Rats With Wings

Columbidae II

Columbidae II (Photo credit: Iñaki Mateos)

Pigeons. They aren’t cool, cute, or sweet.  They’re noisy and filthy.  Yeah, yeah, get off my lawn.

And when I say noisy, I mean loud, obnoxious sounds that make my head want to explode.  I thought they were related to doves? a type of dove? These things don’t coo, their sounds are a harsh scraping, like if you turn the key into the ignition too far, but about 5 octaves higher.  Do I sound like a cranky old lady?  Good, better that than one of the old biddies, errr, sweet older women who drag out bags of bread and birdseed that weigh more than they do to feed the things each day.

They produce many pounds of bird shit per bird, per year. Bird shit that covers the sidewalks, buildings, terraces, clothing, hair, and anything else you can think of. When Man Child was in elementary school, there was a woman who would stand at the corner each morning, spreading crumbs so the pigeons would spread their crap.  Getting to the front door of the building was like crossing a minefield. The sidewalk looked like it had been painted and the not so little white, red, and brown bombs dropped regularly from above. Hello, pigeons carry diseases, transferred by their shit.  Hell, House even had an episode centered around one of those lovely illnesses.

14+ year old workman's clothing

14+ year old workman’s clothing (Photo credit: Aidan Whiteley)

When it’s sunny, they’re scraping, when a storm is coming, they’re scree screeing, when it’s raining, they’re a cacophony of screaming that is not to be believed, if you’re unfortunate enough to be taking shelter under a favored scaffolding–or if you have a neighbor you share a terrace with who does nothing to discourage the things! There’s a divider between our portion of the terrace and hers, but the divider has a sizable gap at the top and bottom. So they can walk right onto our portion of the terrace, and they love sitting on top of that divider, dropping crap bombs on both sides. Yeah, no thanks.  I went looking for pigeon spikes, to prevent them from sitting on top or walking through the bottom, but those spikes would have equaled an unhealthy dent in the grocery budget.

So, we’re the urban equivalent of the rural homes people poke fun at.  You know the ones, with rusted out Chevys on their lawns up on cement blocks, and bald 4×4 tires propping up sagging porches. Only instead of a front yard, this is my terrace. There’s a nifty thing we reefers use in our tanks, purchased at Home Depot type stores, called egg crate. Basically, it’s sheets of thick plastic gridding, safe to use in a coral reef tank for all kinds of things; frag racks, dividers in a sump, etc. Being a reefer, I of course had some egg crate in the apartment. Husband clipped it to fit the space between the top of the terrace divider and the bottom of the terrace above us.  Other assorted crap like not in use orange Homer buckets (another reefing must) line the space underneath the divider, so they can’t walk through. Now they’re nesting, laying eggs on the neighbor’s half of the terrace.

The other day Flower Child and I were walking to the grocery store.  We saw a pigeon standing on the roof of a parked car, scree-screeing away. An odd sight indeed. Ten steps further, we saw a dead pigeon on the ground, looked like it had been run over. FC said, “Oh, the other one must be telling his friends to come to the funeral.”  I would have sent a floral arrangement, but they’d have shit all over it.

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