Wolfku Musing 34

Pigeons strain and flap
their mostly inefficient
airborne miracles

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In my neighborhood there are two houses that feed pigeons on a daily basis. The one house scatters whatever pigeons love to eat on the ground, the other family has constructed an elaborate feeder for them.

The pigeons, of course, know about these two houses and come morning feeding time they fly en masse (and it’s a huge en masse) between the houses to break their communal fast.

Pigeons, too, are chicken. At least these are. If you come within ten feet of them, they take off, and it’s the taking off that’s spectacular; not smoothly spectacular or nicely spectacular, but scramble-flap-scramble spectacular.

Pigeons are not good fliers. I see good fliers during my walks: sea gulls, pelicans, ospreys, even crows are elegant air creatures compared to pigeons. I am actually amazed that these fat birds with under-sized wings manage the airborne trick at all.

You cannot hear an osprey fly (or glide, which is what they mostly do); neither can you hear the sea gulls. But when the pigeons take off, it’s like a enfilade of not particularly light-gauge rifles going off, all in a second or two. You’re inclined to duck—unless, like me, you’re used to this by now.

You would think that after five years they would recognize me by now, but no such luck. I’m a threatening stranger every time I approach, and off they go—a confusing cloud of altitude scramble.

I shake my head and smile