Pigeon Service

Sindy’s Pigeon Service is a place for pigeon-lovers to explore and buy creative products for pigeons and their people. Every item is one that I have personally used in the now ELEVEN aviaries I have designed and had built, and each item has met with pigeon success. The items are mostly ones created by my husband, Steve, and me, and handcrafted by us, for use either in an indoor cage for pigeons or an outdoor aviary. The remainder (such as fake eggs, seed covers, etc.) were selected because either we found them tremendously useful to us as pigeon people or because the pigeons adored them.

While an on-line store, Sindy’s Pigeon Service also offers an opportunity to meet the pigeons for school groups, homeschoolers or anyone else, interested in learning kindness and respect for all creatures as well as the remarkable contributions of pigeons through the centuries. Sindy’s Pigeon Service is acutely aware of the misuse of pigeons and the social attitude of disgust and malignment toward them. This store and its educational services are created with the hope that it will support and encourage all people who love animals to view pigeons (domesticated and feral) as the gentle, highly-intelligent and loving beings they are and admire their centuries-long history as one of man’s best helpers.

Sindy’s Pigeon Service is so named to honor the pigeons who were used in both world wars by the U.S. military to send messages to the soldiers on the ground and to the resistance in occupied Europe and Southeast Asia. The military called its winged messengers, the “U.S. Pigeon Service.” At its peak in World War II, the U.S. Pigeon Service possessed 54,000 pigeons.

Our Adventure

Our adventure with pigeons started with a homing pigeon, named Glory. Steve and I were Adopt-A-Highway volunteers for litter pick up in California, where we previously lived. Steve was doing a particularly unpleasant task the day Glory appeared; he was cleaning up an illegal dump of someone’s belongings. Just as he was ready to come home, a white bird walked out of the dead vegetation nearby and made herself at home underneath Steve’s car. Fascinated at first, Steve took a picture of Glory, who appeared to have no intention of leaving the shade of the car’s underside. However, Glory remained unmoved; she simply positioned herself further under the car. Eventually, Glory walked out from under the car and straight into ongoing traffic. Steve stepped out into the freeway and scooped Glory up and put her in a box in his car to be transported to our home.

Steve and I suspected that Glory needed our help, and we applied ourselves to the task. Water and seed promptly arrived in her box. Soon, she was housed in a borrowed parrot cage and locked in our spare bedroom since we have two cats. Research then began on this beautiful creature. It wasn’t long before I learned of Palomacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing domesticated pigeons and doves. I learned that Glory was a white homer pigeon and that she was seeking help.

It is worth noting here that any white pigeon or banded bird is domesticated and cannot live wild and free. The bird is making itself noticed because it needs immediate help: safety, food and water. It is essentially “choosing you” to help it.

I fell in love with Glory. In the two months since her self-rescue, Steve and I had an aviary built in our backyard in California. We adopted another 30 birds for the aviary. Each is a domesticated pigeon with their own unique personality and their own story of survival and ultimate rescue.

Pigeons mate for life. Pigeon love stories are real — each different and each incredibly interesting. While nothing in life is 100%, virtually all pigeon couples actually live the vows that we human beings take with each other: they love and cherish each other “for better or worse” and “in sickness and in health.” This special bond, combined with the fact that pigeons equally co-parent the eggs and then squab, is the reason why mankind has been able to use (and exploit) pigeons for centuries for so many purposes: for sailors to find land, for governments to carry messages into war, for Reuters to carry stock trades to market, for countries’ officials to get election results from mountainous regions, for gamblers to race pigeons for money, and so on. Pigeons don’t do these feats for man; they are not patriotic or racers by nature. They do them to return to the ones they love.

Since Glory and her flock touched my heart, I have rescued many more domesticated pigeons. Rescuing them meant finding homes for them as well. Consequently, I designed and had built two, large aviaries in the Bay Area. One is located at a farm sanctuary in Martinez, called One Living Sanctuary, and the other was a collaboration with a property owner (and now friend) in her backyard.

My journey has now taken me to Jacksonville, Oregon. Since moving here and opening Sindys Pigeon Service, I have been able to expand my own aviary to take 33 birds that I was not able to place for a Northwest Bird Club member, Beverly Fuller, who died prematurely of lung cancer. I was able to place two of her flocks — one of doves and one of fantails. She died before I could find homes for the last 33 pigeons. They now reside in my expanded aviary.

With the proceeds from my online store, I built my first aviary for a friend, Heather Gomberg, and her pigeon, Oreo. In November 2022, I built another aviary in Hookset, New Hampshire for Rachel Power. Initially, Rachel took in four pigeons. All desperately needed rehoming. Since that time, she has continued to rescue!

2023 was the year of the aviary! And the start of building dovecotes for feral pigeons. Four aviaries all over the United States have been built this year. (1) one for Ashley Rankin in Eerie City, Pennsylvania; (2) one for Amy Riggs of Rebel Rescue Ranch near Youngstown, Ohio; (3) one for Liz Greenwood in Phoenix, Arizona, and (4) an overflow aviary for me in Central Point, Oregon.

