So I think I have finally stepped off the curb. Oh, most people think I stepped off the curb long ago and have been standing in the middle of the road with my aluminum hat waiting for the saucers to come take me, but this time even I think I truly have lost it. It’s not me though, it’s them … they have brought me to this state, the foul nasty vermin. I found myself yelling at the big mama this week , “teach those babies to fly!” and then this morning the straw that broke the … Well, okay let me back up.
This started over a month ago when I noticed twigs up on a small ledge in my carport. How sweet, I thought in all my avian innocence, a nest, soon small adorable yellow chicks will be sharing my home. A day or so later, I saw them – pigeons – two large blue common city pigeons. Having spent part of my childhood in NYC, I hold a strong dislike for pigeons, aka flying rats, the dislike bordering on prejudice perhaps. But I overcame my feelings and didn’t send them on their away. I figured these birds had gone through much to find the spot and build the nest and there were eggs up there that couldn’t be abandoned. So I let her roost (he disappered shortly after his part of the job was done.) After a few days of sharing my carport with mom to be pigeon and offering her coos of encouragement, I remembered why it is that no one likes city pigeons. They are disgusting! Within the span of a week the whole carport was encrusted, and I do mean crusted, in bird poop. By now I really couldn’t get rid of her, she had babies coming! I was patient and controlled myself. It became a silent game of me coming to my door and eyeing her in disgust and her eyeing me right back secure in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to do anything with baby birds on the line.
One Sunday morning as I stepped towards my car (headed for coffee, havent done the church thing for decades), I noticed something on the floor. It looked like a cross between a dinosaur and Snoopy’s Woodstock, but not nearly as cute. Mama bird stared down at me. I was unsure what the right course of action should be – whether putting the little gruesome guy back in the nest would scare mom away (there was another baby up there with her). In the end I figured its chances were better up there alone than down on the ground with the feral cat population. I got the ladder and put gruesome back in the nest. Mom flapped off. Completely grossed out by having been so close to the crapcrusted nest and holding what i was sure was a lice ridden bird, I washed my hands several times with scalding water, put on hand sanitizer up to my elbows and waited in fear that i would have hand rear the creatures myself. Mama bird eventually came back and the poop fest continued.
Well it’s been a few weeks, my talks with them have been strained. I have thrown away my outdoor broom, hedge clippers (really there was no saving them) and assorted smaller items that had become completely mucked with pigeon droppings. The babies’ feathers have grown in and they look like, well, like small pigeons. For the past week or so I’ve been encouraging them to fly by extolling the wonders of the neighborhood to them. I hadn’t seen mom in awhile but I assumed she was still feeding them since the kids were alive and thriving. You’ll note that I have been talking to these birds now for quite a while, out loud, in my yard and carport. I thought it would encourage the birds to move on with the side benefit of adding to my crazy neighbor mystique.
Yesterday morning I noticed mom was back. Later in the day, I realized there were four pigeons smashed together in the tiny nest. That is when I started to put two and two together. The damn birds were starting to roost again! Nooooo, no no no no noooooo!!!!! Today there were three birds in the nest and eggshells and the remnants of yolk among the pigeon poop covered floor. And that’s when I snapped. I got the broom (not the poopy one, that one was tossed) and waived it at the nest hoping they would all fly off. Well mom flew as I hurled slurs in her direction. “No one likes a pigeon especially a wanton one. Shoo!” Mama bird didn’t go very far. Apparently, the babies don’t know how to fly yet. They just hunkered down in fear. Mama bird stared at me from the neighbor’s roof probably wondering what kind of a monster would shake a broom at her babies. Ashamed of myself but unwilling to back down, I said “yeah that’s right, I’m nuts, now shoo, go on beat it.” I repeated this routine twice, trying to discourage her from setting up permanent residence. In the end, i decided I’d let them slide until Gertrude and Heathcliff up there are able fly and fend for themselves. But after that, I’m putting my foot down, putting on the big yellow gloves and surgical mask, getting out the bleach, wire brush and ladder and reclaiming my carport.