The Flying Wallendas … I Mean, Pijendas

--->, Uncategorized--->The Flying Wallendas … I Mean, Pijendas

The Flying Wallendas … I Mean, Pijendas

2012-01-26T21:21:15+00:00January 26th, 2012|Birds, Uncategorized|6 Comments

I’m a sucker for pigeons. I loved them long before Hugh and I rescued a couple of lost racing pigeons, and I continue to love them long after. People who’ve never observed pigeons will marvel when they first notice how pigeons out-maneuver Peregrines in harrowing chases. These birds, whose ancestors sprang from the cliffs alongside their evolutionary partners, the falcons, have a lineage that defies their humble reputation.

They’ve been war messengers, like Cher Ami. They were inspiration for Darwin’s evolutionary studies. They navigate home using a complex compass that includes the sun and magnetic fields. They can count. They are devoted parents and partners. They are stubborn but facile, determined but flexible. Nowhere is this dichotomy of characteristics more apparent than on a high wire, where a flock of pigeons will fight to hold on to an uncertain perch, and exhaust all possibilities before adjourning to a more suitable post.

I shot these images on a windy day, where large pigeon feet grappled with thin wires … and where tail rudders and flaps kept these birds from spinning around the wires like magnetic gyro wheels.

This sequence shows the maneuvers inherent in staying aloft … pigeon style.

Click on the image below for a larger version … then click again for an even larger photo.

Airport navigation, pigeon style: “All Gates Occupied,” or, as a Facebook friend of mine suggested … O’Hare for pigeons:

Maintaining composure and balance in the wind:

Pigeon Composure - ©ingridtaylar

Observing a Starling flyby:

Flyby - ©ingridtaylar

Mayhem on the wires:

Mayhem – ©ingridtaylar

And … ignore the vocal quirks of this video … it’s a decent primer on birds and utility wires:


  1. Travis Forsyth January 29, 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Gorgeous shots! Great posts 🙂

  2. ingrid February 1, 2012 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Travis … I appreciate the comment.

  3. Elizabeth Young February 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Well, I always feel silly leaving another “OMG! These pictures are so incredible and this post is so beautifully written” comment but what can I say- that is the effect your work has on me. OMG! THESE PICTURES ARE INCREDIBLE AND THIS IS BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN! Thank you, Ingrid, for warming up this world in so many ways.

    • ingrid February 17, 2012 at 11:07 pm - Reply

      You know how I feel about pigeons, too. I always hope that some of these photos can exemplify for others, what I see when I look at these beauties through the lens.

  4. […] Eighty days without droplets and dew, the Emerald city turned topaz, and so dry that even the pigeons, normally preening under nimbostratus showers, looked haggard for the […]

  5. M. Firpi January 24, 2013 at 6:55 am - Reply

    I blogged about Rock Pigeons the other day, and to my surprise, I did get what I considered a negative comment about them. Someone told me that my photos were great, but that in France they had “strong control” over their populations due to their ruining historical monuments there. Do they have this type of “control” for the “monuments” in Seattle? I have mixed feelings about historical monuments in general. My father having been an architect, I don’t know how far should humans go for their preservation of the monuments if they are going to be outside all the time, exposed to rain, sunshine, and of course, the pigeon’s poop.
    Perhaps they are trying to blame the Rock Pigeons for their inevitable deterioration in the outdoors.

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