Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Pigeon Chronicles Part One

     Last week two very stubborn pigeons embarked on a quest to set up their home in our indoor arena. Whenever they were locked out of the ring, they would perch on the roof, waiting patiently for someone to open the doors so they could fly back in and roost.  If they had just sat quietly in the eaves, we might have been inclined to ignore them, but these two didn't want to share the space with horses and riders. They flew through the air, dive bombed the horses, and moaned excessively while up in the rafters. It was obnoxious,unacceptable behavior and despite our persistent efforts to shoo them out with longe whips the two birds kept coming back. We resorted to consulting several parties on the best method to remove them from the property.
  The first and easiest option was to buy a plastic bird of prey to "scare" the pigeons. Our local Tractor Supply had a rather handsome hawk, who struck my fancy, so $10 later I was a plastic hawk owner. Remy, our blue merle Aussie, really freaked when he saw the hawk.

"Look," I said to Jonathan. "Remy wants to get it!"

   I took that as an encouraging sign that this was a realistic replica and we might have a chance at scaring the pigeons off with his presence.  I perched him strategically on top of a jump standard in the middle of the doorway and walked back to the barn to watch the show. The show consisted of the two f'ing pigeons flying off the roof and zooming in directly over the hawk's enemy position. WTF?  I went down and moved the hawk to another threatening perch, but it was futile. The pigeons and the hawk were becoming friends, so we had to face plan b, which was; buy an air rifle.

  We'd seen some rifles at Tractor Supply so off we went again. Having zero experience with bb guns, pellet guns, real guns, etc. we really didn't know what we needed strength wise to knock off these birds. I picked up a Red Ryder model and some pellets and headed off to find a knowledgable employee who might be able to help. After a lengthy search, I found a female employee, with a full on mustache (she obviously shaved it, but had a five o'clock shadow and it was revolting and fascinating all at once) and when I told her of our pigeon plight she looked pensive for a moment, then regaled me with a totally nonsensical pigeon story of her own. I had a gentle smile affixed to my face while I pretended to listen to her, contemplating if she and her husband shared shaving products when suddenly a voice piped up from the neighboring aisle. Glancing over, I saw a slight, grubby man with a thick, bristly stubble over most of his face, wearing a dirty"Coors Light" baseball hat and he was missing his top front teeth and eye teeth, leaving him with a grungy jack o'lantern-esque expression.

"I kin tell you right now, that ain't a powerful enough gun to kill them pigeons, " he stated with the wise knowledge of a professional redneck.

 I shifted away from the useless mustachioed lady and walked over to 'ol Gappy, who seemed all too willing to weigh his opinion in our problem.

 "What size gun to you think we need?"

  He rattled off a bunch of numbers, psi, blah, blah, blah. I was more focused on his missing teeth and how it affected his speech than I was on the information, but the one thing I got from him was that the gun we needed wasn't available at Tractor Supply.

"You're gonna hafta go to Wal-Mart and they'll git you fixed up there," ol' Gappy said.

 I thanked him profusely and as I was walking away thought to myself, well, buying a gun at Wal-Mart certainly hasn't been an item on my bucket list.  Jonathan digested the information I'd gotten from my new friend and consulted his iPhone for information. He found the gun we needed was available at Dick's Sporting Goods, so after dropping me off at home he headed to Poughkeepsie, with one thing on his mind: the pigeons must die.

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