The Pigeon’s Call

The wood pigeons tried to nest in the apple tree every other year.

James was used to this pattern, and each time he heard the dreaded first-call of the pigeons, he would be sure to disturb them before they could make a nest in his garden. It wasn’t as though he was stopping them from nesting completely; they could nest somewhere else. Preferably Nick’s garden- Nick being the neighbour from down the road who insisted on blasting his car radio early in the morning, loud enough to stir the dead, or even elderly Mrs Foster.

This time, James had slipped up. Spending a couple days away from home, after he had heard the fanfare that was the pigeons’ dawn call, had been a big mistake. Apparently saying you can’t come to a business course because of pigeons trying to nest in your garden wasn’t a valid excuse to miss it.

It was just after dawn. The sky was a pale pink streaked with shades of purple and blue. Not that the natural beauty was enough to cheer James up. He lay in bed, staring at the ceiling above him; the only light being that which crept around the edges of the curtains. Bloody pigeons, was the one thought in James’ mind. He concentrated all his anger into his intense glare at the ceiling, as though the pigeons’ would feel his gaze and move.

Unsurprisingly, they did not.

James got up and stumbled into his kitchen. Whilst the coffee pot was creating pure caffeine magic, he marched into the garden, wrapping his dressing gown around him. He grabbed a large stick and poked the nest. It was at an awkward angle to reach and took a few angry jabs before it started to crumble. It was a good nest, he could give them that. After a large collection of twigs had fallen to the ground and James thought he’d done enough damage to prove his point. He stomped back to the kitchen in dire need of coffee.

It was Saturday. Did the pigeons not understand that? Of course they wouldn’t, they only knew how to rob James of sleep and the God-send that were lie-ins. He lay in bed in protest- maybe not an effective protest, but the most relaxing kind. When he finally got up a few hours later, he turned on the coffee machine and stepped outside. He picked up the same stick and started to poke. All the twigs he had knocked lose had been rearranged as though they were stones in a dry wall. He couldn’t help but admire the pigeons’ relentless determination. Even though it was stupid to try, they still continued to build. They didn’t have that higher level of problem solving, they didn’t see a plan B; they couldn’t afford to. If they didn’t build a nest, they didn’t reproduce, and they may die before they could try again.

He stopped his poking. He had only knocked down half the usual amount. He felt… bad. He was robbing them of a chance of building a home. He didn’t have to spend time building his home- he just had to pay the mortgage. He didn’t have to worry about survival.
Great, he was beginning to sympathise with the pigeons- despite them ruining his sleep, and the peace and quiet of the garden. How pathetic was he if he couldn’t even destroy a bird’s nest without feeling guilty? The birds weren’t doing much in the grand scheme of things. God, he’d started arguing with himself rather than the pigeons. He couldn’t even take a stand against birds, no wonder the universe could walk all over him. He walked away from the nest, leaving it mostly intact.

It was too early. Far too early for anyone to be awake. Especially James, a coffee reliant, sleep deprived human. Every day for the past week the pigeons’ had started their annoying cries at 5 am. He had had enough.
Fuming on sleepless anger, he marched out into the garden, his dressing gown fluttering in his wake. He clutched the stick and shoved the nest with it. Twigs came tumbling down, one hitting his shoulder, but he continued none the less. There was a heavier sound. He looked down.
There was an egg.