December 19, 2015 was the last visit I had with Pierre. It's now January 7th and as the days pass, my hope for his return fades.
Do I think something bad has happened to him? I don't know.
I know he is a wild bird, he comes and goes at his own free will, and obviously there will be a day when he does not come back. Is that time now? I sure hope not.
His absences aren't unusual during the winter months with storms and the Hawks. But this is the longest he has been away.
On December 17th we celebrated forty one months of him coming to visit. I've been marking our "encounters" the last year because he is getting older. And when we first met, he wasn't the youngest bird in the bunch. Statistics say Pigeons live 3 to 5 years in the wild. They have so many dangers on top of the struggle to find food. I know I've certainly helped Pierre along with his life journey and when we last met, he looked as good and healthy as any other day in the last near three and a half years.
We had some serious Hawk activity for a couple weeks in December. Sharp-shin, Cooper's and 2 Red-tails stalking the backyard. I never saw any take downs of any Pigeons but a few chases of a Hawk after my flock.
The thing is along with Pierre missing so is his "missus" and lil Petey. Mickey, my other hand feeding bud was missing as well, but has started to come back in the last couple days. Having all of them disappear like that sends the mind wandering.
Mickey and I the other morning. I know her by her attitude but even spotting her in the bunch from the kitchen window is easy for me. That fleshy eye ring of her's is distinct to me. February will mark 2 years of her coming to visit.
And just as bizarre is the size of the flocks that have come dropping in a few times. I counted 97 one morning. That's freakin' insane! Usually a large flock for us was maybe 30 birds.
Someone suggested I go get myself a couple Pigeons and keep them. How is that to make me feel better? Animals are not replaceable. They are individuals and living beings. Buying a Pigeon is nothing like having Pierre. Pierre was never forced to come here and stay. Yes, the food was probably the biggest factor on his near daily presence but he liked hanging out with me. He'd spend lengthy amounts of time on my lap, my hand, my shoulder even after eating. He'd talk to me when I didn't see him for a number of days. Animals are genuine, you always know where you stand with them, and he showed his excitement to see me after a weekend away.
I look out for him and the others every day, and I hope we have another moment to share with you all soon.