It is not every day that the beginning of a birding outing consists of calling 911, but that is how my walk around Meadow Lake started today.  Just as I was getting to Flushing Meadows Park I noticed a plume of smoke coming from scrub on the northwest side of Willow Lake, close to the Jewel Avenue interchange with the Grand Central Parkway.  At first I just thought that the homeless folks who camp there had a bonfire going (pretty obviously not true but it was early and my brain wasn’t working) but it quickly became apparent that it was an uncontrolled fire.  Fortunately, I had my cell phone, which I bring with me in the hope that I will have to call in a rare bird, but, instead, I dialed 911 and FDNY was dispatched.  My good deed done for the day I decided to go birding.  Which, really, was the only thing to do because otherwise why had I lugged my birding gear to the park?

Sadly, the fire would remain the birding highlight.  Sure, I managed to kick up a Swamp Sparrow, some American Tree Sparrows, and two juvenile Black-crowned Night Herons but that was pretty much it.  That was it, that is, until I saw pigeons on ice!

The pigeons gave me the idea of starting a new touring show called Pigeons on Ice.  If people are foolish enough to pay to have pigeons released at their weddings surely there must be some that are foolish enough to watch a bunch of people in pigeon costumes sliding around a rink, right?  Throw in a cheesy plot, some sentimental music, and Brian Boitano and we have a hit!  I just need funding…if you are interested in getting in on the ground floor of Pigeons on Ice please send a check for $1,000 to me at 123 Imaginary Avenue, Sucker, NY 12345.  And if you don’t like pigeons you can send money for the second show I am working on, Mallards on Ice!

I might have inhaled a bit too much smoke…

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.