I feed two specific local pigeons on my window sill (though not all the time, of course).
And in hot weather, I provide clean drinking water.
Because it helps keep them healthy.
And because I owe them big time.
Because an anonymous local person caused the death of two birds, one of which was the previous mate of one of these two and which was killed to spite me (I was told “You needed a kick, a really big kick”). That same person attacked two other birds, one of which in my flat while I was out.
The last incident involved two of these two birds that are still alive and took place in April 2019 and was incredibly vicious. Someone took a rotary cutting tool to the bird’s neck, just to spite ME. It caused an incredible amount of pain for the poor bird. (Fortunately, she came to me for help.)
The same kind of tool was used on the bird that was attacked in my flat.
That happened after I received a DM on Twitter, asking me how my dog got along with the bird and there was a creepy tone to it. I don’t have a dog, but the theme “dog” has played ever since I moved to Portsmouth (no idea why, or what it means).
A bird’s head was already left for me to find many years ago, at my previous address in Portsmouth. (It appeared to be some kind of warning to say only positive things about a certain person, not even say neutral things and certainly nothing negative – or as punishment for not having done so.)
Except the first time a bird was killed, I have always been warned about an impending attack in advance (in weird ways, not clear ways, such as suddenly finding a computer file containing an animal corrupted, so usually without specifying what exactly was about to happen, but leaving me feeling extremely uncomfortable).
As “bird” is British slang for “woman”, I don’t know if all of this is intended as some kind of personal threat against me or not.
(I’ve been assured by Advice Portsmouth that it is not local “humour”, but I have my doubts about that as English humour also tends to be sadistic and Portsmouth is a pretty weird place most of the time so its humour is probably weird too. It has a reputation of being hostile toward anyone who wasn’t born and bred here and I’ve seen plenty of that.)
You can find more information about me and non-human animals, including birds, on this page.
Anyway, other people keep cats this way. I have two pigeons.
These two see me as a neighbour, the way humans see neighbours too. You show your babies to some neighbours and may ask them for a cup of flour or sugar (well, that only happens in books and old films these days) and you tell your kids to stay away from other neighbours.
Pigeons see it similarly. Why wouldn’t they?
They have similar needs as humans, aren’t really all that different from us. We have abilities they don’t have. They have abilities we don’t have.
They’re very intelligent. Birds have a capability for understanding humans (human communication) that can be downright shocking, but I have no idea how they accomplish it. I don’t know whether all birds have this or only the smarter ones in a species or whether all bird species have this capacity. I have seen it in very different species of bird, however.
I’ve sometimes wondered whether they are somehow capable of communicating via images. Wouldn’t that be something, if that were the case? But, no, I don’t think that it’s that because there are also things that they don’t get. I do know that they also instantly pick up on human emotions and I wonder if they do that via seeing infrared patterns (our blood flow).
Sadly, while people all over the world love pigeons, there are also lots of crazy negative myths and feelings about pigeons and other birds, just like there are lots of people who believe that the earth is flat. Some spend fortunes trying to prove it, too, and some even get killed during their attempts to prove that the earth is flat. It does not make the earth flat.
Something similar holds true for pigeons.
The two birds who see me as a friendly neighbour finally had two young (later in 2019), their first offspring. One of the youngsters became more independent earlier; he or she is almost the spitting image of dad. The other one stuck around a bit longer. They kept having to shoo him away.
These babies rarely stop by on my window sill these days, and when they do, they usually just sit there for a moment to seek some shelter from westerly wind and rain. They’re gorgeous.
And until only a few years ago, I paid no attention to pigeons and knew next to nothing about this amazing species…
If you find it strange that I treat nonhuman animals with respect and recognize the fact that they too are “persons” of their own, then take a look at this page and watch a few of those videos:
Perhaps particularly in Britain, with its strong Victorian influences, lots of people hate nonhuman animals, but they are all persons in their own right, with needs and wishes that are not that different from ours.
Their abilities, however, can easily overshadow ours.
It is one of the reasons why I am a proponent of humane wildlife deterrence. If you work with the incredible intelligence of non-human animals instead of against it, you can achieve so much more and end up feeling truly blessed.