The other day I was sitting blamelessly on Vauxhall station reading my paper and waiting for my train when a chunk of bread suddenly landed on the in-depth analysis of the latest minute shift in the Blair-Brown feud. Having looked around, and up – just in case it was in some way a sign from God and likely to be followed by some honey, which would have made my paper sticky – I finally thought to look down at the four pigeons at my feet who were looking at me expectantly in a can-we-have-our-ball-back sort of way. I returned them their gift and they resumed their battle – a game that consisted of one pigeon strutting around with the bread in its beak while the others tried to peck it off it. They’re obviously devoted Atkins followers, because at no point did any pigeon actually swallow any of the bread. And besides the amount of calories being consumed, if any, would clearly have been outweighed by the energy burnt by all the strutting around, cooing and shaking going on.
And it’s not just the pigeons. At the weekend the other half surprised a magpie in the garden who flew off leaving us with half a slice of white bread – although whether this was because it thought we needed fattening up or a subtle hint to cut down on all the starchy breadcrumbs and start putting out more peanuts and baby birds for it to eat, I don’t know.
And then I read this and all became clear – the obesity epidemic is worse than we thought and the birds are taking measures, desperate measures, to slim down. Can Jamie’s Bird Feeders be far behind?