French Pensioner and Rescued Pigeon Are Inseparable Friends

Xavier Bouget, an 80-year-old pensioner from France’s Brittany region, and Blanchon, a majestic white pigeon, have been best friends for two years, ever since the Frenchman rescued the bird from becoming a cat’s lunch.

Xavier first met his unlikely companion two years ago, while walking to his house in the town of Gommenec’h. He noticed this small, almost featherless pigeon chick fall out of its nest, in a desperate attempt to escape a hungry cat. He didn’t think to help it at first, but when he got home and mentioned it to his wife, Marie-Françoise, she asked him why he didn’t pick it up. So he went back to get the small pigeon chick, which had miraculously managed to escape the purring predator until his return. Xavier came home with the frail bird in his bird, not knowing that it would soon become his best and closest friend.

Photo: video screengrab

“For a month and a half I fed him with a syringe five times a day,” the French pensioner, once a hunter, who has long given up his rifle, recalls.

Bouget says that he doesn’t know whether Blanchon is grateful to him for having saver her life, but one think he is certain of is that she doesn’t stick around just for the food. She can find plenty to eat around Gommenec’h, and she’s always been free to come and go as she pleases. The bird just enjoys his company, there’ no other way to explain it.


The sight of Xavier Bouget riding his bicycle with Blanchon perched on his shoulder or on his head has become a popular one around Gommenec’h, but the fact is the two of them are inseparable. When he is tinkering away in his backyard workshop, Blanchon is right by his side, pecking at tools and nails, she’s on his shoulder when he’s watering the garden, and when he’s inside the house, she comes in through the open window and trots on the cupboard, to Marie-Françoise’s chagrin!

Ever since his friendship with Blanchon became the subject of national news and television crews started paying him regular visits, Xavier is often asked how he managed to domesticate the pigeon. But he never once tried domesticating his best friend. Theirs is a relationship based on mutual trust, nothing more.


“I never tried domesticating her,” Xavier told Nature d’ici et d’ailleurs. “When I call her, she comes to me. It is a relationship of trust.”

This special friendship reminded me of another unlikely relationship we featured a few years back, the friendship between an old Japanese diver and an Asian sheepshead wrasse by the name of Yoriko. and about the 37-year-old friendship between a swan and the man who rescued her.