Ida enjoys feeding pigeons every day
Ida Toniolli enjoys feeding the pigeons.Every morning, the energetic 95-year-old Glenwood Springs native pops out of the Western Hotel on Cooper Avenue in downtown Glenwood Springs, and scatters bread crumbs and other tidbits of food that the pesky birds gobble up.”Well, if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it,” Ida says with a feisty grin.But some residents don’t enjoy the rather messy and troublesome fowl. Some are raising quite a stink over the pigeons and the infamous poop-plastered pavement they leave behind.Ida says she’s heard about the recent fuss, but for her, it’s just part of her day.”They’re out bright and early, even before I go out at 6:30 to get the paper,” Ida says.When she comes out later in the morning, the pigeons flock around the petite white-haired woman for a nice breakfast.Word quickly spread among the pigeon grapevine.”When I first started, there was just one, and now there must be 20 or 30,” Ida says.She can’t remember when exactly she started providing breakfast for the pigeons, but confesses she’s been doing it “quite a while.”Pigeons linger on ledges at her building and on the sidewalk throughout the day. Ida has owned the Western Hotel for 65 years. To feed pigeons is a violation of a city ordinance.She says that she didn’t know feeding them is illegal.”They’re out here and if they’re hungry I feel like I should feed them,” she says. The pigeons are messy, she concedes, but she’s not sure why people have such a dislike for the birds.Ida, who was the first baby born in Glenwood Springs in 1911 – on Jan. 2, to be exact – has traveled around the country and world, even spending time as a child in Europe during World War I.Now, in the very early war against pigeons in downtown Glenwood, Ida isn’t giving it too much thought.She won’t say if she plans to stop feeding the pigeons outside her building, but she’s sure they’d miss her if she stopped.”I think they know who I am. If I didn’t feed them, I don’t know who would.”And like she says, if she didn’t enjoy feeding the pigeons, she wouldn’t do it.For now, the pigeon population at the Western Hotel will remain, looking forward to the morning feeding time and Ida’s friendly smile.It might be the only friendly face these pigeons see in downtown Glenwood.
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.