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  1. Thank you for these lovely posts, Harold. A pair of pigeons who have shared my balcony over the winter are now attempting to build a nest in a tiny space between a box and the living room window that is well- protected from above against predators and even from the intrusive gaze of my two indoor cats- but it is right by the door to the 11th floor balcony, where I had hoped to grow some flowers and herbs… my heart tells me it might be kinder to let a pigeon grow rather than to insist on trying to plant things that may not do well in the sun and wind here… but I end up needing to put the egg in a box and disrupt the nest to avoid eviction myself, for not keeping the balcony spotless. Others warn me of the trials of trying to co-exisit with what would soon become a flock of wild birds, and I have had to help clean off my Mom’s balcony when there were fledglings in a nest under the table… she loved the birds but her land lady did not- for health reasons and more. I grew up on a farm and one of my chores as the youngest of three siblings was to gather the eggs each day from the nesting hens in the chicken coop- at the time I don’t recall feeling too guilty about doing it- although I liked the chickens and their industrious busyness in their pen and the soft sounds as they settled on roosts for the night. Now I can hardly bear to eat an omlette or buy takeout with chicken in it from the deli – as for pigeons, they have become semi-wild friends, and I will be sad to hand mylar strips to scare away the male with two white racing stripe feathers on his left wing, and his mate with white polka dots on their wings. I recall your book where you wrote about adventures with birds you did not want to destroy you house. Any tips? Any form of wildness that remains is to be respected and learned from. I am learning a hard lesson now.

    Best Regards, Ruth

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    • Thanks for the beautiful story of you and your care for birds. Pigeons and spotless balconies aren’t a good mix. I have a European collared dove that nests in my spruce tree. It’s a beautiful dry place, and good for storing a wheelbarrow and things underneath, but being birds, they roost on the same branches every night, and that means anything I leave down below those two spots are covered in white goo. In the Cariboo, I let the swallows nest under the eaves, then washed them away in the winter. It drove the neighbours nuts, as they had to look at it, but they appreciated the lack of mosquitoes, just as I did. I couldn’t get mylar strips for the woodpecker, so had to use all the metallic Christmas ribbon in town. Dave Neads had swallow troubles in the remote West Chilcotin, so trained the swallows where a good place to nest was by knocking down nests everywhere else. After years (years!) he had a pair that nested there and none that tried anywhere else. If it helps at all, remember that pigeons are urban because they were kept in fire halls, as an early fire detection system. They will be disturbed by fire in town long before people will notice it. Perhaps your strata council or landlord could be convinced that they are working for them?

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