A MoonShadow MoonShadow

Instant karma

I refer you to my previous post about my battles with pigeons. Today things escalated. I left this morning feeling fairly upbeat because the babies were flying. One was a little slower having only made his initial flight to the roof of my car. He had to be encouraged to continue his maiden voyage by my starting the car and easing it out of the carport. He seemed content to ride rather than fly so I had to give him a small shoo and off he went. This afternoon I returned to find the whole family, mom, pop and the teenagers in the little nest area. I tried my usual shake the broom at them and they’ll fly away and this time only dad flew. Mom pigeon was resolute, sat there and wouldn’t budge. Her kids were flapping and one finally flew. Mom pigeon was actually fighting back and refusing to budge. I realized she must have laid another egg. I’m not proud of what I did. Don’t judge me until you walked in my pigeon crapped on shoes. I got the ladder. I put on one bright yellow rubber glove. I climbed the ladder and presented myself to the nest. When Mrs Pigeon saw the big yellow rubber glove coming she finally gave up and flew (not very far mind you). I picked up the small egg and took it away, placing it carefully on the lid of the recycling bin. Not sure why I did that other than to offer mama bird the chance to brood there. Even though I knew my actions were in some way reprehensible, I continued. Climbed back up the ladder and much to the terror of the remaining kid pigeon, I dismantled the nest as much as I could while apologizing to the kid. I felt his fear but he wouldn’t fly and I couldn’t stop. As I continued stripping the nest, I rationalized my actions: the egg was newly laid, it was not yet life (up popped abortion arguments with counter arguments provided by Sister Providence from St. Agnes School for Girls); it’s no different than taking eggs from chickens and I eat eggs all the time (but I don’t take the eggs from the warm feathers of it’s mom, there is no guilt associated from harvesting eggs from a cardboard egg carton; I can’t let the unsanitary conditions of layers of pigeon droppings continue – not healthy (bird flu anyone?)

I did as much as I could while trying not to hurt or freak out kid pigeon. Took the ladder inside, left the nasty glove outside. Took myself inside and had my dinner, still trying to shake the feeling that what I did was not right. What would St. Francis do? Would he, after feeding the birds, let them roost in his cave and litter it with droppings? Somewhere in my soul I heard the answer, yes he probably would. Ashamed of myself, I even thought about going back out there and putting the egg back, but it was just a thought as the image of the defecated mini-Mordor that my carport had become snapped me back to my senses. What’s done is done and tomorrow I will clean it all out and put barriers up there so there will be no further roosting.
I remembered I had left a bag in the car and went to get it. I unlocked the top lock of the screen door, then the bottom, turned the knob and BAM! Hit the screen door with my whole body. The door wouldn’t open. The lock wouldn’t unlock. And I was in effect unable to go outside (at least through the carport door). I tried several times and ways to open the door – pulling up, pulling down, out, in, sideways, going out another door and trying to unlock it with a key – all to no avail. When I came around to try to open the door from the outside I peeked up – there was mom with kid pigeon hunkered down in the remnants of the nest. I know it seems silly but I could feel her mourning. More than likely I’m projecting my own feelings on the bird and more than likely I am responsible for the door lock’s malfunctioning but whose to say. We make our own karma and mine was instant.
I’ve learned my lesson. I’m still clearing out the nest tomorrow but in the future I will not let something start that I know is a bad idea from the get-go.

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3 thoughts on “Instant karma

  1. Here’s how I figure it– you gave the Pigeon Family a leg up by letting them raise one brood, which puts them ahead of the game, as pigeon nests are often predated by crows, ravens, rats, cats, etc. That’s probably why they liked your carport so much– proximity to you kept other predators at bay. You are a part of “Nature, red in tooth and claw” just like they are, so when you put your foot down regarding a possible brood #2, you are not unlike a fox vixen chasing a burrow-mooching snake out of her den. Since she’s the current resident-in-chief, Mr. Snake has gotta go… Both you and the fox have the right to establish and defend territory against who/whatever you please– that’s how Nature works, and humans are part of Her earthly fauna.

    I’m also not at all sure that your door problems are any sort of karma relating to your treatment of Clan Pigeon, as I don’t think you require cosmic punishment for anything you did. Plus, your pigeon-eviction was pretty small potatoes compared to how pigeons treat each other, and it wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen when it comes to the general predation-mayhem that goes on in the great outdoors on any given day. If I were to put the malfunctioning door-lock down to anything that you manifested or called into being for yourself, I would say it likely had more to do with you wanting to *close the door* on the entire pigeon-mess issue.

    Lastly, I will note that unless you had up-close-and-personal prior experience with actually raising pigeons, you would have no way of knowing just what an awful mess they make when they nest. I completely understand you wanting to intervene to prevent brood#2 from happening once you saw the garbage that brood #1 generated. Pigeon-crap and other nesting detritus all over everything is not a sign of holiness, Saint Francis notwithstanding– it’s a health-hazard, as you astutely pointed out.

  2. amoonshadow on said:

    Thank you. From now on I will have to consult you on my moral dilemmas. The “closing the door on the whole mess” I think was particularly insightful. I am having carrot cake for breakfast in your honor (actually a coincidence).
    PS: I am going to give kid pigeon another day before I evict, he seems to be having a heck of a time flying much further than the roof of my car.

  3. I think the pigeon fledglings are probably still benefiting from proximity to you and your carport where other predators are concerned, but I think once they are half-way decent fliers the whole family should be discouraged from thinking that your carport is a nice place to night-roost. The city I live in/work for has an ongoing campaign in place to keep pigeon numbers down– they have been feeding city park pigeons hormone-laced feed (a.k.a. pigeon birth-control nummies) to keep the park populations from getting out-of-hand, as they do incredible damage to building facades and statuary.

    Our animal control folks and park rangers have also actively encouraged Peregrine Falcons to nest on some of the taller city buildings as well as underneath our bay-spanning bridge, as Peregrines are specialist pigeon-predators in the same way that Barn Owls specialize in mice. Even if the falcons don’t take huge numbers of pigeons, the pigeons don’t like hanging about too near where the Peregrines can get at them. Peregrines, like the pigeons they hunt, are incredibly agile fliers and routinely take pigeons in mid-air, which makes the pigeons think twice about bedding down or nesting anywhere near them. I also remember reading about a couple of large metropolitan airports that have hired falconers to come in on a regular basis. They fly their hawks/falcons at the flocks of pigeons and starlings that like to hang around the airport a couple of times a month, which does a good job of convincing the flocks that the airport is not the place they want to be…

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