the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Pigeon on the Patio – Part 3


The Pigeon on the Patio – Part 1

The Pigeon on the Patio – Part 2 

Whether the little bird had a heart attack or not, was a moot point.  It was dead.  I had to remove it from our patio. 

The atmosphere on our patio had completely changed.  Just a few moments ago, the flowers were a sign of beauty and life.  Now the patio made me think of a cemetery with wreaths.  I got the shoe box ready and reached for the dead pigeon.  This would be his final trip.  The poor creature was gone before he even had a chance to fly.  If only he once had the joy of flying with the wind, looking down at the world where the humans would appear small to him.  Small, but close enough to crap on their heads. 

I want to fly like a pigeon
To the sea
Fly like an pigeon
Let my spirit carry me
I want to fly like a pigeon
Till I’m free

Time seemed to stop as I gently grasped the pigeon with my left hand, when suddenly, there was a crazy movement, prying my hands open.  The dead pigeon screamed, chirping louder than ever. 

He wasn’t dead, only faking it!  What a clever sun-of-a-pigeon!

“He’s alive.  The mother****er is alive!” I yelled to Sophia, as if I had just seen a miracle akin to Jesus being resurrected.

I tried to grab it again, shaking like a leaf (me, not the pigeon).  I totally missed the bird, because this time the pigeon didn’t just retreat.  He careened right past me and across the patio, weaving his way in and out through the obstacle course of pots and patio chairs.  It was if the bird had never walked before, but nature or God and adrenaline had finally given him this amazing ability to be the fastest pigeon that ever existed.

“Get him” yelled Sophia.  “Get him!”

I ran after the bird, but he kept on zigging and zagging out of the way, like LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers. 

“He’s under the patio table,” said Sophia.

I took the shoebox and tried to block his way, and then I went to scoop him up, like a ball in a glove.   The little pigeon ran away again, but this time — horror of horrors — he ran straight INTO OUR LIVING ROOM!

“You forgot to close the patio door, you idiot!” screamed Sophia.  “We now have a  f***ing  pigeon inside our house!”

Now, in the past, I’ve heard Sophia use some “salty” language, but nothing compares to what she said to me when she saw this dirty pigeon running under our couch.  Even Samuel L. Jackson would blush.

“Neil, get that ******** pigeon the **** out of the ******** living room***** right the **** now!  I don’t care what the ****  you need to do!  Do it!”

And then she added some long-winded curses in Russian, Hebrew, and Arabic that I couldn’t understand, which was probably for the best.

I chased the pigeon under the coffee table and finally trapped it behind the entertainment center.  He had nowhere to turn.  I was on one side, the cabinet on the other, an extension cord blocking him from a quick getaway.   I was shaking so much that I leaned against the entertainment center for support, perhaps too strongly, until Sophia screamed out, “Be careful!  The big screen TV is going to topple over and kill both of you!”

The pigeon and I were both crazed by this point — man vs. beast, both breathing as heavily as we could.  But as it says in Genesis, man shall be ruler over beast.  I also knew that Sophia would kill me if I left a pigeon walking around the living room.  I finally grabbed the sucker and placed him in the shoebox, quickly covering the box.  I could feel the pigeon bouncing up and down, but I held it down with all my might.

“Open up the ****** front door!” I screamed to Sophia.  “Open it NOW!”

Sophia threw open the front door and I ran outside without my shoes, carrying the shoebox, protecting the pigeon like it was the most precious cargo, bringing it across the street and out of any danger. 

Across the street from our house is a tree-lined area which is shady and inaccessible from the main street.  I propped the shoe box near a branch that was both low enough to prevent the bird from falling and hurting himself, but high enough to keep him out of reach of the cat.  The pigeon jumped out of the box, onto the branch, and scrambled away until I couldn’t see him anymore.  He was on his own now.  I had the proud but sad feeling that a father must have when he sends his son away to college.

I returned home, my heart still racing.  Sophia was glad that the whole experience was over.  She was ready to return to the patio to work on the flowers.  But I WASN’T ready yet.

“That’s it.  I’m done for the day.” I said, without hesitation.  “I’m sitting outside in the front and having a beer.”

“Did you just say you are having a beer?”

I opened the fridge and took out a bottle of Stella Artois.  It had been sitting there for months because Sophia couldn’t drink during her surgeries, and I never drink beer.  I don’t even like beer. 

