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A Pigeon Meets its Mark

Submitted by Beate Scheffler


     Imagine the adjustments I had to make after moving from a country home, situated on twelve acres of land near a lake and shared with dogs, ducks, deer and the usual assortment of country wildlife, to a small two bedroom apartment on one of the city's busiest corners. Although the move was not a long distance one, it has certainly moved me worlds apart. A bit of a culture shock for sure. But being the hearty, resilient country type, I settled in to make it more of what I was accustomed to.

     I crammed the tiny balcony with herbs, tomatoes, peppers and an odd arrangement of houseplants so that they could enjoy a sunny vacation. Proudly sandwiched among the jumble of pots was my new willow chair (My most recently acquired skill - rustic furniture making!). The compact retreat, which I affectionately referred to as "The Cottage", was intended to help ease me into the high-rise lifestyle. However, three previous occupants refused to vacate the premises. The feathered trio would come and go at will, tromp through the plants, sample at their leisure and leave a mess in their wake. It was a daily chore to clean up after them and repair the damage (I hear you saying "sounds like my cottage guests…").
     I have always tried to be environmentally responsible. On my country estate, I made an effort to plant self-sustainable species rather than exotics that require excess watering, soil amendment and modifications. I have compiled a long list of kitchen-type pest controls as alternatives to chemical sprays. Even the patio pots in my high-rise have organic soil in them. It truly goes against my nature to deliberately go against nature - therein lies my dilemma. What do I do with those blasted pigeons? I was the one who enjoyed feeding the birds in the country, and now I want to chase them away? City life was more complicated than I expected.
     I learned in a few short weeks of reluctantly sharing my cottage with these 'guests' that pigeons are not stupid birds. I began to wonder where the phrase "bird-brained" even originated from. These wily birds would perch themselves as I was having my dinner or relaxing after work, and coo in the most soothing and enchanting way. They would pose in the sun and show off their jewel-toned feathers; with the sun the dull grey became a magnificent iridescent glow. The pigeons were quite tame and did not fly off immediately when I approached. Rather they would stand still and cock their heads as if to say, "Gonna' make me leave?". They studied me as surely as I studied them. It was interesting getting to know them.
     The clincher however, was one morning, after cooler wetter weather had moved in over night, I noticed one of the birds huddled on the balcony seeking shelter amongst my plants. I didn't have the heart to shoo it away. I proceeded to get organized for my morning 


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