The Newtown Pentacle

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Posts Tagged ‘pigeon

scientific ensemble

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This week is for the birds.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Happenstance and scheduling have finally conspired to give a humble narrator a bit of summer time off, which I’m considering as being a lucky stroke, and which indicate that the universe wants me to take a week off. I’m out galavanting around the City, accordingly, waving the camera around and smiling sardonically.

Next week, I’ll show you what I captured, if it’s not crap.


Buy a book!

In the Shadows at Newtown Creek,” an 88 page softcover 8.5×11 magazine format photo book by Mitch Waxman, is now on sale at blurb.com for $30.

Written by Mitch Waxman

August 14, 2019 at 11:00 am

Posted in Astoria, birds

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less piercing

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It’s National Cherry Popover Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A humble narrator is indulging in a bit of down time this week, and single images will be greeting you from now until Labor Day on September 4th. I should mention that I, and the rest of the Working Harbor Committee, will be spending the week preparing for and organizing the 25th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race on the morning of September 3rd. The festivities will be occurring at Pier 43 over in Manhattan (nearby the Intrepid museum) and there’s an opportunity to get out on the water during the race onboard a Circleline Spectator boat if that’s your bag. For full details visit the workingharbor site.


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Written by Mitch Waxman

September 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

Posted in animals, birds

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rattling and beating

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Meshuggenehs, all of us.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An interesting exercise was undertaken recently, which involved the peeling back of hardened scabs and callouses. Whilst browsing the vast interwebs recently, a link carried me over to YouTube. A recording of “The Howard Stern show,” which was broadcasting live during the September 11th attacks, was perused. The reactions of Howard and his crew to the attacks as they happened put me in touch with my own experiences that day, and opened up an old wound. This touched off a spate of reviewing broadcasts, both news and scripted drama, produced in the aftermath of the attacks. One remembers the emotional numbness of the time, when it seemed that nothing would ever be funny again, and the paramount question of that moment in time – raised over and over – was “why do they hate us.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

All these years later, the answers offered by the entertainment industry – whether asked by the hosts of what passes for news in our nation or as interpreted by dramaturges – boiled down to “freedom.” Aside from a childish lack of knowledge about the actual foreign policy of, and an unvarnished look at the actions of the United States in the second half of the 20th century, what struck me was the notion we held about ourselves back then. The general gist of what folks wanted in the months following the attacks was to “unleash” the CIA, and to teach the rest of the world “who’s the boss.” I guess we’ve got that now – with our fleets of flying robot assassins, institutional torture, and a gulag in Cuba. If you’ve got the time, I suggest you scan the web in a similar fashion, as it’s an interesting thing to see what our world was once like and how far we’ve travelled in a very short time. Remember “freedom fries”?

– photo by Mitch Waxman

An urban myth is put to rest, incidentally, in the shot above. “Ever notice how you never see a dead pidgeon” is the particular yarn, something I’ve heard repeated over and over. I see a LOT of dead pidgeons, and have photos to prove it. An urban myth which the September 11th attacks actually put to bed was the efficacy of the so called “Emergency Alert System,” whose tests interrupted television and radio broadcast throughout my childhood. It was nowhere to be found on 911, despite there being an actual emergency in my area. Additionally, the Emergency Alert System didn’t seem to activate during Hurricane Sandy either.

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damnably irregular

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A curious bird, spotted in this dirty old part of the city, where the sun refuse to shine.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Just the other day, a squamous thing wrapped in a dirty black raincoat was sashaying down sturdy Jackson Avenue and enjoying the glamorous environs of the Court Square section while anticipating, with palpitant heart, entering Queens Plaza when an odd avian seized all attentions. That squamous travesty, your humble narrator and faithful chronicler of all things odd here in the “Borough that Time Forgot,” accordingly stopped dead in his tracks and reached for the camera.

What, exactly, is up with those red and yellow feathers?

from wikipedia

Pigeons and doves constitute the bird clade Columbidae, that includes about 310 species. They are stout-bodied birds with short necks, and have short, slender bills with fleshy ceres. Doves feed on seeds, fruits, and plants. This family occurs worldwide, but the greatest variety is in the Indomalaya and Australasia ecozones.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It all started when a path was being negotiated through a herd of these so called ferals. Birds know that no ill will is borne for their kind from one such as myself, and they seldom scatter when my path carries me through their chaotic gatherings on the pavement. This is an issue, as great effort is expended in the attempt not to crush or kick them while in mid step.

Whilst picking my way amongst them, one bird stood out from the pack.

from wikipedia

Feral pigeons (Columba livia), also called city doves, city pigeons, or street pigeons, are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild Rock Dove, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. Rock (i.e., ‘wild’), domestic, and feral pigeons are all the same species and will readily interbreed. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, have become adapted to urban life, and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Disturbingly heterogenous, Pigeons exhibit multitudes of colorations naturally, something the normal urban observer would readily acknowledge. Never has a bird of this speciation displayed anything like what’s depicted in these shots in my presence. A Pigeon with red and yellow wings is something new, to me at least.

Weird.

from phys.org

Various forms of a gene named Tyrp1 make pigeons either blue-black (the grayish color of common city pigeons), red or brown. Mutations of a second gene, named Sox10, makes pigeons red no matter what the first gene does. And different forms of a third gene, named Slc45a2, make the pigeons’ colors either intense or washed out.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It didn’t seem to be paint or dye, it should be mentioned, which would betray itself by causing the appearance of the feathers to be matted. This ain’t “photoshop” either, lords and ladies, as a note for the jaded or suspicious amongst you.

That’s a wild NYC Pigeon, with wings and a tail which are red and yellow, spotted on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City on the 9th of March in 2014 – just for the record.

from feralpigeonproject.com

Scientists have long wondered why feral pigeon populations show such plumage diversity compared to other feral animals. Generally, feral animals revert to the wild or ancestral type (in this case a blue-bar colouration), yet towns and cities are full of pigeons of a wide variety of colours. The question is, what causes this variation? Is it that female pigeons are choosing particular coloured males or vice versa? Are particular coloured pigeons more or less vulnerable to predation?

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 14, 2014 at 11:30 am

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