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Thread: National Pigeon Day - June 13th

  1. #106


    Extract from ARTICLE

    June 12, 2008, 5:59 pm

    Podcast: Flags (and Pigeons) Flying High

    By Sam Roberts

    Following is the script of the weekly “Only in New York” audio podcast. Listen at left or download the mp3 to a portable player. Browse a list of other Times podcasts here.

    Sometimes, while covering New York, you’re presented with an embarrassment of riches. This week, for example, I was torn between two lofty topics.

    Some high-spirited citizens were gathering in Central Park to proclaim National Pigeon Day on June 13. We idolize hawks and falcons, which perch above it all. What about their unappreciated prey, the pedestrian pigeon?

    Woody Allen once called them — dare we say, pigeonholed them — as “rats with wings.” But their wartime service carrying messages saved American lives. Their endurance, alone, deserves respect. And that dove we mythologize as a peace symbol is really just a white pigeon.

    A decade ago, when John Tierney wrote in The Times that a pigeon egg had hatched on his Upper West Side bathroom windowsill, readers couldn’t wait to weigh in. Hardly anyone had ever seen a baby pigeon. Or, for that matter, a dead one.

    I confess, I was always fascinated by their iridescent necks, how they can bob their heads without getting headaches. Still, I resisted the temptation to devote an entire podcast to pigeons.

  2. #107
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    Cannon Fodder and Pigeon Feed.

    Have fun calling for another national day. Maybe you can combine with the "National Raccoon Day" people, or the "National Salamander Day" people to form a "National Unappreciated Ordinary Animal Day".

    Why do we have to have a "day" for every little thing?

  3. #108


    National Moderators Day.

    Has a nice ring to it.

  4. #109
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    They had one,

    But it went OT and they locked it.

  5. #110

    Default National Pigeon Day 2009!

    Yes! Believe it or not.....National Pigeon Day 2009 is only 336 ? days away. Help us get ready for the next one! You can either whine or join in. The date will be Saturday, June 13, 2009. Maybe Woody will show up for this one.

  6. #111
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    OK, now you are just being silly.

  7. #112


    Pigeons: The Next Step in Local Eating (No, Really)

    Image: A composite image of scavenger pigeons on the left and squab on the right. Left: flickr/ulterior epicure. Right: flickr/vanberto.

    By Alexis Madrigal, July 18, 2008

    When you look at a pigeon, you might see a dirty, rat-like bird that fouls anything it touches with feathers or feces, but I see a waste-scavenging, protein-generating biomachine.

    At a time when rising demand for meat across the globe endangers the food system, and local eating has gained millions of (T-shirt wearing) adherents, it's time to reconsider our assumptions about what protein sources are considered OK to eat.

    You see, city pigeons are the feral descendants of birds that were domesticated by humans thousands of years ago so that we could eat them and use their guano as fertilizer, we read in Der Spiegel. They're still doing their part, i.e. eating and breeding, but we humans have stopped doing ours, i.e. eating them.

    Numbering in the hundreds of millions, they could be a new source of guilt-free protein for locavores in urban centers. Instead, we're still trying to kill off our species' former pet birds, which (as any city-dweller can attest) doesn't work.

    "Killing makes no sense at all," Daniel Haag-Wackernagel, a biologist at the University of Basel, told Der Spiegel. "The birds have an enormous reproduction capacity and they'll just come back. There is a linear relationship between the bird population and the amount of food available."

    And in the developed world after World War II, there's always been plenty of food.

    "This explosion of the pigeon population is due to the large food supply, because after the war food became cheap in relation to income," Haag-Wackernagel argues on his website. "Since this increase in our welfare, society has produced pigeon food in abundance through our wasteful practices."

    It sure sounds like a bad situation, but put the two quotes together in the context of food production. A food source that lives on our trash that is so reproductively prolific that we can't kill it off?

    That's green tech at its finest! Pigeons are direct waste-to-food converters, like edible protein weeds, that leave droppings that could be used as fertilizer as a bonus.

    And yet we expend energy trying to get rid of them.

    It wasn't always this way. In fact, eating pigeons is as American as eating pumpkin pie. Probably more so, on a net weight basis, actually.

    A 1917 report to the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture details the story of the American passenger pigeon, extinct kin to our current city birds. The birds provided our founding fathers with a bountiful feast in 1648 when, according to Massachusets Bay Colony luminary John Winthrop, "multitudes of them were killed daily."

    The report describes the many millions of birds that were killed all across the nation through the 19th century. A specialized itinerant profession even arose, the netters, who when pigeons were spotted "learned their whereabouts by telegraph, packed up their belongings, and moved to the new location." In one particularly fascinating section, the author describes the last great flock of New York pigeons on the lam from marauding bands of netters who sell their meat to market.
    Possibly the last great slaughter of pigeons in New York, of which we have record, was some time in the 70s. A flock had nested in Missouri in April, where they were followed by the same pigeoners, who again destroyed the squabs. The New York market alone would take 100 barrels a day for weeks without a break in price. Chicago, St. Louis, Boston and all the great and little cities of the North and East joined in the demand. Need we wonder why the pigeons have vanished?
    That's right: Passenger pigeons were hunted to extinction because they were a popular food in the great cities of Restoration-era America.

