Pigeon Pair

My Pigeon Babies have Flown the Coup

Pigeon Pair

Story Timeline: March 20 – April 29, 2024

During the past two-months of nursing an injured foot, I was joined by a nursing pigeon with two hatchlings. They transformed my, all but, house arrest into a sacred retreat.

I nested in my apartment convalescing, refraining from as many activities that created stress mentally or physically; while they were nestling, in a ceramic pot of soil, just outside my terrace door growing into young squabs.

Together we created an oasis for growth that forged a special bond.

Vastu experts’—who offer physical and spiritual guidance—state that the arrival of a pigeon-nest at your home is a sign of happiness , good fortune and peace. But, at the time of their arrival I was battling foot pain that was dismantling my life.

I wasn’t exactly peaceful. I was panicking. There must be something deeper here?

I couldn’t show up for my clients, family and friends in the way they or I was accustomed to. I was afraid I could lose what’s most precious to me: my love interest, personal training clients, and a newly launched virtual fitness program.

But, their arrival restored the happiness and peace that had been thwarted by my unaccustomed limitations, by making me a witness to NEED. Theirs and mine.

Committed to incubating the pair of eggs for two weeks and continuously warming the hatchlings for another. My single pigeon parent must have been hungry!

When I found the babes alone, the parent forsaking the responsibility to warm and protect in need of food to feed, I spread bird seed around the perimeter of the nest.

Upon the parent’s return, the seed swiftly disappeared and was regurgitated for the, voraciously hungry, chicks.

As mentioned, I haven’t been as helpful to humans as usual, because I can’t walk. But I felt successful helping the pigeons. I placed window screens at the bottom of my terrace door so, when open, my cats wouldn’t endanger the chicks. And, I planted pansies all around the nest so they’d feel enclosed and cared for.

Knowing pigeons mate for life, I wanted to offer my friendship to the mourning and single pigeon parent and make the nursery welcome. Everyday I’d sit on the door sill and talk to the chicks reassuring them food and parent would return. And indeed, daily reunions would be met with greater and greater enthusiasm and hunger!

The squabs kept each other warm. They exercised regularly, at first walking around the perimeter of the pot-nest before sinking into exhaustion. Then, they’d hop from pot to pot learning to use their wings a bit. And finally, walking beyond the pots to strut along the entire length of the terrace.

I was like their fairy God-Mother watching with pride as they grew up.

Like some dogs, squabs are so ugly they’re cute! Their beaks, from day one, are twice as long as an adults making them look like miniature Vultures!
• Week one they resembled the Abominable Snow Monster from Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer covered in yellow kinky down.
• Week two they grew wing feather quills, or skeletons, without the barbs, or soft colorful portion. They looked stark naked! But at least they looked like a bird!!
• Week three their tails developed quills, while the wings filled in. They looked like my high school prom date dressed in a tuxedo, topped with a kinky blonde afro.
• Week four their tails started to fill in, while their new head feathers only partially cloaked the kinky yellow down. They looked like an old Red Skelton.
• And, week five their heads had nearly grown into the size of their beaks and they looked like young adults.
It was at this point that I woke up to find an empty nest. My heart sank. My little nursery just disappeared.

But then, to my surprise, twice a day, morning and evening the duo would meet their parent on my terrace for a reunion. They’d celebrate with a quick feeding outside the railing of the terrace, then frolic around the terrace pots that awaited spring plantings.

Bent over the screen, leaning my hands on the terrace floor to get closer, the adolescent babes walked right up to me unafraid. All of us independent, not NEEDING the other, just wanting to be together.

Then off they’d go. Without ever stepping foot in their already vacated nestling-pot.

Does the heartache of an Empty-Nester lie in not being NEEDED anymore?
I decided to transform and elevate that sentiment to having the good fortune to have been NEEDED.

Typically, once pigeons leave the nest they don’t return. But they did return, repeatedly, just to celebrate the bond we all share

I now trust that the humans in my life, personal and professional, that can celebrate—even rejoice in—having NEEDED, will remain through my convalescence to celebrate the journey once I am once again fully-fledged.