Sunday 17 November 2013


I was coming back from the library this afternoon when I noticed a lot of pigeons perched on top of a corner house. The house has just been sold and the opening into the attic was closed off to sell the place I would assume. I seriously doubt that they cleaned out the years of pigeon shit in there, but what is it they say “Buyer beware!” There wasn’t the number of pigeons as if this were a Hitchcock movie, but for suburban Calgary, there were plenty.
I noticed that they were all situated in relatively warm places. Several were perched around a couple of skylights; I have to assume that heat was escaping somehow. The people who owned the house previously did all of their own work around the house and it was obvious that they should have hired professionals. There were three birds on a window sill that had the window open. At ten below Celsius, no one should have a window open unless there has been a turkey cremation in the kitchen or you need to have stiff nipples for some reason. I did notice a pigeon sitting right on the top of the chimney. He was either the alpha male or the dumbest bird of the group.

The new owners had all of the trees cut down around their house, so I suppose that the birds didn’t have anywhere else to perch. They were nice trees too, what a pity, for me and the pigeons.
Of course I started wondering about all of the other birds that are foolish enough to live in cold climates like ours year round. I have noticed that they spend a lot of time sitting on branches, telephone wires and rooftops looking absolutely miserable. I know that you’re thinking a bird’s face isn’t that expressive, so how can I make that assumption. Well, they are sitting on branches, telephone wires and rooftops in the freezing cold, how do you think they are going to feel? I know that they have hollow bones and tiny feathers (down) next to their body which they fluff up for insulation value. Sure…

I’ve spent some winter nights in a down sleeping bag and although I didn’t die, it isn’t the kind of thing you would want to do on an ongoing basis. Most especially if you were an aging bird whose feathers were thinning. I did notice last year that the bird houses I have around the house are occupied during the winter. That makes a lot of sense to me, they are out of the elements and can snuggle down in some string, straw, old feathers and pieces of shell.

One thing doesn’t make sense to me. I thought that the scientists were all agreed that birds are the descendants of the dinosaurs. Well, real scientists, not the born again kind. Weren’t dinosaurs cold blooded? Lets assume that I am right (I’m probably not), and they were cold blooded, why would they become cold blooded birds that would freeze in the winter rather than just go dormant? How is that an improvement? I’m warm blooded and I am pretty much dormant in the winter now, and I could do with being a little more dormant.

I do feel kind of sorry for the birds being outside during the winter. Not sorry enough to feed them of course but sorry. If they weren’t such bird brains, they would be well on their way to Mexico right now. Maybe I should lead the way…

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