His nickname was Cher Ami. This stalwart airman was awarded the Croix de Guerre for valor in World War I, having saved hundreds of lives. He is now enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. His fellows live in our cities, all capable of the same speed, skill and bravery as this French war hero.
They sit around you in the parks, they feast by your side, they adorn the ledges of your favorite building. We call them pigeons, although they are technically named rock doves. I love them, something you may have guessed from the name of the blog. It really disturbs me when people call my avian friends rats with wings, trying to disparage them by comparison to the rodents that also live in urban environments. Besides, what do these people have against rats?
My guess is that people are only seeing the inconvenient side of pigeons, the droppings they leave behind them. Why concentrate on the bad parts, the underside of shiny? I prefer the pretty side. Pigeons are the flying quilts of the air, lovely doves with a soothing coo. They look like little boats floating on a sea of grass, their feet tucked beneath them. It’s no wonder these gorgeous birds are still bred for their beauty.
I like to observe these avian actors, thespians rich in entertainment value. Have you ever seen a pigeon eating french fries? I have, and it was hilarious. Someone had dropped a whole carton of Dick’s Drive-in’s greasy finest, and a pigeon was attacking them one by one, shaking each fry with his head to pull it apart. It was very cute, and the fat little bird was cleaning up someone’s mess, too. I often watch the courtship dramas they engage in, the male waddling behind the female in a crooked line for hours until she deigns to pay him attention. It’s funny to see birds behaving in a similar way to people. I also enjoy watching them splash in our puddles and fountains. I share in their enjoyment of water.
People call them dumb birds, but they are very smart. Scientists have trained some pigeons to tell apart cubist and impressionist paintings. Can you? Aren’t they great? Now say it with me: Ricka racka firecracker, sis boom bah. Yay Pigeons! Yay Pigeons! Rah rah rah!
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
28. Spend a couple of minutes really watching a pigeon. Was it a good experience?