Sunday, December 20, 2015

Photo Essay: The Pageant of Pigeons

At first, you think you might be looking at a normal pigeon.



You know, the kind you see flocking to breadcrumbs tossed in Trafalgar Square...



...or flying around Grand Central Station, trapped...



...or trying to steal your French fries in the park.



But then you realize...



...that these are not those pigeons.



These pigeons are different.



Very different.



These pigeons have probably never even seen a subway station or a skyscraper...



...because these pigeons are fancy.



Very fancy.



You know what the Westminster Kennel Club dog show is for specially-bred toy poodles, mastiffs, and terriers?



That's what the Pageant of Pigeons is for...well, pigeons.



But these aren't the pigeons that people commonly refer to as "flying rats."



They are neither dirty...



...nor diseased.



These are the beauty queens of the doves...



...the stars of the haute couture catwalk...



...with their elaborate plumage...



...that looks more like a costume than something that naturally grows out of them.



There are so many patterns to be seen...



...they almost look like pelts.



Some of these showgirls (and boys) are so weighed down by their feathery ornamentation...



...they can barely walk.



Some of them just vant to be alone...



...in their dwessing wooms...



...where they recoil from their adoring fans.



Others are downright curious about the visitors who call upon them.



It's as though they know to pose.



They are coiffed, and ready for their closeup.



Even the shy ones have figured out a way to look good while agitated.



The annual Pageant of Pigeons is a dangerous place for me to be...



...because a lot of these pretty pigeons are for sale.



Now, that's some arm candy.



But something tells me, these birds don't want to cuddle.



When their owners take them out of their cages...



...they usually let strangers like me pet them for a bit...



...probably because that's part of their job.



They must be used to being manhandled, their fancy feathers inspected for color and texture.



But some beat their wings to try to escape...



...even if they actually can't fly...



...so maybe it's best to just keep them in their cages...



...where we can stare deeply into each other's souls.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: A Bird in the Hand
Photo Essay: The Birds of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology