Guest Post: David Miller

I was very pleased to receive this guest post from my blogging friend, David. He is a published writer, talented song lyricist, and compiler of excellent limericks too. I will provide a link to both his own site, and his writing, at the end. Here is his tale, from his home in Nevada.

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Pigeon in the House!

We have a family of six pigeons that call our roof, back yard wall, and patio…home!

It all began late last summer with Romeo and Juliette. Romeo is a typical rock dove, indistinguishable from the average specimen. Juliette, though, has a broad snow-white stripe, composed of several feathers, that traverses one of her wings fore to aft. The offspring are mottled, but have white patches of varying sizes on their back, just below the nape, and between the wings.

In the beginning, we fed Romeo and Juliette stale French bread. But they were not satisfied, so we ended up throwing them a fresh slice now and then. Recognizing that bread is not the most nutritious bird food, we began feeding them lentils. They loved it, of course. But lentils are expensive, and quickly consumed. In the end, we found it was cheaper to simply buy a bag of birdseed.

One morning, Juliette came knocking on the living room window. After repeating this a time or two, we tossed out some food on the patio. She came back the next day, not only in the morning but at lunchtime as well! After that, she became a window knocker extraordinaire. A few months ago, the weather was nice enough to open the window and let some fresh air in. By this time, the family had grown to six pigeons, and feeding time had become a fiercely competitive affair. The six of them often chased each other around the back yard—and battled each other as well—when the birdseed allocation was nearly gone.

So we thought that we’d give Juliette a break and feed her birdseed on the open windowsill. It didn’t take her but a few minutes to figure out that she could eat there—and do so peacefully, without interruption. Needless to say, she was happy as a lark. Weather permitting, she was granted other windowsill feedings after that.
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On a couple of occasions, one of Juliette’s young ones would join her on the windowsill, but this was not a problem—until today! This afternoon, a second young pigeon decided to join its mother and sibling. Unfortunately, there is not enough room on this small windowsill for three pigeons! So it hovered, flapping its wings violently, frustrated in its effort to join the other two. And that spooked its sibling.

The young pigeon flew into the house! And, as mourning doves and house finches had done last summer, it perched up high in the living room (our house is a 1-1/2 story) in one of the three port windows. After that, it explored the living room, alighting alternatively on the staircase railing, various picture frames, and even the chandelier chain. I tried to block the port windows with shoes, so as to reduce the number of available perches—but to no avail…

This young pigeon knows me. It wasn’t afraid of me, as I could get my fingertips within ten inches of it without stirring a feather. But I knew it was not possible to capture it, and didn’t want to frighten it, anyway, so I didn’t attempt to grab it, gently or otherwise. I’d easily captured the mourning doves and house finches last summer as they tried to escape through the port hole windows, beating their wings against the pane.

So what to do?

The young pigeon refused the various perches I offered it (including my arm). It also refused to abort its several bowel movements. That’s why my equipment consisted not only of a ladder (useless), a birdseed platter (ignored), and perches (declined), but also an old sponge (to be rinsed) and a few paper towels (to be trashed).

An idea came to mind. I put some birdseed on the windowsill, hoping that Juliette would alight there, and entice her young one to join her. But Juliette was no longer hungry! She and a couple of other pigeons just roamed around the patio within a straight visual shot of the guest pigeon, perched up high. At one point, Juliette stared at her young one inside, but couldn’t figure out what to do. I instructed her to fly up on the windowsill, or even come inside and lead her young one outdoors to safety. But she apparently doesn’t comprehend English.

After a long persuasive talk up on the catwalk (the young pigeon is apparently just as ignorant of English as its mother), my wife, up to this point quite amused, said, “I’m getting cold.” The sun was dropping in the western sky, and the temperatures were coming down… For some reason, my wife’s perfectly reasonable complaint cued the young pigeon to drop down off the catwalk railing, and fly out through the living room window, where it joined its family on the patio.

This is what happens when the adult serves as the role model for its young. I need to explain to Juliette that only one of her young can join her at a time. Because with the nice spring weather, the windows are going to be open. I suppose this particular pigeon has now learned its escape route, should it ever pop in again. But what about the other five?

I have to say that I’ve never liked pigeons. I’ve always considered them to be a filthy nuisance. But these pigeons have taken up residence here, and so we consider them “our” pigeons. Of course, the family is bound to grow, and as long as we feed them (sometimes, I sit out on the patio, and they eat at my feet), they aren’t going anywhere. I also change the water bowl once a day. They drink from the bowl, and also bathe in it, as do other birds.

So we will continue to enjoy the resident pigeons, as well as our guests—doves, house finches, dark-eyed juncos (Oregon variety), hummingbirds, grackles, and others in search of food, water, and a shady wind-sheltered spot. Hopefully, they will be content to stay outside—or at least not venture any farther than the living room windowsill. Otherwise, our house will become an aviary!

David, living in the bird house.

See more at https://millerswindmill.wordpress.com/
Or check out his latest book here.
https://www.amazon.com/Pope-Dole-Mr-David-Miller/dp/1490324593/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488358889&sr=8-1&keywords=pope+on+the+dole

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27 thoughts on “Guest Post: David Miller

    1. The pigeons (six in all) have been hanging out in our windowsills all day, or else walking the inside ledge between them. One of them did fly into the living room. But after about ten minutes, he/she found his/her way back out. It may be the same pigeon in my guest post. There are two that look very much alike, and I haven’t found a way to distinguish them yet. Our newest addition is a mostly white pigeon, slightly dappled gray and brown, with charcoal tail feathers. A beautiful pigeon. We think “Moby” is a girl, so “Moby” is probably short for Mobylette.

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      1. Today, Moby flew into the house with the “practiced” pigeon. Now we had TWO pigeons in the house! They perched up high, each in its own port window. After a few minutes, the “practiced” pigeon flew across the living room to the catwalk railing, and almost immediately flew down from there out one of the open windows. Moby was new to this game, though. She sat calmly in the port window for a good long while, surveying the living room from above. Eventually, she decided to take action. First, she flew back and forth to the other port window. Then she made a couple of circles around the living room to get her bearings, returning to her perch. Just as I was thinking I might have to get out the ladder and fetch her, she seemed to figure it all out. She suddenly swooped down, made an arc in flight, and flew out the nearest window. So now she has some practice under her pigeon belt.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Felicity. By the way, the photos were taken by my wife, using her laptop from ground level, and later cropped by me. That explains why they aren’t crisp. I’m looking forward to reading “The Burning Years,” and would encourage others to check out what I’m sure will be an excellent book.

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    1. We often encounter roadrunners (a large ground cuckoo scientifically classified as genus Geococcyx, and popularly known as the elusive prey of Wile E. Coyote), here in Southern Nevada. By the way, I visited Athens in 1970, and have always claimed that the Parthenon is the most impressive man-made structure I’ve ever seen.

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    1. Cindy, I’ve visited your blog a few times. Not only are we neighbors here in the American Southwest, but I also have an M.A. (French Literature) from the University of Arizona, Tucson, which is “down the road” from where you live. I’m glad you enjoyed the story, and appreciate the compliment, as I know you are an accomplished author.

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