Kissing a Pigeon on the Mouth or Beak

On the 2nd Day of Xmas, My True Love Gave to Me: Two Footless Doves

It’s Kristin’s Gloriously Masterful Interpretation of the 12 Days of Christmas™!

Did you know that half this song is birds? HALF. That’s kind of a messed up deal present-wise if you ask me. Anyway, footless doves.

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about real [read: fancy] doves, I’m talkin’ ’bout Rock Doves and not the fancy versions of those either. Fancy birds don’t lose their feet, everyone knows this.

Perched high on their silk pillows, fancy birds never have to worry about foot problems.

Anyway, take a second and wonder What is it with all those toeless, nubby street pigeon feet? For the longest time, this was barely worth a wonder to me. I just assumed that city people  were constantly stepping on or running over the pigeons’ feet and they just broke off. Then, some time later, I realized that that doesn’t make any sense.


"I simply must learn to look both ways before crossing the street"

Pigeons are slow, goofy-lookin’ walkers to be sure but they can fly and are excellent flyers.

Kissing a Pigeon on the Mouth or Beak

But they don't know to get away when it really counts.

After some minimal detective work and a short study montage, I now know that the foot issues are due to an adorably named affliction, Bumblefoot, or some wayward string or hair that wraps around the area and cuts off circulation until something falls off. Both of these are really terribly painful ways to lose your feet.

Bumblefoot refers to the staph infection that sets in after the bird gets a cut or scrape from a rough surface. Pigeons tend to perch almost exclusively on pointy, abrasive things without wearing socks or shoes. One time, I swear I even saw one standing on the pointed end of a statue’s spear: they really just don’t care. And we all get cuts n’ scrapes but what makes the city pigeon even that much more careless is that he’ll expose himself to bacteria with the staph. And by “expose himself to bacteria ” I mean “stand in his own shit.”

To be fair, shit is probably warmer than concrete... Or, this is evolution at work.

The feet don’t grow back, and usually it’s the nub that’s now exposed to the rough, Staphylococcus-y environments so that the whole cycle might start again and again until the pigeon is completely legless  (otherwise known in the wild as “dead”)

Happy Holidays!


6 comments on “On the 2nd Day of Xmas, My True Love Gave to Me: Two Footless Doves

  1. Pingback: 12 Days of Christmas, Animal Edition | Animal News, The Podcast

  2. Pingback: On the 7th Day of Xmas, My True Love Gave to Me: Seven Sloths a-Swimming | Animal News, The Podcast

  3. I have NEVER noticed a pigeon’s feet or lack thereof. Is this a sign of a deep rooted personality flaw of which I was not aware? WTF?

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