Flying Rats?

I remember as a child being taken to Trafalgar Square in London to feed the pigeons, a treat which children always thoroughly enjoyed. Sadly this has since been made an illegal act as a way of controlling the population of the ‘flying rats’. My next close encounter with a pigeon was many years later when one made a nest on my balcony and I was able to observe the laying, hatching and nurturing of two birds. (Sadly though only one survived the seagulls.) The following year there were two new eggs, but mum and dad didn’t seem to be around much. After they had hatched I was sad to look out of the window during a terrible storm to see the squabs lying lifeless on the floor of the balcony, so I went out in the driving wind and rain to retrieve the ‘dead’ bodies. Wrapping the birds in a towel I was surprised to see one of them open its eye a little, so I gently warmed them overnight and dripped a little water on to their beaks. The following afternoon I put them back on the nest and was pleased, (and surprised,) when the adults birds came back and continued to feed them. I guess it’s no surprise I look on these birds with some affection and felt drawn to painting one.

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