Monday, June 1, 2009

Pigeons, Beware!

The best story in today's Korea Herald has to be "Pigeons designated harmful animals." Fear not my animal activist friends, this designation seems not to bode ill for the rats of the air, since the revised law that went into effect yesterday merely states that
pigeons can be seized with the permission of local government heads.

Like hell they can. Why just this weekend, I was sitting at the GS 25 convenience store outside Sangam stadium (see post just below) watching a half-dozen of the bobbing, strutting birds attack a candy wrapper and whatever else they thought might be food laying on the pavement between tables. One of them would grab the wrapper, find it wasn't edible, then toss it away. When it landed, another one was right on top of it in their own attempt to consume it. In turn, he would toss it away with a flick of the beak, whereupon another one would pounce. Often, the same one--having apparently forgotten he had just rejected it--would try to eat it two or three times in a row.

Brilliant, they're not. However, they are pretty quick. Anytime a human got too close, or a nearby chair, say, scraped suddenly against the pavement, they were off like a shot, only to settle a few feet away. And resume bobbing for candy wrappers.
Even though their acidic droppings and scattered feathers have caused corrosion to historical structures and inconvenience for citizens, there was no legal restraint that could control their activities nationwide. ...
Citizens largely welcomed the government's announcement. In a recent online poll conducted by Yahoo Korea, more than 80 percent of the 7,101 respondents voted for the revised bill while only 12 percent disagreed with it.

Urban dwellers since Roman times have sought to control the activities of pigeons, legally or otherwise, with limited success. In fact, the best strategy may be to turn them into homing or carrier pigeons, as they had done in Baghdad by 1150--when it was just about the largest city in the world.

Anyway, the article provides another piece of information to help in answering the classic question asked of Cecil Adams' Straight Dope column, to wit: Where are all the baby pigeons? Cecil's answer is that they're right where you expect them to be, growing up in the nest, fed on highly nutritious "crop milk". What he neglects to mention is this:
They also grow quickly. The weight of a pigeon doubles within 34 to 36 hours after birth and they are almost grown within four to six weeks.


Rod said...

Speaking of trying to control pigeons: one of Newnan's former mayors used to shoot at the ones perched on the county courthouse. During the recent renovation, the builder discovered multiple bullet holes in the copper dome and surroundings.

Tuttle said...

I bet I can guess which one...

Speaking of courthouse domes, one time I happened to find myself in the attic of the courthouse in Thomaston, which was home to a colony of bats that would rival a cave in Tennessee.