The Joy Of Breeding Pigeons Some people think of pigeons as nothing more than pests. Others think of them as trained athletes. Brooklyn native Michael Scott is a second generation pigeon breeder.

The Joy Of Breeding Pigeons

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

And now, urban menace, pigeons. They threaten waxed cars, they threaten beachgoers. Still, even pigeons have friends. For the series Hearing Voices we bring you a profile of Brooklyn pigeon breeder Michael Scott.

Mr. MICHAEL SCOTT: All right, Bones (ph), let's go. Everybody out. Come on! Let's go. Come on.

These aren't just normal run-of-the-mill pigeons that Joe Shnook found in the street. I mean, I've been breeding these birds for 38 years on my own. You ask anybody, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Manhattan, any pigeon flier on a roof, hey buddy, how you doing, you know the Scott brothers? Ninety nine point nine of them will say yes. Everybody knows who we are. And they know we got primo stuff. You know, you got a nice car, this guy's got a nice car, but I got the Mercedes Benz of pigeons. Anybody knows that. Everybody knows that.

The most I've ever had up here was about 700. You know, on the other roof, back in the day, I had about 2,600 birds up there. They looked like a tornado.

Come on guys, let's go. Everybody in the party, out!

(Soundbite of whistling and air whooshing)

I'm trying right now to get them to go straight up. They'll fly around for a couple of minutes, they'll loosen up, they'll get their wits together, and then they'll say OK, crazy's here. We better do what he wants.

(Clapping and whistling)

Come on, let's go. See, they're just horsing around. They're a little lazy right now, but they've been in all day, so they're fresh. If it wasn't, it's got to be like 85 degrees, 82, 85 degrees. If it was a little bit cooler, they would really rock. You know, they go straight up sometimes. They just go up and then you're like oh, man, I don't even see them.

(Soundbite of clapping and whistling)

When I stop whistling, then they lower out. They'll circle the roof, they'll come lower, they'll come lower, they'll come lower, they'll stay for a few minutes, and then they'll say all right, it's safe to go down now.

You know, a lot of my friends, you know, they have hang-ups. Who goes to the bar, who, you know, does things they're not supposed to be doing, who don't come home for two days. You know, the boss always know where to find me. He's on the roof. Always. There's nowhere else to be in your spare time.

(Soundbite of clapping and whistling)

Come on, let's go. One more time.

(Soundbite of whistling)

CHADWICK: Owen Agnew produced that story as part of the new NPR series Hearing Voices. Day to Day is production of NPR News, with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Chadwick.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And I'm Madeleine Brand.

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