    Of course, the obvious objection is that pigeons carry disease, but some evidence suggests that they aren't particularly susceptible to avian flu. As for the meat itself, I called up the FDA's food safety line to ask how pigeon compared, safety-wise, to your average factory-farmed pig or chicken, but after one-and-a-half hours on hold, the office closed down and I gave up.

    But as part of this 65 percent not-kidding thought experiment, let's assume that there's nothing horrifically bad about eating pigeon.

    Really, all pigeons need is a re-branding. Just as the spurned Patagonian toothfish became the majestic Chilean sea bass and the silly Chinese gooseberry became the beloved kiwifruit, pigeons can merely reclaim their previous sufficiently arugula-sounding name: squab.

    The term squab now refers to the meat of the baby pigeon, but it can also mean pigeons in general, so we can simply extend the brand back to its historical proportions. In fact, some companies like Bokhari Squab Farms are already doing good business selling the stuff: A dozen of Bokhari's live squab goes for $60.

    So, go buy and encourage your urban friends to make omnivorism local. Just remind them: Pigeons are fowl.

    Disclaimer: How serious am I? 65 percent not-kidding.

    Thanks to urban agriculture supporter, TJ Sondermann, for his Twitter research help. Even though I'm pretty sure he's not going to be eating pigeon any time soon.

  8. #113
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    The only problem is sanitary.

    These guys are not controlled. Rats may provide protien as well, but until we start vaccinating these suckers or something, I shudder to think of what some of the scruffier looking ones could be carrying!

    Not only that, if we only eat the "good looking" ones, Darwin would have a field day! What would we end up with, a bunch of Scruff-Squab left that noone wants to eat because they resemble the garbage they eat?

    Ah well.

    One little thing, they could have, at least, gotten a GOOD LOOKING pic of Squab to try to make a point. That pic looks a little dry......

  9. #114


    August 7, 2008, 6:10 pm

    A Bizarre Pigeon Abduction in Chinatown

    By Marc Santora

    By the time this photograph was taken Thursday afternoon in Columbus Park, in Chinatown, the pigeon-napper had already taken off with his prey. (Photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times)

    First, a confession. I am not a fan of pigeons. I have even eaten a pigeon, while on vacation in Egypt – more for the culinary adventure than revenge, but whatever the reason, I ate the bird and felt not a twinge of guilt.

    Still, I was left rocked back on my heels this afternoon when I witnessed – for the first and hopefully only time – a pigeon-napping.

    The curious incident happened in Columbus Park, a small oasis tucked behind the State Supreme Court complex on Centre Street, on the border of Chinatown.

    The park itself is one of the more intriguing gathering spots in Manhattan.

    All day, elderly Chinese men play a Chinese version of chess as crowds gather to watch. There are other clusters of Chinese women playing card games. Little English is spoken. The lawyers and government functionaries who work nearby also swing through the small, unkempt grounds, but it is largely a Chinese crowd.

    They sit not only on the benches and at the tables, but on rocks and the small slivers of earth surrounding the largely paved area.

    In the western corner of the park, some men had hung cages was lovely songbirds in them, listening to their chirping as they sprawled out in the shade of the trees.

    It was among this crowd that a burly white man in a blue shirt sat down.

    He threw some crumbs on the ground in front of him and almost immediately, a flock of pigeons was at his feet.

    Then, with a quick thrust of his right arm, he seized one of the birds.

    As the other pigeons scattered, he stuffed his captured prey into a large white box.

    We made brief eye contact. Then he bolted, thrusting his box with the rustling bird on his shoulder and disappearing into the crowded alley ways of Chinatown.

    I was mystified.

    Was he capturing dinner? Taking the bird to his own flock to be raced or trained? Getting food for some voracious pet?

    He was gone before I could ask, but a quick search on bird-napping revealed that it is topic that has come up in the past in the city.

    The New Yorker reported last summer that residents in some neighborhoods were reporting a wave of pigeon robbers. A writer for the magazine was contacted by someone from “Bird Operations Busted, a self-styled pigeon-liberation outfit.” The man, who was not named in the story, said that generally, there were two kinds of birdnappers: “netters and hoopers,” referencing the tools used to capture pigeons.

    There were enough incidents in Greenwich Village for The Villager, a community newspaper, to warn residents: “Someone is scooping up Village pigeons and no one knows why.”

    But the man in Columbus Park was neither a netter nor a hooper, but rather a hand-scooper, and a deft one at that.

    It calls to mind another man who captured pigeons in a public park to sustain himself during a particularly lean season: Ernest Hemingway.

    In “A Moveable Feast,” Hemingway describes how he would wait for the gendarme at the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris to wonder off for a break or a glass of wine and then seize a pigeon, dispatching quickly with a swift twist of the neck before taking it home to prepare to eat.

    In New York City, it seems, there is no need to fear the law when it comes to pigeon hunting.

