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  • Writer's pictureClaudia Hirtenfelder

Ambivalent, Regal Pigeons

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

I was delighted when I opened my email early into the release of Season 3, to find an email from Scottish Poet Gordon Meade with a wonderful poem about pigeons. The poem, pictured below, is a beautiful ode, confession, and wonderful expression of pigeons ambivalence in human societies. It captures some of the mobility and history while also suspending a wonder and appreciation for these birds.

At roughly the same time, my husband (Oliver Hirtenfelder) took photos of pigeons in Vienna. These images capture pigeons in the moment, doing urban things in regale, pigeon ways. You see their proud postures, piercing eyes, and gorgeous plumage and are left wondering how anyone could hate them and why we don't find ourselves dumbstruck by their beauty more often.

Of course this takes us back to S3E2 where Nicolas Delon shared a poignant quote from Colin Jerolmack's The Global Pigeon.

The quote highlights how humans have come to vilify pigeons because of their conflation with dirt and trash. And yet, in the photos from Oliver and the poem from Gordon, we come to see and realize that pigeons are so much more. They are more than anything we can "simply capture". Pigeons are individuals, in societies, creating histories, living lives, and doing things.

If you would like to learn more about pigeons and some of their stories check out these books:

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