Today, I felt like having a beer.  Beer feels manly.  I felt manly.

I sat outside on this white plastic chair that we keep near the front door and enjoyed my manly beer. 

Will the bird survive?  Who knows. I can’t run his life, anymore than my father could run mine.   Later that night, I would finally receive a call back from some woman at the Los Angeles Animal Control.   She told me that the bird probably fell out of the nest and if so, he was in danger of being eaten by a cat.  She also said that the mother pigeon must have put him in that bushy corner for protection until he can fly, and was feeding him there.

I gasped. 

“My god!  I separated a child from his mother?  I broke the sacred bond!  How will she ever find him?”

“The mother will always find him,” she said.  “She will recognize the chirping.  You did good.”

I did good.   I felt heroic.   Most importantly, I knew my father was impressed.  I could hear him say, “This is the best Father’s Day gift I ever received.”

The next day, the pigeons thanked me by taking a crap on my car.  I think my father would find that funny. 

Happy Father’s Day and Happy Birthday, Dad.   Be of good cheer.


  1. Leesa

    What a great story, Neil 🙂

    I always feel that way too when I try to rescue an animal. I worry that I might do more harm than good. And, I’m always taking birds away from my cats.

    You put a big smile on my face tonight 🙂

  2. Pants

    I need to consider learning a second, third or possibly fourth language. Long-winded curses in Russian, Hebrew, and Arabic would really add to my quality of life.

  3. helen

    I totally enjoyed your story! lol

    The resurrection thing really got me in stitches!

    Have another beer on me! You’re the MAN! 🙂

  4. tamarika

    Oh hurrah, hurrah! Thunderous applause. Am ecstatic that you completed the story before I set out for England tomorrow. Thanks so much. Such a fantastically vivid description too. I especially loved the loving and supportive way you and Sophia treated each other throughout the situation. Priceless! Every time I have had to pick up and save a poor bird in my yard or at my front door (from my deceased Molly-the-cat’s hunting sprees), I learned to cover it gently with a towel. That way, as it lay still, I was able to pick it up gently. But, for the very first bird I did that with (all since coming to Philadelphia I might add) – mine and the bird’s reaction was identical to what happened between you and the baby pigeon.
    You did good, Neilochka, you did good!

  5. PocketCT

    awww Neil that was a really sweet story. Glad you and the pigeon escaped each other in the end.

  6. Teebopop


    (Wiping tears and nose gunk.)


    Standing ovation!


  7. V-Grrrl

    Married to a woman who can curse in four languages. You lucky man. You deserved that Stella Artois (great choice!).

  8. MichelleVan

    Best Fathers Day story ever. Can I nominate it somewhere?

  9. brettdl

    So wait, who’s the pigeon in this story? Oh yeah, and my son has a question for you, “Why did the pigeon cross the road?”

  10. sween

    [Resounding applause. Crowds mob the stage. Bouquets of roses are thrown at your feet, followed by three pairs of women’s underwear, one set of boxer shorts. Mass pandemonium.]

  11. Girl Friday


    ANNCR: On Thursday…

    [FADE TO: EXT DAY Patio – Pigeon laying, apparently dead]

    ANNCR: …witness the resurrection.

    [Pigeon’s eyes open, blink]

    PIGEON: [SFX: Heavy echo, possibly electronically enhanced to 2 octaves below normal]

    ANNCR: Pray you die first.

    [INT DAY Neil’s apartment, quick cuts and extreme close ups of Pigeon dive-bombing Neil, the TV, and Sophia, possibly with SFX of propeller planes and torpedo bombers]

    SOPHIA: Neil, get that ******** pigeon the **** out of the ******** living room***** right the **** now! I don’t care what the **** you need to do! Do it!

    ANNCR: It’s man versus bird.

    NEIL: Open up the ****** front door! Open it NOW!

    ANNCR: There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common in Redondo Beach.


    ANNCR: The Pigeon on the Patio – Part 3: The Resurrection. Rated R for extreme violence. Some material may not be suited for children under 6.

    PIGEON: Sqarrrrrrrk!

  12. Neil

    Girl Friday — you need to move to Hollywood NOW.

