I don’t remember anymore which Covid month it was. Sometime between the 7th and 8th. It was certainly still raining …
I went to the guest bathroom – downgraded to service bathroom due to the absence of guests during the lock-down and after – to fill the watering can, and from the open window I saw a pigeon trapped in the protective net.
Due to the wind and the lack of maintenance – lock-down again – the net has holes through which pigeons enter to take shelter from the rain on a kind of balcony without railing of about 1.5 square meters .
It wasn’t the first time this happened. The first time ever, I saw it too late and the pigeon died before I could do anything. From then on, I started to look out from that window at least once a day, to make sure no pigeon is trapped.
Like other times, I armed myself with scissors and courage, stepped over the window, and making the same sounds I would make when approaching a cat, I tried to warn the pigeon of my good intentions. I had to move very cautiously, because I was on the fourth floor, with no railings in a small space. And I suffer from vertigo. The pigeon was on the underside of the net, thankfully, so I could sit down and avoid having to stare into space.
The pigeon was scared but not too much. It was moving, but not enough to make it impossible for me to “work”. It had both wings and legs badly entangled in the mesh of the net. One wing was very open, I was afraid it may be dislocated, or broken. I went around the bird with scissors, trying not to touch it until it was inevitable. The crows from nearby palm trees began to circle around us, croaking excitedly, perhaps misunderstanding what was going on. The pigeon was emitting alarmed sounds, while its mate, from a window sill a few meters away, replied. This second pigeon was much larger, so the one I was dealing with was probably the female. I cut what I could, being careful not to cut feathers or body parts. I knew from previous experiences that I had to cut so that the pigeon would be freed only at the very end, otherwise the illusion of freedom and then the recognition of not being able to fly yet would shake it and make the situation worse. Then came the time to hold the pigeon. I knew I had to be gentle and firm at the same time. I felt a thread from my heart to hers and then from hers to mine. We were both tense, alert, certainly frightened, but present, silent. Although our reasons were very different, the vibration was the same. I remembered to breathe and started making my animal sounds again. I felt the pigeon tremble slightly in my left hand as my right one continued to cut. I cut the last link. The pigeon jumped, instead of flying, onto the small window sill adjacent to the balcony, from where the other pigeon, perhaps confused by the commotion, flied away.
I could see that one of the wings was still not in place, but the pigeon looked surprised, relieved, no longer afraid. His mate joined him and they talked to each other, beak to beak.
I decided not to draw any conclusions about the wing and to go back inside and check later. I turned around, ready to climb back over the window, and in a nook of the balcony I noticed dry grass and two white little eggs.
Two thoughts crossed my mind. “If she has a broken wing, how will she manage to brood?”. “What can I do?”. I searched the internet for pigeons, eggs, hatching. “If the male dies the female keeps on brooding by herself. If the female dies the male tries on for a few days, then he leaves the nest and the eggs”. “AHI AHI AHI”. A sexist thought crossed my mind as well.
I went to make dinner. After a while I checked on the nest again. There was one pigeon brooding and no one else. I figured the wing was back in place, that everything was fine.