Pigeon Parties

Pata loves pigeons. She doesn’t care that they are dirty or that they poop indiscriminately, she notices only their beady little eyes and rhythmic, head-bobbing gait. Last month we travelled to Milan and Venice, where she was excited to see them congregate in large groups. One of us, I can’t remember who, came up with the term ‘pigeon parties’ to describe the phenomenon, and it stuck. Soon after she persuaded me to photograph them. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and I decided to focus on smaller groupings. But even these didn’t always lend themselves to satisfying compositions, so I will share only the three best parties with you.

Pigeon Party I, Milan

Pigeon Party I, Milan (Click to enlarge)

This was my favorite of all the pigeon parties.  After I took the first photo, the pigeon at the center smoothed his feathers and shifted position.

Pigeon Party II, Milan

Pigeon Party II, Milan (Click to enlarge. Really, do it.)

His movement startled his two companions, one of whom turned to face me as though posing for the camera. The pigeon on the left looks a bit reticent, trying to duck out of the photo in a noncommital way. I sometimes do the same when I don’t want to be photographed but don’t feel assertive enough to stand up and walk away.

Pigeon Assignation, Venice

Pigeon Assignation, Venice (Click to enlarge)

We came upon this more intimate pigeon party in Piazza San Marco in Venice. Am I right in thinking that the pigeon looking directly out at the viewer is perturbed that he is being photographed?

Pigeon Party III, Milan

Pigeon Party III, Milan

Back in Milan, we discovered that pigeons like Manzoni, but his company doesn’t encourage them to interact with one another. I shot this from afar using a zoom lens, but I have the impression that those pigeons were staring at me.

‘Is the white stuff on the statue their poop?’ Pata wanted to know.

‘What do you think?’ I asked her.

‘Gross,’ she said.

‘You’re the one who likes pigeons,’ I reminded her.

Seagull Party, Venice

Seagull Party, Venice

Alright, these aren’t pigeons but she made me photograph them anyway. Then she was looking over my shoulder as I was uploading photos and was disappointed that I wanted to delete this one.

‘But it’s just a couple of seagulls. They are nasty birds,’ I told her.

‘Mommy, it’s a seagull PARTY,’ she told me, as though that were reason enough to keep it. Well I guess it was, because here it is.

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5 responses to “Pigeon Parties

  1. I love the idea of birds having “parties” I’m going to be looking out for them everywhere now! Thanks for sharing expat bloggers Europe

    • I have to admit that they became so much more interesting to me after we started using the term. Before that, I rarely photographed them, and never in groups.

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