Park pigeons bring out emotions, for better or worse

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Regarding Brian O’Neill’s May 4 column “Mellon Square’s Revamp Stirs Up Bird Squawking”: Mellon Square city park for years had a visible pigeon population often seen sunbathing and lounging without cares among the Downtown workers on their lunch hours, as if they were convinced that they were entitled to the same summer recreation.

I couldn’t wait until the first warm day this spring to visit the park. Upon entrance, a visibly handicapped pigeon greeted me and readily appreciated me sharing my cracker when I heard a man shout out and bang from a window of a nearby office building. The man reminded me of a classic teaching story that I heard about a Native American elder teaching a group of children. He says, “There are two wolves. One is filled with rage, hatred, blame and fear. The other is filled with compassion, forgiveness and peacefulness. These two wolves fighting are inside me.” One of the children asks, “Which wolf will win?” The elder replies, “Whichever one I feed.”

The innocuous pigeons make some feel angry while bringing compassion to others who feel the need to nurse the injustices. With new developments, is the City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks anti-bird?

Supporting the grievances against these birds with “no feeding” signs may shape one’s thoughts toward the darker. Of course, there is a place in the world for all kinds of animals, even those we call pests, and anger, fear and hatred are unavoidable — and occasionally even useful — human experiences. It’s a question of appropriateness and discernment. 

Perhaps the first place we can stop “feeding the pigeons” is with ourselves.


North Side

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