The Most Beautiful Pigeon In The Key Food Parking Lot

There’s a beautiful pigeon that lives in the Key Food parking lot on 87th street and the blvd. The lot is littered with garbage and oily pools of water, especially by the can return area. The pigeons don’t seem to mind. The beautiful pigeon’s plumage is a burnt auburn color, except for  under her large wings, where she’s white and gray. (I’m assuming it’s a she because she’s so glamorous.) She appears to be stout and healthy. When I walk over there to run errands, I always take a little time to look for her. She is a beautiful site to see, especially in contrast to the unattractive parking-lot-world she lives in.

pigeon nyc 1

My great uncle Pep used to have a pigeon coup in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on the roof of his apartment. Many Italians did back then. My mother told me he was so proud of his flock and spent a lot of time up there training the birds and drinking beer. The pigeons were the topic of many conversations at their dinner table, I was told. If only I could’ve  been a fly on that wall. 

A month or so ago at The Wave, we saw pigeons “fighting” outside the window.  It looked as though they were pecking aggressively into each other’s mouths. But I thought the behavior was too repetitive to be a feather flying fight so I googled …  and what do you know? They were engaging in a mating ritual! Do you know that pigeons (like most birds) mate for life? So adorbs!

pigeon nyc

More interesting, pigeons have been used for centuries as messengers. It was first noted 3000 years ago. The birds carried messages spreading the news of winners of ancient Olympic games. Pigeons were used again during war times to carry messages for long distances from military units. Most famously was a bird named Cher Ami (French for dear friend). She successfully carried an important message from an encircled allied battalion during World War I, despite having several injuries. Cher Ami was awarded a medal of honor for heroics. Her taxidermied body is in a Smithsonian Institution in New Jersey. 

Before the telephone these spectacular birds were used commercially as a means of communication. It has been recorded that pigeons can fly 1,100 miles and find their way back.

The homing pigeon was bred ultimately from a wild rock dove, specifically for this important task. These birds have magnetoreception, which is a sense that detects the magnetic fields on earth, giving  the fowl the ability to perceive direction, altitude and location! 

When I think of all these little things it makes me sad that these beautiful, intelligent birds get such a bad wrap in NYC. They are survivors and you need to be living in this crazy city! If your interested in other NYC animals just trying to make there way in the big apple check out this fun and informative podcast, 10 Things That Scare Me, hosted by Amy  Pearl here.

For more on animals,  follow Paula on instagram  – @theglorifiedtomato

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