Encounters with nature…


Yesterday evening, I saw the biggest pigeon that I have ever seen.

It was also the pigeon with the brightest coloured neck. It was a gorgeous, shiny green. It glimmered in the ever-pinkening twilight hour.

I know almost nothing about the mating habits of pigeons, but I would put down money that Mr. Pigeon gets way more than his fair share of pigeon tail.

If you were wondering, that is not him pictured above. He didn’t look like the kind of pigeon that would appreciate a fuss being made over him. He was clearly the strong, silent type. I didn’t want to insult him by snapping a photo. I’ve also heard that some tribes of South American pigeons believe that flash photography steals the souls of pigeons. (And gives them pigeon migraines.)

This pigeon had a swagger. It was if he was saying, “Sure I’m nothing but a rat with wings, but dammit, I am the KING of rats with wings. Bitch.”

I believed him.

He really did carry himself as if he were royalty. You know, if royalty frequently ate little seeds off the ground using only their mouths.

And to make sure that there were ample seeds on the ground, he did something quite ingenius. He flew up to the edge of the birdfeeder – which he was way too big to sit comfortably on – and used his beak to sweep seeds down to the ground. Then he flew gracefully back down to earth and ate leisurely.

He ate all by himself. Typically there are any number of birds having a feast at these feeders, but nary a bird dared to invade his space. (No cars drove by either, but I am choosing to chalk that up as fluke.)

At one point, while eating, he stopped and looked up and saw me watching him in the window. Our eyes met. I can’t be sure of how long our moment lasted, but for that brief period of time, I was seeing the lawn through his eyes. And he knew it. He seemed to smile a little. It was as if he had momentarily considered having a staring contest with me, to show his dominance of the front yard. A battle where no quarter would be asked or given. I smiled back at him. There would be no need to be adversaries on this day. He did not fear me.

His stomach full, he flew up to a branch that was hanging over the feeder. He stared out at the yard, and those of my neighbours. It was as if he was surveying all that was his. He spread his giant wings, in one of the most majectic displays I have ever witnessed.

Then he took a giant crap on the top of the bird feeder.

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  1. James Cooper says:

    I used to gaze in amazement at the pigeons who’d frequent fast food joints like McDonald’s. They were behemoths and they dominated the outside seating area, waddling about and threatening other, smaller birds away. They were like the mafioso of the avian world.

    I think your pigeon would’ve kicked their asses though…

  2. Zeus says:

    Pigeons are nasty, heartless beasts of the air.

  3. James Cooper says:

    methinks zeus is just bitter because of the bird’s way of evading cat’s claws.

  4. Peter says:

    James: He was back today. He was scaring off other pigeons that were invading his turf.

    Zeus: Is there a story you aren’t sharing?

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