finally gone to the Big Carrot in the Sky. The aviary was empty, wasting.

We were tired of rabbits, didn’t want chickens, and weren’t prepared to take on any time-consuming pets. Then I heard about Elizabeth Young, who had committed herself to saving king pigeons. Kings are bred for eating in restaurants, called squab on the menu, so their breast meat is disproportionately large. As a result, they are slow fliers and easy targets for hawks. When kind-hearted people see the beautiful huge white pigeons for sale at Vietnamese and Chinese markets and buy and release them with good intentions, the birds’ “freedom” lasts only a few days and their death is horrible. There are other pigeons too that cannot be released into the wild, such as racing pigeons and “wedding-release” homers that have become lost and are no longer wanted by their owners, as well as some feral pigeons with injuries or who have been raised indoors and then abandoned. Elizabeth formed Mickacoo to rescue these birds, trying to find people who would foster them for a while or adopt them permanently. And there I was, with an unused aviary.

I committed to fostering for a few months. I am still fostering three years later, with a changing group of twenty to twenty-seven birds in my care. Some of my friends think I’m crazy, or at least eccentric, but if they will listen, I explain that the pigeons have been, other than dogs, the most interesting pets I’ve ever had, and compared with my other pets, especially dogs, they are the least trouble. Most days, I spend less than three minutes in the cage, simply filling their food and water bowls. Once a week, I check for eggs, apologizing guiltily as I sneakily remove real eggs and replace them with wooden look-a-likes. (There are too many pigeons in need of rescue, so offspring are a big mistake – called Oops Babies.) The wooden eggs are accepted with grace, and the pigeon couples sit on them patiently for weeks – alternating duties between dad during the day and mom at night - until they decide that location, location, location is the problem, and they move to another hutch and start again. Other days I spend some time hosing off the gravel on the ground or changing the newspaper in their hutches. On the best days, I just sit and watch them, endlessly fascinated by their behavior.

Pigeons mate for life. Their courting, which is recognizable after you’ve seen it once or twice, takes from a few minutes to a few weeks, and then that’s it – they are committed. Unlike humans, the strong and the good looking do not feel entitled to the cream of the crop: their mating choices are inexplicable, but once made, that’s it. The next step is to choose a hutch, win it against any competitors, and build a haphazard nest of straw or twigs. Finally an egg is laid, followed the next day by a second. Then the pressure increases. Whoever is not on duty, spends a huge and hilarious amount of energy chasing the one is on duty back to the nest. No time to eat, or explore, or stretch legs. Round and round the aviary, he/she chases him/her, little legs pumping, efforts to “duke” or bob or weave persistently thwarted. With single-minded determination, the bossy one chases the other back to work.

Animal behaviorists have shown that pigeons can recognize faces, can do tricks, can even be taught to play a form of ping pong. I find it more interesting to watch the way they “kiss” for long moments, a movement that is actually a preparation for feeding a baby bird mouth-to-mouth. To watch mates grooming each other. To hear the soft, calming coo-ing that seems generic at first, but eventually reveals the individuality of each pigeon’s voice.

Elizabeth can tell all the birds apart, but most of the big white ones look the same to me, and I usually have to check the colored bands on their legs or observe where they are nesting and who they are nuzzling. Mackenzie is the one I know best, because he was my first bird, along with an unnamed female, whom I called Ichiban, Number One in Japanese. When they suddenly decided many months later that they were going to be a couple, I watched Mackenzie’s self confidence grow until he was lording it over all newcomers, chasing any rude youngsters out of the cubbies next to and above and below his love nest. Two good years later, Ichiban developed a large lump that made her wing stick out crazily. The avian vet diagnosed a cancerous growth, and Mackenzie accompanied Ichiban to a volunteer with more medical knowledge than I have, and a much smaller aviary. He stayed close to his mate as she grew more and more lopsided. When Ichiban died, it took a while before he paid any attention to the three females placed in his little aviary to distract him. Tomorrow he is coming home to me with his second mate. His original cubby has been usurped in his absence but I know Mackenzie better than I ever thought I would know a bird. He will choose a new place, guard it against any trespassers, settle down into being a faithful husband, boss his wife unmercifully, and recognize my face.

