Happy Anniversary to Pierre!
3 years ago today he flew into our yard, walked the length of it, hopped up the deck steps and jumped into the laps of Angie and I while we enjoyed our first morning coffee.
We both looked at him, wondering what the heck was up with this bird. He spent the weekend with us out back, and even entertained us and friends during a backyard BBQ.
And who knew that this was going to turn into a unique friendship between him and I? I sure didn't. But over time, I knew he was special and he wasn't going away. We have a bond that goes beyond the food offerings in my hand. Anyone who has followed my blog over the years, or the countless photos on Facebook, knows this to be true.
The life of a Pigeon is tough. A good sized bird (good eating for a bird of prey) with little defense other than some great maneuverability in flight when speed is not enough. They really are dependent on us humans for survival. They find roosts in the structures we create and they eat what we discard. To many, the Pigeon is a pest bird and deserves to die in the talons of a Hawk or Falcon. Some who cannot wait for nature to take its course on the Pigeons do horrible things to rid of them from illegal shooting to poisoning. I remember years ago seeing someone walking through a downtown park and trying to kick the numerous Pigeons on the path. The man cursed loudly at the birds. No bird was hurt in that moment and the guy looked like a total idiot to others.
I can admit I was not a big fan of the birds back in the early days of backyard bird feeding. I didn't hate them. I would never hurt them. I was just annoyed at their backyard bird feeder etiquette. Over time I learned to live with the Pigeons, and changed how things were done out back... different feeders and different seeds. Feeders less accessible to these big birds (ones they cannot grab on to) and better quality bird seed not full of junk and filler (the cheapest stuff you can buy at a grocery store or Canadian Tire as an example are just full of crap the other birds will throw to the ground). I learned to accept them, live with them and over time enjoy them. Pierre certainly helped with that.
Pigeons are actually quite intellectual. They are very personable too. Of course having Pierre come right to my hand allows me to see them differently than most. As a few of his flock figured out what he and I had going on, I got know more of them as individuals too. All with their own personalities and relationships with other birds in the flock.
Pierre is the longest surviving bird in his flock, of the ones I recognize anyway. I plan to do a blog on the individuals over the years as a few are no longer with us. And I know the day will come when Pierre will be a bird of the past as well. I do my best to look out for him while he is visiting. He is very well fed as you can imagine. Coming to my hand, he does not have to fight for food with the others. I spoil him rotten. But I can't always protect him as he is a wild bird. He comes and goes as he chooses. He has many dangers in daily routines and even coming to our yard, the threat of a bird of a prey or some free roaming cat looms. Even if he avoids all such dangers in his life, eventually age will catch up with him. Nothing lives forever.
I enjoy every visit we have together. From our personal feeding moments to just watching him as he hangs around our property, mingling with the other Pigeons and acting like a bunch of people at a social. I find peace the days he chooses to nap in our trees or on lawn. I laugh when he enjoys the bird bath just a little too much, spending lengthy amounts of time splashing about.
Watching him and his girl "the missus" over the kitchen roof, enjoying the warm sun on the roof shingles.
He's been around days when I needed him just to be with me, as time with animals is great therapy. Not that there is any short supply of animals inside or outside of our home but he is one of the special ones.
I pride myself on knowing how much of a positive impact I have had on him. I've made many of his days much easier, never going hungry, and ensuring he is stuffed to the eyeballs on the coldest of days even as it feels my fingers are going to fall off from the chill.
Not everyone has been fortunate enough to meet Pierre while visiting us. For those who have been *blessed*, he does leave them with a changing moment in their life. I guess the most stand out story of this is the Global news reporter Laura Zilke who came here in January 2014 to do a story on helping the birds through a harsh winter. I will attach the blog link here. But a long story short, after Pierre arrived near the end of the Global peeps time here, and he landed in her hand for a feeding... Laura thanked me for the amazing opportunity, saying how they do so many terrible stories day in, day out of tragedies, this was special, uplifting and something she would not forget. Over a year later there is still a little chit chat regarding Pierre between Laura and I on Twitter.
I can go on and on about Pierre. A lot of stuff that I have said in other blogs.
I will end this with "Happy Anniversary Pierre! Let's have another great year together!"
A couple video links from this summer. Tantrum video. Just us video.