PIGEONS AND THE CLIFFS OF VENICE. I posted here about how pigeons in Saint Mark’s Place take angled paths across the space, creating constant motion against the facades and, I think, adding to the beauty of the space. I posted the next day on Ruskin’s description of how “the St. Mark’s porches are full of doves, that nestle among the marble foliage, and mingle the soft iridescence of their living plumes changing at every motion, with the tints, hardly less lovely, that have stood unchanged for seven hundred years.” Annalisa commented on that post that she loves pigeons, as our whole family does.
Sarah Sloat had an article in the Wall Street Journal (April 1) about the problems that pigeons create in the underground corridors of the Frankfurt railroad station.
In the article Sloat explains why pigeons prefer living in environments like Venice (and New York City). “Pigeons are the descendants of rock doves—seaside birds that live on precipices and in caves.” Pigeons prefer to nest on ledges and other flat surfaces rather than in trees. She quotes Steve Portugal, a zoologist: “The city perfectly mimics rock doves’ environment.”
When I just now copied Ruskin’s description of pigeons nestling among the marble foliage in Venice, I thought of rock doves on a cliff.