Outside Story - pigeons

HUMANS OFTEN ascribe traits that we admire to other animals. We treasure a dog’s loyalty, revere an eagle’s power, and applaud a dolphin’s intellect. We hold these creatures in high esteem, whether they are spotted rarely in the wild or are daily lounging at our feet, because we value these same attributes in ourselves. I’d like to add another candidate to this list of animal virtues: a pigeon’s ardor.

I care for a flock of four rescue pigeons, each of them deemed non-releasable after being brought injured to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science’s Center for Wild Bird Rehabilitation. Bennington, Springfield, Simon, and Garfunkel now live protected in a sheltered enclosure, tossed together by their various misfortunes. While it is easy to feel sympathy for an injured animal of any kind, I am often surprised that the same person who rescued the bird may tell me, somewhat embarrassed, “It’s just a pigeon.”