Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I do not like the pigeon. I do not like the cat, either, but this winsome feline can be cute, at times---the conniving, manipulating ingrate. Not so with the pigeon. He is neither lovable nor attractive, interesting nor useful. Pigeons suck!

Rock Doves (Columba Livia), also known as pigeons, are really poor excuses for a bird. Pigeons are by all descriptions birds, but they don't like---or want--- to fly. They will fly only a few feet in order to escape an angry boot heading their way. They will immediately go back to the same spot from where they vacated, with no fear of being chased. They do not fear humans. Their flight is awkward and obviously forced, and always short. Evolution will in time take their wings away---you don't use 'em, you lose 'em. Their call is a strained "coo" from way back in their throat. It is neither pleasing nor melodic. It is as if they really don't wish to say anything. Evolution in time will silence them, I'm sure. They defecate the most disgusting, vile splatter---white in colour--- which is near impossible to scrape off easily. They also seem to consciously place this "drop" in the most noticeable of areas: on faces of our national hero's statues; on ornate bird feeders; on the prettiest American rose petal. Like the hateful, amateurish graffiti, they defile everything decent in this world.

They also are willing carriers of the avian flu, and are well pleased to pass it on. Pigeon are a scourge.

With that being said, I have a confession to make. I killed a pigeon! I did. Actually, I didn't mean to off the bird, it just happened. Here is the story.

A summer's day(this summer), on the patio; a bit of wine; good book; pretty, colourful, songbirds at the feeder and bird bath. A bit of heavenly peace in a Dominion backyard. My wife was busy digging away in her rose garden, when three pigeons flew into the yard and settled on the tree branch above the feeder. She immediately noticed them cautiously waiting for a change to shoo away the songbirds and take all of the seeds. She knew that trouble was afoot, for she also knew that my ire was rising and would not stand for such behaviour from these dirty beasts. She came over to me, gathering pots and such things ready to tackle the front flower beds. My wife looked at me knowing full well that I was not going to allow these damn pigeons sway in my yard. She suggested that maybe a good idea was for me to get my son's BB gun, shoot a BB near the detestable creatures on the branch, scaring them away while not alarming the pretty little birds already at the feeder. I thought it was a capital idea. She trotted off to the front flower beds, I went inside to retrieve my son's gun.

I use to be a good shot with a BB gun when I was a kid. Glass milk bottles were my favourite targets, although anything that moved was also in my sights. It actually felt kind of good to sight up a BB gun again. Just as a note: I don't hunt, nor do I like the idea of hunting, and I don't own any kind of gun except my son's air rifle, which he wrangled out of me many years ago.

I pumped enough air in the BB gun to propel that small pellet right out of Dominion. I aimed, and then remembered my son telling me that the sights were a tad off. I readjusted my aim, and concentrated on the branch near the pigeons. I pulled the trigger. I expected to hear a loud crack where the BB would hit the branch next to the birds, thus scaring them away. But what I saw horrified me. The pigeon on the left fell straight down on the ground, jerking a couple of times, and remaining limp. His buddy on the branch was looking at him with a curious, mystifying demeanour. All the colourful birds flew away, terrified. I said to myself,"Oh no!" I dropped the gun which caused the other pigeons to gingerly fly away, too, as if they finally came to grasp this new reality. I thought I saw them look at me as if to say that I crossed a line. Maybe I did.

I got a little upset, and went to find my wife who was working on the flower beds in the front of the house. She was unaware, of course, that there was a dramatic scene already played out in our backyard; that a violent death of a pigeon had taken place; that her husband was now a killer of pigeons. Oh murder most fowl!

I blurted out in a rather overly excited tone that the gun's sights were off, my son told me that, I didn't mean went on and on. I interspersed all this with, "Holy shit!". She stood up and looked at me straight in the eyes. The conversation went this way:

Wife: Calm down. Tell me what happened.
I explained the whole thing in a very hurried and frazzled fashion.
Wife: You weren't suppose to KILL the pigeons, just scare them.
Bernie: I know that! Geee. And only one is down.
W: Is it dead?
B: I don't know! The neighbours can't see this. They'll think I'm killing pigeons in the yard for sport. I'll be reported. They'll put it in the paper. Bernie the pigeon killer. Oh no. I'm a volunteer for the Bird Society, for god's sake....
W: God, will you relax?! Take me to the crime scene.
We walk around to the side of the house. There on the ground---very dead---lay the pigeon. We look down on it with curious eyes.
W: It's not moving.
B: No. (I kick it gently with my foot) Quite dead.
W: Nice shot.
B: Yeah, eh?
W: You seem to have broken it's neck. Right there, see?
B: Ahh, don't tell me that! Geez. What are we going to do? Should we rope off the area? You know, like CSI or something?
W: Where are you getting the WE? You did this, not I.
B: YOU told me to get the gun! It's all your fault.
W: Is it now? I've got work to do. (She heads back to the front flower bed)
B: Hang on! Hang on! Come on, you've got to help me. (I bend down to touch the deceased bird)
W: Don't touch it! Go in the house and get a pair of rubber gloves.
B: Right! (I retrieve the gloves, put them on, and snap them like the doctors do on the telly. I Turn to her and smile.) Should I do a rectal first? (laugh)
W: Maybe on yourself. Careful picking it up.
I pick up the defunct bird. It's head is all droopy, flopping about. I examine the gash in its neck.
B: What are we going to do with it?
W: Put it in the green bin.
B: You're kidding. I didn't see pigeon on the list of things that are allowed to go in the green bin. Is it biodegradable? Is it anyway toxic? Is it...
W: Put it in the bin!
B: Right.
I'm just about ready to drop this much dead pigeon into the bin with the potato peels, egg shells, soiled paper towels, and old leaves.
B: Do you want to say something first? I mean, you know, before...
W: Yeah. Get rid of that BB gun.
B: Yes, sure.

She goes back to her work on her roses. I return to the patio, sip some wine, sip some more, and look over at the now empty bird feeder and bird bath. I wonder what the remaining pigeons are saying to each other. I'm thinking that when a single pigeon flies in the yard and lands on that same branch. I look at him and don't know what to do. I'm thinking that maybe my wife needs some help with all those flowers and such. I go around to the front of the house to help her. It's safer there.

I don't have a book on pigeons, and would probably advise against it. I still don't like them.

Next: 60's and 70's great novels

No comments:

Post a Comment