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A Life Worth Saving: Moose's Story

From Palomacy, Guest Post by Jenna Close
March 2023

The flock kept up their vigil for 3 days and nights. 3 seems to be an important number in grieving rituals throughout the world (so why not pigeons too?) but still I was astounded that the honor guard went on that long. On the 4th day, Mo gently and respectfully stepped onto Moose’s roost and quietly claimed the spot.

Pigeon Moose

“Human beings are a part of the animal kingdom, not apart from it. The separation of “us” and “them” creates a false picture and is responsible for much suffering.” “When animals express their feelings they pour out like water from a spout. Animals’ emotions are raw, unfiltered, and uncontrolled. Their joy is the purest and most contagious of joys and their grief the deepest and most devastating. Their passions bring us to our knees in delight and sorrow.”
~ Marc Bekoff

My soul-bird Moose slipped the surly bonds of earth on December 19th, 2022. Despite years of anticipatory grief, I was not at all prepared for how I felt once he was gone. But I was even less prepared – for the sorrow, the beauty, the rawness and the respect – of Moose’s Flock.

I have a 14 pigeon aviary. They are all rescues, all bonded pairs, and they all have their frenemies and territories and daily habits. Half of them have experienced the only other death I’ve had here so far – Moose’s first wife Mercedes a few years ago. From that, I felt like I understood how eloquently and gracefully these birds grieve. I was wrong.

Moose was Home for 1,177 days. He was part of the first group of pigeons I adopted after catching 2 lost racers near my house and building them an aviary. By default – of both longevity and largeness of character – Moose was never at the bottom of the pecking order, but he also never cared much about being at the very top. Nico is The Boss and Moose was The Sheriff. He was always on patrol and no one ever messed with him or his space for very long. In response, he didn’t randomly push others around, but everyone knew he would if provoked.




Pigeon aviary

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