Darcey M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Pigeons have been a huge part of my life for a long time. My many birds have been my reason for living. I was thrilled to find Mickacoo as I no longer felt alone in my crusade for pigeons. Because of their wonderful work and advocacy, I was inspired to stop breeding pigeons for my own pleasure and start adopting them for their happiness. I will be expanding my little coop into a large pigeon house with design inspiration from Mickacoo's many lovely coop pictures. I hope I can make a difference in my area all the way in NH with what I have learned from them. Thanks Mickacoo!
-Darcey Mussey.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had reached out to MickaCoo over 2 years ago from CT as I had rescued a racing pigeon. It was quite an experience learning quite a bit in a short amount of time. They are smart and amazing creatures. We had to learn what and how to feed him while building a pigeon loft and then try and get him in it before dead of winter. It all worked out, thanks to the folks at MickaCoo who helped with information and encouraging support . Because of this experience i went on to become a wildlife rehab in-between my fulltime job. This Summer we received a few feral pigeons that were brought back to health and released. We also received a very emaciated racing pigeon which we were able to bring back to health and now I have him in the original loft and flight cage. This big guy is 8 years old and flew in from Chicago, by the info on his leg bands. Amazing, now I am committed to learning more about pigeons and hopefully can take on more in need at a later time. But I did want to say your website and what you do there is very inspiring. Thank you

Jaclyn A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love MickaCoo. They save so many pigeons and doves, offering these beautiful and smart birds the chance they deserve at a happy and quality filled life. I've been volunteering with MickaCoo since they helped me with a dozen domestic pigeons that were released in a park. MickaCoo came to the rescue when I had no idea what to do. Elizabeth, the founder, drove an hour, to educate us on how to take care of these birds, and she also placed each one in foster homes and then in aviaries where they will now live out their lives, happy and safe. I'm now the proud adopter of a MickaCoo rescue bird who has brought so much joy to our lives. MickaCoo's supportive efforts, outreach, and their unwavering commitment is truly inspiring! Every MickaCoo's member I've had the pleasure to meet has shown so much compassion and I am ever grateful for this organization.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We first learned of MickaCoo when we discovered someone had released domestic king pigeons in a church park, only to be attacked by hawks. The founder of MickaCoo helped us find foster homes, adopters, and helped us with vet care for all the birds, who have all been adopted into loving homes, all thanks to the efforts of this wonderful rescue organization.

craig.newmark

Donor

Rating: 5

These guys do a great job protecting birds who deserve a break.

They do with with very constrained resources, giving a great deal of themselves.

They almost convinced me to adopt a pair, really difficult under our circumstances.

I love what they do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

MickaCoo Pigeon and Dove Rescue is ONLY charity in the bay area that offers help to pigeons. Without them many beautiful birds, who make great companions would be euthanised. I have two birds and MickaCoo has helped us so much!!! Pigeons make great pets and are extremely intelligent. My birds know their names, my son's name, they watch TV with us, they "talk" to us, they snuggle with us. They are such loving animals, and so underappreciated. It's difficult to find affordable vets that will take in birds and without MickaCoo one of my birds would be in very bad shape!

Also, check out Angel. This story is just one of many AMAZING things MickaCoo has done for our city birds: http://www.pigeonrescue.org/2013/10/23/angel-standing-tall/img_2936-2/

