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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Photographing the City's Pigeons in Over 900 Images

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM

  • Nancie Gee

It started with a pigeon's green tail feathers -- Nancie Gee was walking along Mission at 24th Street when she noticed the unusual coloring of a pigeon pecking at the ground. This was followed by a time where she was sitting on a park bench and a hobbling pigeon made his way towards her. As it came close, she reached down and scooped up the pigeon and placed him in her lap. Laying there on his back, she took a small scissor and went to work snipping away the string that was wound around the pigeon's feet.

"The pigeon was so trustworthy," says Gee of the hobbling bird, and after she put him down, she noticed his unusual markings and snapped a few photos as he weaved around her legs.

The pigeon's markings, and the previous pigeon's green tail feathers, led Gee to look at the birds more closely -- and she began documenting what she saw. Click, Click, click -- until eight years had passed and over 900 photos had been produced.

After organizing the images, Gee was readying to debut them to local media in February of this year, but her plans were derailed: she was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma peritonea, which is a form of cancer.

Since then she has continued to shoot more pigeon photos, and with help of friend, is now sharing them with the media. And while she doesn't have plans for a gallery show or website, she wants the photos to get out to the public, along with the message that these birds are not nuisances, but a unique species of bird.

"I'm trying to get people to look at pigeons a different way," says Gee -- a difficult feat to have people align them with Cher Ami rather than "rats with wings."

If you're up for checking out the pigeons that call San Francisco home, Gee suggests heading down to Civic Center Plaza, a location where she's seen the greatest variety of pigeons.

And even if you're not the type to partake in urban bird watching, it's worth noting we watched a few pigeons pecking at some spilled fried rice on Market Street, and they definitely did look different from one another -- even if they were are indulging in same gross garbage.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Mollie at @MollieM10, and like us on Facebook.

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About The Author

Mollie McWilliams

Mollie McWilliams

Mollie is the Web Editor and has been with SF Weekly since 2010.


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