Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Monday, October 16, 2000

Birds of a feather
a big bother

Charles Memminger is on vacation. Following is of his favorite columns from the early days of Honolulu Lite. This first appeared Feb. 18, 1995.

TODAY we offer the results of our Honolulu Lite Pestiferous Birds and Pupu Committee poll to find a solution to the rampant pigeon population near the Honolulu Zoo.

To recap: Hordes of unofficial animals (i.e. wild pigeons) are hanging around the compound designated for officially sanctioned animals (i.e. zoo animals) resulting in zoo visitors being bombarded by massive quantities of hazardous material (i.e. pigeon poop). This has led the zoo director to consider various ways to stop the aerial bombardment, his current choice being bringing in federal animal control agents armed with pellet rifles. Animal rights activists (i.e. spoil sports) are against this because they hate for anyone to have fun at the expense of a few living species.

So the Honolulu Lite Pestiferous Birds and Pupu Committee was formed to come up with socially acceptable, or at least tasty, ways of dealing with the pigeon problem. We were swamped with three letters of input. One suggestion poured in over the phone lines from a guy who actually dialed the wrong number.

His solution was to talk to the birds directly, speaking pidgin, and tell them they'd better find somewhere else to hang out before they became part of a huli-huli fund raiser.

I explained that it is not pigeons who speak pidgin but high school graduates. He countered that he never graduated from high school and yet he spoke fluent pidgin. I countered that, nevertheless, trying to talk to pigeons in pidgin was a dumb idea. He countered he had simply been trying to order a pizza and and never wanted to talk about birds in the first place and how would I like him to break my face?

I declined the offer.

We received a letter from a charming older woman who said my original pigeon column was "too ignorant to be humorous." That hurt, although she might have a point. She said the zoo director "lacks information, insight and knowledge of these gorgeous, sweet and most attractive birds." She ended by suggesting that the pigeons be captured and then offered to "islanders for food or pets," which was a surprise since she didn't include the word "edible" in her initial glowing testimonial. But the edible aspect of pigeons was a recurring theme in the letters. Sixty-six percent of those who took part in the poll said pigeons should be captured and eaten and 33 percent need to improve their handwriting so people can actually read what they write. The results of the phone poll were inconclusive, except on the issue of breaking faces, which 100 percent of the poll-takers were against.

Other suggestions received included:

Bullet Nail stuffed cats to the tree branches where the pigeons hang out.

Bullet Launch some elephant poop into the trees so the pigeons can see what it's like for a change.

Bullet Simply classify pigeons an endangered species and stand back and watch them slowly die out because of lack of interest.

Bullet Scatter bird seed on the ground inside the zoo and when the pigeons land to eat, let one of those fierce little wart hogs loose.

I kind of like the last idea best. With all the animal fire power the zoo director has, from falcons to angry monkeys, you'd think pigeons wouldn't be a problem.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802
or send E-mail to

The Honolulu Lite online archive is at:

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin