7 Reasons to Hate Pigeons
1. Impudence. Pigeons poo on statues. This is disrespectful. They poo on Churchill, they poo on Nelson, they poo on Eros. Pigeons poo on all of the nice statues of people and gods that we like. Pigeons don’t poo on statues of Michael Winner or Margaret Thatcher. This may be because we don’t have any, but if we did, pigeons probably wouldn’t poo on them, because pigeons are horrid and annoying.
2. Freeloading. We regularly hear stories (some of us have even witnessed this) of pigeons using London Underground trains to get across London. Do they pay for this? No. These sponging vermin are using our transport system at our expense. They didn’t help build it and they don’t contribute anything to its maintenance or running costs. I have to carry an Oyster Card, so should they. Let’s staple Oyster Cards to them.
3. Imagery. Pigeons are oft described as “winged rats.” That’s “rats,” terrifying pointy-faced, sharp-toothed creatures. That’s “winged,” which is one of the scariest words in the English language when pronounced as a word of two syllables, “wing-ed.” “Wing-ed rats.” It makes me shudder.
4. Idiots. Pigeons attract idiots. Look at this American woman in the Piazza San Marco, Venice. She’s in one of the most beautiful parts of one of the world’s loveliest cities and she’s fascinated by the pigeons. She’s clearly an idiot. She could be looking at the Basilica, she could be looking at the Doge’s Palace, she could be looking at the Procuratie Vecchie but no, she’s looking at pigeons. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid bloody pigeon-woman.
5. War. Pigeon excrement was the only known source of saltpetre (potassium nitrate) in 16th century England. Saltpetre is an essential ingredient in gunpowder, so if your Tudor house was damaged by canon-balls or if your copotain hat was knocked from your head by musket-shot five-hundred years ago, you can blame pigeons.
6. Emasculation. Wood pigeons are the larger, nobler cousins of the urban pigeon. Historically these creatures, with their quite pleasant and distinctive call, have been content to live in trees far away from people (who do not live in trees). Recently though, a pair of these creatures have moved in near to a house belonging to a friend of mine. Their favourite game is to poo on the love of his life (his shiny, expensive German car) and then to sit on his garden fence cooing at him. They do this every day. Not unnaturally, this makes him very cross. If he could get hold of them, he would probably tear their heads off in a murderous rage, but every time he approaches, they casually retreat to a safe distance and continue taunting him. It is because of this that he is now known as The Pigeons’ Bitch. And because of me, obviously. He should never have told me.
7. Profiteering. The use of a fleet of trained carrier pigeons was instrumental in the allowing the Rothschild banking family to make vast fortunes during the Napoleonic wars. They were able to manipulate financial markets for their own gain, based on having exclusive access to early information about the results of battles. Pigeons filled the bankers’ wallet (the Reverend Spooner himself would have been proud of that one, and astonished by the mental image).