New York City Pigeons

Pigeons are friendly, feathered neighbors rather than pesky foe.  "Rats with wings."  The malicious descriptor has clung to pigeons ever since 1966, when New York City Parks Commissioner Thomas P.F. Hoving condemned them as such in his calls to clean up Bryant Park.  While most city dwellers see pigeons as vermin, reacting to their presence with shooing hands and kicking legs, many have spent nearly a decade getting close to them.  Where people see filth and signs of nuisance, I find grace and marvel.

Photographed up close, the birds flaunt their unique personalities and striking features-so often overlooked by hurried pedestrians.  Far from fluff balls of gray, pigeons are pristine models who show off stunning, unexpected hallmarks: lavender eyes, heart-shaped wings, glam ruffled feet that recall outlandish rave boots.  At times you can capture them in flight, using high speed strobe photography, to freeze them in a dramatic form.  

As with New Yorkers, the city is not always kind to pigeons: they have been found in all sorts of urban hazard sites from an abandoned shopping bag to a hot dog stand, which left one bird's wing covered in grease.