Here's Pigeon, the leader of the flock, the day I met her.
Skinny, bloody... far from healthy.
(click here to read more about Pigeon's beginnings)
After a few weeks of tender rehab, she did seem much healthier.
She joined the flock and slipped herself right into the lead position vacated by our dear-departed-Hatsy.
But Pigeon, our new little leader, followed Lucy around like a puppy.
As it turns out, Pigeon is extremely nearsighted.
In fact, she's darn near blind.
This explains why she's always underfoot.
I've nearly stepped on her several times,
and have to be careful not to chop off her little head
when I'm working in the garden.
I offer her a tomato, and she pecks to the left of it.
Even when I toss her a wiggling worm,
she has a tough time finding it...
she's pecking to the left again.
...but that's okay.
There's still Bravery and Smarts, right?
O.K.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
At the beginning, Pigeon was afraid of everything.
She was afraid of worms.
She was afraid of the sky.
She's still scared of Marky, but tries not to show it.
So. Maybe health and bravery aren't that important after all.
As for. . . . . . . . . . .
Well, she's not the brightest bulb in the coop.
She's got a pretty average little pea-brain beneath that comb.
I'd rank Daisy and Lucy as the smartest gals...
But hey, we've known leaders who have made it to the top despite even catastrophic stupidity.
So what is Pigeon's strength?
In a chicken?
She shows it in so many ways.
She is very considerate of Lucy's challenges.
Lucy's an older lady who's had some really tough times. And this year Lucy chose to molt in January....not the best time to be half-naked in New England.
So Pigeon stands beside her and keeps her warm while they nap.
And from her very first encounter with little Fern and Daisy, Pigeon has shown only kindness.
Here she stands near them and preens -- which, in chicken-talk, means "hi there- I'm not going to kill you"... of course, the chicks don't understand that yet. They're cowering in the corner, awaiting a painful death.
But there's one particular moment of sensitivity that really struck me.....
It was last Fall.
I was offering a piece of clover to Pigeon and the little ones.
Pigeon looked up and saw Lil'White running toward the babies in order to murder them.
While Pigeon had nothing to fear, she knew that the babies did.
She warned them of impending doom, and little Fern and Daisy fled to the forsythia in the nick of time.
It was a simple gesture.
But a true gesture of compassion.
I haven't seen sensitivity like that among dogs, or cats....
or in hundreds of hours of nature shows.
But here it is -- in Pigeon.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Now, I don't know whether it's compassion or curiosity or trust --
but Pigeon tends to be the favorite of all the kids who come to visit.
And that's a story for the next post!.....Next post: Chicken Socks