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Friday, October 28, 2005

Mad pigeons and the climate of hysteria

Pigeons may be an unsightly and irritating presence, but what great city would be complete without them?

Yesterday, Barcelona's Metro newspaper explained how pigeons in Poble Sec's Molina square were literally dropping out trees. The imminent (so they say) Avian flu pandemic caused disturbed denizens to sound the alarm: Mad pigeons in Barcelona! The Asian bird flu is here!

I, of course, know better.

A few months ago I was walking through Poble Sec on calle Manso, right next to el Mercado San Antoni. I came across a massive pile of 30 - 40 dead pigeons. It was one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen and it was obvious what had happened: someone dropped toxic bait in a favorite pigeon feeding spot. The little pea brains bunched together, pecked away ... and fluttered to that giant bread crumb in the sky.

The witnesses quoted said "the birds were falling from the trees and acted in a strange way, as if they were drugged". But this isn't trance-inducing GHB. Apparently, sources say a couple weeks ago someone was poisoning the pigeons in the Sants-Montjuic district as well.

There's a pigeon killer on the loose, and whether they're doing it for the hell of it or out of some sadistic impulse they should be stopped. I personally find pigeons very annoying, but I think anti-pigeon vigilantes are uncalled for. If there is any sort of karmic justice, they ought to be turned into a pigeon themselves, and hopefully in a less conducive environment, like, say Berlin, where for half the year it's too cold for them to strut around in their mindless glory.

It looks like pigeons, those flying rats, have become martyrs to urban filth and mass hysteria.

Disclosure: the Metro article was originally linked to on Barcelonareporter.com