Client Served

Rating: 5

MickaCoo and Elizabeth Young are terrific! When I initially expressed interest in adopting a few pigeons (this had been a hobby of mine as a kid and I thoroughly enjoyed it), MickaCoo and Elizabeth were immediately responsive, enthusiastic and respectful. Also, very helpful as regards all the details surrounding adoptions. Such a worthwhile organization doing fantastic work! I'm inspired to spread the word and hope to work with wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties as potential aviary builders and pigeon adopters!! So many need permanent homes.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I met Elizabeth, the Director of MickaCoo thru our local animal shelter. They suggested I talk to her as I had already established a small flock of pigeons. I grew up with these birds and just love their intelligence and their friendly sweet nature. I looked them up and found their Facebook link, website and blog, to be very informative. I had been following them for quite sometime as I loved seeing pictures of their efforts to re home misplaced, rehabilitated or abandoned domestic pigeons. What I found was that this organization was in communication with other rescue efforts across California. Wildcare ( a rehab center for wild animals) and our local humane society, vets and a large following of volunteers. As I learned more about this organization, I realized how necessary their rescue efforts are needed. I learned that pigeon releases for event and weddings, pigeon racers, and hobbyists rarely get these birds returned to the owner. They either get killed by hawks, dogs or other predators or they just starve as they have been injured. I learned that many racing homer enthusiasts release their birds for racing only when these pigeons have babies in their nests to insure they get home to win a race. They are often released in late summer when temperatures could reach in the 100's. These pigeons are set free often over 400 miles from their home and are desperately trying to get to their young ones that are completely helpless and hungry. When I offered to help, I was asked to fill out an adoption form. Clearly the form was used to show you that this group took this adoption very seriously. Would you be there for them? Do you have someone that would care for them if you were unable? Do you have housing for them that was clean safe and dry? I received very caring helpful emails from the Director when my adoption form was approved. This lovely woman had been out all day educating the public regarding pigeons at various schools and organizations then on her way home stopped by for a home visit. I so admired her dedication and energy in helping these birds. I also learned so much about what I could do to my coop to make it safer and the feeding habits that would benefit these birds. I was grateful when I was given 4 birds to adopt. I'm still in contact with this amazing organization. They have made such a difference to the lives of hundreds of birds every year. I am so impressed by this effort to re home birds that would have otherwise suffered.

Eileen  Harrington

Advisor

Rating: 5

I consult to many nonprofit organizations. I took MickaCoo on because of their unique mission, and that they were incredibly well managed considering their small staff resources (1.0 FTE) and excellent professional dedicated volunteers. The pigeons and doves are well cared for and open my eyes to the needs of these birds--which I never knew about! Donors can be absolutely confident in their donations being used wisely and efficiently for the MickaCoo pigeons and doves. I know this as I have been consulting ton nonprofits for over 10 years and I am very picky with the public's money and how it is spent. Hats off to Elizabeth Young and her talented professional volunteer staff!

KwithTwo

Client Served

Rating: 5

I knew of MickaCoo through a friend who volunteers for the organization. I love hearing her tales of her fosters and the work they do. I've followed them on Facebook for quite some time. I'm the crazy cat lady, having 16 cats at home. Imagine my surprise when God saw fit to drop a lost/emaciated racing pigeon in my campsite in the mountains, far from anywere pigeons would normally be.

Speaking with Jill (my friend who volunteers) proved to be invaluable information and she quickly introduced me to Elizabeth and Zoe. These women, through the blessing of social media and across 3000 miles, talked me off the ledge and helped me rescue this baby.

I'm sure this beautiful racer would have met her fate had she flown 1/2 mile further and ended up inside the boundary of the Great Smoky Mtns. These wonderful ladies steered me in the right direction as to what to feed, how to provide water, how to secure her cage since she's outside, etc.

She was lonely though. And these ladies even went so far as to help me rescue another pigeon not far from me that had met with the same fate...fell from the sky. They helped arrange transport to get him to me. He now also resides on my back deck. They are wonderful.

I don't live anywhere close to where they are. In fact, I'm in the eastern part of TN. But these women reached out to the crazy cat lady, 3000 miles away, and provided more information that I could ever have asked for.

I have two beautiful thriving pigeons now that would have otherwise died. I feel knowledgeable and able to care for them. And I love having these women to reach out to for even the simplest of answers to this otherwise novice bird person.