While I don’t have ornithophobia — the irrational fear of birds — I’ve never been a fan of those feathered fiends. I’m not exactly sure what it is that makes me feel uneasy, but I think it has something to do with how quickly they dart about and the unpredictability of their behavior.
When springtime rolls around every year, it’s greeted by the chirping serenade of all the birds returning from their migration south. The trees in Arkansas are teeming with the melodic sounds of native birds.
One spring afternoon, my family was getting together at my aunt’s house for lunch. Earlier that day, my mom had called to remind me about the gathering, and asked if I could bring my chocolate chip cookies that everyone loved.
“Sure!” I said, “Maybe two batches?”
“Yes that would be perfect. Oh, and Aunt Janette wants everyone to come through the back door in the garage. Two blue jays have made a nest in the top corner of the front porch and laid eggs she thinks. But they are very territorial and don’t want anyone coming near that nest. They ran off a few Girl Scouts trying to sell cookies the other day.”
I grimaced. Like I said, birds aren’t exactly my favorite animal.
I assured her I would use the back door and we finished our phone conversation. I quickly whipped up the cookie batter, added the chocolate chips and got busy arranging them on a baking pan.
Soon the cookies were finished and resting on the cooling racks, and I ran upstairs to throw myself together. I quickly changed my clothes and caught a glimpse of my hair in the bathroom mirror.
“Oh my,” I said to my reflection. My hair was a mess, and I was pretty sure I could see a bit of cookie batter here and there. There was no time to wash my hair so I just grabbed a few large bobby pins and wrapped a messy bun on the top of my head and pinned it in place.
Through the process of making all of those cookies, and rounding up my son and herding him and all of his action figures into the car, I forgot about my mother’s reminder to use the back door. When I pulled up at my aunt’s house, I collected the Tupperware containers of my freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, helped my son Raff out of the car, and headed for the front porch.
I made my way up the four steps onto the porch and reached out my hand to push the doorbell, when I heard a loud squawking sound above me. I looked up and saw a streak of blue in my peripheral vision and suddenly remembered my mother’s warning.
“Raff, run around back, quickly! Go in the house through the garage!” I shrieked as I flung one arm in the air trying to fend off the angry bird flitting about my head and gripped my Tupperware containers tightly in the other.
Raff looked at me with panic in his eyes and darted around the hedges to go into the garage.
I tried to coordinate my steps down the stairs, off the porch, and out of the fury of the blue jay, but it was rather difficult with an angry bird flapping anxiously about my head. I stepped down onto the last step, and felt a sharp tug on my hair and a shrill “SQUAWK!!”
Suddenly my hair was being pulled and twisted in all sorts of directions and I could hear myself shrieking like a mad woman.
“Mom! There’s a bird in your hair!” Raff yelled. He thankfully hadn’t gone into the house yet, and was waiting on me. I was too panicked to form much of a sentence, and was only able to force out, “send help!”
I could feel the birds wings flapping aggressively against my head, and then the sharp peck of its beak on my scalp, which only made me further lose my mind. I was running up and down my aunts driveway, shrieking and wildly flinging one arm, the other keeping a death grip on my containers of cookies. I’m surprised the neighbors didn’t call the fire department thinking I was on fire with how I was running around in the front yard.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see my mom and sister running over to me. I shoved the cookie containers into my mom’s hands. “Save the cookies!!” I yelled.
“Stay still and bend down!!” My sister Amy instructed. I gritted my teeth and covered my face with my hands and knelt on the grass so that my five foot nothing big sister could reach the top of my head and free the possessed creature trapped in my messy bun.
“Its feet are stuck in your bun!” She said, as she started pulling out my pins. No sooner had she removed the last pin, the bird was no longer held hostage by my wild mane and flew furiously back to its nest.
“You can uncover your face now,” Amy said.
“Is it gone?” I wailed.
“Yes it’s gone,” Amy assured me.
I rose to my feet, dazedly made my way into the garage, and stumbled into my aunt’s house, thoroughly exhausted by my ordeal.
I walked into the kitchen to make sure that my cookies had survived the attack. To my relief they were in perfect condition, cocooned in the parchment paper I had lined the Tupperware with.
“Mom,” Raff said with a mouthful of chocolate chip cookie. “These cookies are good and all, but you’re covered in bird poop.”