Every working day for 15 years, walking past this derelict gas station east of the Village gates on Route 20, I have thought of it as an eyesore, a monument to sloth and decay. But this afternoon, I discovered something that summoned a childhood memory and changed my perception. I grew up in Kenmore, a suburb of Buffalo, and when I was young, the city of Buffalo was improving its streets. Rail traffic was getting lighter, car traffic heavier, and so the city removed a number of viaducts, iron bridges, where unused rail lines passed over dips in the road, and widened the roads. No one realized, at the time, that because the viaducts were home to thousands of pigeons, that the birds would have to find new homes. And so it was one day that my mother was shocked to see urban pigeons at her suburban bird feeder. Even the birds were participating in urban flight.
Clearly, they had to go somewhere. And that brings me back to the abandoned gas station on Route 20. Today I discovered that there is a family of pigeons living under the eaves. I watched Mr. and Mrs. Pigeon coming and going, using the wire at the building’s northeast corner as a front porch. This is not an eyesore; it’s a bird sanctuary. I feel much better about it now.
Above, Mr. & Mrs. Pigeon on their front porch.