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Wild

Man Documents Stunning Images of NYC Pigeons

May 28th, 2018

Pigeons are such a common bird, especially in places like New York City, that’s it’s all too easy to ignore them instead of admiring them as we do other birds.

Some people even refer to them as “flying rats.”

But photographer Andrew Garn sees so much more when he looks New York’s pigeon population. He sees beauty, strength, and perseverance in one of the most hostile urban environments there is.

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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books

Garn gives pigeons the credit they’re due in his new book “The New York Pigeon: Behind the Feathers” where he delves into the history, anatomy, and majesty of the pigeon.

Garn told BuzzFeed that enjoys finding beauty where some people might not.

“I’ve always been drawn to underappreciated subject matters. For me, there’s a challenge in revealing the beauty in things that people often overlook,” Garn said. “It’s easy to photograph flowers or models, but it’s much harder to photograph things that people don’t consider glamorous.”

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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books

Garn sees his book as a public relations vehicle for pigeons wants to show the world how beautiful his pigeons really are.

“I think one misconception that people hold about pigeons is that they spread disease. I mean, if someone were to lick their poop, then yes, you would probably get sick. But then again, if you licked to poop of any animal, you’d probably get sick too,” Garn says.

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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books

“Some people also think that they’re dirty, but that’s also not true. These are birds that are constantly cleaning themselves. In the wintertime, when it’s really hard to get fresh water, they’ll even sit out in the snow to clean their wings and feathers.”

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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books

Garn also seeks to clarify other misconceptions about pigeons that people have no idea about.

“The major problem in urban areas is that people think they’re helping pigeons by feeding them bread, but in reality, they are really hurting them. Pigeons are so adaptable — they’ve lived alongside humans for over 5,000 years — and with that adaptability, they’ve become accustomed to eating any type of food,” Garn explains.

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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books

“I’ve even seen them eating chicken wings, which is kind of creepy. But the problem with bread is that it has no nutritional value and it weakens their immune system. A lot of the times when you see a sickly looking pigeon, it’s because it’s eating bread all the time!”

He hopes that his book will help people to stop and notice the nature around things, even if they live in New York City and their nature equates to some common pigeons.

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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books
“When I finally got very close to the pigeons, I was immediately captivated by their iridescence and feather patterns, not to mention their unique personalities!” he explains. “Up until that day, I had been looking at them as objects; I had actually forgotten that they are birds! And beautiful birds at that!”
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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books

Garn says he was completely astounded by what he found when he started to study pigeons.

“In fact, the Journal of Experimental Biology has over 1,100 published studies about pigeons — everything from navigation to motion. And of course, psychologist B.F. Skinner’s behavior modification series came from working with pigeons,” Garn said.

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powerHouse Books Source: powerHouse Books

“He taught them to guide missiles with a better accuracy than humans and to even find people at sea with better accuracy than humans working with binoculars. Lately, pigeons have even been taught to read X-rays and can spot cancer in patients with a 99% accuracy rate, which is higher than most radiologists.”

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Source: BuzzFeed

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