The Homing Pigeon

My husband Heinz and I live on a farm north of Martelle, Iowa, which is near Cedar Rapids.  Hardly a season goes by but what I discover something in our yard or garden that surprises or intrigues me.

One morning this spring as I looked out on the garden, I saw a Rock Dove nosing around on the lawn.  It was nearly white with the typical black edged wings, dark tail and dark iridescent head and neck.  We've had these common pigeons for years, just one or two pairs, nesting in the vents of our grain bin.  They are never any bother and I often see them perched atop the grain bin where they watch my garden activities.

Throughout the morning, coming and going from house to garden, I saw the same bird walking around, visiting the pond for a drink and then the grain bin where corn had spilled onto the ground.  By noon the lawn was dry enough to mow and my hubby Heinz got started.  When he came in for a break, he told me about a pigeon out there that couldn't fly.  It would just step aside for the lawn mower.  He took me out to see and it allowed us to approach within a few feet.  I was amazed as what I saw.  The bird was banded on both legs, a green band on the left leg and a red one on the right.  I got my camera a took a couple of pictures.  Then our neighbor came with a tractor and wagon to unload corn from the bin, and the bird took flight to the top of the machine shed where it waited for the commotion to end.  As soon as the tractor pulled away, it returned to the spilled corn.  Deciding it needed a varied diet, I offered a bowl of wild bird seed, which it attacked with relish.  It stayed all afternoon--eating, wandering and resting.

Toward evening I went out again and the pigeon was nowhere to be seen.  As I looked around I saw it flying in low from the west.  It made a big circle around me and then headed back to the west.  (I could swear it dipped its wings as it flew over.)  Then it was gone and I knew it wouldn't be back. 

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