Dear Readers, this lovely pigeon has been hanging around outside our local chemists in East Finchley for a month or so now, and has become something of a favourite with the shopkeepers and passersby. S/he has been named ‘Stephanie’ by one of the ladies who work in the hairdresser, and I suspect that quite a few people are offering food, which the bird accepts very graciously. S/he sits around with the other, more boring pigeons and watches the world go by with a placid demeanour.
I suspect that Stephanie is a Strasser pigeon, a ‘fancy’ variety which originated in Austria. It comes in several colourways, always with a white neck and body. I note that in some accounts, the bird is called a Moravian Strasser.
Originally bred to produce squabs for meat, Strasser pigeons are rather less ‘fancy’ and eccentric than some of the other pigeon breeds, with their ruffs and feathery feet and other accoutrements. But what is Stephanie doing here? Surely she should be being cosseted on a velvet cushion somewhere. Strangely enough, she seems completely sanguine about her fate, and has developed an equanimity that I aim to emulate, what with us never knowing who is going to be Prime Minister from one day’s end to the next. I strongly suspect that if Stephanie stays long enough she’ll soon find herself behind the despatch box, opining on the size of the pie that we’re meant to be growing (though that could well be last week’s metaphor).Nonetheless, I never knew a pigeon that didn’t like a pie, so she wouldn’t be a bad choice.
In the meantime, if you know someone in North London (or further afield) who is missing a beloved Strasser pigeon, do drop me a line, though as East Finchley has definitely taken her to their hearts, they might have a job wresting her away.