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Homeless Pigeon Person

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Feed the birds, tuppence a bag...

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul's
The little old Bird Woman comes,
In her own special way to the people she calls,
"Come, buy my bags full of crumbs."
"Feed the Birds", Mary Poppins

A homeless person with a loyal animal companion. Usually a clear signifier that they're a good guy and not one of the Crazy Homeless People. Note that this refers to all kinds of animal companions among the homeless. Pigeons, for whatever reason, are the most common.

Interestingly, even though pigeons are generally considered Feathered Fiends by the populace at large (some cities have regulations against feeding them), most characters with pigeon friends are portrayed in a favorable light. Probably has something to do with helping the helpless.

Crazy Cat Lady is a far more negative portrayal, though cats are generally agreed to be fluffy and cute. Older female Kindhearted Cat Lovers can have a similar vibe to this pigeon trope but without the negativity of Crazy Cat Lady in terms of portrayal. Also see Crazy Homeless People.



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    Comic Books 
  • The homeless man in We3.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • An odd variation occurs in Chapter 51 of Between Heroes and Villains, where Tommy befriends a seagull while in Exile, and names her "Clementine" in the next chapter. Although seagulls are obviously not pigeons, they are also typically regarded as annoying and treated like pests.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • That homeless pigeon-caretaker woman that Kevin McAllister befriends in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
  • Mary Poppins sings a song to Jane and Michael about the Bird Woman (providing both the page quote and the image), a poor old women who sells bread crumbs to feed the pigeons with on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral. Later on in the movie, Mr. Banks prohibits them from buying birdfeed from her with the tuppence he was going to have them invest at the bank. Close to the end, when Mr Banks soberly walks through London to the bank to be fired, he comes across the empty steps of the cathedral, with the heavy implication that she died, and that his children will never show kindness to her thanks to his callousness.
    "Feed the birds, tuppence a bag,
    Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag!
    Feed the birds! That what she cries
    While overhead her birds fill the skies."
  • While he's not homeless, (if only because he lives in a one-room shack on a roof) the lead character in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai becomes known to the bad guys as "the ***ing bird man" cause he keeps pigeons.
  • Subversion: Franz Liebkind, the crazy Nazi playwright from The Producers. Here, the pigeons prove that he is one of the Crazy Homeless People beyond a reasonable doubt. Mainly because he uses them for his crazy Nazi hijinx.
  • The Bowery King from John Wick. Notable, in that he's a major crime lord of a syndicate consisting entirely of homeless agents.

  • The protagonist of Like Water for Chocolate, Tita, goes through this phase after her mother sends her sister Rosaura and Pedro away, a move that results in the death of Tita's nephew, whom she had been breastfeeding because Rosaura had been unable to feed him. In her grief, Tita takes to living in the dove-cote and treating the doves as children.
  • The Duck Man in Discworld appears to be an example of this trope. However, conversation will reveal that he is, or claims to be, completely unaware of the duck that gives him his name, despite the fact it's on his head.
  • Merivel in Restoration by Rose Tremain could be seen as this by the rather non-sequitur end of the story - he has lost much, but at least the King has given him some pigeons in the house he once occupied.
  • Blake Thorburn of Pact has mentioned that he fit this trope during the period in which he was homeless after running away from his Big, Screwed-Up Family, which led him to get bird tattoos and influences his general bird motif, which includes sharing the personality traits usually associated with birds, having a Familiar who takes the form of a sparrow, and bleeding feathers when cut.
  • Ferals:
    • Crumb the pigeon feral.
    • Caw the crow feral, in the first book at least.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Barney Miller: In "Corporation", Wojo brings in an old bag lady, who is either unable or unwilling to talk. Wojo thinks she might be a deaf-mute but Nick says he's seen her outside Cotterman's liquor store, talking about politics and current events.
    Wojo: With who?
    Yemana: The pigeons.
  • Claude from Heroes. He basically walks a fine line between this and Crazy Homeless Person.
  • There was a one-shot character on Cold Case who had known and mentored the victim of the week and was your typical pigeon keeper. He's like this due to depression caused by a mistake in his airplane design leading to several accidental deaths.
  • Radek Zelenka from Stargate Atlantis reveals he's a major pigeon enthusiast and used to raise racing pigeons back on Earth.
  • One of Carol Burnett's recurring characters is an old lady who goes to the park to feed the pigeons.
    Pigeon Lady: Here, pidgie, pidgie, pidgie . . . .

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • The leper Luca in The Fountain cares for Rome's pigeons because, like him, they're outcasts. And if no one cares about him, the least he can do is care about the pigeons. Witnessing this is the first step in Areanna falling in love with Luca. And later, the favor Luca has earned with the pigeons is why for generations they keep Areanna's Living Statue company.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Hey Arnold! has a "pigeon man" living on a rooftop, with some elaborate cages containing hundreds of pigeons. At the end of the episode, he actually flies away carried by his birds.
  • In Disney's Oliver & Company Fagin is a homeless guy in New York who lives with a pack of dogs, and eventually takes Oliver the kitten in.
  • Subverted in The Amazing World of Gumball, where a destitute old woman feeds some crows, then pounces on one to eat it.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Near the end of his life, Nikola Tesla took to moving between hotels and keeping large flocks of pigeons.
  • Mike Tyson isn't homeless or crazy (though he does have medications for anger management), but he's been involved in breeding and racing pigeons competitively for years since retiring from boxing.
  • Pigeon keeping, while traditionally a hobby of the wealthy, is also popular in inner-city areas where pigeon coops are often built at the tops of apartment buildings.


Video Example(s):


The Bird Woman (Mary Poppins)

"Come feed the little birds, show them you care

And you'll be glad if you do

Their young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare

All it takes is tuppence from you"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / HomelessPigeonPerson

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