An old, dark, red-eyed pigeon pecks the ground as a handful of younger, sleeker pigeons surrounds him. He is telling a story between nervous twitches.
It was quiet that day. July 2003. I'll always remember that as the last day of peace. That was the day the hawks came, their shapes like shadows on my lungs, released onto us by Ken Livingstone. He never loved us, never wanted us here. Those hawks are a dark shape hovering, ready to strike, rip out my guts and then eat me. They're crafty, swift bastards those Harris hawks. And they've come every day since then.
I feel sorry for you chicks, even with your healthy legs and smooth wings. You've never known freedom, flying around the lions, looping around the column, crapping off the edge of the plinths onto the tourists below. And oh! If only you knew what it was like back then! They'd feed us! They'd buy pots of seeds and we would eat from their hands! And then the hawks came.
Costs Londoners nearly £60,000 a year for those hawks. But mercifully we've only lost 130 to them in six years - ha! We showed them. Each one we lost was worth £2,729 each if you do the maths. That means we're not the flying rats Ken liked to call us. They bring two birds in each day, every day, and pay for the car they come in, but they only fly one. They like having extra hawks hanging around but can't wait to get rid of all of us. £60,000! Hide when you see them, remember that, chicks. Hawks are mean and they want to kill you. And they will, whether they're costing £60,000 a year or flying in for free, they only want one thing - to eat you. [Pause] It's coming! Fly away, fly away!
The pigeons scatter and fly away as a hawk appears in the sky.
Image by W P Wiles