Austin, United States

I have spent most of my career as a French professor and a research librarian, and have been reinventing myself as a writer. I’m...

What About Pigeons?

I am transforming the previous entry into a totally new story.

Today on the way home I bought some bread. As it turned out, it was pretty good bread, a kind I’ve never bought before. I recall my mom’s Italian friend used to make this kind of Focaccia bread. So I walked out of the store to the bus stop, a place the pigeons love to frequent. And frequently they get fed by bus riders too. That’s why when they saw me standing there with a few bags, and saw me opening something, about 20 of them quietly appeared, looking at me expectantly, like an audience. I had to laugh, and decided to throw them something. Well…of course it’s very hard to throw 20 birds “just a little something”. One little morsel caused about 10 birds to all dive for the same morsel at the same time. It was so fascinating to watch that I did indeed throw out a significant amount of bread. I kept thinking, “Oh, THAT one keeps trying and never gets any.” Then I’d pull off 3 or 4 pieces and throw them out at the same time so that the smaller bird could have some. After a bit, come of the Pigeons began cooing, that purring sound that is so soothing to the soul. Nice.

Not to be outdone, the female Grackles began appearing at the edge of the crowd and looked at me pleadingly, desperately. My sympathies are especially with these birds, who look so ragged this time of year. I knew they were looking for food to feed their little ones. So of course, I had to throw morsels out so that each one of the female Grackles could each get a few bites to feed their babies. By this point, I realized that if I wanted to have any for myself, I needed to stop pretty soon.

When I looked up from all the birds around me on the sidewalk, I suddenly saw that a Pigeon had perched on MY GROCERY BASKET, RIGHT ACROSS FROM WHERE I WAS STANDING on the other side of it. She was so cute, and she looked at me so sweetly, as though she were saying, “May I have a piece of BREAD, please?” It was really hilarious, but because I was so surprised, I uttered a little “Oooooh!” when I saw her, and she paused a moment and then flew away. I have to admit, I was disappointed when she flew.

I must say, the pigeons there are very well behaved. They are very polite to shoppers, and never abuse their begging privileges. :P I do admire their approach. They are really never rude. Everyone enjoys the birds, especially the children. Today a child was very excited to see the Pigeons around me, so her father got her a bag of Cheetos to entice them over. Some of the birds did respond, but they didn’t seem as interested in the Cheetos as they were in the Focaccia bread. In fact, they looked downright disappointed, and kind of picked at the Cheetos half-heartedly. Of course my bread had been cooked with a little cheese and jalapeno on top. It’s interesting to know the birds have a very discriminating palate.

So if you are lonely, just go buy some Focaccia bread, and you will suddenly have many companions.

I like Pigeons. They once carried messages for us before the Internet came on the scene. And now they ask us sweetly, if sometimes timidly, to feed them. Easy to do. A joy, actually. God bless our pigeons, and God bless us.

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  • Ann  Warrenton
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