Couple Shocked To Discover Artistic Pigeon's Perfect Self Portrait

"I picked up the leaf, and we were just tripping out on it. It took a minute to sink in."

Recently, Koda Inman-Ahlstrom and his girlfriend were out for a stroll around a park near their home in California when something unexpected caught their eyes.

There, on the leafy path in front of them, was a leaf that was not like the rest.

Linnaea Mallette

The leaf they had found, nestled below a tree populated by pigeons, contained an artistic anomaly — a perfect portrait of a pigeon, painted in a splatter of pigeon poop.

The couple could not believe what they were seeing.

"I picked up the leaf, and we were just tripping out on it. It took a minute to sink in," Inman-Ahlstrom told The Dodo. "It was extremely photo-realistic."

Koda Inman-Ahlstrom

The image was so lifelike, in fact, that Inman-Ahlstrom needed to examine it closer to be sure it hadn't been put there by a human hand: "It was crusty and lumpy, like pigeon poop, so it didn’t seem like anyone painted it," he said. "It was really there."

After snapping a photo of the leaf, the couple placed it back on the path, hoping it might blow someone else's mind, too. Later on, Inman-Ahlstrom posted the photo to Reddit, where it was met with some understandable skepticism.

"People thought we’d Photoshopped it. So I offered to go back to the park to look for the leaf," Inman-Ahlstrom said. And sure enough, they found it again. "We picked it up and took it home. Yeah, it was kind of weird."

Koda Inman-Ahlstrom

Taking the time to salvage a leaf with excrement on it would be somewhat odd under most circumstances, but the longer Inman-Ahlstrom gazed on the pigeon's perfect self-portrait, the more impressed he became.

"Like, what does it take for something like this to happen?" he said. "There were so many things that had to lead up to it. It’s mind-boggling."

Everyone Inman-Ahlstrom showed the leaf to had their minds boggled, too.

Koda Inman-Ahlstrom

"People suggested we give it to a museum," Inman-Ahlstrom said. "Someone even offered $1,000 to buy it."

But some works of art are more fleeting than others. Inman-Ahlstrom said he tried his best to conserve the poopy portrait, but the forces of nature ultimately prevailed. The pigeon's droppings eventually became moldy and weird, to the point of becoming unrecognizable.

"It didn’t hold any resemblance to what it originally looked like, unfortunately," Inman-Ahlstrom said. "I guess it's the cycle of things. I’m just glad we were able to find it and appreciate it while it was here."

But the mystery artist's work won't soon be forgotten.


If there's a lesson to be drawn from all of this, it's perhaps the reminder that there's beauty to be found in unexpected places — including leaves that have been pooped upon by pigeons. That's something Inman-Ahlstrom has taken to heart:

"I’m a pretty observant person in general," he said. "But it’s cool to think now that one piece of excrement can be interesting in some way."