Pigeons, by Andrew D. Blechman

This was an unexpectedly fun book — I noted (with some amusement) Johnathan‘s pigeon fascination during my visit to Toronto — he responded by sending me this monograph on pigeons. Books about narrow subcultures are among my favorites, and this was a great one. Fun to read, and lots about both the historical and current culture of pigeon-lovers that I had no idea at all about.

My favorite part, although by no means exactly the most animal-friendly, was the bit about the Parlor Rollers — pigeons who, when placed upon the ground, “…somersault backward like deranged, feathered gymnasts.” Not just a short way, either — but up to a couple of football fields long. Amazing. Results in paragraphs like this:

Paul’s a bit disappointed with his bird’s roll. It stops at 122 feet and 9 inches. “I just don’t think he had that many rolls in him today,” he confesses. Nonetheless, the high level of competition at the Grand Nationals invigorates Paul. “If I could have a competitive roll like this every week,” he says, “I’d be in heaven.”

And I guess I should note here that pigeons are among SPL’s favorite subject matter now, too. Consider a few of our faves:


  1. Hi John,

    Nice to hear that you enjoyed “Pigeons.” Perhaps you’ll enjoy my more recent “Leisureville.” Regardless, I’m a big fan of your Foxfire.

    Feel free to drop me a line.