T o let my son chase pigeons

(377 Posts)
mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 14:19:55

DS loves chasing flocks of pigeons. Every time we go to the park he and his friends scream with delight as they fly away.
Woman in the park today got very angry and told me that 'pigeons have feelings too' and that IT WAS CRUEL.
Funnily enough there was something along similar lines on CBeebies the other day.
AIBU to think it's just a bit of fun?

CyradisTheSeer Fri 02-Oct-09 14:22:30

yabu and it is cruel.

alicet Fri 02-Oct-09 14:23:59

My sons do the same with our cats. Cats are not stupid and run away out of reach. Just like these pigeons.

Different if they were hurting them or trying to hurt them (waving big sticks or something similar) as letting him do this would be sending the wrong message - that its ok to hurt animals.

But chasing them away and screaming in delight is imho harmless fun.


Meh, they're just feathered rats. Why worry?

Miggsie Fri 02-Oct-09 14:24:33

It is cruel, I have seen older boys trying to stamp on them too. They are animals and have a right to eat wihtout being terrorised for someone's entertainment.

Would you let him tie tin cans to tails of cats or dogs?

My DS does the same it is harmless fun.

So is it cruel everytime you walk near a pigeon/drive near a pigeon/open your back door and they fly away??

Washersaurus Fri 02-Oct-09 14:26:42

YABU, it pisses me off when a flock of disturbed pigeons panic flies at me because someone else thinks it is ok to let their children chase them.

I'm not a big pigeon fan, but would definitely say they are not there for your child's entertainment.

corriefan Fri 02-Oct-09 14:27:26

YANBU they'd fly off if someone sneezed too near them, it's what they do. My dog likes making them fly off too. Agree that trying to physically hurt them is a different matter.

alicet Fri 02-Oct-09 14:27:28

Miggsie what the op has suggested is a far cry from stamping on them or tying tin cans to cat and dog tails.

If her ds was chasing them in a threatening way or trying to hurt them then you would be right.

He is just having a bit of fun.

(although just realised I have presumed your son is preschool age - I think it would perhaps be different if he was older not that I am sure why...)

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 14:27:53

Can't see a bunch of three year olds stamping on them, miggsie.

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 14:28:10


I absolutely hate seeing this.

It makes no difference if you think pigeons are unattractive birds or whatever, that does not make it ok to torment them. It's your responsibility to teach your child to respect animals and birds as well as other human beings. You are failing him if you don't teach him this lesson.

I cannot fathom why anyone thinks this is ok or funny.

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 14:29:21

He loves animals.
He also loves chasing pigeons.

LadyoftheBathtub Fri 02-Oct-09 14:29:45

I thought I was a compassionate soul but this has never occurred to me! I let DS chase them.

I think there is a bit of a difference between running towards a flock of pigeons toddler-style, and stamping on them.

Pigeons choose to live in cities... they have to deal with traffic and crowds of people moving around all the time - really my sympathies with pigeonkind are limited here. It would be a bit different on a bird sanctuary or something but pigeons - they live among us.

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 14:30:38

And if he loves pulling wings off flies, which are such a nuisance and such filthy creatures and spread disease, etc etc, will you smile fondly and say inneee swwwweeeeeeeettt?

HKT Fri 02-Oct-09 14:32:19

It is cruel, yes to some they are only pigeons, but they are still living things. By letting him do it, what sort of message are you giving him about treating animals.
Some local children here chased a flock of in lamb sheep - nearly half lost their lambs - their parents couldn't see what the problem was - the children were just playing and having fun angry

LadyoftheBathtub Fri 02-Oct-09 14:32:39

In Edinburgh the 1 o'clock gun goes off every day and all the pigeons in town cack themselves and flap everywhere. Is that cruel? They could go and live in the country if they wanted.

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 14:32:39

I don't say inneee sweeet about anything my children do hmm
It's a big step from here to animal torture MissAnnesley.
I think you are blowing this way out of proportion

traceybath Fri 02-Oct-09 14:32:40


But for me its because I am totally phobic about birds and hate it when walking along and a big flock of pigeons suddenly take off and start flying towards me.

I guess I just feel its not terribly social behaviour.

TsarChasm Fri 02-Oct-09 14:32:54

I think it's unkind.

Washersaurus Fri 02-Oct-09 14:33:03

I prefer to teach my children to respect all animals/creatures, whether they be manky city pigeons or rare lesser spotted doodle birds in some sanctuary somewhere.

I can see why people think it is harmless, but looking at the bigger picture, I believe it gives children the wrong message.

Miggsie what you describe - stamping and tin cans - is indeed cruel, but absolutely nothing to do with the matter at hand. As for "have a right to eat without being terrorised" - they fly away FGS, they are not terrorised! Everything in the animal kingdom has predators (even us) and they deal with them, in the case of birds, by flying away! They'd do the same if it was a cat or a kestrel, a small whooping boy is no biggie. I doubt it even raises their blood pressure.

YANBU mrsruffallo, it is just harmless fun, harmless to your child and harmless to the pidgeons.

MissAnnesley if my DS was quick enough to catch a fly to pull his wings off I would be in awe at his karate kid style abilities !! grin

corriefan Fri 02-Oct-09 14:35:12

I suppose it comes down to whether pigeons are traumatised by being chased. My guess it not because they settle back down to business within seconds. Completely different to pulling the wings off a fly and to compare the two demonstrates a misunderstanding. For example, chasing a child is fun in an exciting way, pulling their arms off er isn't.

GibbonInARibbon Fri 02-Oct-09 14:35:30

I would never let DD do this and tbh I hate to see other children doing it (wouldn't pounce on parent in angry manner though)

Have to agree it is about respect for animals.

LadyoftheBathtub Fri 02-Oct-09 14:36:05

But I think that's a bit simplistic re the message. Unless you are a purebred vegan who never takes issue with any wasp, clothes moth, spider, rat or mossie etc, then your children are going to realise there are plenty of animals you don't actually have much respect for. We kill and eat animals, we squash them, we (at best) chuck 'em out of the house into the freezing night.

corriefan exactly! Kids and dogs etc love to be chased they see it as a game. Who's to know whether the pigeons see it like this and actually take bets on who can stay on the ground longest as in 'who is the hardest pigeon'

grin @ corriefan

It makes me uncomfortable. TBH, my own DC's used to do this when they were toddlers, and I did used to tell them 'no'.

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 14:39:25

Well I disagree mrsruffallo I think it's wrong on many levels. Evidently you don't, or you wouldn't encourage him to do it, but you asked WYBU and my answer remains YABU.

hercules1 Fri 02-Oct-09 14:42:20

I don't like pigeons but have never let my kids chase them and frown on those who do. I agree, it's about respecting animals.

HKT Fri 02-Oct-09 14:42:24

I keep chickens, and yes, they flap away when they hear gunshot, or if they go on the road and a car comes along - these are survival instincts, just the same as pigeons use. I'm sure my children could have hours of fun chasing them all, but as their parent, I will not allow such disrespect to any animal.
Pigeons only inhabit cities so much, as it is easy pickings - if less people fed them (deliberately or otherwise) they would soon move away

SardineQueen Fri 02-Oct-09 14:46:20

My DD went up to a seagull at the seaside, it flapped away.

Was this cruel to the seagull?

Parks are full of small children, dogs, people running round with footballs/frisbees. I can't see that the deliberate actions of one small child are going to cause the pigeons any more "fear" than their normal background level.

That has no connection to anyone capturing and tormenting an animal.

katiestar Fri 02-Oct-09 14:52:37

YANBU. Birds are very wary and take to the air at the least hint of danger or even when they just get to the next place.They can easily go and land somewhere out of reach of yiour DC.

sixlostmonkeys Fri 02-Oct-09 14:52:51

The only time it would be ok for someone to chase pigeons is if the pigeons suddenly turned and started chasing the children. Now that would be a bit of fun - and only fair.

Morloth Fri 02-Oct-09 14:55:56

I fucking hate birds, it is DS's job to chase the bloody things away from me when we are at the park.

The vile things can fly, they can just go somewhere else.

SquirrelTrap Fri 02-Oct-09 14:57:20

It might in someway help these pigeons evolve slightly. These urban pigeons really are a waste of space, and in Darwinian terms in line with dodo's. A bit of chasing might help them become less pointless and aware of their surroundings. Don't you think A LOT of them get run over?? Get my point?

<hopeful emoticon because my DSs do it and it had never crossed my mind people would be OFFENDED by it>

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 14:59:44

YADNBU As far as i understand you op your ds just likes to run at them,you make no mention that he actually catches one & pulls his wings off & stamps on it so i personally dont see the harm in running at a flock of pigeons.

If they were that traumatised about being chased surely they would stay in the trees & not immeadiately land on the floor about 2 foot away from where they started?

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 14:59:53

YABU. I know little kids love to chase pigeons, but to me you are causing an animal unnecessary deliberate distress, and that's not the kind of behaviour I allow my sons.

Morloth Fri 02-Oct-09 15:00:53

Funny you should mention evolution SquirrelTrap. I once watched a pair of pigeons fly onto the train at Hammersmith, stick their nose out the door at Fulham Broadway (looking all the world like they were checking where they were) and then get off at Earl's Court.

I still hate them, but I have to admit I was impressed.

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 15:01:58

Sorry, by you , I meant one, not you mrsruffalo grin

SquirrelTrap Fri 02-Oct-09 15:02:46

I am sure it was by accident Morloth smile

They probably got mowed down by the Northern line a few hours later

Tolalola Fri 02-Oct-09 15:03:39

omg Jamieandhismagictorch do you have any idea how ridiculously smug and hilariously sanctimonious you sound?

thanks for the best laugh i've had all day!

GibbonInARibbon Fri 02-Oct-09 15:07:33

How was jamieandhismagictorch 'ridiculously smug and hilariously sanctimonious'? hmm

Morloth Fri 02-Oct-09 15:08:16

Wouldn't that require the trains on the Northern Line to actually be moving? grin

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 15:09:17


Oh, I specialise in smug and sanctimonious ..... grin

OK I acknowledge how it sounded. I still don't like the idea of chasing pigeons (I don't even like them very much, with their missing feet and manky feathers)

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 15:10:17

Thankyou Morloth

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 15:12:47

Maybe the parks could become designated pigeon recreational areas & also we could ban all people from the above areas in case the poor pigeons are traumatised by someone walking, sneezing or farting too neat them. hmm

Maybe we should lobby the Govt to open a Priory just for all the traumatised pigeons.

In fact i will email my local MP right now.

Tabithacat Fri 02-Oct-09 15:13:11

So if pigeons are fair game, are you going to let your kids chase dogs, cats, tigers, peacocks and any other living things you can think of?

If not, why not?

It is cruel. YABU.

fragola Fri 02-Oct-09 15:13:57

I agree with jamieandhismagictorch, don't think there was anything smug or sanctimonious about the post.

MorningTownRide Fri 02-Oct-09 15:15:04

YANBU - ds does this too.

LMFAO about respecting pigeons

sixlostmonkeys Fri 02-Oct-09 15:23:04

I'm with tabithacat - fair game? let them chase something that fights back - then come back here and report.

people who let kids chase birds = my pet hate.

oh, and there is a difference btw between unavoidable noises/disturbances and 'kids' being allowed or even encouraged to 'chase'

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 15:25:28

This is hilarious.

Are there a lot of vegetarians on this thread?

Because if you object to children chasing pigeons, you must object to eating them (or any other animal), right?

I cannot believe that someone would tell their dc off for chasing pigeons and then hand them a chicken sandwich.

Please tell me this is not the case....?

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 15:26:13

Ahem- eating pigeons, not children. It sounds a bit wrong.

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 15:26:57

But surely if the flying rats pigeons were traumatised by lo's chasing them surely they would have learnt to not land on the floor straight away & actually fly away to safety hmm

Pigeons choose to live in areas which are full of noise and disruption. They do not display any great degree of fear or trauma when chased by children or dogs, only moving a minimum distance before settling again.

If someone's DS wanted to chase another type of animal, which did seem to be genuinely afraid, then that would be different.

sixlostmonkeys Fri 02-Oct-09 15:28:34

But surely we are intelligent enough to not encourage children to torment other creatures? hmm

I think believing that the pigeons are distressed is anthropomorphising (?sp) a bit. They are birds. They evolved to react to movement, because movement could mean a predator. It is a survival instinct. They react instantly to the movement, presumably realise they are not in danger, they land.

Nature is red in tooth and claw. Small boys are presumably only very pale pink, in the overall scale of pigeon-life ...

