Japan has turned me into a pigeon hater. It really has.
I wasn’t always a pigeon hater, however, since pigeons have taken residence on my apartment balcony, I have come to despise the creatures. “Rats with wings”, I’ve often heard them being described as. They came in twos or threes to my balcony, pooing all over everything and making strange noises. Since I use my balcony to hang out my washing, I really prefer the pigeons to poo somewhere else.
Recently, I’ve tried everything from firecrackers to makeshift scarecrows to batting them away with a broom to make them go away but it seems that they always return. They don’t seem to be getting the hint that they have outstayed their visit and are no longer welcome on my balcony.
One particular sunny day when I was hanging out my washing, I was horrified to discover a nest in the corner of the balcony, with three eggs that looked like they were going to hatch at any minute. Running inside, I grabbed a broom and a large plastic sack and began the task of gingerly sweeping the nest into the sack. My plan was to move it next to the garbage bins downstairs but in full sight so if the mother was looking for it, she would be able to find it easily. This was as humane as I could be at the moment. I had no intentions of hurting the eggs but I certainly did not want them hatching on my balcony.
Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw a sudden movement, a flash of wings. It was the mother, flying directly towards me and flapping her wings, while making a strange guttural sound that sounded as though it came straight from hell.
Screaming, I ducked and swung the broom, avoiding having my eyes clawed out by mere seconds. The mother pigeon circled and quickly dove at me again. Swinging my broom like a madwoman at the mother, (who was clearly not scared to fight me for the right to birth her children on my property), I fought back. The pigeon, deftly dodging the broom, continued circling and diving towards me, the target. While swinging the broom, I backed up, until I was against the sliding doors of the balcony. With one swift move, I slid the door open and squeezed inside, slamming the glass door shut just as the mother pigeon had reached me. It flapped at me from the other side of the glass, still making guttural noises.
I had to do something.
Picking up the phone, I called the landlord, explaining the situation. He stated he would be over the next day to put up some netting over the balcony to keep the pigeons out.
Once the netting was put up, I could clean up all the pigeon poo that covered everything, he told me. I had never been more excited.
Sure enough, the next day he came to put up the netting. Luckily, the mother pigeon was nowhere in sight. She must be out getting a bite to eat or something.
The netting was put up quite quickly and I thanked the landlord profusely for his part in eliminating the pigeons. Now, I could get rid of that nasty nest.
Immediately, I began scooping up the nest (very carefully) into the plastic bag and (very carefully), carried it downstairs. Upon arrival back into my apartment, I heard a strange sound.
It was the guttural noises. Peering through my curtains, I saw that the mother pigeon had returned, but she had gotten her wing caught in the netting while trying to get onto the balcony. I really had not intended to bring any harm to any pigeon. Now, I was feeling really bad.
Opening the sliding glass door, I grabbed a writing pen and went out onto the balcony. Taking the pen, I used it as I would an extra finger (as there was no way I was touching a pigeon) and slipped it under the part of the netting that was wrapped around the mother pigeon’s wing, eventually freeing her wing. After she had clumsily flied away, I hoped she would find her unborn children where I had left them.