Posts tagged ‘birds’

Pigeon Postscript

A number of readers have asked for an update on the pigeon egg, while a number of others have simply marveled at my luck in seeing a pigeon egg, all of us city dwellers having lived a long time with the belief that pigeons spontaneously generate.

So in the beginning were two birds and an egg, and then we observed one bird and an egg, and then — after the UPS man noisily delivered a package — just an egg. It wasn’t getting any less attention after the bird left, honestly, as she had only sat on it for a couple minutes, but it looked pretty forlorn just lying there and the boys worried about it. So we scooped it up and gave it a cozier little home in the backyard, and I told them maybe the pigeon would find it, or maybe another bird would adopt it (or maybe — I didn’t remind them of this possibility — a rat like Templeton would come along and eat it.) It’s been a while now, and there’s no sign of the egg anymore, and the boys have forgotten it for now, but I expect the next time they see a bird’s nest one of them will “Remember the time?”


As the boys and I were driving home from their swim class today, Tony called me. “You’d better come in through the garage,” he said, “A pigeon laid an egg by the front door.”

The boys, listening over the car’s speaker phone, were rapt as the story unfolded. Tony had been heading out to the grocery store when he noticed a pigeon sitting by the door. Looking closer, he saw a second bird. And a small white egg lay between them.

He went to the store. When he came back, one pigeon was huddled behind the planter:

The second pigeon was gone, but a sad little gesture toward a nest was laid next to the egg:

By dinner time, the pigeon had moved next to — but not yet on — the egg:

The boys want to build a nest, or a bird house. They debated the best possible building materials — wood? straw? fabric? — and location — backyard? the sidewalk tree in front of the house? — even though we said we can’t move the egg or the pigeon will abandon it, and she probably wouldn’t welcome our offerings of nesting materials either. I don’t like pigeons, generally; I have called them rats with wings often enough; but this pigeon, sitting here on our front stoop guarding her mislaid egg, foolish though she may be, has inspired all our sympathies. She’s Mama Bird and we’re all kind of rooting for her and her egg.

This story doesn’t seem to be developing like one of my boys’ favorite picture books, Fly High, Fly Low, in which a pair of San Francisco pigeons nest in a hotel sign’s letter B. When the hotel is torn down, construction workers notice the birds frantically circling the B and deposit the letter, nest and all, at a bakery, where the baby pigeons safely hatch and grow up eating cake crumbs. On the contrary, it looks like we are in for a Life Lesson here. Stay tuned…