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Monday, July 28, 2008

An Epiphany or a Revelation?

Your pigeon is an ignoble bird, cursed with a flatulent warble where others sing, flapping madly to stay aloft while others soar, living in the concrete canyon of urban soot while others nest in forested grandeur.
Not that any of this bothered me, mind you. I didn't give a hoot about pigeons until they came after me.
For you to understand the whole of it, we first must discuss why people sing in the shower. It is because the sound of cascading water -- soothing, restful, uplifting -- makes them happy. Pigeons will not join you in the shower. But if you should install a pond no bigger than a bathtub and lovingly fashioned from quarried slate, your pigeon will not hesitate to stop by.
As I sat sipping coffee to the satisfying gurgle of water from my new pond one morning, a chorus of warbles broke the spell. A row of pigeons leered down from the crown of my neighbor's roof.
I suspected immediately that they had designs on my oasis, and closer inspection revealed evidence that they'd already been there. Pigeons I might not mind, but a pigeon-pooped pond will not do.

The man at the hardware store said he had "just the thing" and disappeared into the back. The menacing plastic owl scared the tail feathers off those pigeons for a few days -- but only for a few days.
"You gotta move it around!" said the guy at the hardware store. "Make them think it's alive!"
So, every night I sneaked out after dark and moved the owl to a different spot by my pond. That fooled them -- but only for a few days.
"I've got just the thing," said the hardware man. And he emerged from the backroom with a plastic falcon with talons the size of Brooklyn.
The alarmed chatter from the rooftop the next morning put a smile on my face -- but only for a few days.
The pigeons caught on. And they weren't very nice about it. I began alternating the owl and the falcon. I put them out together. I moved them around twice a day. I pondered buying a plastic lion, but it was four feet tall and cost $79.95.
The man at the hardware store just shrugged, disappeared into the backroom and never returned.
Then one evening I hit rock bottom. They had pooped on the owl and toppled the falcon into the pond. And they mocked me from the rooftop with snickering warbles.
Had I been a better student at Sunday school, I might be able to tell you whether what happened next was an epiphany or a revelation. Returning despondent from another fruitless trip to the hardware store, I glanced toward the front lawn as I pulled into the driveway.
There sat the scattered feathers of a pigeon who had been snickering when I left home. Standing majestically in the middle of the bloody mess was a real, live, honest-to-God falcon.
It was the first falcon I'd ever seen outside a zoo. And if a beaked bird can smile, there was a grin on its face. I raced to my pond to fish out its plastic twin brother. As my avenger took wing, I placed the look-alike square in the middle of that sea of pigeon feathers. And I turned to confront my rooftop tormentors.
They sat silent.


OpenID naconfer said...

Perhaps it might be a good idea to pass on any future water features:O)

July 30, 2008 3:17 AM  

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