Jujubean77 Fri 02-Oct-09 15:33:03

I can't stand it when children do this - they fly all over the place and it's disruptive. It's like the parent thinks it's a good "game" for their kids or something. It's so not.

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 15:40:30

Ladyofthebathtup and AMuminScotland, ROFL at "Pigeons choose to live in cities."

Do you think pigeons go to little pigeon estate agencies and sit reading "Pigeon Life" debating with their partners the pros and cons of city versus country life?

"Coo, there's a high fox population in Townyville but a lovely statue in the main square."

Pigeons live where they live presumably because of instinct, or because of being born there, not because of rational choice.

I feel that whether you eat meat or not, kindness to ones fellow creatures is something that we all have a responsibility to teach our DCs. And IMO that starts with discouraging toddlers from pulling cats'/dogs' tails and also discouraging them from chasing flocks of birds to get pleasure from the reaction, which is fear.

But they do have a choice to some extent, and they are also the offspring of generations of pigeons which have evolved to be reasonably "happy" in cities. If they were terrified of everything, then they wouldn't breed successfully, and so would not pass on their genes. So those which live there now, whether or not they consciously "choose" to live there, are adapted to city life.

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 15:45:48

Agree with BalloonSlayer (obviously)

YANBU I'm another one who would never have dreamt that anyone had a problem with this.

There are loads of pigeons in our local parks, most of which will have been chased by a small child or two and probably a few dogs for good measure. I am yet to see a 'traumatised' one sucking desperately on a fag and clinging on to its branch for dear life...

sixlostmonkeys Fri 02-Oct-09 15:48:02

here here balloonslayer

sixlostmonkeys Fri 02-Oct-09 15:49:28

or rather hear hear.......

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 15:50:56

But Balloonslayer, is it not the teensiest bit inconsistent to eat animals whilst teaching dc that it is cruel to chase pigeons???

I am not vegetarian, but just can't get over the high esteem that pigeons are held in by some people who also eat them.

cornsilk Fri 02-Oct-09 15:51:00

Agree with Jamie. Pigeons are thick. They don't choose to live in crap places, they live where they live. I wouldn't get cross at chidren chasing pigeons at all but I didn't let my ds's do it.

NellyNoNorks Fri 02-Oct-09 15:54:20

I don't like pigeons and I do like chicken sandwiches (despite having a load of much loved chickens in my parents' menagerie).

However, I really, really don't like seeing children being allowed to chase a living creature that's smaller than they are, even if it is 'for fun' hmm. I wouldn't be cross if I saw other people doing it, but I have stopped my DCs from doing it.

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 15:55:28

I teach my kids to be kind to animals. They rescue snails from pavements where they might get trodden on. I don't like them chasing pigeons, less because of the effect on the pigeon, and more because I don't want them to think it is a 'fun game' to chase animals, or to distress them. Whether or not the pigeon is ACTUALLY distressed is a bit irrelevant, it's the enjoyment the kids derive in chasing them that I don't like.

I also tell them not to tease my parents' dog, or to chase next door's cat, or our chickens. If we go to a park with a lake we feed the ducks, not chase them.

So to me it's a question of perception. I want the children to ask 'Am I being kind to this animal?' and for the answer to be yes.

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 02-Oct-09 15:55:49

YANBU. A three-year-old running in the general direction of some pigeons is not posing any serious threat to them. They typically fly or flutter out of the way of almost any approach -- simple logic says they're not being "terrorized" every single time.

If someone is jogging in the park and their path takes them towards a flock of pigeons on the path, the pigeons will flutter up and settle down again nearby. Same thing, right? Or is the jogger also being cruel? hmm

Silly to lump it in with behaviour that causes real hurt or trauma, eg pulling wings off flies or etc.

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 15:59:42

We need to eat to live, this doesn't mean that animals should not be treated as well as possible while they are alive and have the least painful and traumatic death possible.

My DH who is a strict veggie would say that the pro-arguments here are similar to the arguments used by the pro-hunting lobby. ("They are too stupid to be scared," "they are vermin," "They choose to live here...," "If you eat meat you can't object to killing/tormenting animals...")

DH says of the hunt lobby - if you do have to kill an animal - for food or for another reason - it should be done with a heavy heart, not turned into fun.

I would go a step further and say I do not want my DCs getting enjoyment and excitement from causing distress to any other creature.

freename Fri 02-Oct-09 16:01:17

I don't allow mine to do it (I know they'd like to they get that look on their faces wink)
but it's more that I'm a pedant about consistency, if I say be respectful to animals it's kinda confusing to laugh at pigeons being chased. That's my theory anyway. Not ready to give them too many grey areas just yet...

slug Fri 02-Oct-09 16:01:17

The pigeons round our way are fat and overfed. A bit of exercise does them no harm.

tatt Fri 02-Oct-09 16:02:56

Birds need to eat to get energy to stay alive. If they are chased away from their food they have to eat more to get the energy they used flying away. So it's not a question of whethter the pigeons are terrified or not - it's cruel because it makes it harder for them to survive.

I eat meat but I make an effort to try and buy meat from animals that had a decent life.

My children have chased pigeons and we've talked about why they are being unkind. Unfortunately the little horrors have chased them after that.

It's not in the same league as torturing animals but it is unkind.

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Oct-09 16:04:16

I've always told my DC's ont to chase pigeions, but it;'s not as if they can't flay away is it.

If it were up to me, the pigeon popluation would be greately reduced...I'm fed up of feathers and pigeon poo everywhere.

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 16:04:28

Dorothy . No, a jogger is not being deliberately cruel, but a child deliberately chasing a pigeon is getting fun out of frightening it.

A spider having its legs pulled off probably is not in distress, or even pain, but I wouldn't want my child getting enjoyment out of that either.

As Lily said

freename Fri 02-Oct-09 16:04:30

Dorothy.. jogging analogy works in a way but for me it's more about what you're saying is acceptable for the child to do.

squirrel42 Fri 02-Oct-09 16:08:43

I agree with those other posters who have pointed out that there is a difference between pigeons being startled by a car driving past or someone walking along minding their own business, and allowing or even encouraging small children to run up to them and scare them away. Pigeons are not there to entertain children through their fear response.

Do the same parents who let their children do this also let their children pull dogs ears and cats tails? Cut up worms? Set fire to ants with magnifying glasses? With what species does it become okay? Adults might class those activities as "cruel" but to children it's all the same fun, so why not?

OtterInaSkoda Fri 02-Oct-09 16:08:47

YAB a teeeeeensy bit U - for the reasons freename states and also because they fly up and freak people out. Having said that some old man had a go at ds once for doing it - as happened with mrsruffallo - and it annoyed me a bit, I think because I thought he thought I condoned it, iyswim. He was tiny btw (ds, not the old man).
Living in a city overrun with the buggers I can't stand them. The seagulls are worse, though.

SquirrelTrap Fri 02-Oct-09 16:10:15

FFS this is brilliant. Rescuing snails - genuinely never heard the like.

Traumatising pigeons by running in their direction? OMG

I think I live in a parallel universe because no-one I have ever met would ever give a toss about this. And NO it does not mean you don't respect animals. The harsh truth is our respect for animals has limits.

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 16:10:40

Personally I don't see the harm in chasing a few pigeons, kids chase each other don't they?! surely this is harmless fun.

Anyway if the pigeons had anything about them they'd use their little brains and drop a plop from a great height on a gaggle of kids....what goes around comes around (is that the right way round)

LadyoftheBathtub Fri 02-Oct-09 16:11:05

But actually we don't have to eat meat to live - we could all live much more healthily and efficiently (in terms of land use) if we didn't eat meat (I say this as a meat eater)

So anyone who does eat meat is really putting animals through suffering for their own enjoyment, and no other reason.

So all you pigeon-defenders on this thread are being a bit hypocritical if you are not staunch vegetarians or vegans.

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 16:11:55

SquirrelTrap - why not? dd loves animals, she gets sad if she sees one get killed (and that includes if she stands on a snail), and so she moves them out of the way of the pavement. I admire her for her compassion for other species.

Similarly we do not squash flies/wasps/spiders, but catch them in jamjars and put them outside.

NellyNoNorks Fri 02-Oct-09 16:14:39

Would it be fair to say that the same people who let their children run round in pizza restaurants also let them chase pigeons? grin

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 16:16:14

It's just that attitude that 'pigeons are there for our entertainment, if my child wants to torment them, then why not?'

There were some teenagers round our area who were caught throwing food onto a busy road to tempt the pigeons into the way of the cars. Lots of the birds were run over. But hey, they're only pigeons. hmm

I would prefer to teach an attitude of respect and kindness.

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 02-Oct-09 16:16:17

Jamie, freename: I see your point but I just don't agree that the pigeons are necessarily frightened by this toddler behaviour. As others have said, they generally settle again immediately very nearby -- it just doesn't seem like they are all that fussed. I'm not saying I have a special insight into pigeon feelings, but that cuts both ways: nobody on this thread really does, we're all going by how it seems to us.

Also - pulling a spider's legs off damages it permanently and makes it harder for the creature to function properly. I don't think you can really compare that with running towards pigeons so that they move.

My DS has not yet reached pigeon chasing stage (2) -- perhaps I'll change my mind when I see him trying it ...

quinne Fri 02-Oct-09 16:16:31

YANBU end of.

WildSeahorsesCantStandTheDM Fri 02-Oct-09 16:16:34

YABVVU. It's just unkind behaviour. The pigeons clearly don't like it - if they did, they wouldn't move away at speed, would they? So, all you are teaching your child is that it is ok to be cruel to something that you don't care about and that can't stand up for itself. Would you allow a bigger child to chase your child round and round? Thought not.

Also don't see why being a meat eater is at all relevant. I eat meat, but I always ensure that the animals I eat have been treated well during their lifetime by buying free range meat. Eating meat and caring about animal welfare are not mutually exclusive.

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 16:17:52

Lady I cannot deny it. I also eat meat.

So that makes me smug, sanctimonious and hypocritical blush

<idea for new MN name ?>

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 16:18:23

What about the little boy in the playground who if you sneak up behind him and pull his hair will scream and run away? Or the little girl who you can make have a meltdown by poking her? Or the baby who you can make cry by roaring at them?

Is that fun too? None of those things 'physically hurt' the child, so they must be ok by this reasoning?

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 02-Oct-09 16:20:11

Totally baffled that some people equate pigeon-startling with cutting up or otherwise mutilating/hurting worms, cats, dogs, etc.

How is briefly startling a bird the same as chopping up a worm? A toddler running towards a group of pigeons is exploring the fact that the world around her reacts to what she does. It's unlikely that will lead her down a slippery slope to inflicting physical damage.

FimboFortunaFeet Fri 02-Oct-09 16:21:31

Where I used to work, pigeons used to land on a flat roof and bonk, it was right in front of my line of vision out the window. Not a pretty sight.

squirrel42 Fri 02-Oct-09 16:23:55

Good point Lily - what about strangers just running and shouting at groups of children, making them cry and run away? I think that sounds very entertaining and may try it in the park later. If anyone has a go at me I'll tell them to f-off because it's only a bit of fun and there won't be any lasting damage. Lots of kids are too fat these days and could use the exercise anyway.

squirrel42 Fri 02-Oct-09 16:25:17

Dorothea - a toddler pulling a cat's tail is only exploring what happens too. If you see them do it you tell them not to and make sure they don't do it again, you don't encourage them.

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 16:25:35

We have a particular beam on our pergola? ( wooden thing of no purpose outside the back door). It is the local pigeon brothel. Sorry, obviously it does have a purpose then, my mistake.

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 16:27:48

BalloonSlayer You could put those spiky things up to stop 'em. that would look very attractive

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 16:29:13

Perhaps my views on the chasing subject have been coloured by my never having noticed 'innocent delight at interacting with the animal kingdom and the wonders of nature' on the face of any small child I have seen chasing birds.

The expressions I have noticed have all been something else altogether.

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 02-Oct-09 16:30:09

Lily, come on, I don't think anyone is insisting that there are no limits on behaviour unless it is physically harmful. Of course there are, and of course the hypothetical behaviour you describe would be horrible. I just don't agree that a toddler running towards a group of pigeons is on the same level.

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 16:30:29

No, Jamie, pigeons need somewhere to shag, just like everyone else.

I wish they'd wait till we've shut the curtains though.

Synyster Fri 02-Oct-09 16:30:31

It is horrid and I always stopped ds from doing it
I do think it it is built into kids to want to do it though, a bit like stamping in leaves

DuelingFanjo Fri 02-Oct-09 16:31:24

Wonders to self....

what would a child do to a pigeon if they managed to catch one?

grin @ pigeon shag palaces.

