Have been wondering about most photographed birds, thinking the pigeon has to be right up there. Indeed it is! 5th in line as far as my limited research tells me.
According to flickr 9.14.11 search results, ducks are first by a long shot (2,075,972,) followed by eagles (1,511,931) and then swans (925,360.) Robins next (875,159,) That’s four. Pigeons 5th (549,506.) Interestingly, food images show up on the first page of duck photos whereas pigeon doesn’t show up as food until pigeon photo pg. 13.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse images appear by pg. 5. There end up being a fair amount of them. Later and much fewer–photos of Pigeon Falls, Pigeon Cove, Pigeon Park, Pigeon Lake, The Pigeon Detectives, Pigeon John, Pigeon Toe Ceramics, pigeon pose….
If you do a google image search for the same birds (ducks, eagles, swans, robins and pigeons) the numbers get totally unwieldy but maintain their relative order. Except robins end up on top due to a confusion with Robin Williams and Batman.
Fitting nicely with the ordering theme of this post, found this photo of MissCharity’s on flickr pigeon pg. 40.
10 day old squab on a building ledge in New York City - image by Cutiepie Company
Lucky chubby squab. Fed the wonder food of Pigeon milk, they can double their size in 48 hours. In the book Pigeon, Barbara Allen also reports that, “Pigeon milk fuels what is one of the most explosive growth rates of almost any creature on earth”. I’d like my next protein shake to be made of pigeon milk.
How to milk them? Fortunately, both the parent pigeons secrete the milk from their crops, which is located where the breast is. No nipples though, they use their throats like straws in reverse and their beaks serve as the delivery point into the mouths of their squab. So, I’m imagining a mechanical squab head bobbing around in the nest which is designed to accept the milk from the parent. This does sound ridiculous at first, but robotic cow milking machines are doing the same thing: mechanically milking an animal so humans can enjoy the nutritious results. Do check out this video of a robot milker in action on YouTube. Pigeon milk might take longer to get, but it has more protein and fat than cow or human milk, so perhaps it would be worthwhile? [I can’t help but think of that recent, viral story about breast milk ice cream]. Thinking through the oddities of milking animals is enough to cause me to ask for almond milk in my next protein shake.
Breast milk ice cream on sale at a London ice cream parlour. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian