Cynthia and I were heading down Richmond in an effort to get around some congestion on 59 headed back to the house. As we were driving past the Ragin Cajun we noticed the most enormous flock of pigeons in the parking out front of Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations, which is in the same strip center.

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We had to circle back and investigate.

There were hundreds and hundreds of them all in the parking lot. They were also lining the roof of the building.

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Then this man came out of the building and they all took off…

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The birds flew around in a few circles, but landed again pretty quickly and the man just walked amongst them…

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He came over to me and we started talking. His name is Vichien and he’s been working at Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations for over 22 years. He’s been feeding the pigeons for 10 years.

He expressed some sadness as he told me the property had recently been sold to developers and he worried about the fate of his “friends.” Vichien told me how he tried to watch over the pigeons and how much money he’s spent on feed over the years.

As we talked I saw a Red-tail Hawk circling above the parking lot. Vichien clapped his hands and the birds all flew into the sky. This caused the hawk to retreat a bit, but he stayed close. Vichien confided that he’s lost to the hawk on many occasions.

After we were done chatting he went to his truck and pulled out a bag of bird seed and began to pour it onto the pavement. That was a sight to see…

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Before I left Vichien gave me a copy of last month’s Houston Press. He pointed out a picture of himself and said that the Houston Press was making fun of him. He just smiled. He asked if I could bring him a print of one of my pictures and I said I would bring one by when I had a chance.

All in all, it was an odd encounter, but it completely made my day.

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5 thoughts on “Pigeons

  • January 20, 2008 at 12:37 am

    By the way right next door (give or take a building) is a guy who cleans camera gear fairly cheap and is pretty good. I think it was 70 bucks to have the Tamron 28-75mm cleaned after shooting a building implosion where the wind shifted at the last moment and sent all that dust straight towards us and into the inner workings of the lens. He also cleans cameras and especially the sensors, (which a lot of people, rightfully are afraid of doing themselves).

  • January 20, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Satyr, If you have an address or phone number for the guy that cleans cameras, gimme a shout via email. I have an Olympus that needs a good cleaning.

  • January 22, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Having lived just up the street from this place for 3 years (until last June), I can tell you there has been an ongoing dispute with Vichien and the other business people in that strip center for near 10 yrs. For the record, I’m apathetic towards the dispute. However, the pigeons to some have become a huge nuisance. When he is not working the pigeons collect just to the east and harass shoppers and restaurant customers. This also begs the question of how fair it is to the pigeons to be fed in such quantity. DON’T FEED THE BEARS signs are there for many reasons, one of them being they learn to accept food and not hunt it.
    Also, ew flying rats.

  • January 26, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the write-up, I’ve passed by there many times over the years, and have always wondered what the story was on the guy and all the pigeons. It also explains why the unusual, but frequent siting of a red-tailed hawk in such a metropolitan area. A daily buffett for him, smart bird!

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