An unusual love
- I could recognize her anywhere. And she could find me in every place -
Tesla was a big fan of birds, especially pigeons. Ever since he was a child, he used to take care of sick birds and release them back into nature after they recovered. His obsession increased even in old age. He spent the last ten years of his life in the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan, in room 3327. At that time, this hotel was the most New York building with its own electricity generator that supplied it. But Tesla lived modestly.
Every day he visited Bryant Park near Times Square where he fed thousands of pigeons. It was his obsession. According to one story, Tesla suddenly disappeared during a ceremony where he was about to receive the Edison Medal at the Electrical Engineers Club. The distinguished board and audience were waiting for Tesla to appear, but he was not there. A dozen people went in search. They found him in Bryant Park.
O'Neill, one of the participants in the search, said: – [There] stood an imposing figure of Tesla, wearing a crown of two doves on his head. His shoulders and arms were adorned with a dozen more, their white or pale gray bodies contrasting strongly with his black suit and black hair. On each of his outstretched arms was a bird, while seemingly hundreds of others made a living carpet on the ground in front of him, hopping and pecking at the birdseed he was scattering. Behrend wanted to rush in, chase the birds away and drag Tesla into the auditorium. Something made him stop. Such a sudden action seemed almost sacrilegious. –
After he was injured in a car accident in 1937, his legs did not serve him well. Then he would pay a Western Union courier to spread crumbs around the park for his pets. But one dove stood out. Tesla's friends O'Neil and William Lorens told a story about a white dove that Tesla especially loved. This is how he described it:
"I have been feeding pigeons, thousands of them, for years. Thousands of them, who would remember them all. However, there was one pigeon, a wonderful bird, white in color with light gray spots on its wings: he was something special. It was a female. I could recognize her anywhere. And she could find me in every place. I only had to think of her, to call her and she would fly. I understood her and she understood me. I loved that dove. And then, one night while I was lying on my bed in the dark, solving some problems as usual, she flew in through the open window and landed on my desk. I knew she needed me, she wanted to tell me something important, so I got up and went to her.
I looked at her and knew that she wanted to tell me - that she was going to die. And then, when I realized it, I saw light from her eyes - a powerful beam of light. Yes, it was real light, a strong, brilliant, blinding light. When my dove died, something was missing from my life. Until then I was quite sure that I would finish all my ideas, even though I had an ambitious program, but when the dove disappeared I knew that my life's work was finished."
The last patent he filed with the New York patent office was the most unusual of all the previous ones. And it shows how much Tesla really cared about birds. It was - food for pigeons.
Tesla died in the aforementioned room at the age of eighty-six. His ashes are kept in a spherical urn, Tesla's favorite geometric body, in the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade.