In Defense of Pigeons

20 Apr

File:Pigeon portrait 4861.jpg

I think we’re too hard on pigeons.

We treat them like they’re the scum of the earth – flying rats who have come to steal our leftover hamburgers and give us hepatitis.   But the fact is that we invaded their space.  They’re birds: they were flying around our downtown area before we plowed away all the trees, leveled the mountains, and went sprinting after pigeons, screaming obscenities.

Like Seagulls.  Listen – they were there first.  The sea is pretty much their thing, so I don’t know where else we expect them to go.  We come out to the shore and lie in the sun and eat potato chips and then get upset when they do a fly-by and snatch our Ruffles.   What do we expect?! They’d stay within their regular diet, but when faced with that or potato chips, they’d rather have potato chips.  Especially if you’re going to go to the store and bring them back.    We do the same exact thing.  I can’t tell you the last time I passed up an abandoned potato chip bag.

But I have a pretty special spot in my heart for the poor, trampled pigeon.   I find something beautiful about the slight teal and purple glisten in their neck feathers.  I am always amused at how they have to thrust their heads forward to get enough momentum to move about.  It’s a terrible, highly amusing cycle.     

I just don’t understand why we decided pigeons are ugly and gross.   A lot of folks tend to think they’re huge contributors to the spread of disease, but that’s simply just not true.   In fact, the only real worry you should have with pigeons is the slight possibility of bird flu, but that’s, oh, I don’t know – every bird.   And I don’t see you going around kicking white doves in the face.

Do you even know what pigeons are capable of?  There are homing pigeons, carrier pigeons, and war pigeons.  War pigeons!   There are pigeons that have been awarded medals of bravery in wartime.   Yes, that’s kind of ridiculous.  But hey – I don’t see you strutting around downtown with a wartime medal.

Maybe it’s because we call them pigeons.  We should stop that.  It seems to have a negative connotation.  Instead, I propose we call them by their true name: rock doves.

That’s right – rock doves.  It’s almost royal.   And rock star.

I’ll bet you’re so stoked to have this newfound information on pigeons.  I’m sorry – rock doves.    I’ll bet you’re starting to feel bad about how you’ve treated them all these years, huh?  After all the fighting they’ve done for our country and the secret letters they’ve carried away to foreign lands in our name.  I’ll bet you feel silly now that you realize they’re rock doves and not pigeons.

It’s like Aladdin finding out Jasmine’s a princess.  ♣



33 Responses to “In Defense of Pigeons”

  1. Lori April 20, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Finally, someone who shares my sentiment about pigeons! I would see pigeons everywhere in Philly and always proclaim how much I love them (I think they’re beautiful and peaceful, which I think about most birds). My incredibly sweet roommate’s response to my love of pigeons was, “Someone has to love them!” as she also found them to be disgusting.

    My mom and I had a pet pigeon when I was a kid. She found it outside with a broken wing, so we took it in and named it Herbie. That rock dove was a great pet 🙂


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

      Herbie the Rock Dove should have met up with One-eyed Jack.


  2. misswhiplash April 20, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    I have had two wild pigeon friends. One was many years ago and we found him after he had been hit by a car.We took him home and nursed him back to health and then when he was released he did not want to go. He lived on our roof for many months bringing his girlfriends back for my approval. Then one day he fly onto my hand, winked hid eye and flew away. We never saw him again

    The other one was 2 years ago when again damaged by a car, he had an injured eye. We made a house for him out in the garden and called him ‘One eyed Jack’. eventually we let him go but I don’t know if he could survive with one eye.

    Rock Doves… that is a lovely name..thank you


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

      With a name like “One eyed Jack”, he could have done anything. 🙂


  3. Devin April 20, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Agreed! I love watching the pigeons in Philly. I think they are really cute. Nice of you to stand up for them.


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      Thanks. Maybe one of them will nominate me to be honored at some kind of pigeon advocacy gala.


  4. Don't Make That Face April 20, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Ewww, I hate birds. They freak me out. You do make a good, point about the pigeon, however. They are incredibly useful, but still….ewww.


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      as long as you hate birds equally, you aren’t a bird racist.


    • Olivia P. December 20, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

      How could anyone hate birds? Sure, maybe chickens and turkeys-but you’re forgetting where your scrambled eggs and hotwings come from. And, i find most birds elegant and beautiful; their plumage, posture. The way they soar, even their facial features. Also, like Jackie said, there is only the Slight chance of bird flu or disease from bird feces, or “poop”. But that’s EVERY bird. And, in conclusion, i would like to point out that every bird is a wonderful creation of Christ. How can you think they’re so disgusting?


  5. arevikd April 20, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    AGREE! They all were here first.
    And I love this birds, I mean pigeons in first place 🙂


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      Yes! Let’s start a campaign to reshape their identity! ROCK DOVES ROCK! ROCK DOVES ROCK! ROCK….no? too much?


  6. Jules April 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    True that! Poor pigeons get such a bad rep. If it wasn’t for people who litter trash everywhere, the birds wouldn’t be flying germ factories. They can’t help eating our trash since we pretty much invaded their habitats.

    Same goes for sea gulls. I’ve seen some sad pictures of old seagull remains and you can literally see a heap of bottle caps and plastic where its stomach used to be. 😦


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      Ooooh you make my heart hurt with the seagull comment.


  7. Ro April 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I agree! I like pigeons, and I hope to be a seagull in my next life (I will find creeps on the boardwalk and wreak justice by stealing their food and pooping on their heads). I must ask you to retract your “flying rat” statement, though. I don’t appreciate the implications! Rats are smart, clean, friendly, adorable little critters who are way more awesome than the socially acceptable hampster- who are usually mean and nasty. …I’m a rat advocate.


