Finally something worth reporting. So far 2016 has got off to a very slow start. Practically stationary. The weather has generally been shitter than I’ve seen it for years with not a frosty morning in sight. Just pretty much wall to wall rain and the odd dollop of sunshine. In all fairness, there’s also the fact I’m getting older now so not quite as agile about town. In days gone by it used to be I’d fly all over the City searching for blog-worthy stories. Now, generally speaking, news stories tend to come to me, like this one, and anything involving the potential demise of the aggressive urban squirrel is certainly worthy of attention.
A few years ago, a story I covered in detail was squirrels and their ninja-like ways. I kid you not. Suddenly out of nowhere they all appeared to be partaking in serious combat training:
Everywhere you looked there were squirrels working out pumping peanuts. This was about the time they also started demonstrating some serious attitude towards almost all other parklife.
Things got so bad I even started a campaign called Operation Stop The Squirrel that went down quite well. Click on the link to read more.
I had noticed that in recent years the squirrels have been lying low, and now I know why.
Turns out all this warm weather has encouraged them eat more, and more, and more. And the more they eat, the less they want to do. For some, even walking, has become a struggle. I heard one got stuck in a tree the other day and had to be cut out. Not cool.
It looks like morbid obesity has landed in the squirrel world.
Warning – Some of you may find these images disturbing:
Wouldn’t want to meet this on a dark night!
How times change. Saying that, perhaps it’s their strategy that’s changed? Maybe their approach is now more sumo style? Knock your opponent to the ground and just sit on them?? Doesn’t bear thinking about!
Whatever it is, I’m not sure it’s going to work out for them as pretty soon living in trees will be a thing of the past and our parks will be full of huge great squirrels snoring under bushes. Nice.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a squirrel rant, but seeing as it’s autumn, it’s got to be done. This is the time of year when squirrels go mad, literally. Soon as the nuts start to fall, they’re off.
Managed to catch this lot in St James’s Park yesterday:
Mental behavior. Leaping around in a nut frenzy. No leaf left unturned.
And this one, same deal:
Thankfully, Eric managed to keep a safe distance.
And check out this guy’s massive nut:
Never seen anything like it. Trying to hide it in tarmac and everything.
Rumor has it they seem to be stockpiling more than usual this year, so Mike agreed to go undercover to investigate.
Here’s Mike, blurred to protect his identity:
“Everywhere I looked, there was a squirrel burying something. I stood in a tree and watched them for hours”, said Mike, who reckons they might be planning on using them as ammunition. “Bet you anything, just when we’re least expecting it, out they’ll come pelting us with conkers, acorns, and the like.”
Food for thought, ‘scuse the pun, and worrying stuff.
Here’s a selection of pictures from yesterday’s fly-by.
The excitement builds:
Taking off from St James’s Park:
Some of the Kensal Risers, part of my Operation Stop The Squirrel posse:
St James’s park, along the Thames and all the way to The City. Sadly, by the time we got to Liverpool Street Station I reckon we’d lost about half to various bins and throwaways en route. Still a good turnout though.
Today’s action, however, I’d describe as ‘somewhat subdued’. This is largely due, I suspect, to the excesses of last night.
Gonna flock it large any minute now. Off to join the main G20 fly-by. Exciting stuff. Met my lot this morning, or most of them anyway. Mart is wetting himself.
This is the big one. More pigeons than London has ever seen flying for their rights from St James’s Park, the main take-off point, all the way to The City. Over Westminster, along the Thames, up and over St Pauls and onto Liverpool Street station. Not sure what we’ll do when we get there. Just hang out a bit I guess.
So far, judging by this morning’s trip to a couple of the camps, the atmosphere amongst the flocks remains jubilant. I’d say, for some, perhaps even erring on the side of over-excitement.
Here’s one group, The Pigeon’s Front, arriving all the way from Bedford:
They have interests in several causes including the auctioning of pigeons, seed shortages and the distribution of powered water pistols at primary schools.
I spoke to a representative who said, “We are thrilled to see so many pigeons down here demonstrating for what they believe. Flying side by side regardless of where they’re from. It’s rare, and something we should do more often.” That was all I got as he was a little out of breath at the time.
Anyhow, best be off. Don’t want to miss the start. Will let you know how it goes. Oh, and watch out for us down below!
