Word of the Day: Pigeon

My first introduction to the pigeons of San Francisco was just last year, when I caught a small, sticky faced child trying to run up and kick one. The pigeon flew away unscathed, but I was shocked at the ugliness displayed by that child. Didn’t he know better than to kick an innocent bird pecking at the ground for scattered breadcrumbs outside of Subway? The bird wasn’t doing anything to anyone. That kid on the other hand was driving everybody nuts, but that’s neither here nor there.

Thinking that the kid was probably a serial killer in the making (they always kill animals first) I chalked it up to a random act of violence. Turns out, a lot of people in the city despise pigeons, or what they would call: rats of the air. What did the pigeon ever do to them? Had they at one point accidentally been shat on? Didn’t they know that getting pooed on by a bird was a sign of good luck? I know, it’s no fun being crapped on by a bird, but as someone who has experienced it, you wipe it off and move on. And guess what? Later you’ll have a funny story to share that might get you out of an awkward situation; see? It is good luck!

The pigeon was originally bred as a source of meat, but upon realizing that the pigeon was an intelligent, loyal and social creature, they were bred to help people like us communicate with our friends and family faster. The coo of pigeon, if you think about it, is really like the original tweet.

They’re not appreciated as a city bird. Look up at some of the building around you. Have you ever noticed those long spikes on window ledges? Yeah, that’s to keep them from landing on the ledge after a long flight. We don’t have a flying rat problem, we have avian empathy problem. The birds didn’t ask to be bred. They’re doing what they can to survive, just like the rest of us.

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