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So someone or many someones are kidnapping pigeons in New York City. Makes me wonder what the ransom could possibly be – and who would want to pay it anyway?

In the July 9 issue of The New Yorker, Lauren Collins discusses this birdnapping crime wave. It seems there really is something strange going on.

Instances of pigeon-napping have been spotted in various areas of Manhattan, with the hot spots, according to Collins, including: Thirteenth Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Eighty-sixth Street at Third Avenue, and the Roosevelt Island tramway. She also tells of a Greenwich Village sighting that got neighbors riled up enough to notify the police:

Judith Monaco Callet was walking her neighbor’s dog one afternoon in April when she saw a man in an S.U.V. with tinted windows park on the west side of LaGuardia, near Bleecker. The man—Callet thinks he was Caucasian, and wearing a cap—got out of the S.U.V., crossed the street, and threw a big pile of birdseed onto the pavement. “Out of the corner of my eye,” Callet said the other day, “I saw a big black net, like a butterfly or fishing net. So I see it moving, and I’m thinking somebody’s lost a cat. The guy swooped the net up, closed it off, and there he went.” He made off with about fifteen pigeons.

No one knows why this is happening. But I am amused to report that there are all kinds of cool theories including:

  • They’re being used in restaurants
  • “Rich folks don’t like pigeons” and, I must extrapolate, are therefore hiring people to kidnap them
  • Something to do with the bird flu (huh?)
  • They’re being ground up to make meals for ferrets

But my favorite theory is that somehow NYU is behind it. As a graduate of that venerable university and someone who has worked there, I have to smile. Hmmm…I wouldn’t put it past them at that. One way to get rid of the little “nuisances”. (I mean the pigeons, not the students.)

But to be fair, I have to defend NYU. Their involvement just wouldn’t explain all the other hot spots…unless of course they are birdnapping elsewhere just to cover up their nefarious Village misdemeanors. (I mean the alleged pigeon-nappings and not what happened with the Bottom Line night club.)

But I should also defend pigeons…kind of. I know there are many people who wouldn’t mind seeing pigeons disappear from our city forever, viewing them as “flying rats” that bring disease and mess to the urban environment – which they do. But according to pigeonclubusa.com, pigeons are lovely little fellers and not naturally diseased at all – it’s city life that’s bad for them. Hey…maybe this is just a bunch of nice people rounding up the little critters for a Fresh Air Fund program for pigeons?

Well, whatever it is…something is going on. It’s true that not that everyone will miss the birds, but these birdnappings feel kind of creepy to me. If we don’t do something about them, what’s next? Rat-napping? Oh wait…that would be a good thing. In fact, if anyone knows the pigeon-nappers, could you please give them that idea?