Meet Norwich's own 'Pigeon Lady' who feeds hundreds of birds a day

Myssi Macdonald has loved city birds since she was a child. 

Myssi Macdonald, Norwich's self-proclaimed 'pigeon woman' has loved birds since she was a child. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

From Mary Poppins to Home Alone Two the character of the 'Pigeon Lady' is both beloved and bemusing to many.

Now Myssi Macdonald, 20, a University of East Anglia student, says she has created an accidental "pigeon religion" by feeding the birds.

Myssi, who works at VooDoo Daddy's Showroom in Timberhill, can often be seen with her sleeves rolled up and her hands filled with hungry guests taking a peck.

The city centre barmaid said her love of all things feathered began as a kid when she often got up at the crack of dawn to feed ducks on the way to her school.  

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald. Pictures: Brittany Woodman - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

Myssi said she turned her attention to Norwich's winged wonders having seen how badly city folk treated the animals.

She said: “Pigeons were the first animals that people domesticated and they have been bred for many purposes over time.  

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald wants more people to give the city birds a chance. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

“This is why they are such friendly and sturdy birds. They have a history with people yet we continue to reject them and dub them as vermin.  

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“We played God then changed our minds on them. Then we left them to suffer the consequences - I see it as my duty to care for them."

She added that because pigeons recognise human faces many of the birds have now bonded with her.

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Pigeons were bred by people so Myssi thinks we owe it to them to look after them. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

Myssi likewise recognises some of her pigeon pals - one in particular that she fondly named 'Scrappy Little Fella'.  

She explained: “He is always on Timberhill and without fail he is the first one on my hand. He's not afraid to defend his position.” 

However the relationship hasn't always been an easy one - the birds didn't trust Myssi at first.

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Myssi feeds the birds seeds that cost £2 for 3kg so her hobby doesn't have to be expensive. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

She said: “It took a little time as they are used to getting kicked and shouted at but with a lot of patience they grew in confidence."  

She added some city folk are open minded about getting to know the beasts.

“I enjoy being able to give people that experience,” she said.  

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Myssi can often be found on Timberhill feeding the city's friendliest pigeons - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

“I explain that we are the reason there are millions of pigeons in the UK. I just think the more people that know, the more people might be friendly towards them.” 

Norwich's Pigeon Lady, Myssi Macdonald. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Myssi Macdonald says everyone can feed the pigeons it just takes patience. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/ Archant

What do pigeons eat?

Those looking to feed pigeons need to be patient and receptive, Myssi said.

She added: "Pigeons can be nervous. Try different areas and different days to build up trust.

"Pigeons aren't picky. I buy a bag of £2 bird seed and they love it. They are also very fond of sunflower seeds. 

"The friendliest pigeons are in Timberhill."

Human food is not always good for the pigeons so extra research should be taken to ensure the treats are animal safe.  

Myssi said: “When they trust you and land in your hand there is a real sense of calm. You feel an interaction which you can’t communicate entirely. 

“I just want people to be open to trying it. Meet a pigeon. I think everyone would love it.”