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

      mmm Boardwalk food. I’m sorry for the rat comment, but I think calling them clean is a stretch. Let us not forget the bubonic plague.


      • Ro April 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

        Don’t shoot the messenger- that was the fleas fault.


  8. lexy3587 April 20, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    I can accept that they’re useful, in some situations, but overall, even changing their name doesn’t change my dislike of them. I think it’s because the ones in the city lose all fear of unknown, and will actually attack you for food and such, or flap right near your head. yuck…


    • Jackie April 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      They have to attack. They’re creatures bred for war, Lexy. You walk downtown, you better be ready to bring the heat. 😛


  9. mctell2 April 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    I find myself duly informed and corrected. Rock Dove. I really, really like the sound of Rock Dove not pigeon. Me? I will ambush a friend one day soon in the future with my new knowledge. Tip of the cap to the Lady from TWIST365. I remain your loyal blog follower…..McTell.


  10. marylisa April 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Wow. This post makes me feel guilty. I’ve always refered to pigeons as ‘flying rats,’ while at the same time admiring cardinals or robins. No more. You have showed me the light. No longer will I discriminate against pige…I mean ‘rock doves’. All birds are equal.


    • Jackie April 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      lol 🙂 I’m so glad you’ll give them a shot. The poor guys. I really am fascinated by brightly colored birds, though and I totally understand why people are much more drawn to what is unordinary to them. I think it’s amazing that there are creatures that have such amazing, bright colors. The Planet Earth series rocked my world when it focused on birds in the rainforest. If you’ve never seen it, you should check it out.


  11. Carleen MacGregor April 21, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    I do have to admit to being in your camp. I have always been perplexed by the reaction people have to rock doves! We humans are very childish at times aren’t we? 🙂


    • Jackie April 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      I hate how we treat animals – it’s really heartbreaking. I think a lot about leaving my job and just working in an animal shelter, but I feel like I would cry every single day. That’s why I suggested Puppy Amusement Parks 😉


  12. Olivia P. November 27, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    I completely agree, accept for the ‘we stole their land’ part, humans always come first, and there is plenty of forestry left. But pigeons–Ahem, Rock Doves, are most gorgeous creatures. They even make such lovely cooing sounds. And sure, they poop everywhere, but people always act like it’s just One specific Rock Dove, it’s like a thousand, do you think there would be that much if there was only One Bird allowed per town? No. It would be the most cleanly place ever, but that would be killing off all the birds. So really, you can just blame one specific bird. Even Owls contribute to the mess and they cough up pellets more than anything. Anyway, Rock Doves are lovely creatures. I must say that Foggy Collared Doves are some of my favorites, and Arabian Trumpeters. Very ravishing little birds.


    • Jackie December 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

      Humans always come first? Plenty of forestry left? Not sure I agree with the first portions of this comment, but I’m on board for the rest 😉


      • Olivia P. December 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

        Think about it-Would you gladly give up your life, all of your friends, family, passions and hobbies for an animal? Sure, maybe risk your life for one, but only if the chance of both our survivals was 50% 50%. Yes-Animals deserve respect, but we have to also realize that they are not people, god created them differently, and for a purpose, to sustain humans. No; do Not litter. No; do Not hit or treat animals badly, and do Not give them the same rights as humans. Its ridiculous that people dress up their dogs and let them eat at the table! They act like they’re little furry midget people with mental problems and a bottomless pit for a stomach! (Oh wow, that sentence, i amuse myself with my funniness when it mixes with truth) Animals deserve love and respect, but we have to balance that with knowledge, we can’t obsess over them. People have owned pet tigers thinking that it “loves them” and that its “tame”.Yes, i may love you, but their instincts overpower their emotions and once they get hungry, bad things happen. And, Yes; Plenty of forestry left. The earth is ginormous. We are ants compared to our habitat, and ants are germs in comparison. There are more trees than anyone could ever count. And, I’m sure that a lot of Lumber Jacks scare some of the birds away before they cut down the tree, birds migrate, they have plenty of places to go. And, there is No “Global Warming”. There is Climate Change, but it is Not caused by man.


        • Jackie December 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

          I didn’t mean to imply that I would give up everything I have for an animal. I would just suggest that the way some humans treat animals leads me to believe that humans are not above them or more worthy of them simply because they are human. I think we should respect our ecosystem and respect other animals. We’re failing miserably at that.


  13. Olivia P. December 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    Also, do Not get me wrong. I love animals, they have a special place in my heart. I do think we should treat animals better, but they are Not people, and nor are they higher in the food chain.


  14. Olivia P. December 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm #

    Also, i Do respect your opinions. In fact, animals mean a lot to me, birds are some of my favorites. I’m grateful to them, they may not know it, but they’ve helped us humans. All animals Do deserve to be treated better, but Not at the cost of humans. No human should die for an animal. But, we Should pick up our trash and help injured animals if we can.


  15. Olivia P. January 6, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Actually, we are above and worthy of pigeons. Animals deserve help and love – but don’t put them on a higher pedestal than humans, or the animals’ pedestal will come toppling over the humans. Bad analogy, but i think its accurate.


  16. andree August 20, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    i no ive been living @ this apt complex 4 12yrs when i 1st came hee a few people had bird feeders and all birds were welcome but ovr the yrs, people come and go and im the only 1 who stills feeds them now ive been told i cant feed the birds anymore becuz… the nasty fl dirty pidgeons are speading all sorts of things I cant believe how evil people can be im known as the ellie mae of animails so now i hv to find anoteher way 2 feed all the creatures whom have come to depend on me all these yrs gv me some feed back any1 and yes if they were the white doves it would be alllll goood how sad


    • Jackie August 22, 2012 at 11:46 am #

      feed the pigeons anyway. you’re the only hope.


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