A suburb in the north of the Irish capital endures the same menace on wings every year, terrorising the streets with intoxicated antics. The fruit falls from the pear trees in late summer, and when the sweet treats start to ferment, the pigeons chowing down get drunk off it.
The birds are so infamous for this bad habit that one community page felt the need to alert residents to the fruit-fall, knowing that the out of control sky rats can – and will – pass out anywhere. In the gutter, on the footpath, right under your feet. Relatable!
Apparently, in a previous season, one local even nominated themself the designated driver, taking the blackout drunk pigeon to a vet for treatment.
This is just one of those times you look at a story and go, “Well, of course it’s in Ireland”. I feel terrible for the Irish, even their wildlife is letting them down by playing right into those Guinness-chugging stereotypes.
Although this might be the last time that the community of Marino experience the marvel of nature that is drunk pigeon season, because sadly, the pear trees will soon disappear. The trees are old and have become too problematic to maintain, so they’re being replaced by non-fruiting varieties. It’s gotta be a brave council rep who breaks that news to the pigeons, though.
Of course, they could just go elsewhere for their fix, as this phenomenon has been documented in other parts of the UK too. One guy even narrated his discovery of a passed out pigeon, nature doco-style (quick warning, his Attenborough is a little NSFW).
British pigeons aren’t the only ones getting drunk on rotting fruit. Last year, New Zealand awarded the prestigious Bird of the Year to the kererū, a species described by the organisers as, “clumsy, drunk [and] gluttonous” because they feast on the droppings of the taraire and karaka trees. Meanwhile, the residents of Minnesota were so concerned by cedar waxwings flying into windows under the influence of berries that they called the cops.
All this makes it seem like nature is as hellbent on getting hammered as we are. However, several studies have been done on this behaviour and no one can conclusively say that animals are doing it on purpose – it just seems to be a hilarious side effect. Makes for a good yarn though, doesn’t it?
It seems that these unfortunate, inebriated pigeons are nothing quite so intentionally self-destructive as the human race. However, it’s a bit of a shame for them that the fruiting season for pears is so late in the year – imagine if this event coincided with St Patrick’s Day. Wouldn’t be quite so humiliating for the birds if everyone was in the same boat, after all.