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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bird Issues

At dinner last night it became obvious that throughout my life I have had an issue with birds.
First movie I remember watching? The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock. I was 5 I think. Made quite an impression.

Fast forward to Calgary Stampede as a 20 something: I become a bulls-eye for a gull who has apparently been at the beer garden hootin' it up. Memorable moment for a young woman trying to impress her date with her style and class. 

Fast forward again to Rue Mouffetard Paris recently: I am once again trying to look reasonably well arranged when a a pigeon miscalculates takeoff and crashes into my head. I am not sure which of us is the most surprised.

I was once chased by my uncle's guard goose. He had warned me about his guard dog. The guard goose was more of a surprise.

This all brings back the memory of two special bird encounters. I was once walking around a beautiful little pond in Kansas City when I was kind of attacked by a little white duck. He was being quite a nuisance actually, and while I tried to decide what to do with him I reached out with my admittedly muddy hiking boot to keep him away for just a moment. I literally rested my boot against him to hold him off from his determined attempt to attack me. In that moment, with my foot resting gently on the duck, a big Hummer pulled up behind me and out climbed a rather large man. His first words:
"What's going on here?" alerted me to a possible uncomfortable conversation I was about to be a part of.
His next words:
"That's my duck" increased my alarm.
My response, as I removed my gently placed very muddy boot from the duck:
"I didn't kick him. Honest"
And I didn't. And I understand that the little white duck was just protecting his wife and family. But I was kind of caught in the act. The duck was wearing a very big muddy footprint that matched the tread on my hiking boot. No denying it. I left with my head hanging low.

And then there was the time I was sea-dooing down the Connecticut River with my then-boyfriend. We were in a no-wake zone, so I was enjoying the calm, the flora and fauna. I commented on the swans, on how peaceful and beautiful they were. One swan in particular appeared to be posing for us, spreading his wings, turning toward us, and uh-oh coming toward us, feet still in the water but 8 foot span of wings now opening and closing to full effect. 
Fwuuump best describes the sound of a large territorial male swan heading toward our sea-doo at an ever accelerating speed.
Do you know how big a swan is?
Well double whatever you just answered because it looks as least twice as large when one is coming toward you, completely ignoring the no-wake zone and showing no apparent intention to even try to avoid a full on body slam. At the last minute we too had to ignore the no wake zone and get the hell out of the way. 
He missed us. 
Just barely. I guess he had managed to hit others on different days so our decision to flee while not our proudest moment was nonetheless prudent. 

What is the message? One who is found swanning may soon need to duck?


  1. Rest easy, we all know you wouldn't/couldn't kick a duck!

    I can relate to you're swan story. Once when walking at Hammonassett Park I stopped by a pond to watch a swan. As I walked closer to the edge she/he came closer to me - probably looking for food I though. Eventually, she came out of the water, approached me and began pecking at my feet - hard enough to be alarming. When I tried to shoo it away with my arms she stood up directly in front of me, came up as high as my chest and started this loud hissing sound. It scared the bejesus out of me. I slowly backed away. For a few feet she came after me, but fortunately let me go unharmed. Then I realized she was probably protecting a nest. Next time binoculars.


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