Despite having lived in Pittsburgh my whole life, yesterday, I finally visited the National Aviary for the first time and was given a tour by the director of Animal Programs, Steve Sarro, one of my new favorite people.
Believe you me, there will be a magazine column, and more pictures and even video so that you can point and laugh at me for being a giant sissy baby. As my son said, "Mom. They’re just birds."
There is so much I want to write about the Aviary, and there is no way I’m going to fit it into one column of 800 words, so today, I gotta tell you about one particular bird and the way I’m going to introduce that bird to you is to say this, "WHO SAW FIT TO CREATE A PIGEON THE SIZE OF A TURKEY?!"
I mean seriously. God? Satan?
My money is on Satan.
Look at this monster:
Photos by Jonathan Wander
This pigeon walked right up to us at the Aviary and it reached my knees! Do you know how hard you would have to kick a pigeon of that size to even budge it? Even Daniel Sepulveda would have been all, "You’re joking, right? I’ll tear my [insert important sounding tendon here]."
Of course I didn’t try to kick the pigeon. I eyed the thing and its red eyes, silently wondering if maybe it was a little ticked at me for wearing my Pigeons are Rats With Wings shirt to the Aviary. At one point, this pigeon walked toward me and then stopped and changed direction. I can’t decide if that’s because my reputation preceded me and the pigeon was scared, of if that’s because the pigeon was planning to rip my face off and Steve, who was standing behind me, waved him off with a threatening gesture.
Either way, Steve informed me that this pigeon, the Victorian Crowned Pigeon, is just a different species of pigeon from what we’re used to seeing on the sidewalks and eaves of downtown Pittsburgh.
Which, can I just say, could you imagine if this pigeon was the pigeon species running rampant in our cities? Hundreds of giant turkey-pigeons congregating in Market Square, stealing people’s briefcases and babies?
Not even Alfred Hitchcock could do that horror justice.
You’ll be hearing more from me about the Aviary, a gem in our city: An amazing place to really, truly get up close and personal with birds from all around the globe. I learned some amazing things, and some sad things about our Earth and its avian population.
You’ll also be hearing more from me about this:
This article appears in the July 2010 issue of PittGirl.