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 16:33:48

DuellingFanjo... possibly kill it, pluck it and slow roast it at gas mark 4?

Because, of course, that would be ok wink

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 02-Oct-09 16:34:29

squirrel42 -- yes I agree, I would say it is obvious to anyone reasonable that pulling a cat's tail upsets it, and I would feel justified in telling strangers to stop this, not only my own DC.

I am not saying anyone should encourage their DCs to run towards birds; I just don't think it is all that serious for a 3-year-old to try it out, so I wouldn't say the OP is being unreasonable.

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 16:35:01

Um probably nothing,cos i dont think children run at pigeons to hopefully catch one & inflict terrible cruelty to it,its just toddlers exploring the world around them.

My ds likes to run on the grass in our local park,maybe i should stop him in case he steps on a worm.

FFS how can people equate running at a bloody pigeon with pulling dogs ears?

They are pigeons & can fly away whenever they want,they arent strapped down you know? hmm

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 16:35:50


Just asked inveterate (if he was allowed) pigeon-worrier DS2. He said he'd put it in a cage, feed it and let people look at it. Then he'd let it go after one day

So that's my theory blown out of the water then.

squirrel42 Fri 02-Oct-09 16:40:46

DoingthebestIcan - dogs aren't strapped down either, but if a child ran screaming at a strange dog then the dog may well snap at them. Pigeons are prey animals so they have a (literal) flight response. Doesn't mean it's still not uncessary to do it to them.

Dorothea I'm not saying it's the crime of the century for a child to run at pigeons to see what happens, and I agree that the child is probably not doing it to be cruel. But they should be told not to because it's not a nice thing to do, and if it becomes a habit/hobby then it needs to be stopped.

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 16:41:15

lol @ "in case he steps in a worm" good point

DuelingFanjo Fri 02-Oct-09 16:41:25

Aw, that's cute..I had a pet crow when I was a kid and I loved it.

Sassybeast Fri 02-Oct-09 16:42:37

I bloody hate pigeons but I don't let the kids chase them because I want them to respect animals. So if they are allowed to chase horrible pigeons, the natural progression (for a 3 year old) is to chase any other living animal and I'd rather not let them think that a cute little duckie with cute baby ducklings is fair game. Or a fecking great mongrel which might do them serious damage. It's not THAT hard to understand is it ?

CloudDragon Fri 02-Oct-09 16:42:52

YANBU - I eat meat but stop my children from eating pigeons.

I also stop my DC chasing and scareing smaller children and yet I don't eat toddlers.

the world is a mysterious place.

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 16:43:08

This is one of the most poorly argued threads I have seen for a long time. You pro-pigeon-chasers, can you come up with nothing better than
- well I hate pigeons so fuck 'em
- well you eat chicken sandwiches don't you?

It's like the pro-hunting lobby saying well there are too many foxes. Yes, well, let's find the most unpleasant and prolonged way of putting them to death and do that, then.

Re. chicken sandwiches, if an animal is going to end up on my plate I don't believe in torturing it - ie keeping it knee-deep in its own piss and shit and feeding it its relatives - nor in killing it other than humanely.

If you think it's ok to cause distress, deliberately, to another living thing, just because your children think it's amusing, and you think its life is worthless, I can't respect your opinion. And anyone who says a pigeon is not scared and they choose to live there don't they so they deserve it is just being wilfully blind.

I have always judged pigeon-chasers and will continue to do so. And I judge their parents too, I think it's poor parenting with either fuzzy thinking or crap beliefs.

Animals do matter, no matter how much you despise them.

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 16:45:48

I'm not sure a pigeons brain has a lobe for processing distress or emotion - I'm serious ... anyone know? cos if it doesn't then we can all relax and carry on making the tea

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 16:47:12

Hear hear MissAnnesley. Please come and join me in Smug-and-Sanctimonious Corner.

<passes over a free-range chicken sandwich>

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 16:47:55

Budgies certainly manage to look miserable, when sick or bereaved of cage-mate.

Spidermama Fri 02-Oct-09 16:48:02

Wow! I'm a big animal lover and a vegetarian but I have always let my boys chase pigeons. They can fly off elsewhere if they don't like it. I think it's harmless fun and people are being way too precious.

They're never going to catch one after all are they?

I've been surprised at this thread though. I thought everyone would say, it's fine, don't worry.

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 02-Oct-09 16:48:13

Flippin' heck MissAnnesley, don't hold back grin

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 16:49:06


MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 16:49:57

Well you clearly know nothing about pigeons cantpooinpeace as one way of keeping areas free of unwanted pigeons is emitting recorded pigeon distress calls. Of course they feel distress.

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 16:52:55

Balloon Don't get me started on putting budgies in cages .........

LOL at sad-looking budgie

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Oct-09 16:54:10

REAllly.....where can I get a recording of a pidgeon distress call? I would love to play it outside my office.

groundhogs Fri 02-Oct-09 16:54:51

OMG, have seen it all now.... surely it's far too early for the wine/G&T to be out and being consumed????

Cruelty to animals is one thing, senseless and mindless and abhorant. Chasing a few pigeons.... PERLEAASE!

Their defense mechanism when confronted with anything that could be deemed as a hostile force is to fly away, be that a cat, a dog or a toddler. Only the last one will not be able to kill and eat said feathered friend. If nothing else, the toddler is helping them hone their flight mechanisms for a real predator.

Flipping heck, you'll be slapping ASBOS on scarecrows next....

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 16:55:45


So does the humanely killed lamb you eat suffer the trauma of being chased by a sheepdog?

Or is that somehow different?

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 16:57:05

Well why the hell don't they give em out to pigeon chasing kids then they're not there to chase

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 16:58:24

tethersend a sheepdog guides and steadies the flock. A sheepdog does not rule the flock by some kind of reign of terror hmm.

I really cannot believe the level of heartlessness on here.

Do you all buy shampoo that's been rubbed in rabbits' eyes too? Or is that not ok because rabbits are cuddly?

groundhogs Fri 02-Oct-09 16:58:55

Oh no! I just remembered.. the other day was driving across country, and a pair of wood pigeons were walking in the road.

They really didn't seem to want to move out of my path, and I had to toot them... twice.

Will I be getting the Pigeon Fancying Fanatics after me?

It's a fair cop guv, I'll go hand myself in now.... hmm

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 16:59:05

Right, I am orf.

This has been an interesting debate.

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 17:00:19

Too right Jamie.

I hope I don't bump into any of you lot in the park tomorrow cos I'll be the one like this hmm at your children.

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 17:00:27

you can get shampoo that's been rubbed in rabbits eyes! ........ << scarpers off >>

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 17:00:34

"A sheepdog does not rule the flock by some kind of reign of terror"

Err... I think it sort of does, actually.

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 17:01:03

Correction - hmm at you - it's not the children's fault if they have not been taught properly.

zookeeper Fri 02-Oct-09 17:03:02

Is this a serious thread? lol lol lol lol lol.

Kids chase pigeons pigeons fly away

twas ever thus

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 17:03:57

It's only very mildly cruel - but to me it's part of a mind set. If you teach them that it's OK to chase pigeons because they enjoy it and they are only pigeons, how do you explain that, for example, ducks and ducklings are different? Or sheep? Presumably no one would thing it's OK for a child to scatter a flock of sheep for fun?

Explaining why chasing pigeons is not kind is a useful learning tool, IMHO.

I stop my children stamping on ants, too.

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 17:04:25

MissAnnesley judge away at me & i will be the one with a face like fuck off & stop judging me

This thread is absolutely ridiculous,they are bloody pigeons,how on earth can you compare pigeons being shooed away to rabbits having shampoo rubbed in their eyes?

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 17:06:06

oh it's totally the same thing c'maaaaan grin

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 17:07:33

next you'll be telling me it's not ok to let my toddler play with fire or sharp knives! tut

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 17:14:17

In fact next time we are in the park & ds is running at the pigeons i will look out for you & give you a little wave shall i?

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 17:15:23

I'm so going to the park tomorrow grin

LynetteScavo Fri 02-Oct-09 17:19:57

Pigeons brians are very, very small.

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 17:20:44

Look out for the PPP Pigeon Protection Police,in fact they may don cunning disguises such as a pigeon & when children run at them they will arrest them for crimes against flying rats pigeons grin

Rubyrubyruby Fri 02-Oct-09 17:26:07

YANBU - There's nothing wrong with chasing pigeons!

.....cruel my arse.

HecatesTwopenceworth Fri 02-Oct-09 17:26:39

I think it isn't wise because it is important to be consistent when teaching your children that all creatures should be treated with respect and not hurt or frightened. Otherwise you get into it's ok to scare birds but not to chase a cat round a garden (unless you think it is ok to chase a cat round a garden grin ) and all that sort of thing.

Far better, and simpler grin to teach them not to hurt or frighten any living creature and teach them that animals aren't toys, than to draw up a big list of which animals you can do what to.

Podrick Fri 02-Oct-09 17:26:41

I think it is harmless fun
Pigeons are used to this in the wild and not particularly disturbed by it

Tabithacat Fri 02-Oct-09 17:27:05

So when you're all in the park letting your kids chase pigeons. I'll be there and scream and run at your kids (as someone else said they can run away and need the exercise anyway)- will that be ok? Or is that somehow wrong? If it's wrong, why?

FFS My dog is better trained than your kids - he knows it's wrong to chase things because he has been taught properly.

franklymydear Fri 02-Oct-09 17:29:38


they're pigeons

pigeons are vermin

and flight is a natural response to a perceived threat

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 17:32:03

"Balloon Don't get me started on putting budgies in cages ........."

Jamie, tell me about it!

You get lumbered with a pair of budgies, and think, well how horrible is it to keep birds in cages? When they die, I will never replace them.

Then one dies. The other one looks so devastated you go belting out to the pet shop and buy it a new companion. It cheers up immediately.

A year later that one dies. The newer one looks in the pits of despair, silent and alone. So again, the screech of tyres as you speed to the pet shop. Chirrup, chirp, chirrup, all is happy again...

At some point you scratch your head and wonder why you've owned two budgies for 20 years, a total of about 8 different birds, when you totally disapprove of keeping birds in cages.

freename Fri 02-Oct-09 17:33:26

lady I'm a vegetarian smile
nelly aaahhh the famous pizza thread grin

Rubyrubyruby Fri 02-Oct-09 17:33:31

Why do people try to 'humanise' animals?

I'm personally very careful when walking near pigeons, because I've had a couple of instances where they've flown off and TOUCHED MY FACE!!!!! I hate birds!

I've actually seen a fair few pigeons at my local bus station, standing at the bus stands, waiting for a bus almost...very weird and none have ever got on.

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 17:37:03

Tabithacat you run & scream at my son & i will knock your block off,seriously.

There is absolutely no comparison to the feelings of a fucking pigeon to that of a child!

How on earth can you compare running at pigeons & them being traumatised by it to running at children?

Seriously,i think you need to take a step back from all the pigeon loving & really think about what you are typing.

Pigeons can & do fly away,then they come straight back so they cant be that scared can they?

Rubyrubyruby Fri 02-Oct-09 17:38:02

They're thick as shit ..............

OrmIrian Fri 02-Oct-09 17:40:35

I suspect this has got heated but FWIW I don't think it matters much. If he was catching and disembowelling them I'd be affronted and tell you off for being cruel, but just making them flap about ? Not a problem.

BTW that doesn't mean that I think it's OK to treat any animal as a toy.

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 17:41:50

I agree, hecate - and did, further down the thread. But no one's listening to us.

franklymydear Fri 02-Oct-09 17:44:49

a dog that doesn't chase things? is it stuffed?

Golda Fri 02-Oct-09 17:46:53

I'm listening seeker. I totally agree with you.

MissAnnesley Fri 02-Oct-09 17:47:33

Really, all the "fuck off" and "knock your block off" talk is completely uncalled for. There's no point losing your temper, time to have a little glass of wine I think, it's what I'm about to do.

We have different ways of looking at the world and different beliefs. We are unlikely to be reconciled but I'm sure we're both old enough and ugly enough to live with that.

C'est la vie. C'est Mumsnet.

JennyPennyNAPPYWEB Fri 02-Oct-09 17:52:02

I would never let my DC do it. No, it might not harm/tramatise them or anything but regardless of what people say it is definatly NOT teaching your children to have respect for living creatures.

Just like I wouldn't let them purposly kill insects or harm any animal. Its just not nice really is it.

