Monday, January 28, 2008

pigeons again

I know that pigeons can get to be a problem. I had a pair once that had made a home of our third floor back balcony. The autumn after we moved in, I even found a nest on the floor of the balcony with two tiny bald babies in it. Unexpectedly, the temperature dipped to freezing as a cold front blew in to town. I felt sad scooping that nest and the dead baby pigeons onto a dustpan the next day. Tsk. Tsk. Shouldn't pigeons be having babies in spring? That setback did not deter the two pigeons, however. Neither did the dive-bombing of the king crow, who regularly makes a round of the skies and trees in my backyard, casting his shadow onto all lesser beings to remind them of his lordship's rule. The crow family took turns harassing the pigeons, swooping down on them as they sat peering over the edge of the roof. I'd sometimes see the black flash of the tails of crows from my 2nd floor window, dangling from the balcony (the crows, not me!), clutching onto the rim, poking their beaks through the railings, trying to get at the eggs. I eventually gave up cursing the pigeons and the mess they made. Seems we were stuck with them, so I decided on a friendship of sorts and gave them names: Hilary and Howard. Hilary and Howard, however, decided that they quite liked our back balcony and they must've told some friends because before we knew it there were more pigeons pooping onto the sundeck. My husband said, maybe we should build them a house in the maple tree and they'll move in and we'll finish with the problem. Or maybe, said I, a new pair will move in and we'll have even more pigeons around. We thought about it. For some time. We settled on plastic netting. I told my son, who set up the ladder on a freezing cold day last fall, shouldn't you have done that in the summer so the pigeons would have plenty of days to find a new home and not freeze doing that? Well, it turns out the pigeons didn't move too far. They are now cooing and huddling in the front of our house, on the slopped shelf below my daughter's third floor window. These photos are of Matilda, Oliver, and Roscoe. They can be found behind the Water St. bus depot. Last November, I wrote a blog called Patchwork Pigeon Paradise. These photos are the update. Seems the city decided to tear down that ramshackle building. All the pigeons cuddling in its broken down bricks and derelict holes had to vacate suddenly last month. The city decided to turn it into a parking lot. So, the pigeons have re-grouped, found new cubbies in the adjoining wall of the business next door. Some are living in the niches of the Bar and Grill across the street. I guess the sheer face of old brick walls remind them of the cliffs they once dwelt in. Now, that is odd, I thought, as I walked past the newly leveled earth. A parking lot? for cars? For which cars, I wonder? Kitty-corner to the new parking-lot-to-be is the Shoreline Motor Hotel parking lot. You can see from the dilapitated sign that it appears that this lot is not in high demand these days (the photo is from early winter, hence little snow). Rather neglected these days. You can see the 'golden arches' beyond. Steepers Tea Shop's next door. Across the street, Stan's Pizzeria (there's a CLOSED sign in the window). Seems all the cars are to be found in the asphalt fields surrounding Intercity Mall...oops! I mean Intercity Shopping Centre and "the new" Thunder Centre. Home of box stores. Convenience and choice. Mind you, even their parking lots suffered recently when the shopaholics bee-lined to Duluth when the Canadian dollar soared.

I read once that Pigeon River is so named from its Anishnawbe name. That once streams of pigeons, like a river of birds in the sky, darkened the sky as they flew the path of that winding river that separates the boreal forest of Canada and the US.

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