Very ugly baby pigeon makes a weary Londoner feel lucky again.
I have just seen a baby pigeon. It was the most ugly bastard child I’ve ever set eyes upon and yet I feel strangely blessed.
If you live in or near London it’s often said that no-one sees a baby pigeon. Nor does anyone seem to know where they go to die (unless squished on the road). This is an odd fact considering the birds are so commonplace we call them the ‘vermin of the sky’. Prosaic enough to be unnoticed, mysterious enough to be immaculately conceived: in my tiny mind this does not compute.
I was rushing for a train leaving London Fields the other day- in that sweaty sot of I’ve-got-to-be-somewhere-else-in-London way – when I heard a gentle tweeting coming from the top of the steps going up to the platform. Normally I would have raced past. Hell, I don’t think I would have even heard the noise before. But after my seemingly pointless 24 hour walk round London and my stint in East Sussex with the wildlife ambulance service I found myself strangely attuned to the murmurings of nature. If the pigeon equivalent of gaydar exists I must now have it in abundance.
I climbed up above the steps and stood precariously on the railing with one foot, then dragged myself to the top of the wall and peered over. There beneath the roof, above the heat vent was a tiny nest of … baby pigeons. They squawked at me. My god were they hideous…my god were they pretty. Scruffy little fluff balls sitting in the dirt calling my name. ‘Martin, oh compassionate city-blogger, come see us, it is right for you now to set eyes upon us, you have been blessed’
Who gives a **** about baby pigeons?
Well I do!
If you’ve lived in a town all your life it’s nice to see into your neighbour’s bedroom even if it is a shit hole and they haven’t washed themselves in weeks.
And in all seriousness this was a soft moment for me. What with the hedgehogs at 5am in Regent’s Park, the dead fox in the canal, and now the baby pigeons I felt London was continuing to show me its velvet-smooth underbelly in response to my new dedication to look and care. Most of us in this town are caked in a shell of pollution and cynicism. Baby pigeons stick their little beaks right through that hard layer.
I peered further along the gutter and could just make out the lifeless body of another baby pigeon that was merging with the dirt. So much life and drama in such a small insignificant hovel! If only Shakespeare could see write about this. Perhaps the deceased baby pigeon had been in love with his sister, slayed his father and drank some poison. Then again maybe it died of dirt.
I caught the next train and sat down feeling calmer and more reflective than when I had started out. I watched the man opposite me hold open his newspaper with clenched fists and read it with an intensity close to pain. His share price must have dropped. I bet he didn’t know what baby pigeons looked like.