Last night at 8pm, at the passenger pick-up area at Alewife T station, I sat on a long, wooden fish-shaped bench, waiting for Mr. Pinault. The Alewife T station is crowned by a 5-level elevated concrete parking garage, which provides sanctuary for countless pigeons roosting in the rafters and terrorizing humans with their droppings, feathers, and kamikaze flight patterns.
Three or four feet away from where I sat, two pigeons circled each other frantically. Then, the bigger pigeon beat his wings and jumped on top of the smaller pigeon. And there they were, mating. I tried to avert my gaze, but it was all too mesmerizing.
After a few minutes, the male pigeon dismounted and they walked away in seperate directions. I may have been animistically projecting an indignant stumble in her steps, a cocky stride in his. Then two other female pigeons flew down from the rafters, and I couldn’t believe it when the same male pigeon started to chase them, too.
Somebody told me once that pigeons are just as monogamist as swans. I have always doubted this, because I figured the wispy intellectual capacity of a pigeon would preclude its ability to recognize another pigeon as being its soul mate — both literally and figuratively. Most of the time I see pigeons, they’re wandering aimlessly on a sidewalk or street, pecking invisible grains on concrete. Once when I lived in Allston, I saw pigeons enthusiastically eating a person’s puke. Is this the type of animal that benefits from monogamy in an evolutionary or emotional sense?
And what it is with me and birds this week, anyway? On Sunday, I almost get mauled by an owl. Now, I am an unwitting voyeur of pigeon sex.