Pigeon visits elderly man in hospital

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An elderly man was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.

In the days and weeks of his hospitalization, no one came to visit him — not a family member, friend, or acquaintance.

But a pigeon visited him every day, even after the man was moved to another hospital room.

The pigeon would perch on the window sill outside the man’s room, and when the window was opened, would fly in and stand on top of the man.

It was only when the man was well enough to go outside to sit on a bench in a park near the hospital that the attendant nurse found out why.

The man was surrounded by a flock of pigeons, whom he fed with bread crumbs he’d saved from his hospital food.

The pigeon who visited the man must be among the pigeons he’d regularly fed.

And now, the rest of the story. . . .

On January 28, 2021, McKenzie Sadeghi of USA Today conducted a fact check of the story and determined that:

  • The origin photo for this story, first posted to Facebook, of a pigeon perched on top of a man in a hospital bed was taken years ago by photographer Loannis Protonotarios, an independent filmmaker in Greece.
  • Protonotarios posted the image to Flickr on Oct. 19, 2013.
  • Protonotarios told The Quint that his father was a patient at the cardiology ward of Red Cross Hospital in Athens, Greece. The man in the photo was a patient who shared the hospital room with Protonotarios’ father. Protonotarios said, “As I was sitting next to my father’s bed I noticed this bird that was sitting atop of this man who was asleep. It was sitting there for quite a while so I took a picture.”
  • But USA Today claims that “There is no evidence that the man’s family never came to see him or that he fed pigeons at a nearby park. We rate this claim as FALSE. “

Sloppy journalism.

Instead of “false,” the more correct word is “unconfirmed” because USA Today‘s “fact check fellow,” McKenzie Sadeghi, does not know for a fact that (1) the man’s family never came to see him; or (2) the man fed pigeons in a nearby park.

The fact is that USA Today can’t confirm or disconfirm claims (1) and (2). That is a lot different than declaring claims (1) and (2) to be outright false.

In the last analysis, it is interesting and significant that a wild pigeon would fly into a building — a hospital room — and stand on the body of a sleeping man. That is not normal pigeon behavior.


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Gracie Storvica
Gracie Storvica
2 years ago

That really is amazing.

2 years ago

Cool story.

USA Today is not even worthy of being used as bird cage liner…

2 years ago

Thank you Dr.E for this wonderful post. The pigeon is showing kindness and gratitude to this man who was kind to him and the other pigeons. My husband and I had two pigeons who came to us and we treated them as pets. They were very cute and we enjoyed them. We named them “PJ” and “Sarah.” They were beautiful creatures, a gift from God.