It obviously isn't the end of the world if kids do it, but I don't see why any parent would want to encourage it.

DoingTheBestICan Fri 02-Oct-09 17:52:33

You are right,i apologise if was a little ott earlier.

I still think its a load of rubbish to say its cruel to pigeons to chase them.

I am now leaving this thread as like you say we all have different views,& to me there are far more pressing issues out there to judge than some blinking pigeons being chased.

MrsGhoulofGhostbourne Fri 02-Oct-09 17:52:56

Chasing them not cruel - not as if he was injuring them! Tjose old people who feed vermin and envourage them are far more u nreasonable.

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 17:55:43

Hang on... does this mean there isn't going to be a fight in the park?

<takes off coat>

<unpacks chicken sandwiches>

TheMitsubishiWarrioress Fri 02-Oct-09 17:56:43

So, the parents who let their children chase pigeons, you don't mind if someone's dog chases your toddler/child, and the owner says 'awwww, he won't hurt anyone, he loves children'.


It is now about pigeons having feelings, it is about having basic respect for our living environment.

junglist1 Fri 02-Oct-09 17:59:13

I don't let my boys do it but I don't think it's cruel as such, doesn't mean they want to hurt them. I've had brats come to play and squeeze my cats neck and have never been so disgusted in my life. There's a difference between that and being interested in getting the birds to flap away.

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 02-Oct-09 18:00:26

grin tethersend

<unloads shotgun>

MrsGhoulofGhostbourne Fri 02-Oct-09 18:02:08

The children never catch the pigeons, and don't bite them, and children can't fly away.

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 18:03:19

Do the pigeon chasers let their children chase ducks and ducklings as well?

CommonNortherner Fri 02-Oct-09 18:04:06

Slippery slope arguments are ridiculous!

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 18:04:49

seeker I'm listening

defineme Fri 02-Oct-09 18:09:36

I don't think slippery slope arguments are that ridiculous really. I couldn't care less if other people chase pigeons-they'll get over in, but my kids like to chase cats too so I just ban all chasing of animals as that's easier. My friend's child taught them to stamp on slugs and I've banned that too-disgusting mess and for some reason the glee they took in it repulsed me a bit - not that I care about slugs either.

defineme Fri 02-Oct-09 18:10:21

get over it

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 18:11:20

"Slippery slope arguments are ridiculous! "

Often they are - but in this case, I fail to see how you're going to explain to a toddler that chasing pigeons is OK but chasing ducks and ducklings is not. I'm sure I couldn't have done it - so it seems to me that a blanket ban on using living things as toys is a good plan.

Podrick Fri 02-Oct-09 18:20:04

I think pigeons are vermin tbh

I also personally think that keeping any animals as pets is wrong, but I don't judge people who do keep pets.

Chasing pigeons is no big sin.

GibbonInARibbon Fri 02-Oct-09 18:46:42

I think instilling a respect for the environment is a mandatory part of parenting, or at least, it should be.

I find it a real shame that so many people laugh at the idea of showing respect to all forms of life.

Tabithacat Fri 02-Oct-09 19:14:55

So why is me chasing your children different to your kids chasing anything. I don't actually like pigeons, it is the principle - you don't deliberately startle anything or encourage your children to. And I didn't compare feelings of a pigeon to the feelings of your kids. I just can't see the difference between one big living thing chasing a little living thing, it doesn't matter what that living thing is.

And no, my dog is not stuffed - he is just better brought up than your kids! grin The dog has been taught that he cannot chase things because if I hadn't he'd think it is alright to chase the cats, kittens, rabbits, birds etc. that he regularly comes into contact with and that is not on.

To summarise, it is not the fact that they are chasing a pigeon it is the fact that they are chasing anything that is wrong.

ChilloHippi Fri 02-Oct-09 19:18:22

JennyPenny is right. I'm not concerned that it might scare the pigeons, but I am trying to teach my DS to respect all animals, so chasing pigeons, just like chasing the cat, is a no-no. So YABU, I'm afraid.

Don't let my children chase them,but they do enjoy eating them [woodpigeon,that is,not feral pigveons].

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 19:23:59

I do wish one of the people who think it's OK for children to chase pigeons would tell me whether it's OK for them to chase ducks.

AvengingGerbil Fri 02-Oct-09 19:24:50

If people wouldn't feed the wretched things in the parks then there would not be huge flocks of them for anyone to chase.

Our park has a completely disgusting area where people empty out whole loaves of sliced bread (not crumbed up), bags of rice, etc. It goes mouldy. It encourages rats as well as the pigeons.

It is right next to the path. You have to walk past it to get to school. Yuk.

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 19:27:13

Being a mum is hard enough without making issues about something children have done forever.

I bet you anti-chasers are the type who don't like their kids to run in the playground and make them wear a crash helmet whilst walking too grin

Oh and I reckon you all have allotments too!

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 19:30:11

One of the important elements of being a mum is instilling essential kindness and respect for other animals. Yes, it is hard, but that's what I signed up for. I'm not even going to dignify the helmet/allotment comments with an answer - they are too silly.

ohfuschia Fri 02-Oct-09 19:33:40

yabu, don't like it when I see children doing this, some say why shouldn't they, but I think why should they

SardineQueen Fri 02-Oct-09 19:34:50

Can see both sides of this TBH - but wanted to give a couple of answers to seeker's question.

Ducks may well be owned by someone as livestock - and as such you can't do anyhthing - chase them catch them eat them whatever as they are someone's property

Ducks of the ornamental/pond type often have their wings clipped and so can't fly away - as I learnt to my horror once when I saw a young dog savage about 6 ducks on a pond near where i live

Ducks don't tend to hang out in the middle of the path - you would have to go out of your way to pester them, probably following them into a pond

When they are out and about they often have ducklings with them which can't get away as adults can so that would be another no-no

Other than that I would think that a pigeon chaser should have no probs chasing a duck. Although I suspect the duck would simply get well away and that would be it.

Pigeon chasers feel free to correct me though!

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 19:35:25

I wouldn't actively encourage my child to chase any animal, however if I caught them at it I wouldn't be horrified either. It's just something kids that kids tend to want to do..

jeeeez talk about overanalysing an innocent act

HecatesTwopenceworth Fri 02-Oct-09 19:35:45

I'm a bit thick cantpoo,blush because I don't understand. What has (OTT) child safety and growing veg got to do with not letting your kids use animals for entertainment?

(and I've never had an allotment, my kids run wild in playgrounds but yes, ds1 did wear a helmet as a toddler, but that's cos he's autistic and has erbs palsy and the combination meant he rather enjoyed banging his head AND kept falling over anyway!)

OrmIrian Fri 02-Oct-09 19:37:07

I never see how calling something 'vermin' is meaningful in anyway. As if the creature can then be dismissed from our considerations. We are the ones who make vermin. We get the vermin we deserve. If we weren't such a dirty wasteful excessive species there wouldn't be rats and pigeons clearing up our crap. They are the inevitable consequence of our insistence on living in communities and being so wasteful.

GibbonInARibbon Fri 02-Oct-09 19:42:36

OrmIrian - I think I just fell a little in love with you.

Dominique07 Fri 02-Oct-09 19:45:32

I think its just harmless fun; children run at the birds and then stop.

Isn't this like instinctive training for our ancestral hunter gatherer origins, just like all child's play?


cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 19:45:58

It was a comedy generalization about 'you types' obvious to those with a sense of humour who have followed this debate from the start grin

It's also quite clearly tongue in cheek but you seem to want to drag it down to a personal level

GibbonInARibbon Fri 02-Oct-09 19:48:25

poo, can I call you poo? wink

Was a rather silly thing to say tbh. I read it and have to say was a tad hmm

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 19:50:43

I know I sound obsessed with ducks, but catpoo - do you let your child chase ducks? Or sheep?

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 19:51:00


OrmIrian Fri 02-Oct-09 19:52:57

Gosh thanks gibbon.

Feeling all unneccesary now grin

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 19:53:55

catpoo?? who mentioned cats??!!

GibbonInARibbon Fri 02-Oct-09 19:55:46

I do forget that the hmm face has only one meaning in this world.

GibbonInARibbon Fri 02-Oct-09 19:59:52

Going to step away now, others have phrased it far more eloquently that I ever could.

If people think it's OK to let their children do it, methinks my twopence worth won't change that.

SquirrelTrap Fri 02-Oct-09 20:01:24

Seeker - I have chased and kicked a goose in front of the children.

That was after it attacked DS2 and was going to keep going. DOes that count?

pointydoug Fri 02-Oct-09 20:04:11

I don't mid if a child does it once.

But if they do it over an d over, I think how irritating it must be for the pigeons and I fell like telling the kid to give it a rest

OrmIrian - exactly right.

I quite like pigeons actually, and live in London. Just because they are a bit greasy and grubby, people seem to hate them. Grey squirrels carry more viruses than pigeons.

I agree with the other posters about a blanket 'don't chase any animal rules' just because I want my DD to be a compassionate soul. If she get's surrounded by a flock of them at the park though and needs to get through em, then not much we can do about that.

sazzerbear Fri 02-Oct-09 20:05:47

He's hardly running after them with a shotgun!
Rats with wings!!! grin

pointydoug Fri 02-Oct-09 20:06:14

oo yes, seeker. I had a swan in a half nelson, squeezed it within an inch of its life, after it tried to ambush my children and steal my purse.

Does that count?

Rubyrubyruby Fri 02-Oct-09 20:07:37

I am wondering whether opinions differ if you are a city/country type?

curiositykilled Fri 02-Oct-09 20:08:06

I don't think it is directly harmful but rather a good opportunity to teach children to be kind to things they see as smaller and insignificant. I don't let my children chase pigeons, can't see the difference between terrorising a pigeon, a dog, a cat, a rat or another small child. They are all, potentially, things with feelings a small child can either ignore or consider.

My children are certainly not over-protected, but they are generally kind to other people and animals. I think children have a tendency to be very self-centred, any opportunity you have to teach them to recognise and consider another entity's feelings should be taken IMO. Can't see any benefit to it either.

TeaOneSugar Fri 02-Oct-09 20:09:24

I wouldn't let dd, because I hate it when they fly up at me, and I imagine other people do to.

Not sure why us Veggies got dragged into this though hmm.

LynetteScavo LOL at the pigeon with the "very small Brian", I imagined a tiny park keeper with a badge that says "Park Keeper Brian" grin, looking after all the pigeons.

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Fri 02-Oct-09 20:26:55

I suspect that if a giant pigeon chased my ds he'd think it was hilarious!

What are people's views of butterflies? Ds had fun chasing one round the garden the other week. He was about as close to catching it as a not very close thing, but it was a great game for about 2 minutes!

OrmIrian Fri 02-Oct-09 20:28:51

Well I suspect butterfly wasn't aware it was being chased takfa grin

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 20:31:43

I do think the anti chasers come across as rather pathetic.
The fact that my son and a few of his friends enjoy chasing pigeons every so often doesn't mean they disrespect animals in general or other children.

I do worry sometimes that we are becoming a nation of idiots who over think everything, even a child's natural impulse to run into a flock of pigeons and make them fly away.

pointydoug Fri 02-Oct-09 20:33:47

rather pathetic?!

I hope you don;t mean me

OrmIrian Fri 02-Oct-09 20:36:09

No you are right mrsr. I am a bit pathetic grin

daftpunk Fri 02-Oct-09 20:36:10

it's harmless mrsruffallo.....don't worry about it...smile

PenguinProject Fri 02-Oct-09 20:38:34

I've only read the first and last page of this, but am absolutely amazed at the suggestion of cruelty to animals. It has really made me think because I would have just thought of it as harmless fun....blush.

Is it still ok to eat fish cos they don't have any feelings?

Sassybeast Fri 02-Oct-09 20:38:51

I'm with you Seeker and find it interesting that the only folk rolling of eyes and being borderline offensive on the thread are those who think it's ok to let their brats darlings run riot scaring a living creature. As for ducks, ducklings, dogs, cats - they'll all be fair game for the little thugs. I mean - it's only a dumb animal isn't it ? Oh and to whoever suggested that sheepdogs rule by fear - get real. Never heard so much nonsense in my life.

'plink - opens wine.

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 20:39:43

mrsruffallo So let me get this right ...

I am Smug, Sanctimonious, Hypocritical, and a Bit Pathetic

Hurrah grin

NellyNoNorks Fri 02-Oct-09 20:41:27

Me too grin.

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 20:47:07

Squirrelchaser - LOL at Seeker - "I have chased and kicked a goose in front of the children."

My devout veggie DH once kicked a duck that was "harrassing" DS1. He has now been nicknamed Duck Socker by myself and my Mum (You may have to read Joseph Wambaugh's "The Choirboys" to get that one).

Mrsruffalo, if you really think that feelong that children should be allowed to scare small and unintelligent animals for their own pleasure is "pathetic", why did you post in AIBU?

Lots of us feel that letting our children frighten other creatures is "pathetic" parenting. And you would not know that had you not started this thread.

seeker Fri 02-Oct-09 20:48:27

And me!

Not sure about pathetic, though. Or hypocritical, actually. Where did that come from???

valhala Fri 02-Oct-09 20:52:21


I had a comment in mind, all ready to type, when I saw Sassy's, and I can't put it any better so I'm pinching her's:

"I'm with you Seeker and find it interesting that the only folk rolling of eyes and being borderline offensive on the thread are those who think it's ok to let their brats darlings run riot scaring a living creature. As for ducks, ducklings, dogs, cats - they'll all be fair game for the little thugs. I mean - it's only a dumb animal isn't it ? Oh and to whoever suggested that sheepdogs rule by fear - get real. Never heard so much nonsense in my life.

'plink - opens wine. "

Well said that lady! Cheers!

Jamieandhismagictorch Fri 02-Oct-09 20:52:44

Oh, mrsruffalo didn't say all those things, just various contributors back on page 200 ....

curiositykilled Fri 02-Oct-09 21:00:07

mrsruffalo - I never said it was harmful. I said it was an opportunity to teach children about recognising feelings in something they consider smaller and less significant than themselves. Really, if you can't accept an opinion that disagrees with yours at ALL I'm not sure why you even posted in AIBU.

BalloonSlayer Fri 02-Oct-09 21:03:08


"feelong that children should be allowed to scare small and unintelligent animals"

should read "feeling that children should not be allowed to scare small and unintelligent animals"

Note to self - make sure you have included your NOT in the right place. Especially in AIBU.

Astrid28 Fri 02-Oct-09 21:07:49

DD likes to feed pigeons her Monster Munch, sometimes she runs over to them with the crisps and they fly away. It's not her fault they don't appreciate good crisps! grin

HKT Fri 02-Oct-09 21:08:12

Can't help but laugh at the image of someone fending off a goose - I've done the same with my own (no I don't have an allotment, I have a smallholdingwink)- but interestingly enough, they only started chasing my dc when someone else's little sods chased them in the first place!
If these children had learnt a little respect for living creatures in the first place, perhaps this wouldn't have happened.
Fair enough, the pigeons haven't been hurt, but it's about using opportunities to teach children what is appropriate and whats not.
Maybe it is different for those of us who live in the country.

glasjam Fri 02-Oct-09 21:15:38

So do the people who don't like children chasing pigeons actually agree with feeding pigeons?

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 21:19:22

I know Jamie, am working my way through the comments. Will respond to yours in about...erm 3 hours?grin
Between, wine, DH, and a LO who can't get to sleep it is taking a while I am afraid

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 21:23:20

No, OrmIrian you are not pathetic on the slightest, you should know I didn't mean you!

I know DP smile

Now, who else can I offend?

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 21:25:00

Sassy- they are about as far from little thugs as you could possibly imagine. They are lovely 3 yr old boys. Do you often call preschoolers such things?

tethersend Fri 02-Oct-09 21:28:53

"Oh and to whoever suggested that sheepdogs rule by fear - get real. Never heard so much nonsense in my life."

It was me!

So, sassybeast, enlighten me... do sheepdogs draw up a contract with the sheep? Or do the sheep just have so much respect for the dog that they just move out of the way?

And if your idea of a 'thug' is a toddler chasing pigeons, I want to live where you live!

I think this is becoming my favourite thread smile

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 21:33:31

Ok, I have the answer.

Chasing pigeons is a normal thing for an inquistive child to try. But I think a responsible parent should then say 'Tarquin, darling, be kind to the pigeons, don't scare them'.

Thus teaching respect to animals and weaker beings.

If parent says 'haha, look, the pigeons were really scared when you did that' then they are teaching that it is fun to scare animals and weaker beings (in which I incldue smaller/vulnerable children).

If a child learns to respect insects/birds/fish etc then they will learn to respect each other. If the message is given that 'it's just a pigeon' then they will have no respect for animals/people weaker than themselves.

I'm sure a pigeon isn't really traumatised by a child chasing it. But the child may grow up that little bit less caring and respectful, and may grow to really harm things or people.

As I said earlier, my children rescue insects and snails, and rather than saying 'FFS' as one poster kindly put it, I applaud them for their care for the world about them.

pranma Fri 02-Oct-09 21:35:28

They fly away because they are scared-it is a defence mechanism.I wouldnt scold a child for doing it once but I would explain that it isnt kind to frighten animals and birds and to try not to do it on purpose.

HKT Fri 02-Oct-09 21:35:31

Sheepdogs don't chase the sheep willy nilly, they obey their masters and control and guide the flock. Having worked with sheepdogs, I can quite honestly say that sheep aren't scared of them - if the dog is around, but not on duty, the sheep don't bat an eyelid, if they ruled by fear, this wouldn't be the case, they would go berserk every time they saw the dog.

pranma Fri 02-Oct-09 21:36:26

Oh Lily I posted before I saw yours and you have said it perfectly.

mrsruffallo Fri 02-Oct-09 21:44:26

LilyBolero and Squirrel have really made me laugh on this thread
And Mrs A of course
Thanks for the entertainment and opinions

cantpooinpeace Fri 02-Oct-09 21:44:26

Who can believe that a 'kids chasing pigeons' post could get so dark and deep

lol at drawing up contract with sheep

sad that sassy is so narrow minded that she thinks any child allowed to chase a pigeon is a brat (she clearly has one of those perfect kids - retch I'd rather have a pigeon than one of those)

Chasing pigeons is wrong

And my mum told me that so I know it's true.

(Not the most eloquent of arguments but I think you all know really that chasing pigeons is WRONG!!!)

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 22:06:06

not sure if that's a good or a bad thing mrsruffallo!

puddinghead Fri 02-Oct-09 22:06:28

Surely it's not about being deliberately cruel but more about toddlers' natural curiosity and excitement? But reason I wouldn't be too keen on ds's chasing through a flock of pigeons (not that we ever come across 'flocks' of the things) would be because they'd likely catch something unsavoury from the manky critturs.

ineedalifelaundry Fri 02-Oct-09 22:40:18

I agree with what so many have already said, that it's not about the pigeons' levels of distress at being chased- it's ALL about teaching respect for all livIng creatures to our dc. I hate seeing kids chase pigeons. I certainly won't be allowing my dd to do it.

maryz Fri 02-Oct-09 22:41:32

Would someone please go through this thread and tell me how many for chasing pigeons, and how many think it's cruel.

I always used to allow chasing pigeons and seagulls, but not ducks and geese at the park. And I don't really know why?

YABU. Sorry, I hate to see children chasing pigeons. Birds DO get traumatised, it said so on telly. So it must be true grin

But, seriously, I hate it and have told children off for doing it. So there!

glasjam Sat 03-Oct-09 00:07:55

I think it all comes down to whether you think pigeons are capable of being terrorised.

Your average inner-city pigeon seems a hardy beast (fowl?). It lives amongst us humans, feeding off our scraps and chancing its arm in a way that other birds don't (apart from seagulls). So when I am sitting at a picnic table and the buggers start accumulating at my feet, I shoo them away because I don't wish to share my picnic. My child sees this and thinks it's fair game to also shoo pigeons.

Imagine what it is like to be a child and see something that large and feathery that seems to want to come amongst them and doesn't fly away until you come right up close. Surely the pigeon must have adapted to be less scareable and fragile than a poor sparrow who would die of fright. Aren't they tough old birds? Can someone really point me in the direction of some research that proves that these birds are being traumatised by a 3 year old running towards them, open-armed and full of glee?

Having said all that, I do try and tell my children "ah leave poor pigeon alone, how would you like being chased like that?" they usually look at me with a look that says "I'd bloody love it!!"

TigerDrivesAgain Sat 03-Oct-09 00:15:56

Crikey, what a long thread!

I don't like to see children or anyone else for that matter teasing any animal, and even though I loathe the flying rats, that include the Pgeons. It isnt fun, it's just nasty teasing, why pretend otherwise. I do dislike their horrid scaly legs though, wouldn't want one for a pet.

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 01:06:25

Funny the conversation should turn to the nature of pigeons, how they react to humans and pigeons as pets as we have one at present.

No, I'm not winding you all up!

Tweety Pie, as he is known, fell out of a tree with his nest at about 14 days old. Pigeon mums don't recognise their own when this happens and merely think, "Oh look, there's some baby on the path beside a load of passing humans! Oh well....", so you can't just leave it for Mum to return to.

So, Tweety moved in and has been hand fed for the past couple of weeks. He was about 14 days old when found and will be able to fly off when he is about 35 days old.


Tweety thinks that DD2, who found him and has taken over the job of rearing him, is his mother! He cries out only for her, comes out of his cage and seeks her out and now he is able to fly immediately flaps off to sit on her shoulder or head. He flew as far as a roof about 6 doors away yesterday - DD2 was distraught but I told her to call him and sure enough he flew back (onto her shoulder). Problem is he's so damn tame that he then sat on the shed roof and nearly got eaten by one of our cats, who wander aimlessly around his cage ignoring him when he is in it within the house. Best he goes to a sanctuary soon, not back into the wild methinks!

So, this being my first up close and personal experience with a pigeon makes me disagree with the idea that I wouldn't like one as a pet and certainly reinforces my view that they shouldn't be chased and clearly can both fear us if we do and trust us if we are kind.

My DC were never allowed to chase birds or any animal and I am glad to say that this respect for them has paid off. Not only do they rescue various waifs and strays (last tmonth it was a baby hedgehog!), but also they join me in helping at a dog rescue. IME the message that to chase animals is cruel and shows no respect for them has paid off.

And if anyone knows a wildlife sanctuary with room for a very friendly pigeon, do let me know!

SardineQueen Sat 03-Oct-09 01:11:19

This thread is fantastic grin

Sheepdogs are able to shepherd sheep around by.... well it's yet to be explained. I thought that sheep had been bred by humans to be a bit dim, and that they recognised the "wolf" in sheepdogs which is why they don't sit around munching grass when the sheepdog comes at them. Certainly that's how sheepdog normally operate. Give em a scare so they move, that's enough, sit down etc. Is it all sticker charts now?

And yes whoever mentioned geese earlier - anyone with a child who loves a good go at a bird and is pretty fearless should go and have a try at some geese. They are right bastards and deserve everything they get.

incidentally, I gave a very excellent response to the duck chasing question, which seems to have been ignored grin

Jamieandhismagictorch Sat 03-Oct-09 06:50:45

valhala great story. I also used to try and rescue baby birds when I was a child. Always unsuccessfully. I remember trying to feed them with bits of worm on a matchstick ...

Incidentally, I always assumed that a mother bird wouldn't be able to do much to help a baby that has fallen out of the nest - they don't pick up a baby in their beaks do they ? (anyone out there know ?)

Sardine I think you are right about sheepdogs. I don't have a problem with that inconsistency in reasoning. For the reasons above, I do have a problem with allowing/encouraging my children to frighten anything themselves.

Geese are not "right bastards". They are animals following an instinctive pattern of behaviour. Now who is anthropomorphising ?

Will go back and check on your duck answer grin

Jamieandhismagictorch Sat 03-Oct-09 07:00:26

Just thought I'd share my story of the dreadful namby-pamby allotment-loving child I have produced with my funny ideas about respect for living things ...grin

DS1 (8) told me he'd refused to do an experiment at school to see if a plant could grow if you pulled its leaves off. He even tried to start a rebellion.

My initial reaction was to say ... respect for authority of the teacher ..... and we talked about the point of science and doing experiments to test theories, and not trying to start classroom uprisings

He was adamant that it would "hurt the plant", and make the plant sad - which I did disagree with (plants not being sentient grin). In the end we agreed to disagree.

Goblinchild Sat 03-Oct-09 07:00:52

Why not organise a trip to Brighton seafront?
Bring the sandwiches, crisps et all.
Then give your children the chance to be mobbed by seagulls.
Mine chased pigeons when they were toddlers, I used to think it was preventing future tragedies by honing the survival instincts of the birds.
And yes, I am a veggie, allotment-owning environmental activist-type.

Divvy Sat 03-Oct-09 07:07:09

YANBU....but its cruel for your son as he is NEVER going to catch one! wink

cantpooinpeace Sat 03-Oct-09 07:26:23

Oh Jamie your son's sooo sweet grin if only my brat was more like that - clearly it's the chasing pigeons that's the deep rooted cause

PuppyMonkey Sat 03-Oct-09 07:39:50

Rats with wings, pigeons. But I do admire their homing facility.

DP once kicked a goose that was terrorising us as we walked by. The farmer was right there watching us and he shouted over: "Give it a good hardf kick", so DP did.

This thread is f-ing brilliant btw. grin

sarah293 Sat 03-Oct-09 07:52:42

Message withdrawn

seeker Sat 03-Oct-09 07:58:32

"I think it all comes down to whether you think pigeons are capable of being terrorised."

No it doesn't. I am absoulutely sure that pigeons, particularly city pigeons are not even remotely bothered by being chased by toddlers.

What it is about is teaching our children basic values of kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness. Letting them think that chasing living things that aren't in on the game is OK is such a bad idea.

Call me a woolly minded liberal hippy if you must, - but on this one I'm right!

tinkerbellesmuse Sat 03-Oct-09 08:06:19

Jeez I am also inhabiting the parallel universe - can't believe people worry about this stuff. The pigeons will get over it, maybe the PPP sould too!

And the slippery slope arguments are rubbish - show me a toddler who can't tell the difference between a pigeon and a cat/sheep/whatever and I'll show you a parent who sould spend less time worrying about the rights of pigeons.

Sarey1 Sat 03-Oct-09 08:07:57

I hate pigeons, they are disgusting manky germ bags. But I won't let my DS chase them because he will then chase every cat, dog, chicken, duck, lamb, small child etc that he sees, cos he is too young to understand my inconsistent parenting! It's not about respecting pigeons' feelings (ha!), it's about trying to teach him stuff early on that makes sense and then trying to stick with it.

violethill Sat 03-Oct-09 09:22:04

Agree that the pigeons are unlikely to feel terrorised, I doubt their brains are big enough to feel anything more than very basic instincts.

So it's not some woolly minded thing about respecting pigeons rights! It's about the basic principle that you don't go charging at any living thing for your own amusement. It's also a pretty anti social thing to do, because it isn't pleasant for anyone else nearby to have a flock of pigeons suddenly flying in the face

glasjam Sat 03-Oct-09 09:45:20

You see my son is the type of child that picks up snails and slugs off the pathway so that they don't get trampled, he wants a woodlouse as a pet, he helps me catch spiders and release them into the garden etc. He's kind and gentle to even the smallest greenfly but I have never really worried about him chasing after a pigeon. Interesting.

Are there any exceptions to this rule of no chasing? I need to know because obviously my child will be viewed as a sadistic, potential murderer by a lot of people on here if they saw him ambling after a pigeon. Is it only the running into a settled flock that the local "character" is feeding in the park that constitutes mental cruelty? What about the dopey pigeon that decides to peck around the slide at the local swingpark? Surely if he was straying onto a child's territory he can't be that scared of them and as someone else pointed out, there's no way you can catch them - if I thought there was a chance of that then obviously I'd stop them doing it.

Are some of the people that don't let their children chase pigeons the type of people who take nuts into the park to feed the squirrels? Now they really irk me!!

violethill Sat 03-Oct-09 09:52:29

The OP was about letting her ds chase flocks of pigeons for his own amusement. Not seeing off the odd one or two which might be pecking around a park bench while you're eating your sandwich.

There's quite a difference.

TheCroneEvenstar Sat 03-Oct-09 10:16:05

I once got told to "chill out and relax its just boys having fun" when I told DS1 and DN1 to stop chasing pidgeons. They were 5 and 3 at the time. I asked the woman if she would like someone bigger chasing her? she didn't answer oddly enough.

freename Sat 03-Oct-09 10:17:56

Crone why have stopped being a lady?

Free, i was on a late night thread last night and was trying out halloween names.

mrsruffallo Sat 03-Oct-09 11:40:27

Believe it or not is entirely possible to let your child chase pigeons and also have respect for animals.
They love animals!
I am so glad I started this thread, it's a joy!

tethersend Sat 03-Oct-09 12:50:18

Oooh, it's still going... brilliant smile

HK- the sheepdog was brought up as an example when another poster explained that she ate only free range meat which had had a happy life. I asked if she included lamb/mutton/wool(?) being chased by sheepdogs- the reasoning being that the trauma the sheep suffer is surely on a par with the trauma pigeons experience being chased by toddlers.

So, by your logic, the sheep are not afraid of the dog (I am baffled as to why they run from it, but that's another thread); this is evidenced by the fact that they are happy to stand next to an off-duty sheepdog.

Pigeons are happy to stand next to an off-duty toddler (one that isn't running at them). Ergo, they are no more traumatised by toddlers chasing them than 'free range' sheep are by being herded.

I just think you relinquish a little of the moral highground on the pigeon chasing issue if you eat meat. Especially pigeons. Or ducks.

I eat meat, so my concerns for the welfare of pigeons are, at best, wavering.

Carry each argument to its logical conclusion and you have a ridiculous outcome; one side never harming a living creature, avoiding grassy areas for fear of stepping on one, and the other side becoming a cat torturing- toddler eating group of dead-eyed zombies, drop kicking any goose in their wake.

Personally, I look forward to this.

Thanks mrsruffallo smile

violethill Sat 03-Oct-09 12:54:27

I think some people are taking this a little too seriously!!

I think most of us are agreed that pigeons are unlikely to be traumatised by a toddler chasing them.

On the other hand, I was seriously pissed off when some kid ran into a flock of pigeons in our local park the other week, causing them to go flapping off, upsetting other children nearby. Of course, the kid's mum just looked on indulgently as if he'd done something terribly clever.

tethersend Sat 03-Oct-09 13:02:54

On the contrary, violethill... this is a very serious issue!!!


In all honesty, some posters do believe that pigeons are traumatised by being chased- read back through the brilliant, brilliant thread.

violethill Sat 03-Oct-09 13:08:16

I guess there are some strange people about!

People who think pigeons have sufficiently developed nervous systems to feel severely traumatised by being chased by a toddler. That's a pretty strange thing to think.

And people whose brains are unsufficiently developed that they think it's fun or clever to encourage their kids to run into flocks of mangy disease carrying vermin so that they take off, flapping and shitting in other people's faces. That's an equally strange point of view.

carocaro Sat 03-Oct-09 13:13:26

I only let DS's chase the ones in the tree near our house when they are on the ground as they poo loads all over my car and it's hideaous, so I have reasonable grounds!!

Otherwise I do think it is a bit mean to do it for fun!

bitsnbobs Sat 03-Oct-09 13:22:03

YABU, I hate seeing kids scaring pigeons and also as I told ds last week standing on snails. I think we should teach our children basic respect for all living creatures. I have seen children in my street chasing my cat who comes in scared and another bugbear of mine (i know i'm moaning now) is when they pull branches off trees,pull flowers out etc. I suppose its more about a general respect for living things.

BalloonSlayer Sat 03-Oct-09 13:25:26

I am loving the idea of an "off duty toddler." grin

I wish the ELC would start selling clocking-in machines, and when DS2 starts acting up I can say "No darling, you're off duty now."

tethersend Sat 03-Oct-09 13:27:56


Sassybeast Sat 03-Oct-09 14:00:37

At what point will the message get through to the 'my kids do what they want brigade' that the issue is not with traumatising bloody pigeons ? hmm It's about respecting LIVE creatures. Where do you draw the line ? But I suspect that if after 200 odd posts, those of you who have the previously mentioned under developed brains winkand still can't comprehend what teaching children respect for animals is about, there really isn't any point in continuing the thread. And to whoever was spouting the bollocks about sheepdogs 'ruling by fear' grin do a little research on natural herding and grouping instincts in animals. You might actually learn something. Now scuse me whilst I go and watch the kids pull wings off bumble bees and stamp on the cat. Only a dumb animal innit ? And in the meantime, I must drag the sheepdog out of the pen where he is currently curled up asleep with a bunch of petrified sheep grin

LilyBolero Sat 03-Oct-09 14:03:55

Agree with sassybeast.

I don't like them picking flowers or damaging trees either, - it's damaging something beautiful, and they should respect their environment.

DorotheaPlenticlew Sat 03-Oct-09 14:20:02

But if the pigeons aren't scared, how is a toddler running at them being disrespectful? Any more so than the jogger running towards them that I mentioned back in 1902 when this thread was young?

In answer to where do you draw the line, I guess I'd draw it where it seemed like the living creature in question was actually bothered (or physically damaged in any way even if not bothered). As none of us is a pigeon psychologist, surely that's all we can do?

Actually, you know what ... I don't care any more. But when my DS tries to chase his first pigeon, I will think back to this thread and probably feel conflicted about what to do grin

tethersend Sat 03-Oct-09 14:21:48

Sassybeast.- It was me who was "spouting the bollocks about sheepdogs ruling by fear."

I have yet to be convinced that the sheep move away from the dog out of anything but fear. This fits in with the natural herding instincts you speak of. But, if you insist, they move away for a totally different reason, nothing to do with the sheepdog resembling their natural predator or anything. Fine.

I am definitely learning something, don't worry about that wink

Plus, OP wanted to know if chasing pigeons was considered cruel or not. Hence the discussion about traumatised pigeons. It's hilarious, but you can see how it came about.

The point is, everyone draws the line somewhere, just at different points. For me, chasing pigeons is on a par with a sheepdog chasing sheep. For you, it's on a par with pulling the wings off insects and stamping on cats.

LilyBolero Sat 03-Oct-09 14:28:27

The point is that whether or not the pigeon is traumatised, the child is using a living creature as a plaything, and is using a position of strength to tease the weaker creature. Which is not compatible with teaching a child to respect all living things.

SardineQueen Sat 03-Oct-09 14:28:52

I am going to go and start a thread about geese being right bastards wink

Show me a toddler who could take on a flock of geese and that is one hard toddler grin

seeker Sat 03-Oct-09 14:30:48

All you have to do is substitute "ducks" for "pigeons". I don't think anyone would be happy with their toddler chasing ducks. That's because ducks are cute and pigeons aren't. Not becuause ducks have bigger brains. As usual cure animals have more rights than plain ones!

And anyway it's not about pigeons rights. it's abotu teaching our children that they should care for and respect other animals, not chase them for fun.

tethersend Sat 03-Oct-09 14:33:17

But you can eat ducks and it's ok?????

Not the most respectful thing you can do to a duck IMO...

SardineQueen Sat 03-Oct-09 14:33:38

There are circs where it would not be right/legal to chase ducks as I listed earlier. Agree that pigeon chasers should also not have any problems chasing ducks seagulls or any other sort of bird.

Maybe no-one has responded to that from the pro-chasing camp as they are all comfortable with chasing ducks?

tinkerbellesmuse Sat 03-Oct-09 14:34:16

At what point will the message get through to the Pigeons have feelings brigade that chasing a pigeon does not mean you're "disrespecting it" (note to self: I cannot believe I'm debating dissin' pigeons. Must. Get. Grip)

A line can be drawn wherever you care to do so. It's not difficult. I do not equate chasing pigeons with stamping on cats. In the same way I don't equate walking over grass with trampling on flowers.

DorotheaPlenticlew Sat 03-Oct-09 14:41:12

I don't agree that it's because ducks are cuter. I think it's because ducks, if chased, seem more bothered than pigeons do, and don't get out of the way and re-settle as quickly or sedately.

Also not really convinced that running towards a group of pigeons is using living creatures as a plaything. It's playing, sure, and it's interacting with living creatures nearby. But I don't think that it's "using" them. It's being in the same environment and realizing that they respond to your movement. I don't see that as inherently disrespectful, assuming (as I am doing) that the pigeons aren't troubled.

Perhaps the difference in my mind is that I am imagining a tiny boy like DS trundling along towards birds and them fluttering off. If it was a case of bigger kids doing a lot of persecution-style chasing over and over, it probably would strike me differently.

DorotheaPlenticlew Sat 03-Oct-09 14:43:56

<resolves to leave thread instead of hovering over it with frown of intense concentration>

Bumblingbovine Sat 03-Oct-09 14:44:10

I don't mind if any toddler chases birds (ducks , pigeons or otherwise). DS used to do this a lot as a small toddler. He no longer does it as he is that much older (nearly 5). I never stopped him because it didn't occur to me, though I didn't like him getting too close to pigeons as they carry diseases.

