Before I get into my weekend birthday shenanigans, some of which I’m still trying to piece together, I thought I’d throw in a bit of investigative journalism.
This morning I was wondering what it must be like for fat pigeons when the weather is as hot as this. Pigeons tend to puff themselves up in winter, so if you see one who’s a little larger than they should be in summer, you know there are fat issues going on.
I’ve posted before about the rise in obesity in pigeons, and I’ve watched them struggle, so I thought I’d find out whether hot weather can act as a driver to lose weight…
This is Jemima. Jemima’s weight started to soar two years ago when she discovered the refuse collection times of her local McDonald’s in Kentish Town:
“It was impossible” She said. “Every night I’d be there. Couldn’t help it. I got so fat I had to move to another nest.”
I asked her if it she was embarrassed by her weight.
“Yes. I am. I feel really ashamed, but I just can’t stop eating. It’s not as bad as it was, but it’s still a problem for me.”
Apparently, Jemima can tuck away enough food for a family of six in a single sitting.
Then I asked her whether the heat got to her.
“I find the heat really uncomfortable. The tops of my legs rub together and my wings can get stuck to my body which makes flying really hard. When I was at my worst last year, I had to get a couple of pigeons to help me into the air. That was the moment I decided to do something about it.”
Whatever it was she had chosen to do obviously hadn’t worked, so I didn’t push it.
Clearly the heat is an issue, so any pigeons out there who know you’re eating too much just think of Jemima and her rubbing legs. Jesus. If that isn’t an incentive, I don’t know what is.
I’m all up for bringing on the sunshine and hot air and all that, but not if it means every pigeon in town wants to get it on in public.
Jesus. I’ve never seen so much heavy petting. It’s like they’ve all been saving it up since January.
I almost said something to this pair in Soho Square yesterday.
It was like watching porn, but not in a good way:
They were literally down each other’s throats, and did it for ages. Totally unnecessary.
Here they are again, ten minutes into it.
Get a room, or at the very least get under a bush. Unbelievable:
“You have a bit.”
“No, you have a bit.”
“No… you have a bit.”
Whole thing made me want to be sick, not that I’m bitter or anything. Were I to meet the pigeon of my dreams, unlikely though it is, I would keep it subtle. This kind of behavior should be left in the nest. End of.
Since my last post on ledge etiquette, I keep getting asked how the tail feather clearing method works. It’s amazing how many pigeons have never considered it, so I ventured to Piccadilly Circus earlier and found a couple willing to demonstrate, Nick and Laurence.
Laurence drew the short straw as the one who had to shit. Shitting on demand is never easy as you can see from the look of extreme concentration. This is obviously on the flat rather than a ledge or lamp, but you’ll get the drift.
Nick had asked Laurence to make it a small one as this was just for demonstration purposes. For a while though, it looked like nothing was happening:
Then, finally, out it came:
The trick to getting a stranger to help is to ask them as quietly and discreetly as possible. Most pigeons have no objection to helping out, but many of them would rather not have the whole world know about it.
Here’s Laurence subtly asking Nick for some assistance:
“Mate, would you mind giving me a hand? I’ve got a small bit of poo that needs clearing.”
It often helps to explain why it is you can’t sweep it up yourself. Have you strained a tail feather? Are you about to go on a date and don’t have time to wash?
The actual sweep up is easy. Just extend the tail feathers, push down, and walk over the pile dragging the tail along the ground. If the pile is sizable, you may need to do this twice. Also, if you’re the pigeon needing the help, it’s polite to take the lead. That way it looks like he or she is just doing some chasing rather than clearing up your shit.
Here’s Laurence leading Nick in the sweep up:
Again, subtlety is key.
As you can see, the shit is now half the size, and flat. It’s not gone completely, but it’s better than it was.
If you’re the one doing the sweeping, don’t forget to wash. A quick dip or sweep through the nearest puddle should do it.
See? Not that hard, and if we all start doing it, it will make for much cleaner and more hygienic sitting spaces.
Spotted this lot earlier today.
It’s these kind of pigeons that give the rest of us a bad name:
Decent uplights are hard to come by in the West End these days so, if you do happen to sit on one, please leave it as you found it and wipe up after yourself like the rest of us do.
It’s particularly important in the run up to the Pigeon Olympics when visiting pigeons will be flocking from all over the country to London. The least they can expect is a clean place to sit.
Every pigeon in London has the responsibility to present our City in the best light possible, and ledges and lights covered in shit isn’t the way to do it.
If you’d rather not use your tail feathers, and don’t have a napkin handy, go and find one. Or, if you’re still struggling, ask your neighbour to assist. It’s not that hard, and most pigeons will be happy to help.
Talking Pigeon Olympics, I was lucky enough to be asked down to team West End’s Chip Tossing practice. It’s an event that’s likely to attract a lot of attention as the Glaswegian team are supposed to be pretty good. No surprises there then. Report to follow.
Check this out. A simple sign outside Euston Station telling people where to park their bikes. Presuming, contrary to the arrow, it’s not suggesting bikes should be parked on top of it, I’m guessing the ludicrous spikes are there for our benefit.
WTF? As if we’d want to sit on a small blue exposed box with barely enough room for two anyway? Just look at the height of them too. Jesus. One could easily catch an arse feather when passing, and imagine the permanent damage caused should one accidentally land on them on a dark night:
Brings tears to the eyes.
Okay, so we kind of get it when spikes are placed on monuments of historical interest as there are pigeons out there who like nothing better than to defecate for the sake of it, but putting them on small pointless signs like this is clearly ridiculous.
Another one for the Boris list.
I know most of you will think I do nothing but bang on about the weather, but the weather in London has sucked the big one recently, and still is. Frankly, the sucking deserves every bit of the banging.
This was what we did for kicks the other day at Euston Station of all places. Tossed about with a soggy slab of pitta bread. Best fun we’d had in days. Kid you not.
Soon as we found it, we had it surrounded.
Part of the ‘fun’ is who’s gonna get in there first:
Pause. Hold it. Okay. One, two, three.
Then, out of nowhere, Ronnie cut a sly right, and grabbed it. Genius move.
The only reason I’m bothering to post this is that the right shift is actually quite hard to do. Fair play Ronnie. Here he is doing the celebratory chest stretch:
Fair play, Ronnie.