         

In addition to the four aviaries I built this year, I designed a dovecote for feral pigeons.  I was fortunate enough to collaborate with two rescues to build the design:  (1) Otter Creek Wildlife Rescue in Addison, Vermont, and (2) Cassey Smith-Pfingsten in Odessa, Texas.  Both took very different approaches to my basic design, but both came up with amazing versions.  And, ones that so far have attracted and retained pigeons and doves!  My goal is to get cities and other places, which currently poison, spike and kill pigeons, to build dovecotes instead.  People could feed feral flocks at the dovecote location without fear of harassment and citation, and feral flocks could be safe and living in clean conditions.  The places that want feral pigeons eliminated would also benefit, as they could rest assured that pigeon populations were being controlled and the birds enjoyed. 

CONNECTICUT ANIMAL CRUELTY STATUTE IS “FOR THE BIRDS”

Connecticut state law has a broadly worded animal cruelty statute.  Yet, at this time last year, that statute was simply overlooked by the New Haven Police Department and Animal Control in the face of a clear case of animal cruelty, which was both intentional and malicious.  This prejudicial oversight by these bodies must be corrected. 

In July of last year, Palomacy posted an urgent request for the rescue of six (6) domesticated pigeons.  Palomacy is a nationwide group of volunteers, based out of San Francisco, who rescues domesticated pigeons and doves.  The post concerned six pigeons in New Haven, Connecticut that someone was trying to sell on Craigslist for dog training.  Domesticated pigeons are sometimes used in this cruel way.  They are never out of their small cage except for training sessions.  Training sessions ordinarily involve wrapping electrical tape or duct tape around the feathers of the birds and stuffing them in bushes.  The idea is that the dogs find the pigeons and bring them back to the owner unharmed.  Of course, that is why it is called dog “training” since the dogs don’t understand the “unharmed” part right away. 

The Palomacy post was an urgent call out for help for these six birds, which were advertised on Craigslist for sale at $10 a bird.  The ad showed six, very thin, domesticated pigeons in a cramped cage, missing noticeable clumps of feathers and looking generally unhealthy.  Paola Chacon-Paul (“Paola”) responded to this call out for help.  She spoke to the man selling the pigeons.  He identified himself as Hadj Monsour (“Monsour”).  He wanted $10 a bird plus money for their small, rusty cage.  By the end of the conversation, he refused to take less than $100.  This was fine with Paola since she only wanted to save these birds from their torture.  They agreed to meet at what Paola believed to be Monsour’s home in New Haven on July 31, 2022.  Instead, the address took her to a Mobil gas station in New Haven.

 Paola and her husband, John Paul, live outside of New York City in Westchester County.  They drove three and a half hours that day to meet Monsour.  But, they were late.  As anyone knows who has driven from New York to Connecticut, there is often unpredictable traffic delays.  Paola called Monsour and let me him know that they were running about an hour late.  This was not a problem for Monsour, as he relayed to Paulo.  He and his 10 year old son (who apparently came with him to drop off the pigeons) would go to a nearby Walmart for the hour.  They did just that and left the six pigeons in the car.  The pigeons were in a small box with no holes for air.  It was approximately 85 degrees on July 31, 2022. 

When Paola and her husband arrived at the address they had been given by Monsour, they were confused.  It was a gas station in New Haven and not his home, and Monsour wasn’t there.  When they called him for an explanation, he told them that he was still shopping with his son at Walmart and would be at least another half hour at the store.

When Monsour finally arrived, he took a small box out of his car and threw it into the trunk of Paola and John Paul’s car.  The trunk was open because Paola was getting out the six carriers they brought to transport the birds home.  Paola and John Paul could not understand what was going on.  Why did Monsour throw a box into the trunk?  And, how could there be six birds in a closed box with no air holes which was not even 4 inches tall?  A pigeon could not even stand in a box that size.  As such insanity started to dawn on them, Monsour grabbed the money for the birds from John Paul and literally took off. 

Paola and her husband then opened the box.  Four (4) of the beautiful pigeons were dead.  Two were gasping for air.  Paola knew how important it was to cool them down.  She poured cold water under their wings and on their bodies and and blew air into their mouths.  John Paul tried CPR on two birds that appeared to have just died since both were still twitching.  The other two were stiff.  This desperate effort went on for about 10 minutes, as the gas station attendant and others watched.  Only when the gasping stopped and the two that had lived could take a sip of water, did Paola and John Paul leave the gas station. 

Through OnStar, Paola immediately notified the New Haven Police Department about what had just happened.  She was told that there was nothing they could do.  The officer she spoke to over the phone told her to call Animal Control in the morning because it is responsible for animal cruelty cases.  Paola tried the New Haven Police Department again the next day, hoping for a different response by another officer.  Nothing changed; however, she was given the number for New Haven Animal Control.

