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anyone had their picture taken with the pigeons in San Marco?

anyone had their picture taken with the pigeons in San Marco?

May 29th, 2004, 04:46 AM
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anyone had their picture taken with the pigeons in San Marco?

Anyone had their picture taken with the pigeons in San Marco in Venice and not been pooped on? Looking for amusing stories my girlfriend is terrified of them!
flycatcher06 is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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Have seen tourists doing this and can;t imagine why. A vey unsanitary habit.
nytraveler is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 08:15 AM
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Just walking in that square you can't help but have pigeons in your pictures! I'm with your girlfriend, I don't think I need the birds actually ON me though, yuck ;-)
suze is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 08:19 AM
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I did it when I was nine - I don't remember much about it but I've seen the photos of me covered in pigeons. Apparently I somehow didn't get pooped on.

I agree it's gross; I guess it seemed fun at the time.
papagena is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 10:28 AM
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I did when I was 16 (and I won't dare say how many years ago that was!) I have some really cute pictures, and wish I still looked like that - pigeons and all! (and no, I didn't get pooped on).
Sue4 is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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Pigeons are filthy&carry disease,why anyone would touch one is beyond me.
mgmargate is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 03:25 PM
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Everyone seems to buy those packs of seeds to feed the pigeons, in order to get their picture taken with pigeons over their outstretched arms, I saw mostly kids doing it, then a young guy lying down and his friend sprinkled the seeds on him, instant pigeon covering, there's a person selling the seeds right there.

It's easy to be snapped with pigeons at your feet, just stand a few feet further than the person being photographed with the pigeons on them....

I tried very hard all week not to be grossed out by the pigeons...
mitchdesj is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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Italian pigeons, especially Venetian pigeons have a charm about them that is quite unique-or perhaps just Italian. Several years ago, in Venice my daughter, who was 10 at the time, only wanted to feed the pigeons in Piazza San Marco. No fear as they ate from her hand and we snapped away producing a few memorable photos of her and the pigeons. In London's Trafalgar square we were all grossed out by the pigeons. She freaks out when the NY pigeons come near her. But she loves to look at the photo of her feeding the pigeons in Venice.
risab is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 04:47 PM
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While I would not want to suggest that birds (pigeons in particular) are not carriers of pathogenic bacteria (and pathogenic viruses and fungi as well. I suppose) - - I doubt that direct contact with pigeons in Venice is really an increased risk for any exposure to any pathogens they might carry - - when compared to simply walking through Piazza San Marco or even staying in any of the nearby hotels.

Whatever they carry is surely just as concentrated on the pavement there, which means it is quickly on the shoes of the millions of visitors who walk through there, which means it is on the carpets of every hotel room in Venice, and probably bedspreads too.

If any significant bird-borne diseases were a real health hazard of visiting in Venice, I think it would be an important news story, and quickly attract a lot of attention, and most likely a focused solution.

Most people contract infectious diseases from other humans. I submit that hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV contracted through international travel result in much more illness and 1000-fold more deaths than any bird-borne pathogens.

"Safer sestrieres" is NOT the most important motto to keep in mind when traveling.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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An old girlfriend of mine and four of her friends once wrote in to a UK television programme ("Jim'll fix it" for us nostalgic Brits) and asked if they could dress up as pigeons and dance in Trafalgar Square (again for us Brits, they danced to the "Birdie Song"). Seemed funny at the time, and they had their 15 minutes of fame as 16 year olds on national TV. They never could tell me why they did it!
As for St Mark's Square - My wife and I got engaged there. Kind of got carried away with Venice, and she's still there after 13 years of marriage (like athlete's foot!!).
AR is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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Rex, thanks for those chilling medical observations. Now you will have a 100,000 Americans packing "sanity" bedspreads this summer.
May 29th, 2004, 05:08 PM
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<<a 100,000 Americans packing "sanity" bedspreads this summer.>>

Was that word missing two letters near the end ("sanitARy")?

or at the beginning ("INsanity")?

rex is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 05:16 PM
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Rex, I was so alarmed over the rapid spread of nasty pigeon poop that I couldn't spell right!
May 29th, 2004, 05:20 PM
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Rex is this really true? I had assumed that direct contact with the bird and fresh poop on the skin - especially if broken - would convey more pathogens that second-hand contact with dried poop remains.

And I'm sure that the hotel rugs and bedspreads carry other pathogens as well. Its just that to me touching the pigeons would be the equivalent of shaking hands with a bum who hadn't bathed in weeks - why voluntarily do this?
nytraveler is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 05:59 PM
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Are these "nasty" pigeons you all are talking about the same ones that are served in fancy French restaurants? And the same ones that Hemingway would catch in the Luxembourg Gardens for his dinner, back when he was poor?
Sue4 is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 06:06 PM
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No Rex is quite right - mostly!
As a Pathologist, I can tell you that Pigeons are the rats of the skies. However, you will not catch any disease by walking near them any more than you would "catch" HIV from a lavatory seat.
No able minded person would rub themselves in pigeon excrement, and you are hardly likely to be whitewashed in the stuff in St Mark's square. A plop on the head or shoulder is the most you would be unlucky to receive.
The only point of issue I could raise with Rex is that diseases such as HIV, Hep B&C are not caught by international travel (although I know exactly what he means). The most common serious disease caught whilst travelling certainly is not caught from humans - and that is Malaria.
AR is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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I recently read that Venice has tried very hard to lower their pigeon population because their excrement is rotting the sculptures. They have been unsuccessful, mostly because tourists insist on feeding the little buggers. I have nothing against rats OR pigeons per se - on the contrary, I respect their intelligence - when the Italians tried to put bird sterilizing agents in the birdseed in Piazza San Marco, the pigeons promptly spit it out! I will, however, try to make my 13 year old refrain from the whole feeding ritual out of respect for the art of Venice. Plus I just think it's kind of odd.
bsawg is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 06:14 PM
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When I was there there were quite a few people feeding the pigeons for the photo op...They would stand with hands full of pigeon feed outstretched, and the pigeons would fly all over them - landing on their heads, on their shoulders, eating out of their hands. I actually thought it was kind of cute, and they were always laughing and having a good time while someone was snapping their picture. I didn't want to risk getting pooped on, but if I was more adventurous, I don't think it'd be such a terrible idea. Have fun!
WendyWhy is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 06:46 PM
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Rex, thanks for relieving fears of pigeon-borne disease. The first time I was in London, in 1980 at the age of 33, I thoroughly enjoyed feeding the pigeons and have the photos to prove it. On first reading this thread, I was afraid that the symptoms since then--I've grown old--were the result of pigeon feathers or pigeon poop.
Joe_in_Silver_Spring is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 06:58 PM
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If Venice wants to discourage tourists from feeding the pidgeons, then maybe they should shoo away the people who sell pidgeion feed at St. Mark's square! Actually feeding the pidgeons was one of the highlights for my 16 year old son and yes I did take a picture. My 14 year old daughter was of the "those are nasty birds full of germs" school and wouldn't go near them. I figure they can't have anymore germs than all the stair railings we hung on to in public places. It always behooves you to wash your hands often. Germs are everywhere, though not all of them bad.

Joelleinitaly04 is offline  

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