He’s short, he’s fat, he’s feathered, he’s fearless…who is he? Why, he’s Henry the Pigeon of course! The greatest pigeon of them all! And did I mention that beak? Oh, what a beak. I’m not a pigeon-perv or nothing, but if you could see it you’d know just what I mean.
Henry the pigeon’s arrival in my garden is something of a fairy-tale. A classic one, if you will. A tale of one pigeon and his exploration that knows no bounds. A tale of one pigeon and his infinite love for just one garden which he likes to call home (or so I have fooled myself into believing. The sordid truth of the matter is that I am being horribly naïve, and our garden is just one of Henry’s many daily haunts. But let us not get bogged down in that for now.).
I can remember, very vividly, the first day that Henry the pigeon graced us with his presence. It was the kind of blustery day when all the finches and blue tits were all sitting in their bush-top dens chirping “well I’m not going out there. Are you going out there? You’re crackers! I’m definitely not going out there if you’re definitely not going out there!” The kind of day when the garden seemed completely inhospitable (although that’s probably more to do with the fact that I was wearing my dressing gown and had on my slippers, and even opening a window seems unthinkable to me when I am like that. I fit wasn’t for Henry the pigeon I’d probably have moved to Spain by now).
And this was when Henry made his very first appearance, landing bravely at the back of our small garden as if the wind was merely the tiniest occurence in his never-less-han-stacked daily routine. Though it should also be said that at this point in time, Henry was not Henry but more “an over-sized pigeon”, the likes of which seemed positively supernatural upon first inspection. We’re talking big pigeon here, not just large, and so I’m sure you won’t be surprised that it came as such a shock. We’re talking a mallard-sized pigeon, and one with a seriously well-formed beak and strutting stride. To be honest, though, captivating a figure as he was, looking out at Henry-the-pigeon-formerly-known-as-that-big-fat-pigeon that very first day, I felt sorry for all the other birds. I put myself in their feet-talons and thought Ouch, you would not want that beak up the bum!
Years have gone by since Henry’s arrival, and he remains doggedly faithful. To the point that often, if I see him arrive later than his usual time – he tends to like to arrive at either a) 9:42am or b) 2:36pm, with some leeway either side but not much as everyone knows that pigeons of Henry’s calibre and temperament are notoriously meticulous time-keepers – I can sense his frustration at his own feathery shortcomings.
And don’t be thinking that Henry the pigeon’s talents lie only in meticulous time-keeping and looking both threatening and somehow dapper at precisely the same time, for he is also more than adept at the following things:
1) Expertly standing on the much-too-small bird-feeders which sway back and forth violently as Henry tries determinedly — sometimes for as long as forty-five-torturous minutes! — to get at the seed way below him (he looks a lot like a fat man trying desperately to catch a glimpse of his own penis).
2) Not bobbing his head much at all and still somehow not bumping into other pigeons, walls or scary spiky bushes (extremely impressive when you consider that the pigeon must bob his head in order to focus on objects both far and in close proximity. It’s not a weird tick, but in fact a bio-mechanical occurrence which no pigeon can do without).
3) Not taking all the seed, for he is a kind pigeon, with morals that allow him to hold his beak higher than most garden birds.
4) Not dominating the garden. And it must be tough for him. But he is humble.
5) Hob-nobbing with the blackbirds. I sense that Henry has an immense admiration for the blackbirds. And I can’t blame Henry. Blackbirds sign beautifully, and in tones that a pigeon would go on an abstinence from pooing on humans for ten years for. No wonder there is sadness in Henry’s wide eyes when he has been hob-nobbing…
Yes, indeed it could be said – and I am saying it – that very few pigeons have ever inherited the same moral groundings as Henry the pigeon.
Long live Henry, and may he and his fat beak roam for many more years to come.