Paola then called Animal Control.  She got the same line:  There was nothing they could do because she “hadn’t gone to the man’s house” and did not have his address.  Paola already learned from the Mobil gas station attendant that there was video footage of the events, undoubtedly including the license plate of Monsour’s car.  She also had the Craigslist ad that had the owner’s phone number, and Paola had his name.  She also had pictures of the airless box and dead birds.  Animal Control insisted that they could not help. 

Meanwhile, Paola and John Paul were getting the two birds that survived the help they needed.  They found an emergency vet that was willing to see the birds immediately.  The pigeons were not only severely dehydrated, but they were emaciated.  They were filthy and full of parasites, and their little bodies were badly bruised.  One was so dehydrated she needed to remain with the vet for rounds of subcutaneous fluids.

 It is high time for incidents like this to change, and this one must be corrected.  Had there been six puppies in that miniscule box, left in a hot car with no air or water for at least an hour and half, there most certainly would be action taken, particularly if four died.  Connecticut law doesn’t just cover animal cruelty when it comes to dogs and cats.  It applies to “any animal.”  See CGS Section 53-247(a)  Indeed, the New Haven Municipal Code defines “animal” very broadly.  It states:  “Animal means any brute creature including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, birds and reptiles.  It shall include quadrupeds and amphibians.”  See New Have Municipal Code Sec. 7-1., Definitions, Animal.  So, the fact that these beautiful, tortured creatures were domesticated pigeons should not have changed a thing in the way this tragedy was handled.  Birds are covered by the state and local animal cruelty statutes. 

This was also a clear case of animal cruelty, even malicious and intentional. See CGS Section 53-247.  Section 53-247(a) provides that people failing to provide “necessary sustenance” to an animal are guilty of animal cruelty.  The statute specifically provides that animal cruelty includes failing to “supply any animal with wholesome air, food and water.”  A person “inflicts cruelty” on any animal if he or she “carries it or causes it to be carried in a cruel manner.”  See also New Haven Municipal Code Section 7-3(a).

It is undeniable that Monsour did not provide these six birds with “necessary sustenance.”  They were knowingly deprived of air and water for at least an hour and a half in a car on a hot day.  They were also undeniably carried in a cruel manner.  All six pigeons were crammed in a box, no taller than 4 inches, where none could even stand up.  The box contained no air and no water for an hour and a half at least.  Undoubtedly, these poor birds were trapped in that heartless situation for far longer than that, as Monsour needed to drive from his home to the Mobil gas station, then to Walmart, shop with his son, and then return to Walmart to meet Paola and her husband. 

It is unconscionable that such animal cruelty by Monsour didn’t even get him a fine.  It didn’t even make it on paper as a police report, especially because it was malicious and intentional.  Monsour clearly knew the size of the box he had six birds in.  He knowingly left them in that box, without air or water, for a minimum of an hour and a half, in the heat.  He left them in that condition, while he shopped at Walmart with his son.  The fact that he threw the box in Paola’s trunk and grabbed the $100, then taking off, is further evidence of his knowing brutality.  Four birds died that day at Monsour’s hands, and two others were so deprived of oxygen that it is a miracle they survived.  The medical records of the emergency vet further show that the two birds who survived had suffered for longer than one day.  Both pigeons were severely dehydrated, emaciated, full of parasites, bruised and broken.

 It is not too late to prosecute this monsterous act of animal cruelty.  And, it is time to start enforcing the animal cruelty laws, as intended.  The law is written to cover “birds.”  These beautiful birds were also domesticated; just like a puppy or a kitten, they were born in captivity, raised by a human being (fed, watered and given shelter) and have no survival skills.  These beautiful six got the bad luck of the draw, like some dogs and cats do, by getting a heartless human as their owner.  They deserve the same protection other domesticated animals get and the same justice. 

Glory needed our help

There was little fanfare when she arrived home.  Steve and I suspected that Glory needed our help, and we applied ourselves to the task.

I fell in love with Glory

It is worth noting here that any white pigeon or banded bird is domesticated and cannot live wild and free.

Services Sindy’s Pigeon Service Offers

In order to take advantage of any service we offer (or create your own event), you need only email sindyspigeonservice@gmail.com or leave me a text at 707-207-5759.  Some of the services we offer include:

  • Aviary tours
  • Speaking engagements about pigeons:  what are domesticated, rescued pigeons?; what is their history as man’s helpers; did you know that pigeons were once the darlings of the rich and famous?; do pigeons make the ideal pet, etc.
  • Summer camp visits
  • School visits
  • Bookstore displays
  • Story time visits
  • Pretty much any other event that involves education about pigeons!

A bag of long pine needles comes FREE with every order, no matter how small 

Shipping is FREE to any location in the USA

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Ricardo Owens
Designer
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Joel Burdine
Designer
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Rhonda Key
Designer
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Ashley Hoyt
Designer

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