Pigeons are odd birds. Common all over the world, especially in cities, they can be considered tourist attractions like in Venice‘s St. Marks Square, or considered a nuisance to city dwellers (myself included) who see them as flying rats. Still, any large flight of birds can make for a spectacular photo, such as today’s Photo of the Day from Jaipur, Rajasthan in India. The added pops of color from the building tiles, piles of spices, and ladies’ saris make a nice contrast to the grey birds, and the movement of the many wings puts you right in the action, though you might be happy to be viewing them from a distance.
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[Photo credit: Flickr user arunchs]
At St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, as StrudelMonkey
who took this shot says, there are pigeons galore. These are just two of them. I love the movement in the image on the left in contrast to the bird on the right. A perfect shot snapped at a perfect travel moment.
As I was in St. Mark’s Square just three days ago with my son who sat still trying to get pigeons to eat cracker crumbs out of his hand, this picture brought back a memory of a perfect travel moment that made me smile.
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It is now illegal to feed the pigeons in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, or anywhere else in the city for that matter.
Venice’s avian crackdown, which went into effect on Wednesday, joins the likes of London’s and New York’s, where it’s been against the law to feed pigeons for some time now. But it’s difficult to name a city that has a closer connection with the “winged rat” than Venice: Who hasn’t imagined walking across St. Mark’s early in the morning with no one around (“Yeah right!” you say of Venice) and scattering pigeons, which take flight in a rush of wings that do not quite drone out the chimes from a nearby bell tower.
Of course, you can still scatter the pigeons, I guess — there are an estimated 40,000 living in Venice. But feeding them is going to cost you a 50 euro fine (around $75)
Naturally, the dozen or so vendors in St. Mark’s Square who made their living selling breadcrumbs to tourists who wanted pigeon-laden snapshots are angry at the city’s mayor for imposing the crackdown, saying they’ve been catering to this particular niche in Venice’s tourist market for more than a century.
What do you think? Is banning pigeon feeding silly or practical? Do places like St. Mark’s and Trafalgar Square in London lose something by such laws?