In the meantime, here are some genius posters made by Charles Pigeon who, when I asked him to chuck me a bit of a biog said: “Just let ’em know I’m a pigeon fan from Boston, Massachusetts, and that on the weekends I and my pigeon pals enjoy picking fights with geese along the Charles River near Harvard.”
Operation Stop The Squirrel here we come. Check ’em out:
‘The Under Animal’. Nice.
And my personal favourite:
Eddie will be made up.
Also well motivating for my Operation Stop The Squirrel pals. Even though carrying them as placards during the fly-by may be tricky, we’ll be distributing as many as we can carry as flyers.
Cheers for making them, Charles Pigeon. You rock!
There were peaceful scenes across London today as pigeons flocked to join the G20 fly-by gathering. They came from all over, landing sweaty and out of breath from as far afield as Kidderminster, Uxbridge and Dudley. Most had never been to London before. The atmosphere was electric.
Eddie, professional as ever, took to his post pointing lost pigeons in the direction of Trafalgar Square:
Caught this shot of him at the end of what had been rather a long day.
Took these earlier in St James’s Park:
Quite some turnout. This lot were from Southampton and were protesting about the introduction of a Hawk named Gerry to the town’s historically pigeon friendly centre.
And this lot, they were mainly from Harlow and Braintree and some other places in Essex I’d never heard of:
Mostly, they seemed to be protesting about food shortages, although I think they’d probably do it about anything even vaguely pigeon related given half the chance. They were from a group called PigeonAid.
“PigeonAid. It’s about aidin’ da pigeon. Givin’ da pigeon da aid. Power to da pigeon. Know what I’s sayin’?”
Power to the pigeon, bro. Bring it on. Thinking I might tell them about Operation Stop The Squirrel. Sure they’d be right up for adding that one to their list…
Talking Operation Stop The Squirrel – must get on the case first thing. Can’t do another late one. Got a load of boys rocking in from Dulwich, Brixton, Kensal Rise, Hampstead, Kensington, and the list goes on. Anywhere in London with a park, I got me a posse.
Tell you what tho, it sent a shiver down my spine today seeing that many pigeons full of the passion. Don’t see much of that these days. Not anywhere. Nice one.
This week, I returned to the same spot in St James’s Park where I saw the walking squirrel – see this link, and found this guy. Not sure if it was the same one. Hard to tell, but it was clearly a squirrel fully immersed in some serious training programme.
Check these out. Be warned, you may find some of the images disturbing.
One minute, a perfectly innocent shiny-eyed puffy looking squirrel out enjoying a peaceful nut in the sunshine:
The next, a testosterone fueled killing machine.
Don’t tell me that’s not a kung fu move.
Charles Pigeon mentioned motivational posters to get Operation Stop The Squirrel off the ground. Great idea. How about using these as the pics?
Tag line: ‘Think you know the squirrel? Think again’.
‘Be afraid. Be very afraid’.
Anyone got anything better, let me know in the comments.
Kid you not.
Check this guy out:
A squirrel up and at ’em balancing on his tiny feet, taught thigh muscles rippling under fur. A few small steps one minute, the next it’s an army of the fuckers running at us wielding sharpened matchsticks. Doesn’t bear thinking about.
I’ve decided to do something. Something big. Something positive. Put Operation Stop The Squirrel on the map. I’ve decided to organise the largest demonstration of pigeons ever seen in London. Bring it on.
Gonna put the word out all over, and even encourage out of towners including pigeons from places like Slough and Watford.
Also decided I need a bit of a team behind me to do this. Out and about in St James’s Park on Saturday, I came across this chap. The name’s Eddie.
Eddie spends most weekends pointing lost pigeons, usually those on a day trip or city mini-break, in the direction of Trafalgar Square.
This is Eddie:
When I spoke to him, needless to say Eddie got quite excited about the whole prospect:
“I take my role in assisting pigeons very seriously and would love the opportunity to take part in something meaningful,” he said.
Not sure why but Kingswinford in Staffordshire, a little known market town near Dudley of all places, has become the place to be seen for the pigeon. Rooo Roooo sent me the story. Cheers, Rooo Roooo!
Apparently it all started about two weeks ago. Check it out.
Here’s a picture of everyone sat in a tree:
Turns out after a little investigation that it’s all linked in to the whole squirrel issue. Rumour has it that, for some totally obscure reason, squirrels are scarce in Kingswinford. Word spread and before you know it – a haven for the fleeing pigeon. Sadly there really isn’t much else going on for the place apart from that. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the activities on offer might even top Calderdale on the boredom stakes.
