One day when I was a little kid a construction crew showed up in our yard and started building something. I hadn’t heard my parents talking about it and had no idea what was going on. Several days later a building the size of long, skinny garage appeared on the northwest side of our house. It was a pigeon house.
My dad has raised pigeons on and off for most of his life, something I’ve never understood. The pigeon house was emptied of pigeons more than ten years ago to make way for a 1968 Fairlane, and the building was sold along with our house earlier this year. But my dad is eyeing the playhouse on their new property in Kansas as an ideal pigeon house. It’s only a matter of time before the dust flies again.
But as weird as my dad’s hobby is, he’s not alone. Apparently the skies above New York are a constant battleground for pigeon fanatics. The Brooklyn Pigeon Wars chronicles the story of pigeon owners in New York who release their pigeons and hope to score birds from other flocks. The birds innate homing sense grapples with their flock mentality. As the flocks mix birds return home with other flocks, racking up wins and loses for their owners.
It’s a bizarre and somehow cool take on a hobby that’s always been dust and genetics in my mind (take a look at the picture gallery for a glimpse of feathers, poop and dust — as well as some graceful flying). If my dad does succeed in converting the playhouse, I think he should start the Great Bend Pigeon Wars. Even if there aren’t any other pigeons in Great Bend, his flock could battle the wild birds at Cheyenne Bottoms.