the birds! the birds!

The temperature is still chilly here in the Chicago area, but it’s starting to feel a bit more like spring. The snow has finally melted, we’ve had some hard rains, the days are growing longer and the birds are starting to chirp their morning tunes.

In fact, right now a bird is sitting outside my sliding glass window staring at me. And it’s freaking me out. Really. Freaking. Me. Out.

I used to have a normal relationship with birds. They did their thing and I did mine. They flew from tree to tree, singing their birdy songs. I walked around the yard, talking to other humans. When our paths crossed, it was no big deal.

But then, our lives intersected, mine and that of the birds.

It all started when a bird built it’s nest right inside the hanging basket of flowers on my front door. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, but the bird seemed to slam it’s body into the front door frequently throughout the day. I was afraid we would open the door and the bird would hit someone in the head.

So, I carefully moved the bird nest into a nearby tree. I knew this wasn’t the best thing to do. But I had no idea just how upset the birds would be. And how hard they would seek revenge.

They sent their calling card a few weeks later. We had just purchased our new inflatable swimming pool for the summer season. We came outside to find that a bird had nosedived into the pool and was floating on his back.

That was strange. In seven summers of inflatable pools, no bird had ever drown in our pool before. Perhaps it had a disease? Or maybe it was something else? A sacrifice designed to send a message?

So, we buried the bird, and we threw away the pool. But the next week, I had a run-in with the birds that changed my life.

I was going for a walk and had just turned the corner onto a long street with no side streets. A bird came barreling out of a nearby tree and whacked me right on the head. What?

It took me a minute to figure out what had happened. But by the time I was back to my senses, it was coming at me again. Wham! It flew into my head again.

What? Do I have something stuck in my hair?

“ACK! ACK!” one bird screamed. Then, its buddy came from behind and hit me again. They seemed to be working as a team now. One would scream and the other would fly after me.

I started to run. But I couldn’t get far before it would come after me again. I started diving to the ground with my hands over my head to try to ease the blow.


Run, run, run. Dive. Bam!

A car was driving slowly down the street, and the driver was staring at me. I can’t imagine why. I was running down the street, diving to the ground with every fifth step and screaming for dear life. I was tempted to dash out into the street and beg for a ride. But I didn’t have time. I had to dive again.

Finally, after about 10 hits, I made it to the end of that street, and the bird went back to its tree.

“That bird did the same thing to my buddy last week,” the driver of the car said. He had stopped and pulled into a parking lot. “My friend was so freaked out that he called me and begged me to come pick him up.”

I know the feeling. I had to walk a half mile out of my way to go home another direction.

For the rest of the summer, the sound of a cackling bird sent me running for cover. But the birds weren’t done with me yet.

It was late August when they left their final message. We live in a relatively new subdivision, and we don’t have many large trees. Thus, we don’t have many birds.

But one summer morning, my children set up a huge fort in the backyard using chair cushions, lawn chairs and assorted toys. A flock of birds swarmed into the largest tree in the corner of our yard. For about an hour, they cackled and chirped as they flew back and forth from the house to the tree. By the time they were done, everything was covered in bird poop. Not just a few droppings here and there. Covered.

This had never happened before, and it never happened after that one day.

Ah, yes. Spring is on the way. I love it when the flowers start to bloom, the grass turns bright green and the days grow warmer. But the chirping of the birds in the morning is a sound I can do without.

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