Some months ago Dad got into the habit of feeding the pigeons that sometimes come to rest on the ledge below the Master bedroom window. Mom and I put up a good fight against the idea but Dad, being the stubborn tyrant that he is, refuses to listen to reason.
Each morning Dad would set aside half a cup of rice and two slices of bread for his new friends. (One time Mom forgot and ate the last two slices of bread and he threw a pretty nasty tantrum. ) He would patiently cut the bread into tiny cubes so that the birds can peck them up easily. The feed, sprinkled on the window ledge twice a day, attract half a dozen pigeons (sometimes more) at a time. It wouldn’t be so bad if they fed silently and then fly away. Half the time they would squabble or fight, causing a din. The worse part of it all - feathers come flying into the house, and pigeon poo left behind.
Two weeks ago Dad contacted a serious flu bug. A few days later Mom had high fever and a bad cough. Shortly after, I came down with a cold as well.
During the two days that Dad was in the hospital and there wasn’t anyone home to feed the birds, they still ban together below the window. Once I even caught one pecking on the window pane. On the evening that Dad was admitted into TTSH, his sister paid a visit. My aunt was horrified to learn that we had been feeding pigeons. Pigeon poo, she warned, carries more diseases that one can ever imagine. No wonder we were falling sick! Mom and I immediately used that as an excuse to persuade Dad from feeding the pigeons once and for all.
So Dad reluctantly agreed to give up his new found pastime. It has been tough to wean the pigeons off their daily bread. Today is the forth day that we’ve stopped putting out bread and rice but each time we open that window (or just merely standing in front of it) would draw the birds out from every direction! We would hear the flap of wings and suddenly they would appear on the ledge, first one, then two, then five, then seven. It’s as if they were watching the window all this time. I feel a pang of sadness to see them like this - all excited and hopeful but it'll be a let down in the end. After all Dad had been a consistent food provider and the bird brains still cannot get around the fact that the food supply has been cut. It’s kind of cruel, if you think about it, to get them used to easy food, and then stop.
But it has to be done.