The New York Times Science Section told us last week:

” most of the Eastern Seaboard’s pigeons are all mixed up. .. All one interconnected population, denizens of an unbroken avian super-metropolis (from Virginia north).

Except New England pigeons, that is, which seem to keep to themselves…After Elizabeth Carlen, a biologist at Fordham University, caught pigeons with a net gun and took their blood samples during a series of road trips across the region, she discovered that birds all the way from Virginia to southern Connecticut show genetic signs of interbreeding…She and a co-author also report that another separate, distinct pigeon supercity begins in Providence, R.I. and continues to Boston.”

“But what was really weird to think about,” Ms. Carlen said. “The suburbs of Connecticut don’t just mark the boundary between Yankees and Red Sox fans, or tomato-based and cream chowders: They also seem to block pigeons.

Less than 200 miles separate New York and Boston, but something between the rival towns forms an uncrossable moat for city-slicker pigeons. …”


Doctor Carlin doesn’t need rocket science to understand why New York and Boston pigeons haven’t mixed, she needs history. New Englanders do intermarry but we have standards. We don’t share our DNA with just everyone.  Some call us prickly but it’s a morality thing. This goes back to the 1620’s when the pious Mayflower puritans arrived up here at about the same time the Dutch East India firm built a money making company town on Manhattan Island. The puritans were a god fearing group that would cleanse themselves of heretic trash by sending them to that Dutch island.

 In time the Dutch company moved out of Manhattan while the New England Harvard educated Brahmans replaced the puritans. Blue blood Boston Brahmins were no less prissy and rarely mated with Knickerbockers. How could they? Boston was “A city on a hill, chosen by God”.  Bostonians pursued the intellect, the arts, and literature while the New York riffraff pursued Mammon and money.


 But the puritans and Dutch were a long ago story. Apparently our pigeons have not gotten the integration word. We now live in a globalized, interdependent world. Assimilation is less an ideal and more an inevitable necessity. Tribal rivalry aside, we’ve no choice but to live and accept those with whom we have nothing in common. During the pandemic, we become aware that people from different tribes are keeping us alive. Guys who look and act different from me harvest my food, transport it and check it out at the super. They are the hospital workers who may care for me. And when my end comes, it might be my Asian wife who holds my hand. How good is tribal purity at a time like that?

If you like this post please check out another of mine “EVEN IF NEW ENGLANDERS TALK DON’T LISTEN“.

Categories: Humor

1 reply

  1. Yes, I abandoned my good German/English Stock to marry a Blonde Scandinavian who is a whole lot smarter than me. So far it is working out well. I learned long ago that the most powerful sentence in the English Language is “You know honey, I think you might be right…I just hadn’t looked at it like that Before!” A warning though, it must be delivered with nary a trace of snark or all will be lost. There may me some hills I am willing to die on, but so far have not been found and probably never will be.

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