DS is kind to animals generally and learnt (and is still learning) to be so with gradual guidance from dh and I (in particular the example of dh who is fanatical about not hurting any living things if possible)

Even dh (who looked up humane ways to get rid of an infestation of ants without killing them) didn't object to ds chasing pigeons.

Bumblingbovine Sat 03-Oct-09 14:46:37

In fact chasing ducks seems much more sensible to me as I vastly prefer roast duck to pigeon (only had pigeon once though)

smallorange Sat 03-Oct-09 14:54:34

My dd's chase them shouting ' dirty pigeons' horrible diseased, junk food crazed, rat-like creatures.

I hate them. Squirrels too.

duchesse Sat 03-Oct-09 14:55:30

Down here in Devon, we only let our children chase game if armed with a knife. We's feral down 'ere. If they aren't going to catch, kill it, pluck it and eat it, it's not worth the chasing. Specially duck, that never go tough no matter how old they are...

Sassybeast Sat 03-Oct-09 14:57:17

Tethersend - there is an element of predatory behaviour in any sheepdog or herding dog, but the breeds have been so highly modified over the years to eliminate the ultimately destructive predatory behaviour - the biting and the kill. Sheep(when they are used to a dog) aren't afraid of a well trained sheepdog - they react instinctively to the controlled movement that the dog makes under instruction from a handler - in pretty much the same way that a human being would move to avoid an onstacle. Put a poorly trained sheepdog in a field of sheep and sure - the dog will cause chaos and the sheep will go beserk. But sheep themselves are dumb animals - they see a gap (ie a gate) and inevitably they will go through it with the minimum of persuasion from Lassie. I am actually endlessly fascinated at how the sheep themselves will respond to the handlers instructions even if the dog isn't there! Aplogies for sounding a bit stroppy - we take great pride in our approach to animal welfare, from the peskiest pigeon to the biggest bovine wink

emmarussell Sat 03-Oct-09 15:40:56

I have to say, before I had kids I hated the ones who chased pigeons. Partly because of their lack of respect for animals but mostly because they were noisy and in my face when doing it and made the birds flap about all over the place.

I still dislike it even though I have 2 noisy boys who would love to chase birds. It depends where you are. What I don't like is when groups of mums are so busy chatting they don't keep an eye on their kids behaviour and whether they might be bothering people by running around e.g. a cafe area chasing them. I think if you are in the middle of nowhere it is fine. I know how noisy and mad my boys can be and I try to be considerate of others around cafes etc. to make sure they don't chase birds and bother others.

Rubyrubyruby Sat 03-Oct-09 15:41:11

PMSL at smallorange grin

glasjam Sat 03-Oct-09 18:43:47

Are you deafened by the sound of disapproving tutting when your children do this to the pigeons smallorange? grin

Squeegeeee Sat 03-Oct-09 18:54:57

I chase pigeons, my children chase pigeons too. Neither they nor I are dysfunctional, or cruel to animals. They are gentle, loving children who treat living creatures with respect. I was told I was cruel for killing their nits a while back.

Chasing pigeons is one of the pleasures of Childhood and I'm not going to deny them that.

When they try and chase geese, and the geese chase them back they will soon learn that there are creatures you can get away with chasing, and animals you can't.

Some people take these things waayyyy too seriously.

<prepares for a barrage of "Your children are unmanaged/have no respect/tutting blah blah blah">

smallorange Sat 03-Oct-09 19:20:22

I couldn't give a toss. And the ones in the Botanics deserve it.

mrsruffallo Sat 03-Oct-09 19:43:44

Jamie ans his magic torch- I find that story about your son with the plants quite disturbing.
How far are you going to take him with this?
Will he refuse to eat veggies or salad because it is cruel?

mrsruffallo Sat 03-Oct-09 19:46:36

LOL small orange
And I do agree with the poster who said she wondered what they would do with one if they actually caught it?grin

SycamoretreeIsVile Sat 03-Oct-09 19:50:59

Dirty, dirty pigeons grin

feralgirl Sat 03-Oct-09 20:09:03

I've enjoyed chasing pigeons for most of my life. Back when I were a wee lass it was the highlight of the year, going up to the big city of Exeter to do Xmas shopping and chase pigeons.

Pigeons carry more diseases that are life-threatening to humans than rats do so I will actively encourage DS to scare them as soon as he is able to walk. And seagulls (or shite-hawks as I like to call them).

Would never do it to 'good' birds though as, esp during the winter, they'll burn up lots of calories that they really need. And I'll never let DS hurt a pigeon, or even a sea gull (although I did laugh a lot at DH throwing a bottle at a St Ives sea gull that stole his pasty one time grin)

I let DS chase pigeons but constantly remind him that it's not ok to chase other birds. The resason being that the pigeons round our way really do behave in a way that suggests they are enjoying the game as much as the child is - they fly off, they come back, they regroup, they shuffle about cooing and giving fake-belligerent stares at the DC till the DC gives chase again. Think for a minute about how kids love to chase each other. WHo's to say that pigeons don't actually find being chased by toddlers the pigeon equivalent of an aerobics class?

Kerrymumbles Sat 03-Oct-09 20:13:44

well my kids eat them so i guess chasing them is rather okay.

RealityBites Sat 03-Oct-09 20:13:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamylady Sat 03-Oct-09 20:18:44

shock at this thread - never thought I'd be so firmly on the 'no nonsense' side of the fence on a mumsnet thread. Must be because of the moral compass i lack, being an atheist and all wink. Seriously though, most people I know think I'm a bit of a soft hippie, I'm not veggie but only eat 'happily farmed' animals and fish, have utmost 'respect' for nature but don't agree that means treating it with kid gloves.

Whether urban pigeons are part of 'nature' or not is debatable - wild animals but veering on the domesticated. But yes deffo let our DD chase them because its a great way for her to feel some interaction with them and see that her actions have an effect. She is not a sadist and is very respectful of mammals and invertebrates alike - I think she sees it as playing a game with them, and frankly they don't seem that arsed, they're just getting out of her way.

that said at least this gives me something to ponder and reconsider, and something non-domestic for DP and I to discuss over our saturday night takeaway smile

Can anyone tell me anything positive about pigeons. They are sky rats. Yet you guys seem to think one should doff one's hat at them. You wait till we start getting bird flu, you'll all be out there gunning for those grey terrors hmm grin

PoppyIsApain Sat 03-Oct-09 20:21:46

Its really not much worse than when dogs and cats chase pigeons, they are used to it and that is classed as natural, although i would discourage my ds as i dont like it when they fly over my head and i want him to learn that no matter what animal it is its wrong to scare it.

Besides which it's not like the pigeons are defenceless, have you guys never been shat on from a great height from the disease ridden monstrosities? angry

I just can't be bothered even reading most of these "pigeon-chasing is cruel" posts. What a load of rubbish - if the pigeon is pissed off at being chased about, it can just fly off and find a quieter corner. What is WRONG with you all??????

Shooting at them, trying to hit them or inflict damage in some other way = quite clearly wrong. But a toddler just running into a crowd of pigeons......get a grip, some of you.

Hang on, this is SURELY a joke thread?

mrsruffallo Sat 03-Oct-09 20:27:00

There is no debate to be had. I totally agree with your post, you sound very sensible

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 20:27:29

FYI, re pigeons and disease, this is from the PICAS website:

"The PiCAS group receives thousands of enquiries every year about bird control and yet the most common question is – do wild birds transmit diseases to human beings? The answer is no, wild birds do not transmit diseases to human beings. The likelihood of a bird passing on a disease to a human being is so infinitesimally small that it is not even worth considering."

PICAS is a pigeon control advisory service which operates nationally and internationally and is the only solely independent organisation of it's kind in the UK.

toddlerama Sat 03-Oct-09 20:34:54

I can't believe I read this whole thread. I hate pigeons. DD is scared of them and wont walk up to them on the path, let alone charge at a flock!

We had one fly down the chimney and skitter threateningly around the living room, coating everything in chimney filth. I love my mum, but I am ashamed to say my terror led me to shut her in the room with it shrieking 'get it out! get rid of it!' whilst she tried to herd it out the window. Was the worst experience ever....but I still tried to help a sick one I found under the stairs to my manky flat. I put it in a box and released it in the woods. DH then pointed out that it was sick, and was probably hiding there from predators, so I had signed its death warrant. sad

Anyway, if toddlers chase them, I think they are just doing something they think is brave or bold. Not trying to be mean.

Valhala - I see your PICAS and raise you a that's bollocks that is! wink

feralgirl Sat 03-Oct-09 20:46:27

You might be unlikely to catch something off a pigeon but their poo is toxic as hell and can give you nasty respiratory infections and chlamydia.

I think I'm right in saying that their poo is so corrosive that it damages buildings and that the reason they always have manky feet is because they stand in it <<boak>>

Yup feral girl and several constructions workers die every year because they slip on the pigeon poo and either fall or impale themselves on things shock

No-one has said anything positive about pigeons yet. Although (I'll kick the pigeon-lovefest off - they do taste nice in pie wink)

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 20:57:39

Lol, WMMChocolate I love the way you put your comment "Valhala - I see your PICAS and raise you a that's bollocks that is!"

<Makes note to remember that smartass comment and wishes MN had a ner-ner type smilie>

I'll trump your remark with a quote from your link:

"Contact with pigeon droppings MAY pose a SMALL health risk"

Or, as PICAS puts it, "The likelihood of a bird passing on a disease to a human being is so infinitesimally small that it is not even worth considering".


<bows> wink

Indeed. Much like the risk of you dying from swine flu. However I'm still waiting for you to tell me something positive about pigeons other than they are mostly harmless grin

I mean, mice are mostly harmless.

And don't get me started on rats with good PR squirrels.

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 21:09:59


<Adds "Rats with good PR" to new list if smartass comments, chucking wildly>

Something positive about pigeons... okay...

The little fella we're hand-rearing at present is a real sweetie, comes when he's called and is very fond of DD2.

Can't fault him, apart from crapping on her a couple of times hes really very cute.

But then I'm cool with snakes and mice, used to have a couple of pet rats and don't freak at frogs or spiders either, so maybe its just me....!

I live in a thatched house - I don't have a choice but to associate with the wildlife! wink

You are hand rearing a pigeon? Why? Don't you have butchers were you live? wink

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 21:11:58

Oh bugger, that should have read "chuckling wildly", not "chucking wildly"! Sorry Chocco (may I call you Chocco?)

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 21:13:58

Hand rearing him as he fell out of his nest at circa 14 days old and would otherwise have died.

And I'm a vegetarian of some 30 odd years!

hugmeandcatchthelurgi Sat 03-Oct-09 21:16:52

I thought the main purpose of pigeons being on the planet was so we could chase them.

Great game

valhala - call me what you like, haven't been yelled at on here for yonks!

I was a veggie for 20 years - there is a cure wink

Seriously, all power to you, but I find it hard to square the whole 'animal welfare' argument with removing yourself from the situation (ie there is more power to change from within by demanding well reared meat than by just saying 'nothing to do with me guv!') Incidentally I'm not having a go at you by saying this.

Milliways Sat 03-Oct-09 21:28:42


honeydew Sat 03-Oct-09 21:32:13

Yes, it IS cruel to chase pidgeons. It shows a lack of respect for birds and all animals.Chasing them will frighten them and that is wrong.

Although it is not necessary to eat animals, most people eat poultry as part of their diet to keep healthy. Running after them as entertainment/for fun is very different to comsuming a bird to provide protein. Chasing birds has no purpose and teaches a child poor habits. I would never let my son chase pidgeons. Sorry, but it's wrong IMO.

Squiglet Sat 03-Oct-09 21:32:19

yanbu, its not like he'd actually be able to catch one. Cant believe how huge this thread is and how strong opinions are over this. Only on mumsnet eh? grin

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 21:33:17

No problems, I'm used to far worse

I just can't accept that its okay to eat an animal so long as its been properly reared or killed. I come from a long line of master butchers so have seen the other side - its just not right to kill imho.

Anyway, if I carry on I'll create mayhem!

PenguinProject Sat 03-Oct-09 21:34:37

I can't believe this thread is still going!

LOL @ "And don't get me started on rats with good-- PR squirrels."

Here's a heart warming pigeon tale:

In October 1918, as the war neared its end, 194 American soldiers found themselves trapped by German soldiers. They were cut off from other Allied soldiers and had no working radios. The only chance they had of alerting anybody about their desperate situation was to send a pigeon with their co-ordinates attacked to its leg. The pigeon's name was Cher Ami. When released it flew 25 miles from behind German lines to the Americans headquarters. Cher Ami covered the 25 miles in just 25 minutes. The pigeon was, in fact, shot through the chest by the Germans but continued to fly home. With the "Lost Battalion's" co-ordinates, the Americans launched a rescue and the 194 men were saved. Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm for its astonishing flight. As with other pigeons, it would not have known where the American's nearest headquarters was - its natural homing instincts took over.

