They’re back! The question now is how to get some distance between us and the pigeons. Seems we have a family, a multi-colored male, a drabber female and what appears to be an adolescent. I recognize that look in the mid-size pigeon’s eyes, a pre-intelligence, a willingness to follow orders, yes, but, at the same time, a certain blankness. In truth, it’s a little like looking in the mirror, seeing myself in my sophomore year in Chicago’s Von Steuben High School.
Pigeons on the grass alas! says my wife, quoting *Gertrude Stein. Twenty-two years in this house and this is our first encounter with pigeon nesting habits. One nest is just below an overhang, at once easily protected and easily accessible. By pigeons.
Endless cooing. Endless flapping of wings... comings and goings... and droppings.
According to deterapigeon.com, “Although pigeon poo is seen as a major problem for property owners in the 21st Century, it was considered to be an invaluable resource in the 16th, 17th and 18th century in Europe. Pigeon poop was a highly prized fertiliser and considered to be far more potent than farmyard manure. So prized in fact that armed guards were stationed at the entrances to dovecotes (pigeon houses) to stop thieves stealing it!”
Like a tailor, my son carefully cuts and installs some galvanized chicken wire to block access to their nest. In the process, two pigeon eggs fall to the ground. Mother flies away and returns. Flies away and returns. Pecks and scratches at the galvanized wire. Grief, gives voice to grief. Coo cooing is one thing. Lament is another.
Guilt-ridden, remorseful, I buy a bag of wild bird feed (for our song birds) and set up a feeding station for hummingbirds, something I'd been intending to do anyway. In addition, Ace Hardware sells us a plastic owl (scarecrow-like effort to frighten away pigeons, which our grieving, fearless friends ignore). Spray their other nest with Simple Green (organic, non-toxic). And now they’re back. This time at a new location.
*Gertrude Stein, "Pigeons on the grass alas... Short longer grass short longer longer shorter yellow grass... If they were not pigeons what were they... If they were not pigeons on the grass alas what were they..."
(Four Saints in Three Acts 604-605)
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...