    My estimable colleague Al Baker, who covers the Police Department, made a quick inquiry about the incident and was told there was no indication a crime had been committed.

    Asked if a man grabbing a pigeon, stuffing it in a box and running was a crime of some sort, a straight-faced police spokesman said, “No, not really.”

    “There’s no real crime,” the spokesman said, adding that more facts would be needed. “Maybe he’s trying to save the pigeon’s life. You cannot say it is a crime, because there is nothing to conclude it is a crime.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  10. #115


    ^ Not much information in that article.

  11. #116


    I thought it slightly humorous.

    Man grabs pigeon.
    Man hides pigeeon in box.
    Man makes off with pigeon.

    The rest is for your imagination.

    a) man uses pigeon to breed other pigeons.
    b) man trains pigeon to be a racing pigeon.
    c) man eats pigeon.

  12. #117


    Yeah, it's like a Beatles song: a sketchy canvas for you to project your own interpretation.

  13. #118


    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc View Post
    Yeah, it's like a Beatles song: a sketchy canvas for you to project your own interpretation.

    This is one option that never crossed my mind.

    Fowl play: Sicko paints pigeon purple in Queens

    Updated Friday, August 15th 2008, 4:49 PM

    A pigeon that was painted purple was discovered in a Queens park.

    We heard it through the grapevine - Queens has a purple pigeon.
    Theroyal-hued bird wasn't born that way, though. Someone with a sick senseof humor - or a problem with pigeons - painted him purple.

    "Itwas terrible," said Joe Mora, an animal lover who rescued the birdThursday from a Long Island City playground, where onlookers weregawking at the oddly-colored columbine.

    "It looks like this was done could have been blinded," Mora said.

    Hetried coaxing the lethargic bird to eat while asking anyone andeveryone for advice on how to clean paint from its feathers and beak.
    Friday,city Animal Care and Control officials transferred the pigeon to BobbyHorvath, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Nassau County who hasextensive experience caring for injured birds.

    The young pigeon, about three or four months old, might not survive the prank - if it was one, Horvath said.

    "I have never seen anything like it," said Horvath, who is also a New York City firefighter.

    "He's flightless at this point. His feathers are completely rigid," he said.
    "His beak and mouth and eyes are clear of paint," Horvath said. "That's a positive thing."

    Horvath said the bird has a better chance if the paint hasn't seeped through into his skin.

    Morasaid he hopes someone in the neighborhood will come forward withinformation about the bird. He said he has heard stories about a man onnearby Roosevelt Island who dyed his dog's fur purple.

    "If this was intentionally done to the bird, it certainly is animal cruelty," said ASPCA Assistant Director Joseph Pentangelo.

    © Copyright 2008
    Last edited by brianac; August 16th, 2008 at 03:48 PM.

  14. #119

  15. #120


    Pigeons may be considered vermin in many parts of the world, but another bird is considerably more respected in Europe.

    Meet Sir Nils Olav:

    A penguin who was previously made a Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Army has been knighted at Edinburgh Zoo.
    Penguin Nils Olav has been an honorary member and mascot of the Norwegian King's Guard since 1972.
    Over the years, he has been promoted through the ranks after being adopted by Royal Guard who visited the zoo.
    During the ceremony, Nils had a sword dubbed on each side of his head, where his shoulders should be, to confirm his regimental knighthood. A crowd of several hundred people joined the 130 guardsmen at the zoo. A citation from King Harald the Fifth of Norway was read out, which described Nils as a penguin "in every way qualified to receive the honour and dignity of knighthood". The guardsmen come to see Nils every few years while they are in Edinburgh performing at the city's Military Tattoo. The proud penguin was on his best behaviour throughout most of the ceremony, but shortly before the ritual was concluded and possibly suffering a bout of nerves he was seen to deposit a discreet white puddle on the ground.

    Drawing a polite veil over that, Darren McGarry, animal collection manager at the zoo, said afterwards: "It went extremely well and we are delighted that the Norwegian Guard honoured Nils Olav with a knighthood.
    "We all enjoyed the occasion and Nils was a perfect penguin throughout." British Major General Euan Loudon officiated at the ceremony. Mr McGarry, added: "Nils always recognises the Norwegian guardsmen when they come to visit him.
    "He loves the attention he receives at the ceremony and takes his time inspecting the troops." Nils has also received medals for long service and had a 4ft bronze statue built in his honour. Guardsman Captain Rune Wiik said: "We are extremely proud of Nils Olav and pleased that an enduring part of the Royal Guard is resident in Scotland helping to further strengthen ties between our two countries." However, the penguin honoured on Friday is unfortunately not the original Nils Olav. He died in the 1980s and was replaced by a two-year-old penguin at the Zoo. Norway presented the zoo with its first king penguin in 1913, the year of its opening. David Windmill, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the charity that owns Edinburgh Zoo, said: "We have a long-standing history with the Norwegian King's Guard and it is something we are extremely proud of."

    Last edited by Meerkat; August 17th, 2008 at 06:05 AM.

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