Friday, April 23, 2010

A Hostage Situation

In general I love the world of nature and the inhabitants thereof. Okay, there are a few of those inhabitants that I wouldn't mind should they go on the endangered species list, things like mosquitoes, for instance. But in general I love observing nature's denizens. I'm also a bird person and have spent many a minute admiring the grace and coloring of our feathered friends. Yesterday, however, my love of these creatures was sorely tested.

Somehow in our urban culture, pigeons have decided that parking lots were created just for their use. Find a large parking lot anywhere around the city and you will also find a flock of pigeons perambulating around it. Let's not even mention the "gifts" they leave on cars and on the asphalt. But generally, if a car is driving in that parking lot the pigeons move out of the way. They may be pigeon-cursing under their breath but they move. In this way both pigeons and people can take advantage of the lot's amenities.

The parking lot at a local Shop Rite supermarket is one of those fairly large lots. But because there are other stores surrounding the supermarket as well as access streets that don't all go the same direction, exiting the lot requires pretty much only going along one route to get out. So I pulled out of my parking spot, turned to get into the exit lane and stopped dead. An uber gathering of pigeons was covering the exit lane completely. And this group was not dispersing at the sound of a car coming. When it became clear that my only choice was going to be committing pigeon murder I tapped on my horn. This should have been guaranteed to get the pigeons moving. They didn't budge an inch. It seems that some misguided pigeon lover had spread the contents of a huge bag of oats and seeds all over that particular end of the parking lot. Those pigeons were having a picnic and nothing was going to move them.

At this point traffic was backed up behind me about 5 cars' worth. I got out of my car to let the other drivers know that I wasn't not moving on purpose. A few other drivers also got out, ready to lambaste me. And then they noticed the pigeons. Desperate measures were called for so there we were, three otherwise rational adults, yelling at the pigeons to stop being stubborn and get out of the way. After about two minutes, when no pigeon movement had taken place, we looked at each other in embarrassed silence. Not only had we agitatedly been conversing with pigeons, but the score was pigeons 100, us zip.

Help arrived in the form of a store employee wielding an oversize push broom. In short order he had pushed the pigeons and the feed over to a corner where they wouldn't block traffic. Apparently this has happened before and the store is prepared for the situation.

Yup, man truly believes that he rules the world and all that is in it. And then a volcano and a flock of pigeons puts paid to that idea.


Felder was right said...

That proposal by former councilman Simcha Felder to ban certain types of pigeon feeding was not a bad idea after all. Let the pigeon feeder/lover in this case spead the feed on their own property.

Anonymous said...

I'm still glad no one committed pigeon murder.

Isaac said...

I think the proper thing to do in such situations is to accelerate gently. They might like eating, but pigeons are not stupid enough to stick around if a car is really coming at them. They may wait until the last second, depending on their ability to fly away quickly, but they'll leave. Any that are too engrossed in their feeding to not fly away when a car comes deserve avian Darwin Awards, not diversion of human traffic patterns.