Mike Tyson and the Pigeon

“I don’t understand why people would want to get rid of pigeons.  They don’t hurt no one.”

–Mike Tyson

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/pigeons.html

Mike and I are in agreement.  How odd.  Or is it?  I don’t know Mike at all.  But I am surprised to see his quote on pigeons.  Anyway, I love pigeons.  I love the way they strut absurdly down the sidewalk, their heads aggressively swaying forward and backward, just to take a step.  I love their variation in color.  Have you ever really looked at a pigeon?  The sheen of their feathers?  The deep fluffy white, the subtle shiny grey, the iridescent greens and the mottled browns?  Pigeons are beautiful.  And each one is unique.

According to some they are winged rats: a plague caused by human habitation.  But to me they are just birds (pretty ones at that).  And what’s really neat about them is that they are so well adapted to our urban lifestyle.  Pigeons survive.  And yet we hate them.  It is the less common bird for whom we harbor affection, and the birds in highest numbers are the ones we loath: pigeons, seagulls, sparrows and crows.

But have you ever watched a cute little pigeon eat a french fry in a quiet corner of town?  That pigeon has babies.  That pigeon is hungry.  After that french fry that pigeon will be thirsty.  Off it will fly to survive in the world we have created.  It is not the fault of a pigeon that it’s a pigeon.  Nor is it a merit that a bald eagle is a bald eagle.  They simply are as they are.  Perhaps that is why I think pigeons are so lovely.  They are totally and unapologetically pigeon.  What they symbolize to us has nothing at all to do with what they really are.  And that is true of many things in the world.  So we call them rats of the sky, but they just strut around and eat what we leave for them, and sleep in the coziest corner they can find.

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