Stories

The pigeons are getting braver


The pigeon is the quintessential city bird. The presence of the “Rat of the sky” on our sidewalks is so common that people consider the bird a nuisance, if they notice them at all. But on a handful of rooftops in Brooklyn, pigeons are way more than that. They call themselves “fliers” and own flocks of hundreds of birds that they keep in coops on rooftops. They work everyday to feed them, clean the lofts, medicate the birds and most importantly, exercise and fly them.


Pigeon breeding became popular in New York in the mid-1950s. Brought by Italian and Irish immigrants, the practice developed in Brooklyn and the Bronx, among middle and working classes especially in the Hispanic and Afro-American community. The project is an elegiac testimony of this now dying subculture, exploring the relationship between the fliers and their birds. Between secret haven and competition, spirituality and obsession, escape from reality and rooftop alienation.