June 13th was the day of a significant occasion, yet one that I was unaware of until the last minute. I came dangerously close to missing it, which would have been a tragedy because the occasion was… National Pigeon Day.
And no, it’s not just an arbitrary day for pigeon lovers to come together and make noise about feeding regulations and building spikes that prevent nesting (though there was that). June 13th commemorates the death of Cher Ami, a homing pigeon that saved 200 lives while serving with the 77th Division of the U.S. Army in France during World War I.
Pigeons are fierce, man. So fierce that there are falcon nests installed atop the Tappan Zee Bridge to scare away the winged things and the rust and ruin inducing droppings they bring. Come on. That’s something. Can your poop bring down a feet of engineering?
Anyway. It really was a cool thing and I’ve been meaning to mention it and I’ve especially been meaning to share a couple photos I took at the Central Park event. It was like I had been a lonely religious zealot for years and suddenly I had found a group as fanatic as I. Or maybe much more fanatic…
As much as I felt a kinship to the people at the event, part of me didn’t know if my breed of pigeon loving was the same as theirs. It’s like, I’m perfectly content admiring and contemplating them from a park bench, but I’m not sure that’s enough if I truly want to be accepted into the National Pigeon Day group.
My love is more passive, I guess. I like carrying a tote bag with a pink pigeon screened on its side. I like reading books about them. And of course singing along to lyrics that mention them (Ben Folds’ “Annie Waits”: Annie sees her dreams / Friday bingo, pigeons in the park; Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”: There’s pigeons down in market square / she’s standing in her underwear).
So, in conclusion, pigeons make me happy, I love them, but I’ve yet to wave an angry poster as their advocate at City Hall or boycott a supermarket that tries to keep them from calling the “O” or “A” in their neon sign home. We’ll see.
By the way–there’s totally a link to my pictures here, on the organization/holiday’s blog, which brings me way more joy than is normal or healthy (qualities no one should strive for, anyway).