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.