This kind of says it all. Believe it or not, this is part of the their website’s ‘come visit us sometime, please…’ sales pitch:
“As you drive (or walk) along these roads can you picture our historic past – if you get time have a look at the “Kingswinford clock”, on display in the lighting shop on the corner of Market Street and Park Street…”
Can’t fucking wait.
That said, anywhere that reckons it’s low on squirrel count has go to be a winner, which leaves us with little choice. Kingswinford is the new HQ. Pigeon Central. Nerve-centre of ‘Operation Stop The Squirrel’ – the somewhat unimaginative title of our ongoing battle to get the bushy fucks back in the trees where they belong, or at the very least put a stop to the Kung Fu movement and the ever-increasing numbers displaying unnecessarily aggressive tendencies towards anything that moves.
Only because I have to, I can feel a trip to Kingswinford coming on soon as. Go talk to the boys. See if the rumours are true. Take it from there. Check whether they’re interested in joining us in our fight for freedom. The freedom we deserve as citizens of the skies.
Frankly, seeing as spending the rest of the their days hiding out in the trees of Kingswinford clearly sucks, I don’t think recruitment is gonna be that hard.
Mart, of course, is wetting his feathers. Me, him and the London posse heading up North on one one of the most important reconnaissance missions in recent pigeon history. Have to say, I’m pretty excited myself.
Kingswinford, here we come.
I can feel a speech coming on. How about this:
“Pigeons, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by all future generations of pigeon that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter;”
Sets the feathers on edge, don’t it?
Although I fully support the drive for new and exciting flavour crisps, and clearly favour anything that puts the squirrel back in its place, combining the two is just plain weird. Linda told me about this. Cheers, Linda! It seems Walkers have invented the Cajun Squirrel flavoured crisp. Kid you not. Not sure what makes the Cajun squirrel any tastier than the London urban, but whatever it is, it seems to be working.
An idea came to mind.
“Get back in your pie” has long been accepted as quite a gross put-down in the pigeon world. I’m not sure if the same exists for squirrels, but if it doesn’t, it should. We might not be able to fight them with the kung-fu moves, but I reckon we can beat them with words anyday. Crush them with wit. Mash ’em up with our verbal dexterity. What do you reckon? I did some research, and it seems there are plenty of recipes out there to work from…
Not bad for starters – ‘scuse the pun.
Mart suggested we go give it a try, so we did. Off we flew to St James’s Park, dicing with death these days.
First squirrel we spot, Mart goes:
“Oi, squirrel mate, you look like a crisp.”
I suggested we might be able to do better than that as the end result was the squirrel just looked a bit confused:
So we tried again. This time, it worked a treat.
Mart goes: “Oi, you, bushy fuck. Season up, mate, coz we’re gonna give you a right good roasting!”
That was it. He was off:
Never seen a squirrel move so fast. Jesus. Mart was well chuffed.
So, that’s it. No longer is it a futile quest to find some obscure martial art, it’s words all the way, and not just mindless asides, but well thought through insults using actual cooking references.
Bring it on.
Check this lot out for video evidence that the squirrels have been flexing their furry biceps for quite some time now.
The Kung Fu angle targeted towards the pigeon may be new, but practicing the art of deadly combat in more of a general sense clearly isn’t. Just click on the links below and you’ll see what I mean. Scary shit.
1. Squirrel punch up – demonstrating a fairly basic boxing technique, but with some frighteningly accurate results…
2. More verbal than anything else. Be warned – strong language is used throughout. In fact, not sure I’ve ever heard anything quite like it.
3. How about one with a penchant for joy riding…? Kid you not.
Judging by this lot, the move towards Kung Fu is merely the obvious next step.
Worryingly, and I knew it wouldn’t take them long, but it looks like the whole ‘squirrels getting into Kung Fu’ is starting to take off over here.
Seems they’ve only gone and set up a training camp in St James’s Park. Seeing as squirrels roaming free in large parks is written in the Pigeons v Squirrels declaration, we can’t do jack shit do about it.
Check out the aggressive stance of this cheeky fuck:
Apparently he was practicing the ‘Silent Fence Launch’. A move that, when mastered, can prove deadly for any unsuspecting pigeon passing by going about their daily business.
