as I sat there a pigeon appeared in front of me. it came out of nowhere, walking around aimlessly, looking at me out of the corner of its' eye to see if I noticed and exactly what I was doing. pigeons are not very annoying. whenever you sit down somewhere, whether it be in a park or at a bus stop they invariably appear. you know they're there but they aren't much of a nuisance so you generally ignore them. every now and then you may throw them some bread or whatever you may happen to be eating at the time. I had a bagel and a coffee I had picked up at the Amtrak station so I tossed a small piece of it to the pigeon without thinking much about it. it quickly began to peck at it, all the while keeping an eye on me out of the corner of an eye. then another appeared and another...and another....seemingly out of nowhere. I tossed another piece of bread in the middle of them and they all began pecking away at the bread. I stopped what I was doing and began watching them. soon there were around fifteen of them gathered around the bread...all pecking away...but all seeming to get their turn at the bread.
I started looking at these pigeons abit more closely. I see pigeons every time I go to the park or to the riverfront. I just never pay them much attention. on this afternoon I could see their colors reflecting in the sun. there were blue, red, green and a hint of yellow shimmering off their backs and heads. you generally think of pigeons as being dirty and they're not the sort of bird you'd want to pet or have hop on the bench beside you. but if you take a closer look you can see the colors pigeons survive as scavengers and they rely on the whims of humans to eat most of the time, accepting whatever we may toss their way. their colors are not as bright as a robin or a blue jay or cardinal. but the colors are there still the same. these other birds generally don't gather or mix with the pigeons, even when they're eating. some stay at a distance or perched in a tree, waiting for the pigeons to leave, most just ignore them. every now and then a gull will arrive and walk in the middle of the pigeons. the gulls are louder, bigger and cause more of a stir than the pigeons. they will encroach on the pigeons and often cause an annoyance. the pigeons tolerate them, deftly moving out of the way of the louder and more obnoxious bird. usually the gull won't stay long. he'll make his presence loudly known, cause a commotion and then leave. the pigeons will return to their business of gathering the bread that you've thrown to them. you see the pigeons in every season of the year. they're not as visible in the winter, most are hunkered down on top of buildings, under ledges or sitting on slanted roofs with their feathers ruffled to keep warm or dry in the weather. but they're there all the same.
I've never known of anyone that wanted to have a pigeon as a pet. I've known people that feed pigeons every day. they come at the same time of the morning or afternoon and throw bread to them. the pigeons gather, eat the bread and then leave, returning to the places they sit and wait for the next meal. some of these people have a genuine concern for the pigeon and show up promptly every day to feed them. they almost feel responsible for the pigeons. I've seen some of these people who seem to be on friendly terms with the pigeons and actually strike up sort of a relationship with them. they actually enjoy feeding, and watching the pigeons and having their company. others want to house the pigeons. i'm not quite sure of the purpose of this. but they build small houses with chicken wire on it and put the pigeons inside the cages. at one time I think the pigeons were used as carriers and maybe this is a carry over from that, but people still practice this, especially in larger cities and inner city environments. the pigeons get to eat daily and have a roof over their head, but all in all I think they'd rather be free. it's odd now that i'm thinking about it....I've never seen a pigeon nest. they just live and sleep and rest wherever they can. they can't or don't migrate like other birds so they have to live and eat wherever and whenever they can in the area they exist.
alot of people don't like pigeons. they consider them a nuisance. they'll clap their hands and make a loud noise to disperse the pigeons. the pigeons will fly away...a short distance...then return when the noise maker has left the area. other people kick their feet at the pigeons when they pass a group of them. the pigeons will usually move out of the way and then return to whatever it was they were doing before they were rudely interrupted. now some cities have such a large pigeon population that they have considered it a health and safety hazard. the pigeons dirty up rooftops and other places they gather, especially where they tend to sleep. these cities have even taken some extreme measures to greatly reduce or eradicate the pigeon problem. often they have an annual pigeon kill day when it's legal to shoot pigeons. i'm not sure if this is done today, but I know not long ago it was still being practiced. other cities have tried loud noises generated automatically in places where pigeons gather, introducing predator birds into the pigeon environment and anything else they could think of to rid themselves of the pigeon blight. nothing seems to have worked so far.
i'm not sure anything can be done about the pigeons. i'm not sure anything should be. in the end, they're only trying to live and eat and survive with the abilities they've been given. they've learned to adapt to our behavior and coexist with us, without being obtrusive. gathered in a group they may be annoying and we all may have the urge to clap our hands and shoo them away. but watching these pigeons on this day, wanting to approach me, but wary enough to keep their distance....I didn't have the urge to shoo them away.as I was leaving I looked around the park and noticed that three or four homeless people had sat down on various benches, some reading, others just enjoying the sun. I could almost see their colors.
tomorrow....look around. you'll see the pigeons if you try. they're there, perched, wating and watching you as you pass by.
see you around town