When most people think about Venice, Italy, they picture renaissance art, gothic palaces, and romantic gondola rides.

Venice was dreamy for me too.

But my head-over-heels moment was a bit different.

I was at St. Mark’s Square having a love-in with 100 new friends, when a passing tourist sneered at me and insulted my friends.

My “new friends” were a crowd of pigeons. Squatting among them and complimenting their stunning colours, we were having a nice chat when a woman walked by and called over my shoulder “Disgusting, filthy, flying rats.”

Rejected and misunderstood, I couldn’t love pigeons more than I did in that moment.

We humans are afraid and repulsed by what we don’t understand.

Before I’d left for Europe, back in Ontario, a gorgeous Mama pigeon made her nest in an empty pot on my downtown balcony.

She freaked out a little when she realized we were sharing that balcony.

But she’d already laid her eggs and was determined to stick by her babies. At first she’d fly off and watch me from a tree. But we quickly built enough trust that I could read a book while she (or her mate) nested.

I researched my new roommates and discovered:

  1. Pigeons are one of the most intelligent birds on the planet.
  2. A white dove is just a common pigeon—which means we should be releasing grey “disgusting” pigeons at ceremonies—unless we’re bird-racist.
  3. In both the First and Second World Wars, pigeons saved hundreds of thousands of lives by carrying messages across enemy lines.
  4. They’re extremely clean and there’s little evidence they transmit disease to humans.
  5. They mate for life, and Moms and Dads take turns on the nest.
  6. They’re the only non-mammal that can pass the “mirror test” and recognize themselves in a mirror—sadly, pigeon-selfies are not yet a thing.
  7. Project Sea Hunt trains pigeons to identify red or yellow life jackets when floating in the water, because they’re better at saving human lives than humans.
  8. There’s even a famous pigeon war hero, Cher Ami—google him.

Being in Malta this year brought back my love affair with pigeons. Thankfully, there was no one yelling insults while I cooed at the little sweeties.

The pigeon has a message for you too.

On the Joycast video above, use your intuition to choose between Curiosity, Synchronicity, Authenticity, and Geometry.

As always, I love hearing from you in the comments below. Are you secretly in love with pigeons—or do they gross you out? I can handle it.

Love, Tamika

Comments

Maria Cortes says

Thank you for sharing

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Tamika says

You're so welcome Maria. I'm grateful you're part of the tribe here. Love to you XOXO

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Donna Hammond says

I do secretly love pigeons .. I think that they are brave to keep coming back to the same spots that they get shooed away from. Keep up the good neighbourly work Tamika!

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Tamika says

Oh Donna, I love that you're a secret admirer of pigeons! Animals and birds feel your kind heart—you make everyone feel safe. I love you XOXO

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Jess H. says

Oh my goodness, I needed the idea of a pigeon selfie in my day! I am SO grateful to know that I am not the only person having conversations with birds in public. I was in community with some vultures a few weeks ago - another misunderstood bird. I know now that they had come to give me a gentle warning. I chose the word Geometry which is beautifully fitting because my family have come together to grieve the loss of my grandfather who died yesterday. We are a tiny murmuration learning to move forward without the beloved leader of our pack. He loved birds and would have loved this Joycast. Thank you, truly.

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Tamika says

Thank you for connecting. Vultures are so misunderstood and this makes sense given our culture's relationship with death and dying. Your wisdom allows you to see them for who they really are. So much love to you, Jess, as you say good-bye to your beloved Grandfather. He sounds like an incredible man and someone who gave eternal strength to your pack. Hugs to your wise heart XOXO

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Joanne Turner says

What don't you know. I love this take on synchronicity and I recently used this lyric in my last song!!!!! Love from us xx

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Tamika says

Love to you, beautiful Songbird. Can't wait to hear the latest masterpieces from you both XOXO

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Sandra says

My father raised racing pigeons for many years so as a child and growing up they were a big part of our lives. Many hours were spent in conversation about the pigeons - usually waiting for them to return from a race and then clocking them in. They were the conduit for my father to find some calm and for me a good memory of him in his 'happy place'. Thanks Tamika for this Pigeon Joycast 💕

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Tamika says

What a beautiful memory, Sandra. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your heart—and your father. I look forward to hearing a pigeon story or two one day. XO

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Helen Valks says

Hi Tamika, As always,there was so much to take home in your message. I think my word is Authenticity. I spend a lot of time with Authenticity. Your message reminds me of my father in law who raised canaries and was a devote Catholic. When people would comment on the commonness or frequency of swallows or gracles, his response was "They didn't make themselves" I loved that.Same with pigeons and humans. We are common and sometimes not attractive, but we did not make ourselves.Love to you Helen Asha

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