Today, when I went to the barns where my equipment is stored, I saw a dead pigeon laying at the corner of the barn. Without getting graphic, allow me to say that it was a fresh dead pigeon. I noticed it in the passing way that one notices these sorts of things, and went about my business, which took me to another section of the barn, far away from the first section where the dead bird was. I was working away, and boxing up my equipment when I noticed it. A pigeon standing quietly in the middle of the floor watching me.
I spoke to him and he (she?) stood quietly listening, and then turned and walked away, walking to, and through, the door that connects the two wings of the barn. Curiously, I watched him walk away (he never flew) continuing down the little anteroom that connects the two barns, walk through the far door, and pause at the body of the dead bird. I went back to work. When I left, the bird was standing outside the big double doors of the barn, staring off into the distance. He did not look at me or move as I locked up and walked to my truck. "One of two things," I thought. "This bird is sick (West Nile Virus? How ironic, now that I'm closing up shop...) or this bird is grieving." And I drove off thinking on that, feeling a little ridiculous.
Just out of curiosity, when I got back to the office I checked. Know what? Pigeons mate for life. I think of that little bird, staring off into the distance, paying me no mind at all as I broke off bits of my midmorning granola bar and tossed them his way. And all day, I've wondered. Do pigeons mourn?