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Chick & Cora

simply two pigeon chicks breathing

This little one minute video is, in a way, a letter … a response … to Jon Sasaki, since he was asking if I could send “a photo of the baby pigeons.”

I’m also thinking of this little video as one part of sensorial still. Last night, as I was thinking about this project and returning to the thought of creating a series of short sensorial still videos (each roughly a minute in length), I thought about the pigeon chicks out on our balcony. Occasionally I hear the chicks chirping, although mostly they are pretty quiet. Anyways, I wondered if it’d be possible to record them … so I set up a microphone by an open window, as I didn’t want to be out on the balcony disturbing them.

My recording ended up being just of late night city sounds. There’s no chirping, which makes sense since the chicks were probably sound asleep.

This morning, I kept thinking about Chick & Cora … that’s what we are calling the chicks. When we first noticed that they hatched, about ten days ago, immediately the names ‘Chick’ & ‘Cora’ flashed through my mind … so we’re going with that.

George and Samantha (our grandsons named them) are the pigeon couple who chose one of the glazed ceramic planters that was stored under the barbecue table, for their nest. Now that the chicks are a bit older, George and Samantha no longer seem to need to sit continually on the nest to keep the chicks warm. Instead they spend their days, and maybe nights, mostly searching for food (well, that’s what I imagine they’re doing at least) and returning periodically to the nest, to regurgitate.

This wasn’t the first time they nested in one of our balcony planters. Earlier, in mid-March, when we started to do some spring cleaning out on the balcony, we noticed that one of the planters had a small white egg in it. We moved that planter to another part of the balcony, in part so we could finish up cleaning, and in part so that the pigeons could nest in peace, away from the barbecue. That ended up not being a good decision, but we didn’t know much about the nesting habits of pigeons then. It took them maybe half a day, to find the planter that was their nest, even though we didn’t move it that far (just five or six feet). They eventually located the planter and continued their nesting. She took the night shifts and a good part of the day as well, and he spelled her off for part of each day. Although they continued to sit on that egg for weeks, it never hatched. Then one day I noticed they abandoned that nest and started another, at the other end of the balcony … to where we moved the barbecue table.

Chick & Cora stay mostly huddled on one side of the planter. I can’t honestly say that the chicks at this stage are cute, although they are cuter than they were a few days ago. What really struck me though, was their breathing … how their whole body expands and deflates, expands and deflates, with such a steady and fairly fast paced rhythm. It’s this gentle yet insistent movement that really caught my attention. And it’s this rhythmic quiet breathing that I wanted to videotape, for this one minute piece.

(Tuesday, May 10th, 2022)

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