    My spam Killer is acting weird. If you comment and you don’t see it, don’t worry, it is in moderation, maybe to prevent pigeon haters from commenting.

  13. Katie

    Dude, you gave props to LaDainian and Stella Artois. You be a manly man!

  14. Amy K

    Now each time I drink a Stella, I will think of you and your manliness, Neil! 🙂

  15. Karl

    Dude, you rock. You should have TWO beers.

  16. question girl

    that story may finally beat my story about the starlin that flew DOWN the chimney into the woodstove in my parents living room….

    i was 12ish…. i was practicing my flute and kept hearing something that didn’t sound like my flute as i was playing….

    i TOLD my mom NOT to open the damn wood stove – but NOPE, she did… and out came the f****** bird….. it flew around the living room (filled with expensive irreplaceables) for over an hour an a half before she was able to get it out of the house

    it kept flying INTO the windows and it distroyed a few of my dad’s bigh oversized plants trying to hide until it gave itself a concussion – it litterally was walking around in a circle like in cartoons – all it was missing was the little stars above its head…..

    oh – and of course it shit all over the place too

    mom then tried to get me to help clean up

    i told her that since i told her NOT to open the wood stove, i wasn’t helping to clean up….

    dad backed me up

  17. Girl Friday

    Me? Move to Hollywood?

    I wanted to be a movie producer but I didn’t know enough about cocaine and underage girls to pass the Guild’s entrance exam.

    Thanks anyway, though.

  18. Not Fainthearted

    I love that the animal control lady reassured you “You did good.” That’s awesome writing. (did she really?) When it comes to “pest” animals around here, animal control is more like,”so it dies? what’s the worst thing?”

  19. sputnik

    Don’t worry, Neil. After all, as the saying goes, “it’s a face only a mother could love.”

  20. Dagny

    Yay! I was happy to learn that my first thought when you placed the pigeon in the tree was right — his mom would find him.

    Thanks for the entertainment. Now I can go back to watching the cat chase his tail.

  21. wendy

    See, that’s what makes a man sexy.

    But don’t think I didn’t catch that football reference…an attempt to redeem your self from the…less manly…posts where you were all giddy about your Izod polo…(which by the way is a mixed metaphor…..)but anyway…it’s like I said..Life is good!

  22. Patois

    I never thought I could root for a wingless rat, but bravo to the pigeon and its saviors.

  23. Churlita

    Too funny. You have to love a woman who can swear in several different languages.

  24. Caitlinator

    This, Neil, this is the reason why I come back here every day. You rule the pigeon coop.

  25. Jazz

    I’ve never seen a baby pigeon. They are remarkably ugly. Pretty much like any newborn actually.

  26. sizzle

    this is the most i have laughed in weeks. i can totally picture the scene with you and sophia.

    how did that beer taste?

    what a way to celebrate your dad. i’m sure he’s chuckling.

    be of good cheer.

  27. psychomom

    HuMANatarian Award of the Year!!!

    You chasing the little varmit around and Sophia cussing up a storm could only mean one thing. You are both very qualified to be parents!

    Now get those huge Cajones out and get busy trying.

  28. whoorl

    That was a great story, but be honest, did you have to look up LT’s name for your football reference?

  29. Danny

    This post made me laugh AND cry. I hate you for that, I’ve been trying to repress my out-of-control emotions all week! Excellent story, almost Talmudic in its symbolism.

  30. Neil

    Whoorl, how do you know me so well? I googled “Best running back 2006.” The original line was “like a running back for the Dallas Cowboys,” but Sophia told me that I should be more specific — and honestly, I wasn’t even sure if the Dallas Cowboys were a winning team anymore. They still have those cheerleaders, right?

  31. Bryna

    That was SUCH a great story. Can you have it printed as a novella or a childrens book? (less the obsenities?) I can already see the illustrations!

  32. Elisabeth

    Stella Artois, Neil!!!!???!!! That beer is pure crap. When I lived in northern France, it was the cheap beer for poor students, and, if I never drink Budweiser, I can tell you that I certainly never drink Stella Artois either. A bird rescuer such as you merits a much better brew, believe you me!

  33. better safe than sorry

    i don’t know if your father would have found it funny or not, but i sure did:)
    not sure if the crap on your car was a reward for your efforts, but it sure did give you a great story to write!

