Big cities have their benefits and problems, and then there’s a whole different level of problem – Pigeons!
If you know what I mean the picture below will make sense to you and you won’t laugh.
No, no! Don’t laugh. I am discussing a very serious matter here.
Is it just me or do cities have an abundance of these grey birds darting from one corner of a building to another, pooping over every surface that they fancy? I don’t remember them being considered a nuisance in the countryside. Ever! And I’ve lived in both the countryside and three major cities in India. And I have always found their population matching our own. Maybe even surpassing us, who knows.
Is there a pigeon population census?
Because there are too many of them, that’s why!
The way they breed, they would put rabbits to shame. We should change the phrase ‘breed like rabbits‘ to ‘breed like pigeons‘ instead…
My relationship with them has been like that with a friendly neighbour. The kind you take a casserole of hot rajma to in the beginning just so you could welcome them and make them feel at home in your locality. When I saw one pigeon family tirelessly collecting twigs and bits of dried grass to make their nest on my windowsill, I ooh-ed and aah-ed and took so many pictures you’d think I was having grandkids. When those little eggs hatched and two twittering baby-pigeons appeared, I took even more pictures and I put up a bird feeder so the new family wouldn’t have to forage too far for food. I was feeling positively philanthropic.
It used to bother me sometimes how they would hog all the bird feed in that feeder, leaving none for the other birdies around, and then leave a trail of poop on my prized plants and balcony furniture, and just about everywhere where they plopped, but I ignored it. I would just scrub their shit out while listening to their merry gooter-goo!
But when I saw worms wriggling about in their nest and oh god, the stench! The stench of baby pigeons and their poop everywhere could make you gag, then faint, then wake up and gag and faint again! It was time to get rid of them.
But I couldn’t just shoo away the poor things, leave them homeless. So I waited till the babies grew up into teen pigeons and would fight and create a ruckus on my window so I’d have to keep that window closed forever. It would be a hundred degrees inside the room on a hot summer day, but I would have to keep the window shut and the curtains down, and their squawking would drive me mad. I waited till their parents taught them how to fly. And I was happy, no genuinely, I was happy that they had begun to fly. You see, a part of me still felt attached to them, like they were my own family.
But OMG! Before they had even flown out the female had tumbled out another set of eggs. WTF! At that point my husband firmly told me that they had outlived their welcome – we had to get rid of the nest and the eggs. So we gingerly brushed up the nest and the eggs into a cardboard box (we had gloves on so our scent wouldn’t transfer onto the nest and the eggs) and took it to our backyard in a cozy corner where they could find as much comfort as one could imagine. After a week, we found them again, busily gathering twigs for another nest in the same spot. We’ve since put a makeshift fence on that window to keep them away.
But now they persistently find new spots around the house. Their absolute favourite now is the spot under my washing machine that is kept out in the dry balcony. Yes, UNDER the washing machine. I mean, who in the world could live in a place as precarious as that?! One wobble of the washing machine and either their eggs or their heads could be squished under the machinery. But Pigeons are resilient and persistent. Yo Mr Devil, forget about recruiting dogs and wolves and crows. Recruit these pigeons instead. They’ll bring on Armageddon with just their poop!
I have lost count of the number of times I’ve shooed them away and brushed away their nests. I almost feel bad for ruining their handiwork but oh god, could they not be any more obtuse?! You’re not welcome anymore, Mr and Mrs Pigeon!
They’ve become desperate now to make a nest just about anywhere and tumble out their eggs. I’ve had to brush off their nest from disused plant-pots to stacked cardboard boxes waiting to be thrown away. They’ve even managed to pull off the safety mesh on my bathroom window and I have to frequently shoo them out of the bathroom. Plus they poop in there. Uggggghhhh!
But today was the worst. I had returned home after dropping off my daughter at school and I entered my study only to find the Mister and Missus crazily flapping their wings about and banging into the mesh that opens out into the balcony. They had toppled down my husband’s prized scale-model car that had been displayed on one of the shelves. Thankfully, it came to no harm because of the protective display box it was encased in, but we’ll definitely have to get a new display case for it. And boy, if he was around these pigeons would have been Kentucky Fried Chicken-ed! No one touches my husband’s scale model cars but the man himself.
So now they’ve started invading my own home to make their own. I am at my wit’s end. What am I supposed to do to make them stop littering in my house and pooping everywhere?! I’m pretty sure they are the number 1 most invasive species on the planet. They’re everywhere! Someday our world would be ruled by pigeons who have crapped on every surface. This is a prophecy, people!
I’ve become the statue, literally!
Now excuse me while I shoo away the pigeons from my bathroom… again!
Copyright ©2018 Pradita Kapahi.
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Featured Image: Wheresmysammich