Cruel Nature

This evening I rescued a pigeon from drowning, but it was hardly a noble effort as: (a) it was my dog who charged the creature and caused it to plop clumsily into the lake (at which point I suddenly realized I'd never known pigeons to swim, and sure enough, hurrying over to the edge of the water, I saw amidst the flapping and splashing that some part of the bird was mangled and that it was failing miserably to haul itself out); and (b) I don't know if I would have saved it had it not been for a long tree branch sitting directly and meaningfully between me and the pigeon. You gotta understand, the water in that lake is *seriously* gross and dirty--it would take a lot to convince me to reach in with my bare hands, since immersion would undoubtably lead to sterility or least one becoming a superhero (neither of which might *seem* that bad, but could lead to regrets further down the road).

Anyway, after some rather shoddy teamwork--me clumsily wielding the branch, him doing a lot of weak scrambling and toppling over--the pigeon finally got a good grip with both feet and I gingerly lifted him out of the water.

I guess the poor thing was exhausted because I was just inches from him and yet he didn't flinch--if pigeons flinch. Now that I think about it, it's odd that, while he was in the water, he didn't try to get away from me poking at him with the branch. It was as if he knew I was trying to help him, but I'm sure he'd merely reached a "Whatever" point. And he just kept clinging tenaciously to that tree branch, after I set it on dry ground. It was actually rather sad because, there he was, literally holding on for his life, when from the look of him, I'm sure he'll either die from his original injuries or be feral cat food just as soon as one of those furry beasts who prowl the park catch a whiff of his scent. And I've seen the exploded feathery remains of his pigeon brethren who'd fallen prey around the park many times before.

Anyhow, I stowed the little guy under a bush, still perched quietly on the dead tree branch, but I don't have much hope for him. I know it's silly to get all sentimental about a stupid pigeon--hey, most of the time, I really don't like them, the way they fly up in a panic and beat their dirty, dusty wings right in your face--but, the poor thing, he's going to die terribly, whichever way he goes.

Nature is so harsh, isn't it? Recently, while watching TV with my husband, we came upon what seemed to be a documentary about this fat, fluffy baby owl...for about two minutes before, out of nowhere, a hawk swooped down and promptly de-fluffed it. Good-bye fat, fluffy owlet.

I wish I had something profound to add, after going on *this* long, but, alas, all I can say is I'm glad I'm not a pigeon. Sorry.

And to that pigeon, perhaps still huddled in the darkness under the bush: You were brave and kept a level head, when you could have freaked out, misunderstood my intentions, and drowned slowly in seriously dirty water. Hang in there. And if the cats get you, I hope you don't suffer.

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I can totally relate to you and your pigeon woes...they call them flying rats, right? So why bother saving them. Any animal that's in trouble gets to me, whether it's a lion or a squirrel. I came across a pigeon in our apartment stairwell over the summer (he was definitely hurt and wasn't trying to fly away from me when I approached him) and I just felt so bad. I picked him up and put him outside at least and I never saw him again. Hopefully he waddled off somewhere quiet and out of harm's way...
p.s. someone on food scool mentioned your post about the "read more" function. i used it and it totally worked. thank you so much!!

10/21/2005 02:54:00 AM  

Hi Mona,
I can see you're far more kind-hearted than I am. I don't know if I could actually hold a pigeon with my bare hands--seen too many posters warning of pigeon diseases, I'm afraid. But it's true that it's hard to ignore a creature who's struggling and in need of saving, even the dirtier ones.

Glad the "read more" tip worked for you! 

from Rachel

10/26/2005 09:07:00 PM  

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