random thoughts on pigeons at lunch

by janedotx7

1. There are fat pigeons and skinny pigeons.

2. There is a distinct correlation between being a fat pigeon, and a greasy pigeon.

3. Does being fat make it harder to fly?

4. If so, why haven’t birds of prey eaten all the fat pigeons? I know they’re out there. I saw one lunching on a sparrow in Yerba Buena.

5. What makes some pigeons fat, and others not? I still see svelte, well-groomed pigeons. There is no such thing as an educated, upper-middle class health conscious pigeon, though, so what could possibly be keeping them skinny? Genetics? 

6. Do some pigeons just not like pizza and Doritos?

7. Maybe the fat pigeons push the skinny ones out of the way when there’s food around? I’ve been observing this flock for ten minutes though, and the fat pigeons appear to be as peace-loving as any other pigeon.

8. Are birds of prey health conscious? Do they eat fat pigeons and then think, no, gross, why did I do this to myself? This would be pretty easy to do an experiment on. Possibly unethical, but pretty easy as far as these things go.

9. Are greasy feathers the avian equivalent of acne?

10. Would I like the taste of the svelte pigeon, or the fat one with a jiggly neck more? I suspect the one with the jiggly neck.

11. If a pigeon ate a pizza, would it taste like a pizza?

12. A peregrine falcon needs to eat approximately 2.5 ounces of food per day. A single pigeon weighs about 10 ounces. If a peregrine falcon eats a generous serving of one pigeon per day, then that means it needs to eat 365 pigeons a year. Pigeons lay one to six broods per year, at a rate of about two eggs per brood. Let’s assume a mated pair of pigeons produces just three pigeons that survive to adulthood every year. So, to support a single peregrine falcon, we need 365/3, or approximately 122 breeding pairs per year. That is, for each bird of prey in San Francisco, we need a supporting cast of 240 pigeons. (Assuming no pigeons die of old age, illness, housecats, etc.) I guess this explains why I still see so many of those flying rat bastards around.