Do I look like a wild bird to you?
I am not sure of the percentage of feed we lose, but we do have a number of critters, other than the egg birds, who love chickenfeed. Ground squirrels and sparrows are the main culprits, but on Thursday, a pigeon showed up at the feed trough.
I was alerted to the fact by the chickens. My office (AKA the back porch) is adjacent to their run (AKA the back yard) and all day I heard the birds trill out their soft alarming whistle which says “Danger From Above! Take Cover!” Ever alert myself, I would run outside to see if a hawk was making a sweep. It took about six tries before I noticed that it was a pigeon, eager for their food.
Pigeons: Historically, they have been useful birds. “Rock dove” is their more traditional name. Their poop is a ready and good source of nitrogen, so many farmhouses had dovecotes stuck into the gables of the roofs of their buildings to encourage nesting and pooping. In France, they were even regulated: you had to be a noble to have a dovecote. They are also good eating (squab) but of course we are taught that they’re city rats with wings, so you won’t find squab at the A&P.
I showed the kid the bird, as she has an affinity for the Mo Willems books. “Notice the bands around his legs?” I asked. “He belongs to someone. He’s probably a homing pigeon who got run off course.” “Can we keep him?” she asked. I laughed. With food this easy to get, I told her, he might keep us.