Last updated: 4 Nov 2020
Research two locations with a high density of pigeons. Draw a straight line on a map between your two locations – this is your fly line. Calculate a walking route that stays as close as possible to your fly line. Favour alternatives that offer grass, trees, or other natural spaces.
According to Peter Ackroyd three pigeon fly lines start or finish at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in Holborn, fanning out towards Battersea Park, Victoria Park and Kenwood House. A six mile walk explores the pigeon fly line to Kenwood.
I cannot walk a line, my walks are led by beagle.
So we went for a walk in our garden.
Our garden. Two blackbirds on the grass, singing lustily at sunset. Last year’s nests in the trees. Two featherless baby birds dead on the path. Exotic birdsong from the volière next door. Crows bully magpies, stalk the roof and the terrace, steal the dogs’ food and drink from their water bowl. Greenish tits, one robin. Rutting pigeons. Sometimes birds fly up to the windows, crash and fall. Very occasionally they fly right in. Once a bevy of swans flew over. There are no gulls.
Outside our garden. Bird feeders dangle from bushes. Thomas Dambo birdboxes are a popular accessory. Trees are cut down for daring to break the horizon. The birds perch where they can, on chimneys, roofs, street lights. A red squirrel colonises the best spots. Hares dash across the tennis court. Urban foxes are not known. The rare badger is under protection. Pigeons have been reintroduced at the town hall as an attraction. There is no feral.
Nature in anthroprocentric Denmark is tamed. Seagulls do not wheel above the harbour and pigeons do not stalk the spotless streets. Do not feed the ducks!
Go for a walk as a beagle. Follow your nose, the best in the world after the bloodhound. Do not deviate from your deviations.
A provocation from the Edinburgh Walking Workshop, who gathered urban nature from three walks: “our attitude to animals in the city is a mirror for how we treat each other”; quoting Richard Mabey’s Unofficial countryside: “It’s a matter of how much slight discomfort we are prepared to tolerate in some of our urban affairs for the chance to experience a little wildness in others”.
Nature in the city doesn’t have to mean foraging, pocket parks and urban farms.