In past columns we have seen how Sanpedranos dealt with the problems of some animals that became pests. We have seen the bottle with a hole in the lid to catch house flies. Then we used the smoke buckets to drive away the bothersome mosquitoes. Well, have you ever thought that pigeons can become pests too.
In the Parks of Chetumal and Merida as in many cities around Mexico and around the world, pigeons have started as attractions but then became bothersome pests. I don’t know about you, but when I go to a park in Merida I do not like the ideas of having to search for a bench what does not have the white droppings of the pigeons. And then you sit at the park and suddenly you feel this splutter on your shoulder or head. It is pigeon sh__( I mean droppings or defecation, if that makes it clearer). It is more bothersome if the droppings fall on a plate of cheese dip that you have just begun to enjoy.
What does this have to do with San Pedro, twenty five years ago. Well, it does as much as it has to do with San Pedro today. You can find small flocks of pigeons at the church, large buildings and even at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium. I say they might not be a problem today, but they could become a nuisance some day.
The biggest problem with pigeons 25 years ago was the fact that these huge flocks descended upon your house and deposited their droppings on the roof. Now roofs were very important in the past because it was the main source for the collection of rain water for drinking purposes. Remember that there was no Crystal Water nor Agua Dulce purified water back then. We only had pure rain water if it was not contaminated with pigeon droppings. So it was necessary to get rid of these pigeons in some way or the other.
A popular way of getting rid of them was shooting them with a sling shot. Some guys were so good at the sling shot that it was almost guarantee of a pigeon per shot. However there was a more popular way and I’ll explain with a diagram so you can use it today if you need it. We used to trap the pigeons with a box. Take a wooden box (any size), with one open end place it diagonally at 45 degrees. Keep it up and from falling with a little stick. Attach a string to the stick and place one end where you are hiding. Place some corn or bread under the box so as to attract the pigeons t o feed. When there are four or five under the box, you pull the string and remove the stick and the box, which is your trap, falls over the pigeons. They are trapped. BINGO. You only have two more things to do. Catch the pigeons and make a delicious soup. Anyone who can make a nice chicken soup can make an even nicererer pigeon soup.
So twenty five years ago, we not only got rid of some birds who had owners but which were a public nuisance, but also put them to good use. They used to say that the best soup to help cure a hangover is the pigeon soup. I truly don’t know. I have never had a hangover. I did have plenty of pigeon soup.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist