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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rats with Wings

Sitting in Boston Commons is dangerous.

Pigeons sit and fly in large, fat flocks, and when I walk through them, the thought always crosses my mind: Is today the day I'll get socked in the face by an errant winged rat?

Maybe it's because the park is also a heavy people traffic area, but I swear the pigeon problem is worse here than in New York City.

And people intentionally feed them!

From sacks of bread and corn that make the birds so fat they can literally barely fly.

I saw a peculiar sight today, when a totally normal-looking young man sitting near me in the park was suddenly covered with pigeons. He seemed unsurprised, even comfortable and satisfied, and also attracted a fair amount of attention.

I thought the dotty young woman with the small dog was just crazy too, when she stopped and got a feeding lesson from him.

But then the young woman with an adorable son also stopped, and I realized it could potentially be kind of magical to sit in the park and feed the birds, have them tentatively jump on and all around you, peck food gently from your outstretched palm.

Of course, this woman did get flapped in the face and screamed in public, to the amusement of a group passing by. But then she calmed down enough to apparently enjoy her brief commune with nature.

The pigeons are brave. You tiptoe towards them and they don't move, until the very last minute when they flap in your face and barely graze the top of your head.

They seem to only be scared away by stomping, screaming children.

(What is it about young boys that makes them insist on HOLLERING when they run towards birds?)

I think my distaste for these creatures was solidified when I got pooped on by a seagull once.

I had lived almost 25 years never getting pooped on by a bird, and there it was.

Bird poop, streaming down my cheek, no less.

Still warm, either from the natural heat of the bird (do they have that?) or the fact that it was summertime.

It was an Atlantic City boardwalk seagull too, which means it's diet was most likely made up primarily of funnel cake, hotdogs, and popcorn.

I don't think I'd have minded so much if I was in a place where the fowl life ate only organic.

6 comments:

gilsonwalker said...

That last line made me LOL! Funny!!

Annie said...

heeheehee!! thanks!

Meredith said...

If you think NYC or Boston pigeons are bad...try the Parisian variety!! THE WORST!!! And they'll poop on you a LOT. BEAUCOUP DE POOP.

Annie said...

MEREDITH, THIS JUST MADE ME CRY WITH LAUGHTER!

cjschlottman said...

Birds can be a nuisance. Like you, I was once pooped on by a sea gull. It was all in my hair, and I can still see myself racing into the ocean, arms flailing and yelling, "I have bird poop in my hair." Then I dunked my head under the water three times to make sure it was gone. I lived through the experience, but I think it scarred me for life!

Annie said...

cj, yeah, watching me duck and cover through a flock of birds is a sight to see. thanks for sharing!