A.A. Bondy
American Hearts

Leaves in the Gutter

For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
BBC America

Saddest Ghost Lamp

Monday, June 06, 2005

New Additions to the Cook/Benedikt Household

About three weeks ago we realized that a pigeon had built a nest in the transom that sits above the door between our bedroom and the back porch. The transom is just a little ledge, the width of the doorframe, with a window on the bedroom side and nothing on the porch side. So we could see the nest, and the mama pigeon, from inside the bedroom. One day, while mama was out, I grabbed a ladder so I could look down into the nest through the transom window, and, sure enough: eggs. Two of them.

Mama would get flustered and fly off every time we opened the door to go out to the porch--which was startling at first--but she'd always hover around, keeping an eye on us, and eventually fly back to the nest. The eggs hatched about eight days ago, and we were worried that mama would start attacking us now that she had real kids to worry about, but she's been very solicitous of our intrusion into her life.

But we haven't seen her since Friday. Flown the coop, so to speak. We can always see her through the window, and she's almost always been there, so the fact that the nest was empty--and I've been checking, just looking through the window, almost hourly since Friday--started to worry me. I called our local 24-hour vet hospital, who referred me to the University of Illinois Wildlife Clinic, who said I should start worrying. I posted a query--how long should I wait before these little guys are in trouble?--to a pigeon-rescue bulletin board (who knew?) and got some urgent responses that I needed to get them inside and under a lamp to warm them up fast.

So here they are. In my house. It was tough getting them out of the nest--you'd be surprised how terrifying eight-day-old pigeons can look when they really don't want to be picked up, and they're hissing at you and trying to peck you and your mom always told you that birds are filthy, disease-ridden creatures because she never got over "The Birds." And your wife, who's never seen "The Birds," is just realizing that she, too, has always thought birds are filthy, disease-ridden creatures that she really really doesn't want in her home. It was a hectic night.

But I snatched them, and here they are. They immediately started shitting in their shoe-box and kind of squirming around in it and getting it all over themselves, which is nice. We have no idea what the hell to do now. We haven't named them yet--Allison thinks Chloe and Mercedes Rose. But I kind of like Ashleigh, too. And I don't know if they're girls and don't really have the courage to try and find out. And don't really know how to find out.