  34. Neil

    Elisabeth — someone else told me that it was a crappy beer. I wonder why it is such a “cool” beer all of a sudden. Marketing? Or the sexy name, as if you are out drinking with a French model?

  35. Nance

    I can believe Stella Artois is Sophia’s beer. Men don’t really drink that, Neil. Sigh. Well, at least you knew that the Cowboys were a football team.

  36. Neil

    It is her favorite beer. When she was working in New York, she had it at some trendy bar in Brooklyn.

    And I didn’t say I knew the Dallas Cowboys. I knew the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. I think there was even a TV movie about them.

  37. tamarika

    Hurrah! Thunderous applause. Am so relieved that I get to read the ending before I head out tomorrow. What a description. I especially love the part where you and Sophia are so supportive and loving of each other throughout the situation!

    When Molly-the-cat was still alive I was forever having to scoop up dead or alive or half alive birds she brought to the door. At first I felt exactly like you, Neilochka – word for word – but then I learned to drop a towel gently on the bird and as it lay quietly underneath, I was able to carry the bird to freedom or its grave without harm to me or her/him.

    Ah, you did good, Neil, yes indeed. You did good!

  38. mrsatroxi


    Neil the Bird Saver!

    Thanks for your nice comment on my site.

  39. Nics

    Awk bless. We’ve got annoying nesting birds in our attic, do you want to hop on a flight and sort them out for me?

  40. Eileen

    You are darn lucky this story had a happy ending. I would have been most unamused had it turned out differently. I have become invested in the bird.

  41. Two Roads

    Aw bow you could have at leat warned that a hanky would be necessary! What a mitzvah!

  42. Pearl

    Great ending, Neil. Kramer, Sr. would have been proud.

    Maybe you should have been cast in “EVAN ALMIGHTY”; if you have a way with pigeons, you must have a way with all animals. Yeah, you & Biblical Noah.

  43. Ariel

    Pigeons = rats with wings. One shat on my leg just the other day on Piccadilly Circus. I say exterminate. Bah humbug.

  44. Neil

    Ariel — There’s always the cynical one.

  45. plain jane

    I KNEW you had to Google the football player.

    I had a chipmonk in the living room once and stood on a stool and screamed like a girl. Oh, yeah,I am a girl.

    Good work Neil.

  46. Erin

    Neil… You are so ******* hilarious. Your stories are priceless!

  47. Shelli

    Oh Neil, you are so awesome. I mean that truly.

  48. Blitz Krig

    “zigging and zagging out of the way, like LaDainian Tomlinson of the San Diego Chargers”…very impressive reference Neil. Great story too.

  49. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    Brilliant narrative dear Neil. Thinking of you and Sophia … xx, JP

  50. M.A.

    Be of good cheer, Neil.

  51. sarah g

    Very well told! YAY for the bird, and when the lady told you that the mom put the baby there, i was so upset, till she said the mom would find the baby. WHEW!

    I love the thanks you got! It was probably the mom; pissed that she had to find the kid! : )

  52. Alexandra

    the pigeon probably just wanted to get written up on your blog and it worked! Once again your telling of the tale is priceless!

  53. Bec

    That was genius – that’s for putting the smile on my face… and making me guffaw with laughter.

    I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get her… but now I’m never leaving.

  54. Judi

    Well written story. Just thought I’d let you know you can’t catch rabies from a pigeon. Also, I’m surprised you didn’t find information about feeding baby pigeons on the internet. Having hand raised two baby pigeons myself, I found all of the info. I needed easily through google. I hope its mom and dad found it alright.

  55. Genevieve

    What a fantastic story! Laughed, cringed, laughed again.

  56. Karen

    OMG, this story was hysterical! Right now, I have a pigeon with a box wrapped around it on my front porch. You see, the baby pigeon was walking back and forth across the sidewalk and I didn’t want it to become some cat’s dinner. But rather than pick it up and freak out if it moved (which it would), I put the box down and kept inching it forward until the bird was inside. There are two half empty paint cans sitting on top of the box to prevent any clever cats from breaking in. The crazy thing is that I have been trying to get rid of these D*** birds forever and now I’m trying to save this things life. Tomorrow when it is light out, I will try and return the bird to a more appropriate location…again without touching it. Should be equally as entertaining as your story which had me laughing so much I was crying. Great story…thanks for sharing!

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