Pigeons hang around our cities eating stuff off the sidewalks, pooping on statues and cars and people and generally just being an urban bird that has adapted to life in the concrete jungle.
But for some reason city folk find the mere presence of pigeons offensive, calling them "rats with wings" and cursing their existence when they spot them strutting around town.
Ask these people why they hate pigeons so much and they probably won't have much to say because, as NY Times writer Jon Mooallem said, "The full scope of our disdain and distrust for the birds is impossible to quantify, It’s hard even to explain.”
Sociologist Colin Jerolmack got pooped on by a pigeon in Greenwich Village back in 2005, and that crappy encounter inspired him to investigate how people came to hate city pigeons so much.
Colin studied how animals and humans interact in NYC in an effort to discern whether the enmity originated from something the pigeons did directly to us humans or not.
His conclusion- humans feel pigeons are out of place in the city, a feeling they interpret as hate:
The pigeon-as-pest, he thinks, is a symptom of people’s idea that the environments we build are separate from natural ones. In what sociologists call our “imaginative geography” of cities, there’s a border that separates clean, orderly civilization and wild, uncontrolled nature. “That doesn’t mean there’s no nature, but ideally, the city is the place where we invite nature in in ways that we control,” Jerolmack says. “We cut out little squares in the concrete, and that’s where the trees belong. We don’t like it when grass and weeds begin to grow through cracks in the sidewalks, because that’s nature breaking out of those boundaries that we want to keep it in.”