Friday, July 30th, 2010
38

Complaint Box: Person Writes About Dismembering Lovely Birds

ROOSTYToday's Times's "Complaint Box" is given over to one Louise Dreier, the recent beneficiary of a master's degree in urban planning from Columbia. Her topic? "It's time New York regarded pigeons as the major nuisance they are-they're simply rats with wings." 1. Okay, I guess they already did airplane food? And 2. Yes I know we are at war with the birds, but the pigeons were not a combatant-they were an ally. And: 3. This weird bias against Columbidae must stop. Those of us who have read Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird know that this trash-talking and, yup, CASUAL RACISM about the feral rock dove results not only in terrible cliches but also in anti-bird violence and, sure, I know I am sounding awfully PETA-crazy right now. But, c'mon. Live a little! That this person (whose Columbia work, nobly investigating street harassment, uncovered the shocking results that "a male companion makes women feel safest" on the street) gets to write about throwing water balloons at pigeon nests and how she contemplates tearing off pigeon legs? Petty, crude and bizarre. I'd love to see her boring, birdless, Sim City plans for her urban-planned version of New York. Then I will have some awesome birds take a crap on them. (Photo by ZeroOne from Flickr.)

38 Comments / Post A Comment

propertius (#361)

As was proved yesterday, pigeons are *land ducks*.

garge (#736)

The pen is still faintly visible on my hand!

propertius (#361)

It goes to show you what scrupulous application of logic can do for the classification of birds.

jolie (#16)

My racism against pigeons is formal, actually.

HiredGoons (#603)

I am opposed to the Disabilities Act, insofar as it relates to those pigeons with the fucked up feet.

NinetyNine (#98)

Clearly you've never had them nesting outside your window.

NinetyNine (#98)

Also, the best solution I ever heard? Falcons. Populate places like Foley Square with falcons. Lunch would be incredible. Sitting around, pretending to read The New Yorker and whammo! A pigeon disappears in a cloud of feathers. I would pay to watch that.

jolie (#16)

If they made a Coin of Evil which one of us would be heads and which would be tails?

Matt (#26)

Way to go, Wes Anderson.

deepomega (#1,720)

We have hawks living around my neighborhood. A few weeks ago, someone's pet parrot got loose and we found the hawk eating it on top of a tv aerial. Green feathers fell like rain.

You see hawks in LA?

City_Dater (#2,500)

@NinetyNine:

I watched a hawk do that to a rat on my way to the train last year! Sailed out of the sky, grabbed the rat, and flew off. Spontaneous round of applause from everyone on the sidewalk.

However, I fear using falcons to solve the pigeon problem would leave us with a falcon problem.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

The solution, as always: falcon-eating gorillas.

deepomega (#1,720)

@butterscotch: Yeah, the thing about LA is that it is not all suburbs and tract housing. There are mountains, right there! We have a family of three Coopers Hawks on my street. They regularly decapitate pigeons.

SquarePeg (#1,098)

@boyofdestiny

This is where saythatscool would remind us of the impending Primate Wars.

@City_Dater: The thing is? I don't know if hawks can really appreciate applause.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Pigeons aren't the menace. The menace is little kids who think it's ok to run at a flock of them in the middle of a busy thoroughfare. Whether you think the pigeon is noble or foul, nobody wants one flying right into one's face.

Miles Klee (#3,657)

Although watching someone else's face as a pigeon flies into it is usually the highlight of my commute.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Don't go in any phone booths, Louise.

#56 (#56)

See also "Pigeons" by David Rodriguez.

Pigeons are the spiks of Birdland.
They are survivors of blood, fire and stone.
They can't afford to fly south
or a Florida winter home.

HiredGoons (#603)

The reason they populate cities is because they descend from Asian birds that have a predilection for canyons, which I find endlessly fascinating.

propertius (#361)

Yes, we essentially invited them to live on our tall cliff-like buildings.

They are not good at taking off, hence the occasional near miss or hit, but they are very strong and accurate fliers once they get going, they can really maneuver.

Also, they are the only birds that can drink continuously without lifting their heads up. (Maybe other doves can do that trick.)

Miles Klee (#3,657)

Love the canyon fact. Pigeon in the photo is enjoying some sweet cliff action.

Pigeons are awesome.

HiredGoons (#603)

@Miles: yes they are, in fact, awesome.

gumplr (#66)

" I'd love to see her boring, birdless, Sim City plans for her urban-planned version of New York. Then I will have some awesome birds take a crap on them."

This is my favorite Awl post to date.

synchronia (#3,755)

Not only that, I wish Sim City had pigeons!

Miles Klee (#3,657)

[Hilarious .gif of a pigeon saying "Haters gonna hate."]

Matt (#26)

Meme. Over.

David (#192)

If only all the pigeons in New York where white– that is, had white feathers, then how would they be regarded?

Personally, I'd rather a pigeon clean up crumbs from my outdoor table than rats. And who wants to watch the falcons that nest and live on these 5th Avenue buildings have to resort to eating rats?!

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Rats are just wingless pigeons.

jolie (#16)

@David: I would really rather those jobs picking up crumbs went to real Americans, rather than those pigeons and rats who come here from God knows where.

HiredGoons (#603)

@jolie: China, they come from China.

Sakurambobomb (#1,722)

When Choire is an old man, he is going to live with dozens of cats, still be one of the few people in the US who smoke cigarettes, and will only be seen out feeding the pigeons/buying cat food & cigarettes/harassing the youngs.

SquarePeg (#1,098)

…and we will all still love him.

jolie (#16)

@SquarePeg: Exactly.

Sakurambobomb (#1,722)

…and that gets my ladyjuices flowing every time.

C_Webb (#855)

You know what makes me feel safest on the street? Twelve mojitos.

Careful, we're ignoring the more serious problem here: the squirrels are massing against us.

I recommend arming yourself with my two dogs.

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