Pigeons fly at 60mph!!!???

But sod it, we've got mobile phones now, kill the lot of them. wink

Valhala - would be delighted to debate the virtues or not of vegetarianism but probably not here wink

Just to clarify though OP when you say chasing, are you talking with spears or nets or just running after pigeons. If it's the former, probably a tad unreasonable. However on the plus side, you are contributing towards their recommended hour of exercise a day. So well done you grin

Squiglet Sat 03-Oct-09 21:39:51

ROFL @ wmmc

Jamieandhismagictorch Sat 03-Oct-09 21:44:06

mrsruffalo to answer your question - I was a bit worried myself ! However, his point was that a plant is a growing thing, he knows what will happen if you pull its leaves off (it won't grow), so he didn't see the experiment as necessary, and he didn't want to kill the pretty plant. I suppose my initial reaction was "so what, it's just a plant", just like the reaction of many on here has been to the pigeon issue.

It hasn't generalised to him not eating plants

Jamieandhismagictorch Sat 03-Oct-09 21:48:11

SGB so basically, the pigeons are flirty little minxes who are asking for it ? grin

groundhogs Sat 03-Oct-09 21:48:17

Literally crying laughing..

Huge applause to valhala & whomoved - best comedic rally I've seen!

thanks so much! grin

valhala Sat 03-Oct-09 21:49:26

Not me, Groundhogs, Chocco is far funnier and smarter than I am.

morocco Sat 03-Oct-09 21:50:35

pigeon pie is quite tasty - that's a positive surely grin

MamaGoblin Sat 03-Oct-09 21:58:35

Has anyone linked Poisoning Pigeons in the Park yet? grin

Letting my son chase pigeons is quite cruel I think - he's only 19 months and can get quite upset when they fly away!

Yup I did earlier which kicked things off a bit! wink

MamaGoblin Sat 03-Oct-09 22:01:52

That'll teach me to comment without reading the entire thread first! blush grin

Ah don't worry I enjoyed your comment - I get quite upset if they move when I steer towards them with the buggy. wink

glasjam Sat 03-Oct-09 22:04:11

Ha! Smallorange - I think a rather large penny may have dropped with your name. Do you know who I am by any chance?

smallorange Sat 03-Oct-09 22:09:35

No! But I've read some of your posts and I think you live in the west end. And yes my name certainly gives me away to people who know me- do I know you? Give us a clue....

cheeseandeyeballsarnie Sat 03-Oct-09 22:12:26

my friends thought it was funny that ds2(only veggie child they know-they dont mix muchgrin)was the only child on a playgroup day out to chase the chickens around the farm yard.the veggie animal terrorist.

glasjam Sat 03-Oct-09 22:18:33

Well you can't know many people who lived above a Jedi can you?

smallorange Sat 03-Oct-09 22:24:22

A ha! May the force be with you...

And where do we stand on allowing toddlers to chase vegetarians - I mean, they're mostly a bit anaemic aren't they, surely even an unfit child could outrun a vegan wink

cheeseandeyeballsarnie Sat 03-Oct-09 22:39:21


glasjam Sat 03-Oct-09 22:41:04

We must meet up some time soon and terrorise the pigeons in the Botanics grin Congrats on the recent addition btw. Be good to catch up again... I'll see if I can find an email address for you.

sarah293 Sun 04-Oct-09 08:41:49

Message withdrawn

lostlenore Sun 04-Oct-09 10:50:39

I don't think your son is doing any harm, but agree with the gilded Gibbon - it teaches a lack of respect. I was just on holiday and saw a boy who must have been about 5 chasing stray cats outside a restaurant and screaming at them, presumably his inattentive grandparents thought he was whooping in delight, but it was all I could do not to get up and give him a bollocking myself. If it was cats chasing pigeons i wouldn't bat an eyelid but children need to be taught not to frighten or hurt anything smaller than they are.

sorry blush

I know children do it but I think its to be discouraged, as is chasing cats and tormenting dogs. I dont make a big thing of it, but toddlers are distractable arent they? Chasing pigeons as a toddler sends a message to children that its ok to torment animals, cos they are just there for their amusement.

pigleychez Sun 04-Oct-09 12:18:51

Goodness me... why does everything have to be so over analysed.

I really dont think letting a toddler occassionally chase a flock of pidgeons is really going to turn them into an aminal abuser!

Allets Sun 04-Oct-09 12:25:21

Whatever next?

Bashing on the glass at the pet shop?
Pulling the puppy's tail?

Never too young to learn about respect! Letting your child terrorise innocent animals is not a great way to start.

FleeBee Sun 04-Oct-09 13:34:37

The thing about pigeons small brains is worrying me. When I was younger and being a bit of a numbo, my dad would exclaim "even pigeons learn quicker than you!!!" So now after reading this I realise that learning as quickly as a pigeon might not have been the greatest thing to aspire to. Ah well!

FWIW I can't bear the sound of the wings flapping, it goes right through me like nails down a blackboard, so I avoid the toddler chasing pigeon scenario as it gives me the willies.

GreenMonkies Sun 04-Oct-09 16:11:21

it teaches a lack of respect

children need to be taught not to frighten or hurt anything smaller than they are.

Never too young to learn about respect! Letting your child terrorise innocent animals is not a great way to start.

Nuff said.

edam Sun 04-Oct-09 16:13:43

I'm all in favour of teaching children to respect animals but toddlers chasing pigeons doesn't seem like a big deal. Pigeons are perfectly capable of looking after themselves. Someone aiming at them with an airgun - bad. Toddler chasing them - hey ho.

hifi Sun 04-Oct-09 19:22:30

jesus, another chilhood caper being eroded.dd chases them but wouldnt dream of harming an animal.

IWantCleanCarpets Sun 04-Oct-09 20:03:30


If I don't chase them but do challenge them to conker fights is that okay? grin

smee Sun 04-Oct-09 20:06:16

I'm with hifi. Pure daftness. Can't be faffed to read 14 pages, but has anyone noted how if pigeons don't like it, they could easily fly up a tree. They usually just land a bit further away, then flap off again if it continues. I'm not saying they enjoy it, but they're hardly defenceless or traumatised now are they..

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 04-Oct-09 20:08:27

smee G'wan - read the 14 pages. It's full off humour. pathos, scientific theory, smugness and sanctimosity, and pure, pure bullshit.

Classic MN grin

I'm just going to keep this going now because I'm enjoying it so much. Sorry! grin

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 04-Oct-09 20:23:23

I think it has been quite an interesting debate.

It hasn't divided along normal lines. I'm sure some of my best friends (otherwise decent people grin), think it's perfectly acceptable to let their DCs chase pigeons, whereas I find myself coming out surprisingly strongly against.

RustyBear Sun 04-Oct-09 20:29:22

Well, according to this there is debate as to which is more intelligent - the chaser or the chasee....

glucose Sun 04-Oct-09 20:30:53

its wrong to scare it! PMSL
these are pigeons

Incontinent, annoying, make a mess everywhere, yes I would agree three year olds and pigeons are not that far apart grin

Jamieandhismagictorch Sun 04-Oct-09 20:33:02

Rusty Veery interesting

<strokes beard>

mrsruffallo Sun 04-Oct-09 20:36:20

What about chasing squirrels then> Is that better? <hides>

I only ever chase squirrels with a spade or a rifle in my hands grin

RustyBear Sun 04-Oct-09 20:58:27

Whereas for rats, I seem to remember you found a large slab of oak to be very effective...

Indeed - I did a good one this weekend (not sure I should be admitting this actually because you will remember it for ever but....)

....we have a wasp problem at the minute - new thatch and they like to make nests in the eaves. So after Rentokil did their thing and the little buggers came back I went to the DIY store and got some nest destroyer foam so any new nests that popped up got blasted.

You have to do this at dusk or early morning - for us early morning is best - the monsters are up by seven and it's still quite dark but at night they are obviously in their rooms so you can't risk a swarm upstairs. So five this morning DS was up (he's sick) so I said 'I'll go blitz those wasps', donned my hard hat (no I have no idea why either, I was knackered), grabbed the spray and sprayed right the way along the eaves.

It's a foaming spray and boy did it foam. So I went back into the house and proudly told DH to stay downstairs for an hour while the wasps died.

A few hours later he came in and said 'umm where's my shaving foam'.

Yep. I did. Very. Clean. Wasps. Quite cross. But with no chaffing hmm

ElectricElephant Sun 04-Oct-09 21:26:40

YABU - I was in the town centre when a little boy was chasing pigeons round the square. Parents ignoring it.

I suppose it's cruel, but pigeons are vermin as far as I'm concerned.

I object to the resulting rain of pigeon shit over everybody in the square!

RustyBear Sun 04-Oct-09 21:31:22

Maybe you should have tried my brother's method & sprayed the nest with liquid nitrogen - apparently wasps arriving home froze as they flew and cracked in half.

My grandfather used a breadknife - I came downstairs one morning & saw him get one on the wing - sliced clean in two, after which he went on cutting bread.
I did not have toast that morning....

jamsandwich Sun 04-Oct-09 21:46:29

We had a slight variant on OP's experience. DD (4) was squawking with delight as she chased pigeons in town square and returned to my side shortly later, chastened, having been told to "go away" apparently by old lady sitting at other side from us. Turned out old lady was dishing out handfuls of breadcrumbs to the little critters and DD had clearly interrupted her fun.

So, ethically, which is worse? Feeding birds (commonly viewed as vermin) in a public place, thus increasing risk of disease (psittacosis is it?!) or being 4, wearing fairy wings and running with joy to disperse said flock of vermin?

fatslag Sun 04-Oct-09 22:12:28

We have pigeons nesting on top of our apartment block. They wake up insanely early and start cooing. My neighbour, 86 years old, who has the nest outside his kitchen window complained to the residents' association but received no reply. So he started lobbing firecrackers at them.

They are still in residence (the pigeons and the ageing neighbours).

Should I tell my kids:

a) don't mess with explosives or
b) be nice to pigeons?

Moral dilemma...

Thank you to all the posters for the last 1 1/2 hours I've spent reading this and crying with laughter.

Monkeytrews Sun 04-Oct-09 22:24:17


Someone get me out of here

onceinabluemoon Mon 05-Oct-09 07:48:11

Its about as unreasonable as a gang of teenagers chasing a toddler with the intention of making it run away in fear...

I guess that depends then on your stance on birds in general and toddlers, both blinking annoying at times but neither deserves to be scared witless for somebody else's pleasure IMHO.

smee Mon 05-Oct-09 11:03:57

Still haven't read all Jamie. Will save for a coffee break distraction later... grin
But who says the pigeons are scared onceinablue..? They don't look v.terrified to me - flap off then land a bit futher away a bit miffed perhaps is how I'd describe their expression - but then again I'm no Attenborough..

MavisEnderby Mon 05-Oct-09 11:11:37

I can't believe this thread has so many posts.Pigeons fly away at lots of things,a loud noise or whatever.

I sometimes chase pigeons with dd in her wheelchair,it makes her laugh.She loves birds and has recently got theability to throw bread at the ducks and giggles when the ducks/geese/pigeons surround her.

As others have said if I were pinning a pigeon down and torturing it then that is a no no,but chasing them harmlessly?

Poor little bugger has enogh going on in her life sad to deprive her of a few laughs.If it makes her giggle so be it.They can FLY AWAY.

OtterInaSkoda Mon 05-Oct-09 11:23:27

fatslag You forgot
c) Don't mess with your elderly neighbours wink

wigglepants Mon 05-Oct-09 11:31:18

My DS also does this. I allow it in wide open spaces, but not where there is a crowd of people for the pigeons to fly into. I must admit I never considered that pidgeons had feelings. hmm

I do not believe that an inner-city pigeon is traumatised by the approach of a small child. Because if it were, it would also be traumatised by the approach of commuters, shoppers, cars, buses, taxis, bicycles, people out for a stroll, dogs and cats. And then it would live its entire life in a complete state of gibbering terror, because it chooses to live in the middle of a city that is full of small children, commuters, shoppers, cars, buses, taxis, bicycles, people out for a stroll, dogs and cats and where one or more of these is constantly coming within a few feet. Also because if it were traumatised and terrified it would probably do more than flap off a couple of feet in a half-hearted manner.

I wouldn't encourage DCs to chase them, mind, but I don't believe they are traumatised.