This is the blog I did not want to write – but somehow I knew it was coming. It is a dog eat dog world. Heavens! I write about it and ‘art’ about it often enough and I think about it constantly – but it does not make it any easier.
Just the other day I saw a skinny feral cat calmly crossing my back terrace, hopping up onto the neighbour’s wall – the one jagged up with glass – picking her way across and agily dropping down onto the next terrace before walking into the back shed, all the while gripping the swinging carcass of a huge fat pigeon - feathers awry and head lolling.
And of course I have already told of the other pigeon that was taken by the eagle over our skylight.
There are constant battles for supremacy and survival going on all the time – in my garden, in the street, in our homes and in all of life.
But still all that did not prepare me for the loss of my two adolescent pigeons.
It all happened last night. It is very hot, very hot at the moment. Something about the heat makes the noise and excitement levels rise. Add to that another feria on its way – Our Lady of Alhaurin or something – I have not quite twigged into this one yet. The preliminaries involve letting off those terrible rockets, which upset all the pigeons anyway – sending them flying off in a soaring flock of feathers and terror. But the rockets and then the band music also pumps up the hunting spirit in a band of young gypsies who frequent our street and the square. They make a lot of noise and make mischief – the extent of which I am not certain
I have observed this particular gang over the past months – they are growing in strength and audacity. I saw them the other day in the square in the very hot afternoon intent on tipping over chairs of the various establishments there and trying to steal the napkin holders or other loose articles from the tables. Some might smile and think that it is merely juvenile high spirits and to some degree it is. But when that mischief turns to a habit and shopkeepers and homeowners are worried for their property and businesses on a regular basis then it becomes a problem. People eye them with suspicion and nervousness.
Sometimes the group is small 3 or 4, at other times it doubles or trebles in size and then in its strength and hyped-up excitement also.
As you know I have been watching over my baby pigeons for some weeks now – merely observing them and taking a few photos. From time to time they eye me with some suspicion, but I hope that on the whole they do not view me as a threat.
Last night – the gang of youths arrived in the lane, intent on getting hold of the pigeons – they seem to have a fascination for hunting them anyway. I have seen them in the square where, to be honest, it is a fair fight with adult birds who can fly away, but who take a chance on trying to grab a morsel of food and sometimes the boys do manage to grab them. I have no idea if they take them home for the pot or keep them as livestock or pets, but as I say that is a fair fight and the pigeons usually get away – but this was an attack on adolescent birds who could not fly.
They should have been safe – they were up in a drainpipe two floors up and the boys had spent enough time throwing bottles and cans up at them with no result – so much so that I need to get a stick of some sort to reach across the lane to clear the rubbish out of the gutter – another inconvenience. But ingenious enough after shouting and throwing things for some time they went home only to return some time later armed with sticks and nets.
I had spoken to them on their first foray from my bedroom window, asking them to leave the birds alone, but they actually simply ignored me completely. I did not say anything this time as I did not wish to bring trouble on myself – you can see how they operate now – there are a lot of them and I am here on my own just at the minute and even if I wasn’t, my wonderful man might (probably would) go in all guns blazing and get himself in trouble with the local authorities – you know the way these things work nowadays, the criminals always seem to get off scott free, while the law-abiding person, simply trying to protect himself, his property or his family becomes the bad guy! It just makes me so cross and makes me feel so impotent in the face of badness.
Anyway – to cut a long story short, something I am not inclined to do at the best of times. With loud whooping and baying for blood my babies were eventually ripped from their home to suffer who knows what fate at the hands of their tormentors. I did not watch, but knew from the shouts that it was happening and woke in the morning to an empty drainpipe.
I began this post a few days ago (even longer now) and have been mulling over what I have written and have edited myself severely. There are a lot of serious issues addressed here I believe, ones of human rights and justice as well as cruelty and gang warfare and intimidation. I live in this world as a pacifist (which does not mean that I do not lose my temper from time to time). I have on occasion stuck my head up over the parapet on behalf of myself and others, only to get shot down in flames. I am loathe now to do it again, but I believe that there others who are younger and more energetic who will fly that flag in the future. All I feel that I can do now is observe and report and hope that someone will be able to do something some day and that the world will change for the better.