Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Pete Delivery

A pigeon came to visit me today. I had parked the scooter in the garage, scraped the garage door shut, swiped up the newspaper, headed to my front door, and stopped short. Three feet away from me was the pigeon. Not a very bright one. He wavered, and I took one step forward and right, forcing him to retreat into the little alcove before my front door. Trapped. I took the last step forward, he tried to dash and I clapped my hand over him.

His name is Pete Delivery.

I put him in a pet carrier with water and a mix of granola, split peas, buckwheat and rolled oats. He seemed slightly thin, and was obviously very young: his cere was the same color as his feathers, a charcoal grey. In a few days it would begin to turn white. However, he no longer had the tiny yellow downy hairs I associate with very recently fledged pigeons. Klutzy and apparently not yet believing that wings should be a primary method of locomotion, he came here by sheer providence. There's no good nesting places for pigeons nearby, so I think our spring gusts must have carried him from home until he petered out and landed.

Hence Pete. Besides, he looks like a Pete.

The two Harris Hawks who live here, however, do not believe in providence. They claim they phoned for takeout, using my credit card (hey!), to the pigeon delivery service. I don't really know much about the pigeon delivery service. I imagine it as being something like newspaper delivery, some Mexican guy in a '74 Torino grabbing a pigeon from the pile on the seat beside him, and flinging it out the window onto the lawn. They hawks are rather upset that their delivery never came. Little do they know it was intercepted.

Hence, Delivery.

Pete is currently in a larger cage, with a bowl of hen scratch and pheasant pellets mixed up with oyster shells and grit. I'm gratified to see him eating, though he seems to eat just enough to keep him going, unlike my old flock of twenty, who would come home and gorge themselves silly, until they looked like they'd each swallowed a tennis ball. (I had to get rid of the old flock two years ago, when my landlady discovered them.) They used to fly great circles around the house, and I used pop some into the car and drive out to make them fly home. I don't love pigeons, nor do I hate them. I do like life.

I don't intend to keep Pete for long, just enough to get some fat on him and give him the chance to learn to use his wings. Maybe three days to a week. I have no idea how I'm going to teach him to fly without losing him, other than jessing him up like a hawk and giving him a fishing line leash.

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