Friday, 12 December 2014

Circles of Birds

In British English there's a term for the strange love some people, mainly men, have for flying rodents: pigeon fancying.

It's normally a hobby confined to older people and it's seen as a little odd and, perhaps old-fashioned.

Maybe that's also the case in Lebanon, I don't know any pigeon fanciers here, but it's common enough to see clouds of pigeons circling above Beirut of an evening.

Birds, in a circle

If that's not amusing enough, the accompanying whistles and claps coming from the fancier create a sort of soundtrack to a lazy evening. The kick of it is that Lebanese pigeon fancying is a competitive sport. Yep. I called it a sport.

Fanciers compete, clashing their bird clouds together and attempting to trick birds from another coop to join their pack of flying rats. Yes, the competition revolves around "stealing" your neighbour's birds. I'm sure that the average bird probably changes teams on a regular basis.

Pigeon fancying, in a city. In a country that is notorious for shooting and eating anything that flies. Odd. But fun.