Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fowl Kingdom

Pigeons have been on our minds lately.

We watched “Death Peck,” a recent episode of Disney’s “Star vs the Forces of Evil,” where a misunderstanding between humans and “the Pigeon Kingdom” leads to the pigeons trying to enforce “death by a thousand pecks.” There was also the implied threat of weaponized droppings.

But we were already thinking about pigeons anyway. 

Our daily walk to the subway passes under an elevated portion of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. This area under the roadway has no doubt always a welcoming habitat for pigeons, but I can’t say that I really paid close attention until the last couple of years. 

In that time, a neighbor lady who lives quite close to the BQE has developed a serious pigeon support hobby.  It might be classified as quite a bit more than a hobby, actually. We pass her and her rather significant breakfasting flock as we rush to the subway at 7:10...or more often, ten minutes late at 7:20. 

Depending on our timing, she is either energetically scraping pigeon guano off the sidewalk, or laying out what looks to be several pounds of birdseed on the freshly scraped areas....or if we are really late, she is presiding over a huge feasting flock of fowls.

Recently, one of my kids focused on the health implications of walking through the droppings every day....and depending on our timing, the sartorial implications of placing ourselves under hundreds of potential droppers. 

He now insists that we go out of our way and cross the street to avoid the pigeon convention and its waste.

While I am not a big fan of the idea of being shat upon myself, I have to admit that I do think back a little bit fondly of the time before when we were on better terms with the pigeons and their human benefactor. She seems offended by our obvious avoidance of her flock.

But luckily, the pigeons don’t seem to care.


  1. It reminds me of a short by the French animated film maker Sylvain Chomet (he of "Triplets of Belleville", one of my favourite films). Called "The Old Lady and The Pigeons", he brings a certain malevolence to what is for me a decidedly comical, bumbling bird.