NR Digital

City Desk

Bird’s-Eye View

by Richard Brookhiser

Pigeons are the iconic city bird but sparrows come close behind. Like pigeons they live not in the curated patches of parks but on the sidewalks and streets. They are streetwalkers, pedestrians, non-stop maintenance men (their union contract specifies no breaks, unless the fact that they are always foraging makes their day one long break).

I am no birder. As far as I know, there are English, and all the others. Why they are so suited to an urban existence I cannot say. Size must help; they were early converts to the tiny-house movement. If you want to see their houses, follow their chirping. That is how I discovered, years ago, that they had colonized the cross-pieces of street lights. Once I started looking up I saw that every tubular hollow end had an insistent denizen. They also like the metal housings of retractable awnings; they live over the door of my favorite restaurant, just below the neon sign, watching the aspiring models come and go.

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