February 07, 2009
Pigeons, Rats, and Democrats
By Don R. Melquist
I went on a bird drive over the weekend; not a bird walk but a two hundred mile bird drive. I drove up to Davis, California, then through some orchard, farm, and ranch country. I eventually finished at a National Wildlife Refuge.
Nice trip; the almond groves were blooming, ranch land was lush and green, lots of young calves with their mothers grazed in the pastures. And, of course, I saw many different bird species: 62 different species of birds including both Bald and Golden Eagles. One thing that I did not see from the time I left San Francisco until I returned was the Rock Dove, commonly known as the regular old city pigeon.
Now, San Francisco is overwhelmed with these disease-spreading, defecating, street-fouling parasites. Certain sections of some streets and parks are so fouled by these disgusting flying rats that people, just because of the literally filthy state of the surroundings, avoid the areas.
Pigeons could be easily eliminated. Most rural areas do not have a pigeon problem. Pigeons exist as a major problem in most large cities of the world because they have a fervent lobbying group that protests loud and long at any practical attempt to control their numbers.
This is how San Francisco, a city the pompously bills itself as “The city that knows how,” deals with disagreeable situations. San Francisco had a special commission on pigeons. Here is how the San Francisco Chronicle described it: “After six months of study, a commission appointed by Mayor Willie Brown to deal with the pigeon problem, came up with the following three solutions.”
Solution one was to buy Peregrine Falcons that eat pigeons. Solution two was to subsidize homeowners and business owners for “pigeon proofing” their properties. Solution three, increase the fines on people who feed pigeons in non-designated pigeon feeding places.
These solutions were suggested as additions to the three laws San Francisco already had in place for dealing with pigeons: (1) It is against the law to kill pigeons. (2) It is against the law to sterilize pigeons. And (3) it is against the law to live trap and transport the pigeons to a location outside of San Francisco. Hence the three additional suggestions arrived at by the blue ribbon solution committee are typical San Francisco non-starter non-solutions.
Peregrine Falcons are hardly like a Rottweiler or a junkyard dog. They not only don’t stay put; they are very territorial and drive off any other Peregrine Falcons. This precludes their making any significant impact on the pigeon population. The second solution was to subsidize property owners for pigeon proofing their buildings. This would take taxpayer dollars from one person to pay someone else to pigeon proof their property. The end result would be the pigeons moving next door to the un-pigeon proofed property of the person whose tax money was used to pigeon proof the neighbor.
The third method was to increase the fines on people who feed pigeons. These are the very people who got the laws passed against doing anything realistic about pigeons to begin with.
In a city that does nothing about people urinating and defecating on the streets and sidewalks, sometimes publicly, fining people who feed pigeons wouldn’t have a prayer of accomplishing anything but enriching a few public defenders who would have the juries in tears over a little old lady fined a thousand dollars for giving her leftover sandwich crust to a pigeon. So naturally, San Francisco’s pigeon population is increasing to even more unmanageable proportions.
How effective do you think city officials will be in dealing with the problems of a human population and “the homeless,” when these morons can’t deal with the problem of pigeons?
Any twelve-year-old farm boy knows how to deal with pigeons — that is why I didn’t see any pigeons while driving through two hundred miles of ranch and farmland. Pigeons spread disease and have to compete for food with native birds, (pigeons are an import from North Africa). Not only do they have to compete for food; they have to deal with hawks, foxes, and other predators.
In the large cities of the world, pigeons live off handouts and scraps. The birds that compete for food in the country don’t live in the city for a variety of reasons. They build nests in trees and grasslands. Pigeons don’t really use nests. They put together a few sticks and nest on window and freeway ledges. Hawks, foxes, and other predators do not exist in cities so the pigeons thrive there. Pigeons are freeloading, parasitic, disease ridden, and disease spreading useless creatures that do very well in large metropolitan areas and can’t survive on their own without protection and free food.
This background of the pigeon serves as an analogy with politics. Bird watching has become a very popular pastime in the United States in the past twenty years or so. Because of this vast new interest, many new bird books have been published. Almost all of them have what are called distribution maps for each species covered, which show the parts of the country where you can expect to find that particular species. These maps are color-coded and are generally done quite well.
Now to the crux of this discussion of pigeons: Take a countywide distribution map of the common pigeon whose freeloading habits I have detailed. Superimpose that distribution map over a map of the United States that shows (also color-coded) the counties of this country that voted for Al Gore in the election of 2000 and for John Kerry in 2004 and for Barack Obama. The maps overlap. They are almost an identical match.
I don’t think that it is necessary to enlarge on this, but will add a bonus: The Norway Rat, also non-native to the United States, is also a disease spreading, filthy animal that thrives only in large metropolitan areas. The distribution map of the Norway rat is almost identical to that of the pigeon and, hence, that of the counties that voted for Gore, Kerry, and Obama. This is not one of those interesting coincidences that just happen to be. There is a direct relationship between those birds and animals that are freeloading parasites and those parts of the country that overwhelmingly vote Democrat.
You will occasionally find small populations of pigeons in rural areas. They are very different in life habits than their city cousins. Likewise there are Democrats in rural areas who are so completely different from the city Democrats that, if they actually knew what their metropolitan political peers were really like and what they stood for, would change their party immediately. Just as there are pigeons that live in rural areas that are not invasive or overwhelming in filthy habits. There are Democrats in small communities who are sincere believers in a Democrat party that does not exist anymore.
I really do dislike pigeons, but I have finally found a use for them: comparing them to Democrats or Democrats to pigeons. Pigeons are actually of more use since you can eat them.