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Pigeon Chronicles
The pigeons first came into our lives back in March, 2020. They were featured in a gardening story in the May 2020 GreenFriends edition. If you read that story, it may have sounded like the pigeons left. Well, they didn’t.

It was just a brief moment in April when we thought they had left for good. It made me realize that I’d actually miss them when they did go. In reality, they were only gone for about an hour. The babies had merely taken a longer-than-usual stroll, and ducked under a railing that connects to the neighbouring balcony to explore next door.

We were delighted when our little Frankenbirds (as I affectionately liked to call them, with their mismatched-looking wings and fuzzy, clumsy bodies) came back. So did their parents.

Two grown babies snuggled in a big pot
Two grown babies snuggled in a big pot
They were funny little creatures. I liked them more and more as time went by, and, watching the bond between siblings, or between babies and parents, they appeared to be quite affectionate, too.

For a long time, the babies slept in their nest. Slowly, they got more mobile, and took walks around the balcony. They started to explore other garden pots within reach. Their favourite was a tiny pot, barely big enough to accommodate one baby pigeon, but the little guys would squish themselves together in that tiny pot. Frequently we’d find them both sleeping together in their too-small pot for the night.

Mama in the nest, babies crammed in a tiny pot
Mama in the nest, babies crammed in a tiny pot

As they grew bigger still, they would practice flapping their wings and jumping. They would flap and jump, making it into gradually higher and higher garden pots. Hopping from one pot to the next, they’d reach the peak of pots. Inevitably, they would come down, flapping their wings till they hit the ground with inexpert landings.


Two grown babies enjoying their newfound ability to get into the highest garden pots
Two grown babies enjoying their newfound ability to get into the highest garden pots

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They really were quite amusing to watch. I enjoyed very much seeing them learn to fly and practice their new skills every day, within the safe confines of our balcony. They would flap and flap, lifting themselves off the ground, hovering in the same spot for a few seconds before plopping back down again. Like a hummingbird, but not nearly as graceful.

To my own surprise, I actually grew quite fond of them, with their awkward movements and funny antics.

It was a bit like having pets. Three times in the early spring, those silly baby birds managed to overturn a garden pot full of soil and seeds. I caught my husband laughing in an exasperated manner, as he found the upside down pot for the third time. He’d tried to secure it in a way that they couldn’t possibly knock it over. But nope, they did it again. Similar to when puppies or kittens make a mess, one can’t be mad; it’s an animal, and a baby one at that. You just clean up the mess and smile at the mischievous little creature that created it.

One day we decided to clean the area around their nest. No sooner had we cleaned, than the female pigeon laid another egg!

The egg
The egg
Generation Two
Generation Two

Many times we asked ourselves: what would Amma do? We could not imagine her kicking the pigeons out. Would she allow them to nest in the garden pots? Why not? So the pigeons stayed. Again.

While the parents busied themselves with the new eggs, the first generation of growing babies wandered the balcony. Eventually they’d get right up close to our sliding glass door and windows. They actually knocked on our door with their beaks, as if looking for attention. They watched us with curiosity, just as we watched them.

Pigeon looking in Pigeons outside
Pigeons outside, looking in
I proudly cheered them on as they finally figured out flying. They took longer and longer flights away from the balcony, then came back to their home base. Till eventually, one day, they really did fly away for good.

I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to watch these little pigeons grow, and to have provided a pretty space for them to experience their first taste of the world. They filled our days with noisy baby bird chirping, and if I closed my eyes, I could imagine I was in a tropical paradise surrounded by birds.

As they grew and got closer and closer to flying away, I found myself hoping that the rest of the world would be so kind to them.

Papa pigeon and baby girl, ready to explore the city
Papa pigeon and baby girl, ready to explore the city

As they land in a parking lot or on a city sidewalk, will anyone realize that they were loved and nourished by their parents when they came into this world, or that they played and stumbled while they learned to fly, or that they snuggled with their sibling in a too-small pot?

Pigeon siblings snuggled up in a too-small pot
Pigeon siblings snuggled up in a too-small pot

I’m quite certain the answer is no, but as I watched them, I couldn’t help but think that their parents wanted the best for them, as I do for my child, and that, like me, their parents gave them the best start at life that they could.

Nature is full of gifts. When we surrender to her and serve her, these gifts become even more apparent and abundant. I, for one, will be kinder when I see pigeons in the future. I surrendered to their presence, and in doing so, allowed them to transform me into a better person.

I wonder what other beautiful gifts nature holds. Maybe just another generation of balcony pigeons, but maybe something else unexpected and beautiful.

Natasha - Toronto, Ontario

The balcony garden, in mid-summer bloom
The balcony garden in mid-summer bloom

Read Respect for All Life from the Winter 2020 newsletter >>

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