Friday, 26 June 2015

A Town Without Pigeons.

Every time I sit on a bench in Uttoxeter to eat my lunch I'm conscious of the fact that there are no pigeons to mop up the crumbs. This is odd; I don’t think I’ve ever known a town that didn’t have pigeons. They’re a major component of Britain’s urban wildlife, and Uttoxeter’s complete dearth of them always feels a little sinister.

I love being joined by half a dozen pigeons while I’m eating my Gregg's pasty and littering the pavement with fragments of puff pastry. Their absence denies me a pleasure and also leaves me feeling guilty about the damn crumbs. And then there’s the fact that it feels sinister. Where have they gone? I suppose it could be that the Uttoxeter file in the matrix has a malfunctioning pigeon component, but the truth is probably more prosaic.

A lot of people dislike pigeons and would like to see them exterminated on the grounds that they make a mess. (And we don’t?) The question surely has to be: how far should we consider it reasonable to go in exterminating wildlife just because it’s inconvenient? If you’ll excuse the cliché, pigeons are the thin end of the wedge.

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