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Waiting for the A Train- The Sophisticated Pigeon

Since this seems to be a rather quite evening on the listserv, I thought
I'd take the liberty of recounting a front page story which appeared in
today's NY Times. I will try to summarize it briefly, a la Josh Rose!

Over the years, there have been all sorts of stories about alligators
roaming the subway tunnels, pet snakes loose on the trains etc.
However,this story of the train-riding pigeons of Far Rockaway has
substantial backing. Workers at the subway terminal in Far Rockaway
offer the following explanation.

When trains lay over at the above-ground terminal, pigeons amble through
the open car doors looking for forgotten crumbs,But,being pigeons, they
don't listen to the annoucement that the train is leaving the terminal,
so the doors close on them. Personnel observe that the birds generally
ride for one stop, exiting as soon as the doors open again. One of the A
Train conductors confirms that they step off his train and promptly fly
back to the terminal they've just left.

However, one of the train cleaners has suggested that the pigeons may be
evolving into more alert passengers. She has observed that when the bell
rings, signaling the train's departure, the birds now can be seen
leaving the cars. 

Oddly, though gulls and sparrows are plentiful at the terminal, they are
never bold enough to venture into the cars. Instead the gulls loiter
outside, like thugs, waiting to tear pizza crusts from the bills of
unsuspecting pigeons as soon as they carry them out!

Just imagine the goings on if NYC had a viable corvid  population in the
environs of their subway system!

Tom Joyce
Brevard, NC