Friday, 24 August 2012

Pigeons (cooooooo...)

I think pigeons must be some of the most misunderstood creatures in the world.  Everyone else sees them as dirty, flea-ridden animals, or ‘rats with wings’, but I just see very beautiful birds.  Having said that, I love rats too, but that’s another story.  Of course, there are many different kinds of pigeon too; the ones we see in forests and in the country are bigger and more beautiful (i.e. Pidgeots), while the ones that live in town are smaller (i.e. Pidgeottos).  Some town pigeons are so small and scraggly that they are merely Pidgeys.  (This is, of course, Pokemon terminology, but I think it’s very relevant here.)  Whatever their size or condition, all these pigeons deserved to be loved; even the one that flew directly into my face when I was 15. 

One of the conditions for marrying me is that you’d be willing to feed a town pigeon from your hand.  (I understand they are dirty, but this is precisely why hand sanitizer exists in my opinion.) Pigeons are creatures completely untouched by human kindness; they are used to being shooed away and kicked at by people, so when a person comes down to their level and chooses to feed them from their hand, to me, that is a very special person.  To bring love and kindness to a being that may never have experienced love or kindness in its life is, I think, a wonderful thing to do.  (This lack of love mustn’t be through anything blameworthy, however; I’m not saying that hand-feeding Hitler would have been a particularly good thing to do; besides, he was completely capable of using his own hands.) Hitler aside, I like pigeons, as I like pretty much every animal.  Even the ones that walk around on dissolved stumps of feet through continued exposure to Ammonia.

Although people hate pigeons, they were very distressed when one was eaten alive by a Pelican in St. James’ park a few years ago; the pigeon struggled helplessly for about half an hour before it was swallowed in front of a crowd of screaming children.  You can find a picture of the actual incident here:

In fact, the whole blog post is very funny; the picture of the pelican trying to eat the cat is my favourite.

One man said the following on his Twitter account:

St James Park has had pelicans since (I think) the reign of King James 1; recently one disgraced itself by eating one of London's pigeons in front of an assembled crowd of tourists!

I don’t know if this man meant what he said or not, but the idea of a pelican ‘disgracing itself’ amuses me no end; it’s such a  British reaction to natural behaviour amongst animals.  Poor pelican! (Poor pigeon, for that matter!) I imagine it being slowly marched out of St. James Park hanging its head with all the other pelicans yelling insults at it:

I also hear that pigeons are delicious deep-fried, but I have never tried one myself.  All in all, pigeons are a useful part of society, and showing them a bit of affection once in a while is no bad thing. 


  1. Aaaiiieee. One of my few bad memories of our Scotland tour was watching a seagull catch, kill and eat a pigeon on the roof of our hotel not two feet from our room window. I didn't want to look, but could not stop. It was, ya know, horrifying and perfectly understandable all at the same time.

    1. One of the horrifying results of over-fishing actually so, while not exactly natural behaviour, is entirely caused by humans, so it is really us that are disgracing ourselves as a race, not the seagulls and pelicans! Poor boidies!