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Pigeons and I have had a distant relationship if at all. I have seen them around strutting, sometimes on buildings, at other times on the ground, pecking on grain left by people who feed them. I have even photographed some of them. But that’s about it. So I used to be somewhat aghast at the extreme feelings they evoked in many people.

Friends and foes alike cursed the ‘damn’ birds, deemed them an utter nuisance and wished to see them gone. Pigeon poop was their main grievance, it made their life miserable. I admit I am no maven on pigeons, but this seemed an extreme sort of reaction to me. Really! Was it so bad? Pigeons looked rather cute though, didn’t they? And those funny cooing sounds of theirs was cute too. And duh, birds pooped, right?

All that changed the day I met pigeons socially.

They moved in to settle behind the AC unit outside our windows. They shat everywhere they could and oh boy, could they shit or what! Any and all surface was covered in pigeon poop. They started bringing all kinds of junk and making nests on the units. Now I understood why feelings ran high when people spoke of pigeons. No wonder that there were people trying to make money selling ‘pigeon-repellants’!

I tried to reason with the pigeons. Look at the crows, I said. One has built a nest on the coconut tree, and another on the mango tree. Why not emulate such excellent examples and make your house on trees too? The pigeon only cocked its head and looked at me with its beady eyes. I could almost hear it asking me in ‘pigeonease’, ‘How about you go and live in the trees like your ancestors the monkeys?’

Well, I had to admit that was excellent reasoning. One always has to give credit where it is due. I sighed. There was nothing for it but to pigeon-proof my surroundings. ‘You made me do this’ I declared dramatically much on the lines of people who like to blame everyone else for their actions.

Workers soon arrived on the scene and the whole site was pigeon-proofed with protective nets. We have left them space on the sides where they can nest in peace if they so choose. The nets will keep the AC units safe. I feel they are okay with the arrangement. Also, I promised them I’d post their picture on my blog.

© Shail Mohan 2022