Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Those pestering pigeons! (Part 2)

(Finally, they hatch out of their eggs!)

(The brother and sister huddled close together)

(Daddy pigeon standing guard while mommy is away on worm-shopping.)

It is strange how we always hear about the phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ and just brush it aside as some random fact of Biology you only get to see on Animal planet. However, if you ever get to witness this horrific fact of science play out before your very eyes, you would never then brush it aside so carelessly. At least, that was the case with me. When my pigeon parents laid two eggs, I thought: 'hey, they're going for a nuclear family. One father, one mother, one boy and girl. How sweet.' Little did I know that one of the kids was just a decoy and would never get to fly away from his home geyser

Yes, it is cruel...very cruel indeed. It is the survival of the fittest. Which baby pigeon gets to live, depends on which one is able to grab most of the food from the mother's beak, fatten up the most and face up to the tough weather conditions most successfully. The other one, which is slightly 'slow' to catch up on the latest developments in and around the nest, usually gets shunned to the neglected, lonely corner of the nest. I witnessed this happening with one of the baby pigeons. The parents stopped feeding him and he was pushed aside into the corner. Eventually, he came to be so neglected that the other pigeon grew double his size while the poor thing was left as only skin and bones.

And worst of all, one day I saw an alien pigeon (from a neighbouring geyser) attacking him. As soon as I saw what was happening, I grabbed a large spoon from the dish rack and began to whack the evil, cannibal-istic pigeon. For one wild moment I did not care how much I interfered with the delicate balance of nature - this little pigeon was being killed by this big bully before my very eyes. I just could stand there and do nothing! But, alas, my attempt was futile. I could not stand and guard that neglected piggey night and day. Eventually, his own pigeon family turned upon him. It was sickening. I shut the window and let the curtains fall. This was how it was meant to be. His own parents would have stood up for him if they thought he stood a chance against pigeon-eat-pigeon world out there. They were doing what they had been programmed to do. Even penguins do the same. However, it would be a lot better, if only, we humans, learned to differentiate ourselves from animals.

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