By Rob Beschizza at 11:44 am Wed, May 4, 2011
Nice piece. For those who insist on the ‘rat w/ wings’ trope, Steve Bodio wrote a nice overview of people’s long association with pigeons: Aloft. Google also: Darwin’s pigeons – as important as the finches.
In related news – local hawk + one of my homers = sad face http://twitpic.com/4t7dsr .
A nice story of a lifelong affection for a pet you can get for free almost anywhere if you are willing to invest time and some scraps.
[bird-brains have got larger…] Except for pigeons …They are small-brained, said the lead author, Alexei A. Maklakov, an assistant professor of evolutionary biology at Uppsala University. But the urban environment provides them with a close approximation of their natural habitat, so they need little intellectual energy to adapt.
Awesome piece! I have pictures of me and my dad feeding pigeons when I was a kid, so I can relate. Mike Tyson is really great.
Nice story… I feel like people owe a little something to pigeons, they were crucial in delivering important messages for centuries… Definitely not rats with wings.
All seriousness aside, pigeons don’t have visible ears, so they really are one of the most suitable pets for Tyson.
When Mr. Tyson describes them as “highly intelligent,” is he being objective or subjective?
Please don’t hit me.
Please don’t bite me.
My estimation of Mr Tyson just went up significantly.
Nikola Tesla was also fascinated with pigeons, if I recall. He even claimed he fell in love with one, more deeply than he had ever loved a woman. This being shortly before his death, a very trying time for the man.
“When I’m with pigeons, I almost don’t want to rape nobody.”
Rats, btw, can be pretty darn great too.
Not to mention that I’d put a rat’s intelligence up against a pigeon’s any day of the week.
I was going to say that they may be protected… but they’re not (they have a special exclusion). Ravens are protected. :/
Is it wrong that my internal reading voice read this in Mr. Tyson’s voice?
The one thing that Tyson and Tesla have in common aside from their innate awesomeness.
Consider also that the birds we commonly call “pigeons” are actually a type of dove. The purple-green-grey city chickens are more properly called rock doves. They’re comfortable in cities because sky scrapers are conveniently similar to their natural, cliffside habitats and feature at least as much access to food.
Doves are universally associated with peace and benevolence. They don’t pick fights with other birds, nor do they try to hurt anything at all. As Tyson wrote, they are a relatively simple breed, but I would hesitate to dismiss them as stupid (at least no more stupid than any other wild bird). They’re peaceful.
I love pigeons and birds in general. Never understood people who hate on them (or any ‘urban’ animals). They’re one of the few species that didn’t desperately cower in terror and starvation when our cities took over. So what if they poo on statues and buildings? We smoke, emanate, litter and dump our shit all over as well! I admit I like my city-living, but we’ve earned dealing with a bit of bird shit…
We’ve just moved in a tall building and found out that there are pigeons roosting above the balcony. We hear their soft cooing every morning (and they sure keep the cat entertained!). We have lots of mourning doves, too. Lovely birds.
No, no birds. Nice birds!
Slightly tangential, but I highly recommend the recent Tyson documentary, if you haven’t seen it.
I was walking outside once and a crow flew down and landed by me. It started cawing and hopping around in a really excited way. I picked up a small stick and threw it.
The crow FLEW AFTER IT, GOT IT, AND BROUGHT IT BACK TO ME. I played fetch with that crow for a few minutes and then it followed me down the road. I miss it =-( It was really cool.
Crows can use tools and are pretty intelligent/devious overall.
Consider also that the birds we commonly call “pigeons” are actually a type of dove.
Wikipedia, “Columbidae”: “In general terms ‘dove’ and ‘pigeon’ are used somewhat interchangeably. In ornithological practice, there is a tendency for ‘dove’ to be used for smaller species and ‘pigeon’ for larger ones, but this is in no way consistently applied, and historically the common names for these birds involve a great deal of variation between the terms ‘dove’ and ‘pigeon.'”
Wikipedia, “Rock Pigeon”: “The species is also known as the Rock Dove or Blue Rock Dove, the former being the official name used by the British Ornithologists’ Union and the American Ornithologists’ Union until 2004, at which point they changed their official listing of the bird to Rock Pigeon.”
A GREAT documentary Tyson directed by James Toback http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1032821/ well worth watching.
I always find it amusing how many people hate pigeons, but have no problems with doves.
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