August 12, 2005

So the other day we looked up to see a pigeon on the roof of the Clown Shop, silhouetted by the abundant greenery of the Connecticut countryside. I asked the pigeon what he was doing out in nature, as opposed to strutting his stuff down some sidewalk. He looked at me confusedly and dipped his head up and down. I again queried the bird about his uncommon location; he cooed in response and then flew over our heads to land just three feet away.

It was then that I noticed this was no ordinary pigeon; he was clean for one thing, which very few pigeons are. He had a very nice long beak, and bright eyes. He looked strong and healthy. And there was a band on his leg. "It's a carrier pigeon!" I cried. "Where's the note?" Becky asked. "Isn't he supposed to give us a message?"

Alas, carrier pigeons no longer carry messages. I learned this when my father had a similar run-in a few months ago. My dad came out of the house to find a pigeon there, doing a little dance. Thinking this odd, my dad offered the bird some of his breakfast, at which point the pigeon presented his leg. Perplexed, my dad approached the bird, read the number on his leg band, saw the bird off, went inside, googled "carrier pigeons," typed in the band number onto the official carrier pigeon website, found a phone number, called it, and spoke to the pigeon's owner, who lives in Virginia. "He's in New Hampshire?" the guy said. "Excellent, he'll be home in a few days. Thanks for calling." A weird hobby to have raising carrier pigeons who don't carry anything but pretty cool nonetheless.

Back at the Clown Shop, we did everything we could do get the pigeon to show us his leg, but he was skittish and shy. He wanted so badly to hang out with us, but he didn't quite know how. He just ran around us in circles, cooing and flying away when we tried to pet him.

At dinner I excitedly told everyone about Pigeon, and learned that he had been hanging around camp all day, following people around and looking confused. It seems that Pigeon is new at his job, and doesn't quite get it yet. It really is a weird profession for a bird to have, so I don't blame him. He'll get there.