Monday, February 9, 2009

Bird by city bird

I spent a sunny late morning watching birds (and ice skaters) at the sculpture gallery in DC and was quite charmed by the little flitty guys.  

Coming home, a friend sent me this story about a man caught trying to smuggle two pigeons from Dubai into Australia.  It surprised me and made me think about eating lunch outside at Farragut Park this summer. Amidst the many other young professionals grouped in clusters, I also noticed a few fat pigeons weaving between us and begging for lunch leftovers. Still, it was nothing out of the ordinary for a city park.  Then I got busy at work for a while and started eating my lunch closer to the office. 

One cloudy day I ventured back over to the park and found it almost deserted of people and big clumps of feathers scattered over the sparse grass.  The whole place had a weird feeling about it. When I sat down on the ground,  I finally saw them.  The flock, which had grown in numbers, swooped down low toward the center statue and then changed their direction toward the spot I had claimed to eat my lunch.  They looked starkly territorial and I decided that I wasn't going to challenge them (I have seen "The Birds" a few times).  Jumping up, I ate the rest of my leftover pad thai in my office and could never work up the nerve to go back again.  

I sometimes think about that park and if the pigeons takeover was as successful as they planned and if rival pigeon groups from Dupont may have been responsible. Being both a lover of people and animals, I don't want to blame anyone.  Stuff like this happens when we have so many creatures living in such a tight space and we rarely speak the same language to work out territory disputes. It's my hope that this time of tension has passed and that the city birds and city people of downtown DC have found a way to make lunchtime work for everyone. 


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