Friday, January 11, 2013

Pigeons, Doves, and Murders

On the west side of Phoenix, we had no shortage of pigeons.  Big, stupid, messy, fornicating frequently, roof residing pigeons were everywhere, leaving their droppings abundantly and flocking occasionally.  From time to time a hawk would come by and nail one, but most of the time the pigeons just kept posturing and copulating on all the roof tops surrounding my back yard.

There was also no shortage of morning doves.  (Mourning Doves?)  They tried to nest unsafely on the tops of the 6ft high cinder block walls.  They'd tried to nest on the top of a 8 foot ladder I left leaning against a wall.  They even tried to nest on top of the blades of the covered patio's ceiling fan, when the blades were no turning.  They were dumb, cooing, clueless, paired up birds that were slightly nicer than their big, fat pigeon cousins, but it was hard for me to love such a dumb avian creature - I like smart birds; hawks, hummingbirds, road runners, cactus wrens, fly catchers, tohees, etc.

But here in Orange County, especially 5 miles inland from the coast where we live now, one can see (and hear) massive murders nearly every day.  These are not small murders, they range from a dozen crows to more than a 100 crows.  I think Hitchcock must've seen these kinds of massive murders in Southern California before he directed "The Birds".

When I am in my car, they don't bother me, or cause me any concern.  But when I am on my yoga mat in my back yard, or when DDF and I are walking through the neighborhood and are many blocks form home, and the sky is blackened by these nearly-raven-sized birds, and their CAWS are deafening to the ears, it gives me a little bit of pause.  What if I was wearing a suit made of popcorn?  What if I was severely injured, immobilized, and had open wounds (like road kill, after a bike accident)?  The murders are very aggressive, and territorial.  When they flock to a deciduous tree devoid of its leaves, they blacken it, as if making it a "crow tree".  Yick.

I did figure out that when I am doing yoga outside, and the CAW, CAW, CAWING gets really close and loud in a nearby tree, that I can scare them off by CLAPPING my hands as LOUD as POSSIBLE, simulating a gun shot.  I've actually seen the murders change their flight paths when I CLAP LOUDLY, thinking they are averting a shooting death.  You see, 30 years ago, I participated in a hand percussion section clapping ensemble (similar to this link here) while in High School, and we actually took it to the State Band Association competition for solos and ensembles, and medalled there =) I can clap REALLY Loudly when I want to.

I never previously imaged that my hand clapping skills could be used to redirect a murder.

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