Now more than ever, you are needed to donate your old blankets, towels, and sheets to your local animal shelter. With financial cut-backs, repairs on shelters are often put off, so if it's drafty, the animals suffer. I know my shelter uses rags to stuff under doors. No kidding! Empty out those closets... this is your chance to get rid of stuff and do something useful!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What Would You Do For A Pigeon?

My friend George is a fellow animal lover. He took in a stray cat, whom he named Kenny, off the street in his neighborhood.  This, after he lost track of the cat and posted signs for it -- the already homeless cat!  I don't think I've ever heard of a person posting signs for a stray cat, but he did and now they are buddies for life.

I hear from George every so often and we share information about what we are both involved in.  Me, it's soldier support and animals. I feed the squirrels in my neighborhood, to the annoyance of pretty much everyone around me.  Something new George is involved in is the effort to preserve a part of the old Yankee Stadium. Here is a link to his recent piece published in the Norwood News about this effort:

And here's his most recent note to me, which told such a funny story I just had to put it here:
Hi Adele-
I love the blog, and am always inspired by the pic of Saint Francis. You're a special person to care so much about animals.

Hey, I'm a special person, too...or a particularly reckless one, I'm not sure which. About a month ago, I was driving northbound on the FDR in the left lane, around 60th Street, when I saw a white pigeon in the sitting in the lane, all the way against the left-hand curb.

I slowed to a stop next to him, and opened my door to get a look at him. I couldn't see any problems, but he wouldn't take off, as most pigeons would do in that situation. Then he walked under my car.

Ignoring all the horns blaring behind me, I slowly backed up to expose the bird, and then got out of my car. The guy who had been forced to come to a stop behind me started cursing at me. "You crazy. You very crazy. You stop on highway," he was shouting.

"But didn't you see the bird?," I asked innocently. "Have a nice day."

Anyway, I was able to pick up the bird and put him in my car. He wasn't visibly injured, but didn't seem to be able to fly, and didn't have much energy to fight me as I picked him up (I'm saying "he" for convenience, but could have been a girl).

Now where to go? I took the bird to the Animal Medical Center, which is nearby, a facility I recall as a group of money-grubbing incompetents from when I used to take my dog there.

The woman at the counter looked at the patient with distaste. "Is it a bird or a pigeon?," she inquired.

"I'm pretty sure both," I replied.

She explained that they don't take pigeons there--especially pigeons without credit cards--but gave me the name of a facility on the West Side that accepts and rehabilitates injured pigeons (I don't remember the name, but I have their card around here someplace). In any case, I took the bird there and dropped him off, and they seemed glad to be able to help...I made a donation while I was there. I never called to ask how the bird made out, but God willing he's currently pooping on the windshield of someone who works at the Animal Medical Center.
A couple of weeks later, an update:
Unfortunately, I called to ask how the bird made out, and they said the records from two months ago "have moved on," and they don't remember the case, so they can't tell me. That doesn't sound good, and it seems odd that such recent records would not be available...but no matter what happened, it's still better to have died in a warm place surrounded by caring people, rather than on the highway.

The place I dropped off the bird is called the Wild Bird Fund,, if you want to give them a plug.

I thought that was very sweet.  I loved the line "I'm pretty sure both."

Me, I don't mind the pigeons and to feed the little birds you end up feeding the pigeons. My super has a fit when they come to visit near my window. I have a small balcony that overlooks the front of my pretty landscaped building and there are lots of birds. Don't be fooled, it's not high falutin, but it does have a lot of character. And pigeons. They sit above my window waiting for the squirrels to come by and wave their little arms at me.  I throw out a handful of peanuts, then another, and sometimes freshen the water in the old pot I keep on the balcony.  That's the pigeons signal to start circling. Occasionally a person parking in the driveway swoops because a bird gets a little close. But everyone lives, so what the hey, says me.

Anyway, every so often my attempt at evasive feeding of the squirrels and birds fails and causes the super to notice. He then asks me nicely to please not feed them.  Because he is so nice to me and not grumpy like he is to other people, I make a resolution to listen to him, and employ another plan. I have a couple of U.S. flags on sticks hanging on my kitchen window, and I used them to wave the pigeons away and then throw some food into the bushes for the sparrows and their babies. Anyone looking at this spectacle would have believed me to be a very patriotic American, every single morning.  More recently, I have figured out that the morning doves like an afternoon feeding, so after work, when the pigeons are off somewhere else, I throw some food out.  The squirrels come by again in the afternoon, too, and I toss some sunflower seeds out to them (they are not as fond of almonds, though I am not sure why).  Some weeks I spend as much in the wild pet food aisle as I do in the rest of the supermarket.  After regular super-working hours, I sneak the 20lb. bag of bird seed upstairs and no one can pin it on me for sure. 

I have pulled over for dogs, an aligator, a coyote, and squirrels who looked hurt, but I cannot recall pulling over for a pigeon.  I find that impressive!