for the birds

| 23 Sep 2016 | 11:52

I don’t know anyone who loves pigeons except the tourists in Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. They can afford to be generous with their crumbs because they are only day trippers. When they depart the pigeon debris is left to street cleaners until the next day when it starts all over. Pigeons are part of Venetian history and Venice is their home.

But pigeons do not belong in Manhattan. They are intruders and a blight. I have never seen a pigeon nest or even a baby pigeon. Are they hatched full size? Where do they mate? Does one pigeon morph into another as they age? Is there a cemetery for pigeons? My Manhattan window sills attract the neighborhood pigeon population and I feel like I have an outside boarding house. I’ve posted signs that say No Vacancy but the pigeons persist. I even had one pigeon stare into my window while I was dressing. Quite disturbing, eyeing a pigeon through glass. Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of a pigeon.

Pigeons are not like other birds who fly away for seasonal changes. They are always here, skulking underfoot for anything edible. They are graceless and charmless. I know there is a human pigeon police in our civilization who feel pigeons must be protected and should anyone be caught abusing them or possibly worse, punishment will be strict and swift.

Small, delicate birds are beautiful to observe. In my other life, before Manhattan, I had a big tree before my bedroom window. It was a happy place for nesting birds and I watched little chicks emerging from their shells, settle in and wait for mama or papa bird to bring food. It was a delight to view. One day a big black bird came scooping down trying to grab the little ones. The chicks got so frightened that one fell out of the nest and landed in a patch of grass. I ran out of the building trying to locate the little one who was lost among the grass stalks. But mama or papa were on top of the action and scooped up their offspring and deposited him/her back in the nest and the family was intact. What a happy ending.

Back to the pigeon strive on my Manhattan window sill. Apparently my neighbors don’t seem to be annoyed by their presence but most New Yorkers don’t look outside windows to just gaze at the passing scenery. There is no time to indulge in this unprofitable pastime.

But I have solved my pigeon intrusion in a harmless manner. It is called pigeon spikes. They are sold everywhere and I got mine online. Strips of colorless plastic that adhere to the sill but prevent the pigeon from getting a footing. So sooner or later they realize there is no foothold on the sill and they move to another overloaded sill. I see them fly past my window, forlornly looking at the spikes. I wave gleefully at their passing but I know that if anything happens to my spikes, they will return with a vengeance, and bring their entire clan.