Animals: Manhattan Portent?

In Manhattan last week a flock of 32 pigeons flew from their windowsill perches on the east side of lower Broadway toward St. Paul's Chapel on the west side. In mid-flight each pigeon closed its wings, dropped dead to the asphalt.

In Caesar's Rome, whose government was as corrupt as Manhattan's is now suspected of being, augurs would have found such a pigeon fall ominous, especially because death had come from the east. Haruspices might have inspected the entrails of the birds (extispicy), interpreted the portents. Prognostication would probably have involved, according to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!