Pigeons in the Park

My bank is a forty minute walk away from home. Rather then metro it back after my errands on Wednesday, I decided to enjoy the late summer air on foot.

Partly inspired by this morning read in the International Herald Tribune, and partly cursing myself for wearing heels that day, I stopped to enjoy the last of Moscow’s green on a park bench.

A friendly Russian babushka taking the long seat across the sidewalk from me was reassuring that the “wet paint” signs were old, and there was no cause for concern. A few minutes after I sat down she was joined by her friend with a bag of bird seed. I think they must have been regulars – a guy on his morning walk seemed to know them and called out a friendly hello in passing. Even the local birds recognized them – fluttering right up to them with expectant chirps.

pigeon ladies

pigeon ladies (a mobile upload...sorry it's so blurry)

I was too shy to ask for tips on how they got the little birds to hover right over and perch on their fingertips to peck out seeds (so cool!), but I did eavesdrop on their conversation. There were lots of toothless and emphatic “Ужас!”, and “Кошмар!” (“That’s awful!” and “What a nightmare!”) as they discussed Moscow’s rising prices.

My favorite part, though, was when the second babushka got impatient with the hulking pigeons tried to crowd out the smaller birds. After collecting a few sticks she launched a full attack, yelling “FASCISTI!” at the top of her lungs amid a flurry of dirty feathers. So funny!

Great article, by the way, here’s a quote I liked:

At the University of Michigan, a study found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued.            -Matt Richtel

A modern take on the age-old “Stop and smell the roses”. Time-worn and trustworthy!

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