As a result of observing this and other similarly concerning maneuvers:
I’m no longer sure if a few futile poncy leg kicks from us is going to make any real difference.
Drastic action is called for, so yesterday I decided to go chat to one of the best known faces of the pigeon’s sporting world – Clive (the Dive). Clive is, as far as I know, the only pigeon ever to perfect the ‘Air-Based Backdive’.
This was taken last year just before Clive (right) threw himself backwards:
Anyway, Clive said that diving of any kind probably wouldn’t help either, which threw me slightly.
Back to the drawing board. Then, suddenly, a thought struck, hard. What’s the one thing we can do that they can’t? We can fly! How the fuck that didn’t occur to me before I’ll never know. Squirrel comes atchya with the Kung Fu moves – fly away. Simple as. Take to the air, maybe even shit on his head as a happy finish?
Okay, so some might say flying is a bit of a cop out, but I say it makes perfect sense. All they’ll be able to do is just stand there.
Only got one nagging thought – supposing they’re giving flying lessons at this camp of theirs? Supposing the squirrels of London are learning to fly? Crisp packets for wings strapped to their backs chucking themselves off rooftops. A nightmare thought and certainly not one I’m prepared to dwell on for any length of time.
So, for now I’m gonna pass it on about the flying away idea, tho I suspect someone else may have thought of it first!
How’s this for scary shit. Looks like the squirrels are planning a comeback in quite a big way – using the highly skilled art of Kung Fu. What the fuck?
Shit you not:
Fat Jesus. Thankfully, word on the street is the main training centre is based in Namibia and therefore costly and hard to get to for the average London squirrel. Reckon it’s only a matter of time though. Check out the size of the tents.
Spoke to Mart about it and he suggested we come up with something of our own. I told him Karate was quite complicated and would probably take way too long to learn, and also that pigeon sized machetes were going to be hard to come by this time of year, so we landed on Kickboxing as a viable alternative. Apart from anything else, as it’s leg based, it combats the obvious disadvantage of having wings which can often get in the way when attempting to learn any new sport. So – Kickboxing it is. Can’t be that hard, surely?
Spent the afternoon hunting down fit young pigeons up for a challenge. Here’s one we managed to find – Keith. Keith is a practicing Buddhist and has always wanted to pursue a martial art in order to help him ‘focus the mind’. I told him Kickboxing was just the thing.
Here he is giving it a go:
Frankly, I’m not sure how much damage that would do when faced with an angry Kung Fu squirrel, but I’m hoping he’ll improve in time.
Then I came across this lot who were right up for it:
Particularly the dude on the right. Definitely more promising than Keith. Also seems to have mastered the menacing stare. Vital in any martial art situation. The plan now is to spread the word and get as many pigeons as possible across London to learn or at least think about Kickboxing as a means of self-defense coz once those Kung Fu squirrels get over here, it’s gonna be fucking carnage.
It used to be that squirrels feared the pigeon. So much so, in fact, that they used to hide soon as they saw one of us.
Here’s one doing just that in Hyde Park.
Now you see him:
Now you don’t:
Where did it all go wrong?
It seems all around London, ever since the outing of their intended takeover of the urban landscape, the squirrels are shitting themselves.
Check this out. A picture sent to me by the mighty Annie Mole, taken in St James’s Park, that clearly demonstrates the dominant position currently held by the pigeon:
Note his nonchalant stroll clearly taking the day in his stride while the squirrel exhibits a look of stricken panic as he desperately tries to escape.
Bring it on.
A nice and simple segue from parrots v pigeons – squirrels.
It has long been understood that the war between the squirrel and the pigeon is rife. Back in the 1970s there was a declaration between the two sides that stated quite clearly, provided squirrels stick to large parks and gardens, all is good in the world. Unfortunately, and particularly recently, the squirrels have got a little too big for their tiny cunty boots and have started invading the rooftops. Not good.
Thankfully, this has not gone unnoticed by the pigeon community, and some have even been spotted taking action…
This ace pic was sent to me by Jess. Cheers Jess! It clearly shows a pigeon giving it large to a squirrel. Taking no prisoners. Showing him who’s boss:
Ok – so it’s a Woodie, but who cares? The squirrel is clearly shitting himself in an urban landscape, and that’s what counts.
So, squirrels be warned – tread not on the turf of the town, for we pigeons shall have your balls for earrings.