Friday, December 11, 2009

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

I don't actually like pigeons very much, but I was walking through Lovejoy Fountain Plaza, camera in hand, and the little bastards mobbed me. So here are a few photos. It's possible they saw the camera bag and assumed it contained birdseed. That wouldn't be an unreasonable guess -- there's a strange guy who wanders around the neighborhood constantly feeding birds, and as I left the park I passed him going the other way. I suppose it was close to the usual feeding time, and the pigeons were getting hungry, because they usually don't mob people like that.

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

I don't know the guy's name. I've never been remotely inclined to talk to him, and I just think of him as the Bird Weirdo. He's not just about pigeons, you see; you can always tell he's coming before you see him by the flock of seagulls overhead. No, seriously, it's true, this actually happens. He tosses scraps of bread up to them as he makes his rounds, and they wheel around him overhead, screeching and squabbling, as if they were chasing a herring trawler.

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

I'm not opposed to the general notion of feeding birds, as you can tell from the preceding hummingbird post. And I realize that encountering a steady stream of eccentric characters and dubious persons is, we're told, one of the manifold joys of urban living, although I have my doubts. But the Bird Weirdo goes to all this trouble for the sake of birds which are, to be blunt, vermin. "Rats with wings", Woody Allen called them (although the description can't possibly have originated with him). If the Bird Weirdo walked the streets of Portland with a bucket of anchovies, badgered by a persistent mob of unruly penguins, that would be understandable. Smelly and noisy, but understandable. Or if he had a cage of feeder rats and walked about tossing them to the local owls... well, that would be a bit gross, but at least it'd be quiet, and it still might be understandable depending on how cute the owls are. And if he walked about with a box of Saltines, catering to a local flock of colorful macaws, all of whom had learned English from foulmouthed Cockney gangsters, well, that would be adorable.

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

In short, there are many variations on bird feeding that could be considered a valuable public service, or at least a charmingly eccentric hobby. But the Bird Weirdo does none of those. No, it's pigeons and seagulls for him, and I don't see why he bothers. It doesn't even look like any fun. It's not like either bird is known for its brainpower or complex social behavior. If it was ravens, you could set up food puzzles for them, so they earn a twinkie or a chunk of roadkill by pecking a series of buttons in the right order, or beating you at chess, or whatever. Pigeons, not so much. Other than the homing pigeon thing (which I've never witnessed firsthand), as far as I can tell all they do is eat and make more pigeons at an alarming rate. Which leads to scenes like this.

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

pigeons, lovejoy fountain

2 comments :

Владимир О said...
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Владимир О said...

Not everybody can understand beauty. Different people are born with different abilities. And yes, all people do is eat and pollute environment into the oblivion. They are "useless", so to speak. They are the only species that drive everything to (environmental) hell and destruction. I am glad you are pointing out that these beautiful birds can be good indicators that not everything is lost (yet) to most vicious predator and polluter on Earth. They are "lithmus test" of environment. Yes, Rembrandt's paintings can be "useless" to some who do not understand beauty. Too bad Portland people are very backwards towards nature, not unlike like most other parts of the world. Say, London, etc, have pigeons that are not eradicated and killed like Portland does. Portland is one of the most backwards cities in the World in treatment of Nature. I traveled and lived all over the world, and currently live in Portland.