There is probably no other creature in the world that children hunt as much as pigeons.
If I had to choose the number of creatures killed by children, I would say ants are by far the most common, but when it comes to “creatures chased,” I would have to say pigeons.
I don’t know if this is unique to Japan or if it’s the same in other countries. But I think children in all countries do it.
Pigeons are birds that do not fly easily. If a child chases a pigeon, the pigeon will run away and walk on the ground for a while. Then, when they think they can no longer escape, they suddenly fly away.
This behavior, which seems moderately adapted to the child’s physical abilities, seems to fascinate the child.
If my son Takeh ran after the pigeons or threw things at them, I would scold him severely. But now, when he sees a pigeon, he shouts, “Oh!” and points at it, then says, “Bird! Bird!” and runs after the pigeon. He calls, “Bird, wait!” In his own way, he wants to be friends with the pigeon. Since the situation is peaceful at the moment, I did not tell him not to scare the pigeons.
When crows appear near Takeh, he shrugs in surprise. He has never been deceived by a crow before, but he is afraid of them because of their dark bodies, large beaks, and very loud cawing. He does not even try to approach the crow to observe it.
Of course, this is the right reaction. If you approach the crows, they may attack you.
Children, in their own way, have the ability to discern what is dangerous and what is safe. Whenever I observe this, I think that a child’s development is an interesting thing.