Sunday, August 24, 2008
I'm still waiting for the sun to get some of those requested pictures, but in the meantime, here is a part of our morning ritual, which involves feeding the birds. This time of year it is mostly pigeons. They simply must be fed at 8:30 in the morning.
In the winter it was the redwing blackbirds, a rather aggressive breed, although the occasional grossbeak could run them off. In the spring it was quite a crop of frisky common sparrows. We've always had a few pigeons and doves, perhaps eight or so. Now there are about 50!
The neighbor across the street complained about the pooh-pooh situation and I confessed that it was me, as the poor birds acted ravenous. Being a kindly soul from old Mexico, he changed course and offered me respect. "I think those birds were blown over here in that hurricane. The downtown courtyards of Brownsville and Harlingen no longer have any pigeons. I will get you some stale bread for tomorrow morning."
Of course, the nice man wouldn't let me off the hook without telling me that when he grew up in Mexico, every town had an old man who would beg for bird food and then feed them every morning in the town square, often thought to be slightly crazy but treated honorably - others came along to sweep and wash the streets and to my storyteller it was fond memories. There were racing pigeons, regular rock pigeons, and fancy ones that were thought to come over from Spain. "See that one there with the beautiful colors? He is their leader, and his markings are considered very special in my country."
I had, err, no idea! But before leaving he asked how close I could get to the pigeons. "Only a few feet, especially if I have their food. They will sometimes hover over my head."
"Then they have chosen YOU, amigo. Adios."