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...continued from page 1 of "A Pigeon Meets Its Mark".


yoga session as usual, intending to pay no further attention to the bird. While in concentration and balancing on one foot in the Tree Pose, I looked up to see the bird on the railing, standing on one foot and cocking her head at me. I cocked my head right back at her and collapsed onto the floor laughing. 


     I should have asked for a written guarantee on the plastic owl I ordered that was supposed to discourage my 'guests'. It took all of two days for them to cotton on that the owl was plastic and therefore of no threat to them. I wouldn't object to them if they were better housekeepers, but their lack of cleanliness made it impossible for me to use the space.
     So now who was the bird-brain: the human being, who spent $14.99 plus taxes on a plastic owl that does absolutely nothing and is not particularly attractive as an ornament; or the pigeons, who recognized the fake and continued to dwell on the balcony? The cottage guests, whom I refused to name (although my mother continued to ask their names) had certainly pushed the stand off several notches higher. 
     I had positioned my chimenea in the corner of the balcony when I moved in. It's a lovely large clay one on an iron stand. Being on the sixth floor I couldn't burn wood in it, but I would light an oversized candle in it instead. I had temporarily plunked a hanging basket in the top of it until I had a chance to install a proper hook. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a pigeon in the chimenea, nestled in behind the candle, all snug and dry!
     How long is a pigeon's gestation period? It's been four weeks now and no sign of any hatchlings. I'm too soft hearted to disturb a mother from her eggs.


     I lied. After five weeks of waiting and enduring an endless supply of bird droppings, I was able to do the unthinkable. Like a hardened criminal I robbed the nest when Gertrude flew off for a quick break (I lied about the names too, Gertrude is the nesting female, Heathcliff is the male and Red is the one with the lovely reddish colouring). I was assured by people more knowledgeable than myself that five weeks was too long to be sitting, and that nesting this late in the year was also surely unnatural. It was September.
     I spent an entire afternoon scrubbing the balcony clean. In an effort to discourage the pigeons from returning, I, (with considerable help) erected a fine wire above the railing. This was the result of a conversation with the building's Super who had assured me that it was a foolproof plan; the wire would make it impossible for the birds to land. As an added measure, because my birds like to duck under the railing, I also put up plastic fencing on the inside of the railing clear down to the floor. Surely this would put an end to the mess. I enjoyed my balcony that evening for the first time in weeks.
     It did put a stop to the birds; for about a day and a half. After that they would easily and skillfully land either on the wire or just beyond it directly inside the balcony.
     I have one last option, which is to hang mesh from the top of the balcony all the way to the railing, thereby completely screening them out. I'm sure the Condo Owners' Association would have an opinion on that renovation.
     So, let me reiterate my earlier question: "Where did the phrase bird-brained come from?" 

                               Submitted by Beate Scheffler




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