Pigeons disappear, woman wants them back
Written by James Damschroder, The Union Democrat January 23, 2009 12:38 pm
Pauline Rodgers is lonely without her pigeons.
Rodgers, 78, sits in her small, crowded home on Hatler Drive, hooked up to an oxygen tank to ease her emphysema, wondering why her homing pigeons aren’t homing home.
What started out 10 years ago as four pigeons Rodgers fed and took care of has bred into about 45 that perch atop her roof, nest in bird boxes nailed to the side of her home and in a flower pot hanging from her eave.
For about two weeks, though, the birds have been absent, ailing Rodgers’ already weak heart.
“They’re the only thing I have,” Rodgers said. “Well, them and my dogs.”
Rodgers said that the pigeons normally fly figure-eights above her home but always return for feeding, nesting and company.
“They always come back home,” agreed Rachel Rodgers, Pauline’s daughter.
Pauline believes that the birds didn’t take a wrong turn but were stolen.
“Somebody has captured them in a net,” she said.
Pauline is so sure that someone took them that she reported them stolen to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office responded that the birds couldn’t be stolen because they weren’t purchased and are wild animals.
Pauline discovered that the birds were gone when she found two abandoned, dead baby birds in a nest inside the flower pot hanging from her eave.
“Pigeons mate for life,” she said. “They’ll take turns sitting on their young to keep them warm, while the other gathers food and eats.”
They also seem to take care of Pauline.
“They’re her therapy,” Rachel Rodgers said.
They’ve been Pauline’s therapy for much longer than the 10 years this growing flock has kept her company.
When Pauline was 8 years old, she’d walk to a park across the street from her home in San Jose to feed a flock of pigeons.
Seventy years later, her current flock is one of the things that has kept her alive despite a weak heart and emphysema, she said.
“I miss my babies,” she said.
“Can you tell whoever caught them to turn them loose so they can come home to their old-lady mama?”
Pauline said that the flock stands out because there is one all-white pigeon.
Anyone with information about the flock can contact her at 533-3373.