Friday, March 9, 2012

For The Love Of Pigeons

Photo by Alexandra Tsami Mousa from "Messolonghi OLD Times"

This pigeon perched on a Greek shutter with a reflective pose, as if with an awarness of the photographer,  embodies an ancient wisdom, a hardiness, a vigilance, yet a comfort of knowing home.

Just like Moss, which I have written about here as well,  pigeons are considered a nuisance by many.
 I am intrigued, fascinated, and I find it amazing that pigeons can be trained to be messengers, that they can find their way home.  I celebrate the Pigeon for it's courage, intelligence and heroism, for they are the "letter" carriers, nature's postal servants! Homing Pigeons, a common bird I often sighted where I lived near the Hudson River, are in my opinion, a bird to be revered. 

  From my first encounter with them as an infant, startled when a flock of them flew in through a skylight window, landing in my crib, there was a very early understanding between us, a familiarity and intensity without panic or fear.  I remember well the sound of their flutter. I have been attracted to their iridescent colors, the funny bobbing as they walk about, and their comforting coo. There was a pigeon coop in my childhood neighborhood, and I daily watched the elderly pigeon keeper from my upstairs window, whose brood flew around in circles at the wave of a pole with a cloth attached to it. 

In Venice, the 130,000 pigeons is astonishing. In his book CITY OF FALLING ANGELS, John Berendt writes about the Venetian authority's attempt to control the population using some rather inhumane ways in 
"The Ratman of Traveso". These ways have not brought the wanted results, and as of May 1, 2008, seed sellers have been banned from St. Mark's Square.

Pigeons of Venice

In Tarfalgar Square, London, Mayor Ken Livingston banned the seed sellers, got birds of prey to chase the pigeons away in 2003, and still they stayed, but are less in numbers.  

 "The best way to reduce the population is not to feed them," pigeon expert Professor Daniel Haag-Wackernagel from the University of Basel. 

Elizabeth Taylor in London

"Cher Ami" War Hero:  Cher Ami after recovering from battle minus a leg by US Army
Cher Ami was a homing pigeon that helped save nearly 200 American lives during World War I.

"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace." AlbertSchweitzer (1875 - 1965)

The above quote and photo taken from the New York City Pigeon rescue site where this message appears: "We thank you for being among the few who care enough about the difficult lives of these wonderful birds to have come here and joined us in trying to make a difference by helping a New York City Pigeon."