I recently befriended a pigeon at my apartment block. I named him “A Bird Named Sue” after the Johnny Cash song ‘A Boy Named Sue’.
He visits me every morning while I’m having that first coffee of the day.
While most people view them as sky rats, pigeons are actually quite intelligent.
They mate for life, the males and females both produce milk and feed their young, they can live up to 20 years in a family unit, and they are one of 10 species that can recognise themselves in a mirror.
A Bird Named Sue and his wife determined a while back that they were going to live in our apartment and he now dedicates most of his time to trying to break in. When I left for work this morning, he was building a nest under my chair on the balcony.
My fondness for Sue, and a general disdain for animal cruelty, has inspired a fair amount of rage at the news that someone is glueing tiny hats to pigeons in Las Vegas.
The Washington Post explains:
For several days, multicolored-cowboy-hat-wearing pigeons have been spotted strutting the streets in Las Vegas. No one knows who’s outfitting the birds.
Vegas resident Bobby Lee uploaded a video of two birds wearing the miniature hats — one red and one pink — to Facebook last week. The “birds have hats on, bro,” he exclaims in the clip.
The post, which was shared extensively, quickly made rounds on the Internet and landed with Mariah Hillman, co-founder of a local pigeon rescue called Lofty Hopes.
You can see the hat-wearing birds here:
Hillman and her daughter are now on the hunt for the birds so that they can remove their hats and return them to the wild.
They began by canvassing known areas, where they handed out business cards and told passersby, “If you see them, feed them. We’re only three miles away, and we can get there pretty quick.”
When a pigeon in a red hat was spotted, Hillman tracked it down.
As soon as Hillman pulled into the gated community, she saw the red-hatted pigeon, perched to the right. She slowed her car and said, “Howdy partner.”
— Bruja ♥🧙🏼♀️ (@kassandraqueenn) December 9, 2019
She says the bird was shaking his head and trying to get the hat off, so he clearly wasn’t stoked about the ordeal.
Hillman captured the bird and will keep it until its hat has been removed. She has named him Chuck Norris. Coo-lamity James had also been rescued and is undergoing hat removal.
As she points out:
“When we needed pigeons during wartime, they were regarded as heroes. Now that we don’t need them, they’ve become vermin or pests. We do that with a lot of things in this society, and that’s not right.”
And, if you get the urge to glue something to an animal, just don’t do it.
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