I had washed some clothes and wanted to put them up for drying in the balcony. So, I had to deliberately shoo Pikoo and Bannu away.
I also noticed that the pigeons had been using my balcony as an excretion ground. I had to spend ten minutes just scraping off their dried out excreta that had stuck to the balcony floor.
In 17th century Europe, pigeon poop was a highly-prized fertilizer; it was considered to be far more potent than farm-yard manure. So valuable that armed guards were stationed at the entrances to pigeon-houses to stop thieves from stealing it. Not only this, in the 16th century England, pigeon poop was the only known source of saltpetre, an essential ingredient in gunpowder, and thus a dear commodity. With so much excreta around, I could have been a billionaire of those days.
Atleast, now I also had a ‘solid’ reason not to allow any pigeon to perch on my balcony. Suprisingly, for the next few days, none did. Nevertheless, sparrows have become regular visitors to my balcony. Every morning, my alarm goes off at 6 am. I turn the alarm off and again hit the bed. But around 7 am, I can listen to the constant chirping of sparrows that serves me the second reminder to get up.
Every now or then, some sparrow comes to the balcony. It does not stick around for more than a minute. Either it hurriedly gulps dried out grains of rice that it has broken from a plate of rice I had kept, or makes a crying call to some other distant sparrow, and flies away in haste. Sometimes, a group of sparrows decide to visit the balcony, make frequent chirping calls and fly off suddenly. That’s why I have been unable to name and follow a sparrow.
Yesterday evening, a new pigeon with a huge body and unusually long, pointed and pinkish claws perched on my balcony grill. I opened the windows and tried to shoo it away, but it did not go. I opened the windows from the other side and tried to reach it, but the pigeon was unafraid. I tried to bang the window, but the banging sound did not make it budge. Luck favours the brave, so I have decided to let it spend the night on balcony.
Maybe this was a messenger sent by Pikoo and his family to tell me that they have migrated elsewhere. I will miss Pikoo, but wish that someday this peerless pigeon might like to use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate back to my balcony.