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Californian Says Bird Is a Real Pal : New Pigeon Friend Drops In--and Just Keeps On Dropping

January 02, 1986|Associated Press

REDDING, Calif. — Pigeons have been insulted down through the ages, and have been characterized by some as feathered rats. But they have become at least one bird-lover's candidate to replace the dog as man's best friend.

Giulio Rossetti doesn't feel that he owns Chiquita. The pigeon wandered into his yard about four years ago and decided to stick around. It still comes and goes as it pleases, although it stays indoors when it's around.

"Sometimes I don't see her from morning to night and I miss her," the 77-year-old bird lover says. "They start to grow on you. It's like a dog, only better."

Rossetti persuaded Chiquita to stick around by feeding it and offering it shelter. Silvia Rossetti, his wife, said the bird showed up about the same time a neighbor found a dead pigeon. The dead pigeon might have been Chiquita's mate and Chiquita might just have been looking for some comfort when it moved in, she said.

Silvia enjoys the bird, but knows it prefers her husband to her.

"She's with him all the time. I don't know why," she said.

Chiquita flaps from room to room and sips water from coffee mugs. But mostly, it just hangs out with Giulio.

"She follows me everywhere. If I go to the garden she follows me there. I've got to watch all the time so I don't step on her," Rossetti said.

There's at least one drawback to having a pigeon for a friend. Rossetti said he's been bombed with bird droppings many times.

"One time she was eating a red berry over here and she let go and got me all over," said Rossetti. "But I still like her."

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