Thursday, May 19, 2005

The pigeons keep on howling

The first day I heard the howling it was really foggy - a great many of the days here are like that. I remember one day looking out of our third floor window and seeing no ground, just the top few sticks of a tree next to the window. And nothing much to hear, just that eerie wailing, howling noise.

Of course we all had various discussions about what it could be. It seemed strange that we had been here for weeks and never really noticed the noise before.

I thought the most likely option was some kind of machinery noise - maybe an angle grinder trying to cut through something it shouldn't.

Then we asked the students, without expecting much of an answer because they are mostly at a generally unobservant age. One of them told us it was the pigeons.

Well, that seemed odd for so many reasons. Pigeons don't make a noise like that, even Chinese pigeons. And anyway, who could tell if there were any pigeons "at large" in this fog?

Well, we asked around some more, and the students stuck to their story. One of them explained that the owners put something on the pigeons leg(s) to make that noise. Maybe so they don't lose them, or so the birds themselves don't get lost - "homing" pigeons with a homing device?

OK. So when the sky cleared a little I stood and watched and listened. Sure enough, as the flock of pigeons swirled around overhead the noise did seem to be following them, or emanating from them.

At least its a whole lot less weird when you can actually see the birds...

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