It began that fateful day, August 22nd. We were eating dinner, and I happened to glance out the kitchen window and see, um, a pigeon sitting calmly on our deck table.
"Um, there's a pigeon outside," I said, completely bewildered by the presence of a pigeon anywhere in the vicinity of where I live. Needless to say, dinner was abruptly halted as we all gazed out the window at the pigeon standing on the table.
He was actually quite a lovely pigeon, not one of the ugly, dirty ones you find in cities. His body was a light shade of grey, with a dark grey stripe across his wings. His head and tail were dark grey, and his neck had a patch of almost-iridescent purple and green. He watched us curiously through the window, but didn't seem to be afraid of us at all. He was, as made clear by the yellow tag around his ankle, a racing pigeon.
By reading the tag and doing a little research on the Internet, we discovered that he was from a pigeon racing club in a town called New Tripoli, in Pennsylvania, on the other side of Allentown. My dad, who knows more about geography than both my mother and I, told us that Allentown is about 5 hours from here by car. Quite a long way for a little pigeon to fly, although we've learned that some pigeons can fly up to 50 mph!
My mom called the leader of the club, who knew to whom this pigeon belonged. According to this man, eventually it would be rested up and would fly back home. In the meantime, as we read on a website explaining what one should do with a lost pigeon, we should feed the bird, whom we named Bert, in honor of Sesame Street's resident pigeon fanatic, who happens to be very well-loved in our house, un-popped popcorn and grains with some water until he was rested enough to fly back home. We could also box him and take him several miles away and let him go, but we decided to let him be.
We assumed he would fly away after a few days, after resting for a while on our deck (while also pooping all over the place, including his water dish and food plate. Appetizing). After all, that was what the man had told us. Apparently Bert either had lost his way home or did not want to return there, because he never left. He would fly away for a couple of hours, but he kept returning to eat some food and rest on our porch table.
Four days later (he was supposedly supposed to leave after two or three), my mom headed downstairs and peered out the window to check if Bert was still there and discovered. . . another pigeon. This pigeon was not from a pigeon racing club, evident by the lack of tags on its ankle, and it was also a different breed. This one was almost entirely dark grey, with some lighter grey spots on the wings.
As we watched this strange and random drama unfold in front of us, we began to speculate Bert's story. Was he tired of racing? Did he want adventure? Did he have a forbidden love with this wild pigeon, whom we had named Ernestine (after Bert's friend and roommate Ernie from Sesame Street)? Was he lost? Did he need help from Ernestine, who could show him the ways of the wild? With these questions, we invented an entire story, called Bert's Big Adventure, in which a racing pigeon escapes from his coop and flies down to a small town to start a new life in the wild. But he eventually needs help, because he doesn't know how to survive by himself in the wild, and he finds Ernestine to help him. Eventually, they fall in love and live happily ever after on our deck table.
However, after two or three days, we never saw Ernestine again. Perhaps she was not up to the superior standards of this high-class, pedigreed pigeon. (Racing pigeons have extensive pedigrees, as we've discovered). After all, it was likely she came from a Kohl's parking lot. . . or worse, Home Depot. Perhaps she was too wild for him. But whatever the reason, Ernestine was gone, and Bert's Big Adventure does not end quite the way we thought it would.
We assumed that Bert would go home after Ernestine stopped showing up. However, assuming is not always the right option (you know the saying. . .). This morning, my mom got home from an errand and looked out the window to find yet another pigeon sitting on our deck table with Bert, this one with a tag on each ankle, one red and one yellow. This one was of the same breed as Bert and looked quite similar, except for the larger amount of dark spots on its wings and feet with a slightly darker red shade. This bird we named Bernice, which happens to be the name of Bert's beloved pigeon in Sesame Street, and is now thought of as our Bert's new girlfriend.
From reading Bernice's tags, we found out that she is also from Pennsylvania, from a different club in a town called Ashland. I did a little research myself and found that Ashland and New Tripoli are in neighboring counties. Perhaps Bert and Bernice had met before in races. We don't know, but they seem to be enjoying themselves. We think that it seems that Bernice is a little hesitant to be joining Bert in his wild adventure in the real world, because she didn't seem to want to leave the comfort of the deck often. She even almost seemed to want to come inside the house, as she sat in front of the glass door and stared in the entire time my mom and I watched a movie.
It has been exceedingly interesting to watch these birds. We still haven't heard from the owners, so they evidently aren't missed too much. I usually can't stand pigeons; they're dirty and steal food from unsuspecting tourists. But these pigeons are very clean (aside from the fact that they've been pooping all over our deck for the past two weeks) and are honestly kind of beautiful. We're having our doubts about the genders of Bert and Bernice. We haven't quite been able to figure out if Bernice is actually a male or if Bert is actually a female or if they're both male or whatever, but we're working on it. Anyway, whatever becomes of these birds, it's definitely not something I'll soon forget. It's certainly not something that happens often in a place where pigeons don't live.
~ Snooty Crumb
Doin' the Pigeon- Bert (Sesame Street)
Every time I feel alone/ And slightly blue/ That's when I begin to think/ It's what I'd like to start to do/ And though it may not be the kind of thing/ That's quite your cup of tea/ I recommend you pay attention/ To the little dance you're gonna see/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Dancing a little smidgeon of/ The kind of ballet/ Sweeps me away/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ People may smile but I don't mind/ They'll never understand/ The kind of fun I find/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon everyday/ People may smile, but I don't mind!/ They'll never understand/ The kind of fun I find/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon/ Doin' the (coo, coo) pigeon everyday