pigeon post

On our recent trip, we saw many exciting things in France and Germany: monuments, museums, landscapes, rivers, you name it. For Phoebe, however, the highlight of the trip was getting to see so many pigeons. She saw pigeons all over the place! (See her chase a pigeon in the short, short movie I posted earlier this week.)

Loved by some, hated by many, pigeons are a ubiquitous in cities the world all over. Some folks have been known to call them “rats with wings,” while others happily share their breadcrumbs with them. After its trip away, Themed Things Thursday flies home this week with a list of pigeons.

  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems. A picturebook about a mischievous pigeon who would like to drive a bus. (There’s a sequel, too, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, in which the pigeon, and I hope I’m not giving too much away here, finds a hot dog.)
  • Wringer, by Jerry Spinelli. This Newbury Honor book is about a forbidden boy-pigeon friendship in a town that hosts an annual pigeon shoot.
  • pigeon_messengers_engraving.jpg

  • Ewan McGregor’s character in Little Voice (1998) kept pigeons as pets.
  • Valiant (2005) was a movie about a heroic World War II homing pigeon (voiced by Ewan McGregor…am I sensing a pattern here?).
  • Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, by Tom Lehrer. A song:

    When they see us coming,
    the birdies all try and hide
    but they still go for peanuts
    when coated with cyanide

  • Rapper Pigeon John is not really a pigeon, at least as far as I know.
  • Some may remember Sesame Street’s Bert dancing a pigeon-like dance to “doin’ the pigeon,” a clip of which is available on YouTube. (You can also see actual pigeons dancing, if you want to compare.)
  • There was an 80’s kids’ TV show called Pigeon Street. (The intro is also up on YouTube.)
  • dove.jpg

  • In spite of their bad reputation as a species, certain pigeons have received an especially elevated status for birds. Namely, bird of peace. In this context, the pigeon is referred to as a dove. A dove being a white pigeon.
  • Doves are featured in various myths and religious tales, such as the well-known story of Noah’s Ark. Land was found with the help of a dove, who flew back to the ark with an olive branch.
  • There is also a flock of pigeon-oriented idioms and terms such as:
    pigeon hole, stool pigeon, pigeon-toed, pigeon-chested, setting the cat among the pigeons, and pigeon blood ruby.
  • Brian Pigeon: There is even a blog out there written by a London pigeon. Check it out for a pigeon’s eye view of the world.

Pigeons at Beaubourg.

18 thoughts on “pigeon post

  1. I’ve always felt a strange sort of affection for pigeons. I admire their spunk. You’re not, however, likely to find me tossing bread in the park with the goal of feeding them. But ask me again in 40 years.

  2. While on the subject of pigeons: must admit that I really like the taste of them — and have eaten them fried, stewed and roasted… ;b

  3. Sage-
    Yes, pigeons are spunky. I have a bit of affection for them, too, though I haven’t often fed them

    Hmmm, does that make you a pigeon lover? I hadn’t really thought about that kind of pigeon appreciation. Just curious–where did you eat all those?

  4. ha ha – we just got back from England, and our daughter LOVED chasing the pigeons. I have pictures of her chasing the pigeons at several interesting locations. She would follow them around. I think she hoped one would let her get close enough to pet it. I am glad they flew away.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. painted maypole-
    It sounds like a great series of photos. Have you posted them? I don’t have too many photos of Phoebe actually with pigeons, but we did manage to get a short video.
    And thanks for stopping by my blog, too!

  6. Hi Alejna —

    Had pigeon cooked all those different ways over here in Hong Kong…and yeah, I guess you could call me a pigeon lover of sorts! :b

  7. I love Bert. If I were a Sesame Street character, I’m sure I would be Bert. Not the evil one.

    Two additional pigeon related things came to mind:

    – Pigeons are an integral part of Krakow’s Market Square, not just because they are often an integral part of any urban center that involves people and food scraps, but because legend has it that they are actually knights from the 13th century who agreed to be turned into pigeons temporarily in order to help out their king, but then ended up permanently pigeoned when the king then forgot to do what he was supposed to do to get them turned back. It’s a longish story which starts during the reign of Boleslaus the Wrymouth, whom I only mention because I like his name.

    – In the upcoming film “Let Them Chirp Awhile”, Bishop Allen’s Justin Rice gets to wear a pigeon suit.

    Also, pigeons shouldn’t be confused with pidgins. It took me a while to sort that out.

  8. YTSL, you pigeon lover-
    Ah, Hong Kong. It does seem like the place has quite a range of food offerings.

    Cool additions. I hadn’t been familiar with either the Krakow or the movie. As for the pidgins, funny you should mention that. I’ve actually just been playing around with a pidgin post to follow my pigeon post…

  9. This morning I turned on that CBS Sunday morning show (I forget specifically what it’s called, but I think it’s something very literal like “Sunday Morning”). I called up the viewer guide to see what they were featuring, and had to do a double-take when I saw at the end “Also: a feature on pigeons.” They’re everywhere!

  10. There’s also an actress named Rebecca Pidgeon, who is married to David Mamet and was in the movies State and Main and The Winslow Boy, among others.

    And Mo Willems (genius!) has added Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late to his oeuvre. You can probably figure out how it goes.

  11. bs-
    Ha! They really are everywhere! Phoebe will be pleased.

    Another Pigeon book, huh? Phoebe will be pleased! (We just read the hot dog one tonight. Phoebe often asks me to read it. But tonight was the first time she let me read it to the very end. I finally got to learn what happened!)

  12. As a former pre-school teacher, I have read Don’t let the Pigeon drive the Bus over a hundered times and it has never lost any of its sparkle. My favorite thing about that book is the implied back story of the weird history between the bus driver and the pigeon—with the pigeon never giving up hope of one day getting to drive that bus.

  13. Shelly-
    It’s nice to know it doesn’t lose its sparkle, as I’m sure we have many readings ahead of us. (Though just now Phoebe has gotten really into another of Mo Willems’ books: Knuffle Bunny. We read it 3 times before naptime.)

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