Some days you're the pigeon, other days you're the statue
May 29, 2005 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Pigeons. Some people love them, others loathe them. Although the passenger pigeon went the way of the dodo, our rock dove friends continue to endure and prosper. First introduced to America's shores by french guests in 1606, the rats with wings are great sources of amusement, childish delights, mathematical theorem, and even spiritual inspiration, defying all efforts to wipe the little poop factories out. Plus they're tasty!
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
And of course a data transfer method.
posted by blm at 9:31 AM on May 29, 2005

Pigeons age great!! With a greamy garlic sauce and some capers. Right up there with blackened squirel carbonara.
posted by Balisong at 9:38 AM on May 29, 2005

I like them better dressed... =)
posted by deemer at 9:48 AM on May 29, 2005

I saw some British show where this chef went back to nature and started raising his own food. He made some dish out of pigeon that had my mouth watering. I probably wouldn't eat the winged rats that live in the city, but farm-raised pigeon sure looks tasty.
posted by goatdog at 9:54 AM on May 29, 2005

My SO has taken to calling them "rock doves" to make them seem less like the winged rats they are.
posted by dmd at 10:25 AM on May 29, 2005

there are something like over 2,000 types of pigeons in the world, and only two exist in america.
posted by ackeber at 10:32 AM on May 29, 2005

"They would become lost or fly to a nearby tree and parish in the elements."

What a cool name for an outdoor church. (Or maybe a chapel at Dow Chemical.)

Anyway, I like hawks. Every pigeoned town should encourage hawks to nest and feast. (And for the night shift, owls.) Besides, I hear that hawks also like chihuahuas.
posted by pracowity at 10:40 AM on May 29, 2005

the rats with wings thing is older than that ref, definitely--i grew hearing that.
...22 June 1966, New York Times, pg. 59:
Commissioner Hoving (Parks Commissioner Thomas P. F. Hoving – ed.) calls the pigeon “a rat with wings.”
31 December 1967, New York Times, pg. 190:
To discourage pigeons, recently defined as rats with wings, I scatter millet and cracked corn for juncos and other sparrows in the heart of brush pile which is kept for this purpose. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:42 AM on May 29, 2005

The very word "pigeon" is usually sufficient to elicit a giggle from me; they are very whimsical creatures.
posted by davidmsc at 11:22 AM on May 29, 2005

Oh, and BTW, did you know that the starling is a pigeon (OED). Which means that Clarice - who eats squab, she tells us - is a cannibal. No wonder she went over to the dark side.
posted by TimothyMason at 12:44 PM on May 29, 2005

From a purely amateur ornithology view, watching the feather colors and patterns of the pigeons at my el stop change over the past 6 years has been fascinating. What began as a group of fairly standard dark grey with green/purple breast birds has changed to several dalmation varieties, browns, cremes and foggy greys. They are really quite lovely.
posted by gsh at 3:13 PM on May 29, 2005

My friend Jon had this letter published in New York Magazine a couple of weeks ago (click it for full-size):

As a property manager, I’ve seen brick walls permanently defaced by pigeons’ foul emissions, sections of steel on bridges eviscerated by the acid in their droppings. I would sooner breed and domesticate Norwegian rats than give even one bread crumb to a pigeon. Normal people don’t feed pigeons. Those who feed these pests are disturbed. In no other facet of our society are people allowed so openly to create a public health menace under the guise of compassion. Why these select few outcasts choose to perpetuate the flying filth we know as the urban pigeon is anyone’s guess. Perhaps a pigeon never craps on the hand that feeds it.
—Jonathan L. Posner, Manhattan

and got this excellent letter in response:

posted by nicwolff at 3:36 PM on May 29, 2005

That's classic nicwolff. Heh.
posted by peacay at 1:51 AM on May 30, 2005

that's a beaut, nic. Though I quite like the rock doves myself. (but then, I'm not a property manager.)

anyone know if the pigeons on the street in NY and London are different? The Londoners seem to have longer, slightly curved beaks and possibly be a little larger. The parks in london are so full of birds of all sorts, though, whereas in most of NYC you just get pigeons & sparrows (yes, there are plenty of birds if you know where to look, yadda yadda, but in London it seems impossible to avoid them).
posted by mdn at 3:19 AM on May 30, 2005

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