Apr 12, 2017

Avium amante

[Img Src. Wonderlist] 
I am sure the keen readers of my blog [all two of them] would remember my traumatic encounters with pigeons [and monkeys.] If not, suffice to say I love pigeons - as long as I am watching them fly out in a flock from a dome as the evening sun provides the backdrop. I love seagulls as long as they are in the pages of a Richard Bach novel. If they are anywhere closer than that... well, let's just say I am the kind of person who has heart palpitations when I see a squirrel within four feet.

For a while, things have been going swimmingly, relatively speaking. The pigeons [and the monkeys] seemed to have delegated the task of tormenting me to the good dogs in my complex.  Granted, there were a few stray remarks about monkey sightings that I overheard in the intervening months, but happily, I saw monkey hordes only when I drove outside the city, safely from within my speeding car [I dutifully tsked-tsked about the effects of deforestation for the next five minutes]. And I had worked out a system with the pigeons. Every evening, I'd inspect my patios and utility area for stray twigs and clear them off diligently. Birdbrain that they are, they repeatedly brought in twigs and tried to build a nest and I relentlessly cleared. Once a week or so, I made it a point to ponder about the impact of high-rises and deforestation on the birds and the bees, heck even on the elephants. Just in case you are in doubt, that should make it clear to you that I am no Cruella de Ville.

I wouldn't go so far to say all was well, the dogs still growl at me while straining their leashes. But it was overall clear skies.

Until last week.

First, it was a monkey tall enough to come up to my shoulders that appeared on my path. Looking like the soothsayers from the old mythologies, it looked at me with pity and contempt full of portent of things to come, and sauntered away, presumably back to the sets of 'The Planet of the Apes'. A kid from the complex offered to go with me in case I was afraid to continue my walk.

That very evening instead of the usual one stray twig I saw quite a few of them, curvy branches, small sticks all loosely arranged in an oval shape on top of the washing machine.  One twig was easy to clear. A bunch of them was a different proposition. I stood there dramatically asking myself how I would feel if all my blogs got deleted. [One tweet getting deleted was okay, you see.] Luckily for me, there was the practical problem of doing the laundry. And the monkey sighting. If I let the pigeon lay its eggs, there was a good chance that I'd have the same gory situation again. I cleared the twigs and visited the patio every two hours.

By this time, I was hearing pigeons in my head every few minutes. Worried,  I came upon the brilliant idea of hanging newspaper sheets on the rails from where they usually squeezed in. I spent the whole day at work googling for pigeons' mating and maternity habits. For good measure, AS and SS, very diligent about their sentry duty, kept an eye on the patio every 15 minutes until I got back. Or so they claimed.

Turns out, fifteen minutes was long enough. Yep, there it was, an egg was sitting on the glass surface of my washing machine. No twigs, no nest just a brand new egg. Unable to decide what to do I sought help. My driver AB, who rescued us the last time, came by, took one look and tried hard not to laugh. To my puzzled question as to why there was no nest, he very politely told me that thanks to the newspapers, the whole place was one big, warm, dark, friendly nest. I stood there agonizing about my next move, [I like to agonize about these things as you know] but ultimately decided it was probably better to move the egg. AB promised to leave it somewhere safe, and carefully, without touching it [apparently if you touched it mama bird would abandon it], gathered it in a box and went away. I didn't want to see the pigeon come back searching for its egg, so I took off the sheets, put on a bright light, hung some bells and have generally stayed away from the area for a day or two.

I wonder if some other bird would incubate that egg. Was the egg safe or did the neighborhood cat or that monkey got to it? I suppose it is better off if they ate it now than later, or am I missing some profound interdependence of species?

Perhaps I will google it, and maybe write a blog post about how when I grew up there was a great big Peepal tree in front of my house and how birds came home in the evening while I played outside.

Best I avoid mentioning my search for finding a net for my patio.

April 12, 2017