This week a new survey was released, showing that for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007, the pigeons of Downtown Memphis increased their output by 15.8%. A simple walk down the Main Street Mall provides plenty of evidence of the pigeons’ increased production.
“We’ve been saying for years that Downtown is a great place to do business,” said Center City Commission president Jeff Sanford. “And no one is more prolific about doing their business all over Downtown than the pigeons. We congratulate them on this fine achievement.”
Sanford pointed out that the pigeons showed a larger increase in production in the 2005 fiscal year, but in that case the numbers were skewed. “The Hurricane Elvis windstorm, which occurred on July 22, 2003, at the start of fiscal 2004, decimated the pigeon population. Things did not approach a return to normal until the start of fiscal ’05, so for that year we saw a year-over-year increase of greater than 25%. But this year is different. This year shows real growth, rather than recovery from disaster. This increase is sustainable. We have every reason to believe that we can look for another 15.8% increase in the pigeons’ output in fiscal 2008.”
Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton was invited to comment. “Well, just let me say this,” he responded. “I believe all of Memphis is familiar with my position on the pigeons.”
Mayoral candidate Carol Chumney, however, accused Herenton of tinkering with the results. “Come on, think about it,” she said. “You know his staff is out in the park feeding those birds every day, to artificially inflate the numbers so he can take credit. You think they’ll be out there after the October 4 election? Of course not.”
Mayoral candidate Herman Morris encouraged Memphians to look to the pigeons as role models. “We can all learn from the pigeons’ example. With a little hard work, it’s possible for all of us – whether we’re producing auto parts, paper, shipping supplies, or in the case of the pigeons, droppings – to increase our output by 15.8%.”
Some Downtown business owners have been searching eBay and Internet poster/framed art sites for pictures and posters of pigeons to hang at their workplace, as an inspiration to their employees. One eBay auction saw a pigeon poster sell for more than $150, with nearly all the competing bids coming from the Memphis metro area.
“It’s really amazing,” Sanford said. “The pigeons have become the unexpected stars of the Memphis business climate.”