showdown: man vs. bird


Last week I started a little controversial debate about animals in the wild having emotional feelings. Surely my argument didn’t have a scientific leg to stand on, but so what, call it fictional creative writing expression. I was just masking some grievances I had been feeling that day and was inspired by watching some squirrels and birds doing their squirrelly and birdie things. So I took it out on nature. Plus, my imagination was triggered by a caffeine surge.

Apparently, the neighborhood wildlife has computers and protested what I had to say. Or maybe they can pick up on Wi-Fi signals and managed to read this very blog. At least the birds knew about it. Not only that, but they were aware of an incident that happened with my sister last week and an unfortunate bird.

I never thought it was possible, but apparently if a bird can get hit by an airplane, what’s to stop the same thing from happening to someone’s car? My sister, driving to work one morning, managed to strike a bird! Due to the graphic nature of the incident, I’m choosing not to post the picture of what’s left of the bird. That’s right… what’s left. What was left was a wing, as far as I could tell. The bird got lodged into the grill of the vehicle, so a stick was needed to remove it. It wasn’t a pretty picture, and it made for a humorous story in a weird morbid way (depends how strongly you feel about animals).

Anyway, between that incident and my remarks about emotionless critters, the birds might have it out for me. I park in an area where I haven’t been attacked “fecally” due to the lack of trees. My usual space has been something short of target practice that only car wash owners appreciate. But just recently, they dropped a bomb, maybe as a warning to me? An ultimatum? Revenge? Or maybe just to say “We’re watching you.”

But if they weren’t saying it then, they definitely said it yesterday. Every so often I like to open the door to my office (the front door to my house) and just look out at the neighborhood. Sometimes I get the mail, which is a short walk from the door to the curb, or go to my car which is about just as short of a distance. But this particular time was just for observational purposes.

Standing there in the middle of this triangle of my car, the mailbox and the front door, was a robin. A robin that had seemed to have his chest poked out at me, and looking me square in the face. (I don’t know the gender of this bird, but he seemed masculine, so I’ll say it was a dude-robin.) I saw his little beady eyes. Or at least I think I did, they have small eyes. But I know he saw me. He didn’t move. Standing there as if to say, “Yeah buddy, I’m lookin’ at you. I know what you said. And I know what you did.”

At this very same time, I’m looking at this bird thinking, “Is this bird sizing me up? Is he trying to give me the third degree?” More than likely, he was. Whether or not it was working is another question.

You know how birds have this twitching way about them when they turn there heads or look at something? This robin wasn’t doing that. Actually, I was the one doing it. Not in the timid bird fashion, more like a confused dog. I stepped out a bit further. The beady bird eyes followed my step. Then he took a step. Again, most birds I notice have a hop of some kind. This one lifted one tiny foot, placed it in front of the other, and then brought the other foot to meet the other. I heard the blade of grass flap as he made his stance.

Is this bird challenging me? Are we playing chess? I hoped not… I hoped it was checkers. Chess is a game I still haven’t really learned yet. And I didn’t know what piece I or he was playing. But I’m technically on his territory, or I would be if I stepped off the porch, which I’m sure is what he was waiting for. Just to show me that animals, or at least birds, do have feelings and the bird community’s feelings had been hurt. Not just because of what I said, but also because of actions of my relatives. They decided to send a hitbird to let me know how they felt about it. Was this bird sent to actually carry out a hit or a warning is anyone’s guess. Maybe to send a message to humanity, or maybe have an example made out of me?

I have respect for the animal kingdom and all, but I’m not about to get showed out by some random robin. Not in my own yard. So to the bird, in facial expression and posture, I told him I was ready. “Bring it.” We stared at each other for what felt like a good 15 minutes. It was already past noon and I’m sure the cowboys out in the old West would’ve already drawn, fired, and killed each other by now and just waiting for the sunset to go riding off into. I highly doubt a lawman or outlaw ever had to open fire on a feathered being. Well, maybe for food…

But I’m nobody’s punk. It was either me or this bird. The only reason why I ran in the house so quickly when he started flying towards me was because my phone was ringing and I was waiting for an important call.

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Posted in nature, story, storytelling, writing

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