Spring in New York City means different things to different people.
The return of color to the city, buds and leaves, lengthening days, unpredictable weather – I could go on and on.But for me, it means pigeon sex. A few weeks ago, my air conditioner resumed its spring function as a pigeon boudoir.
Pigeons nest on ledges, tucked out of sight in the gap between my building and the one next door. They land on my air conditioner when taking a break from shared nesting duties. Sometimes a single pigeon commandeers the ac, but often a pair will land. Paired pigeons work together to incubate eggs and rear young. Perhaps one reason pigeon couples seem so deeply bonded is the frequency with which they have sex.
The light scraping sound of pigeon feet on metal and a particular deep rhythmic cooing make me look up from work to catch the unmistakable signs of pigeon foreplay: synchronized head-bobbing, followed by the female placing her beak in the male’s to be fed.
After a little more head-bobbing action, the female lowers her back until it is pretty much level with the surface of the air conditioner.
The male hops lightly aboard her back.
The female tilts forward and the male, with a great flapping of wings, manages to touch his cloaca (the all-purpose opening of both males and females) to hers for a moment.
Then he hops off and the two stand side by side for a second or two, surveying their domain.
A few days later, they’re at it again.