I personally never had a problem with pigeons, even when once one decided to throw a “grenade” at me in Trafalgar Square, London, thankfully “only” hitting my phone. But I understand why cities and even some people have an issue with them. I have a friend who is actually allergic. Plus, pigeons can indeed become a plague. Thirdly, they poop everywhere, and actually, their faeces’ acidity can help accelerate the deterioration of city monuments and buildings.
So, it is hard to forget how intelligent pigeons really are and, particularly, the role they’ve played in our own History – it was the Gmail, the Hotmail, the Letterman. Pigeons were used to carry messages around from one place to another. Even during the World Wars era, pigeons were known to be faster than telegraphs – and this was very true in Dubrovnik, where these birds were used at least until the First World War.
And yet, while everywhere else I’ve been to, it is strictly forbidden to feed them, and there are processes in place to keep their population numbers under control, in Dubrovnik, there isn’t such thing. A creature that has played such an important role alongside humans, should be considered the man’s best friend, alongside dogs.
So I was unable to stop myself from smiling when I saw this monk feeding the pigeons. The first time, I didn’t dare to take any photos. I simply saw him and was mesmerised by the scene. How the birds felt so familiar with him, there was a warmth in that scene that often I don’t even see between humans.
But the second time, me being a bit shy and afraid the monk would call me out, I decided to take some photos, even from afar. Because…come on. What a scene, don’t you agree?
I was very surprised to be by the sea and barely see any seagulls. Pigeons are the dominant bird species you’ll find in Dubrovnik. And to be honest, now that I think about it, I don’t think I saw any places tainted by their faeces… perhaps these Croatian pigeons are indeed extra special, and only throw their grenades into the sea 🧐
I often bought a croissant for my breakfast, or a Börek for lunch and enjoyed eating outside. There are so many good places for this in Dubrovnik. And I would give the pigeons the crumbles and smile (even laugh) with how close they got to me. I always found pleasure in feeding birds for some reason. And thankfully, I’m not allergic to pigeons or, as far as I know, to any birds at all (I confess I am a bit scared of geese, they have such a mood…).
The monk also had such a nice grandpa face. I’m pretty sure he noticed I was photographing him, and that didn’t seem to bother him. I like to think, he was even enjoying it. After all, he never turned his back at me, and, most importantly, he was definitely showing off his pigeon feeding talents. I did think about the Pigeon Lady in the movie Home Alone (I believe it’s the second movie?). Except that while the pigeon lady was scary at first for Kevin, I’m sure this man couldn’t have scared anyone… if the pigeons trust him, I trusted him as well.