Meanwhile in Cambridgeshire:
OVERHEAD cables touched under the weight of perched pigeons causing an explosion which sent them hurtling to their death in a giant fireball and set fire to the field below.
Yes really, you read right. Pigeons, “hurtling to their death in a giant fireball”. Coo.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “but exactly how many pigeons would it take to make those overhead cables touch?” Thankfully, eye-witness of those pigeons ”hurtling to their death in a giant fireball”, Ron Laverick, witnessed just how many there were:
A few pigeons settled on the top wire and then more and more followed. Soon there were 30 pigeons purched [sic] there, then 30 more, then 50 more, unitl [sic] there must have been 400 pigeons on there.
Hmm. Cambs Times proofreaders on strike that day, perhaps?
Anyway, some interesting behaviour by our pigeons there. Joining those first few in 30s then 50s and somehow making it up to 400 pigeons before the wires touch and… well… we know what happened next (hint: it involved hurtling and giant fireballs).
Apparently, adult pigeons weigh around 325g each. Here, I’m using the average weight for a feral pigeon. Wood pigeons are slightly larger, but they’re notoriously snooty and you’d never get 400 of them on a single wire.
I’ve been doing some rudimentary calculations and you can’t blame the wire. Because 400 pigeons is equivalent to 130kg of bird. No wonder it was a giant fireball, because that’s a lot of pigeon.
I do have some concerns about Mr Laverick’s estimates though, because, given an average pigeon width of 15cm, 400 pigeons, an assumption that we are not talking about double-decker pigeons here and the implementation of some rudimentary calculations, that’s 60 metres of solid pigeon. And given that the absolute maximum distance between utility poles in the UK is 65 yards, that means that there would have been no spare wire available whatsoever. Thus, Mr Laverick’s guesswork seems a little dodgy to me.
How exactly could he accurately estimate the number of pigeons given the huge length of wire that we have proved they must have occupied? It’s suspect, isn’t it?
That aside, there is a more serious aspect to this. What is this was a test of a terrorist pigeon attack? What if today it was the Benwick Road in rural Cambridgeshire, tomorrow it’s the Christmas lights in Oxford Street? And what are the Christmas lights doing up in Oxford Street in March anyway?
Training pigeons to commit terrorist acts is notoriously dangerous. Due to their innate homing instinct, there’s always a huge risk of an own goal. But pigeons are near ubiquitous in large cities globally and surely no-one would suspect anything until suddenly a swarm of 400 of the little buggers suddenly turn into a giant, hurtling fireball bringing death and destruction to everything below.
Pigeons are pests; they’ve always been pests in the urban environment. Now, they are also (potentially) harbingers of doom for innocent citizens of our major cities. We have Ron’s very descriptive eye-witness account and the Cambs Times photographer’s best efforts as evidence of this.
Beware the pigeon.