Thursday, March 18, 2010

When Ducks Attack

My wife is a smart person.  She is college educated and does research in neuroscience at prestigious medical school.  She raises three wonderful and intelligent children.  She is an avid reader, she can go head to head against me in Jeopardy, Trivial Pursuit and any other trivia game (except for Star Wars).  She has two issues, 1) she married me, 2) she has an irrational fear of birds, the official term for this is ornithophobia.  The first is an issue because I am an irreverent ass and will write about the second issue.

We normally don’t come in contact with many birds.  I don’t know about you, but in my experience, birds keep a safe distance from humans.  That is not always the case with my wife.  She seems to attract birds.  There have been several incidents in the past where birds have singled her out for their awful vengeance.

The Hungry Hawk - Last summer, while she was on the deck watering the plants, a large red shouldered hawk swooped down from the sky and snatched a rabbit sitting in the yard only 20 feet away from where my wife was standing.  Mr. or Mrs. Hawk sat on our fence (the same one that needs to repaired) and proceeded to eat the rabbit.  The kids and I enjoyed this display and recovered the rabbit’s broken and bloody skull for analysis later.  The skull was actually retrieved by our dog and had to be pried from his mouth.  He was not very pleased to have such a tasty treat taken away from him, but he got over it.

The Swooping Pigeon – A few years ago, my wife and few coworkers were walking to work and a pigeon flew up from the side walk “right at her head”, forcing her to duck and cover.  According to eye witnesses the bird was half way down the street and didn’t even come close to her at all.  I, of course, believe my wife, if she said it flew at her head in a menacing, threatening fashion the way those viscous, murderous pigeons are known to do, then I believe that she was in grave danger (is there any other kind? – damned IMDB doesn’t have the quote of course) and took the necessary avian evasive maneuvers.

The Horny Robin – One spring, when we were living in a town house, we had a very aggressive male robin visit us daily.  And by daily, I mean, all day, every day.  He would spend hours flying at and crashing into our sliding glass doors leading from the living room out onto the patio.  He would do this nonstop from early morning to early evening.  When he got tired or sore, he would sit on the gas grill and shit.  And by shit, I mean pour gallons and gallons of poop all over the patio and grill.  The black plastic grill cover looked a plaster cast of a gas grill. 

Nothing we did would keep him from battling his bitter rival (if you don’t get it by now, it was his own reflection).  We kept a pile of soft dog toys near the sofa, and when he would appear, we would throw them at the door to attempt to scare him off.  That would only scare him away for 15 minutes if it worked at all.  Finally, we had enough (and by we, I mean my wife had enough and therefore, I had enough). 

I was now at war with a robin.  I set up my encampment behind enemy lines, i.e. in a plastic patio chair next to the shed.  With weapon at ready (a garden hose), I patiently waited to spring my ambush.  I waited for about an hour and a half before the enemy showed on the field of battle. 

The first shot went wide right of the target, but the enemy was still dazed a little from his initial assault on the sliding glass door and I had time enough for one more attack.  I did not aim with my hand, he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.  I aimed with my eye.  I did not shoot with my hand, he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.  I shot with my mind.   I did not kill with my gun, he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.  I killed with, well, I killed by trapping the bird in a plastic shopping bag and snapping his neck.  I said a few words in honor of the quixotic robin and buried him unceremoniously in the trash can.

The Duck Family – A few days ago, while walking the kids to school, we saw two ducks setting up a nest in our neighbor’s hedges.  I used this opportunity to educate my kids on the life of ducks.  I explained how Mrs. Duck would build the nest in the hedges and lay her eggs.  She would sit on them and keep them warm until they hatched.  Mr. Duck would stand guard of the nest and go out and forge for food.  I told them how cool it would be to see the little ducklings come and how they would follow mommy and daddy around in a little line.  I also told them not to get to close because we didn’t want to scare them off.

My wife also saw the ducks.  Her take on the situation was a little different.

Transcript of the chat conversation:

Wife: Did you see the ducks

me: Yeah, I got some pics.  We have to walk on the other side of the street now

Wife: That’s so funny! Why would they pick there? Soon there will be baby ducklings running around. They may be apt to attack someone walking by. Oh God.

me: Yeah, those people are going to have an issue getting out of their front door

Wife: As I typed that I realized thank god not our house. That's like my worst nightmare.

me: OMG.  They are ducks!!! Not velociraptors

Wife: Yes, but what if they flew at my head or pecked at me or something.

me: dork

Wife: But why would they pick that bush of all places.

me: They like areas like that

Wife: Never been there before

me: The male has a bright green strip on his head.  No wonder she picked him, and such a nice neighborhood for their home

Wife: I saw them. You should let the dog go up to them

me: They fly away if the dog gets within one house of them

Wife: I would call animal control or I would take the dog outside with me whenever I had to leave 

me: Seriously, you may need to seek help at some point.  It’s a duck, we are like 10 levels higher than them on the food chain. They are not even dangerous

Wife: Yes, I know that. For a number of things.

me: They don’t have teeth, or poison or claws

Wife: They have Sharp Beaks!


I fear that I may have to do something about this if it gets worse.  She will not stop, she is like the terminator.  If they come near the house, the situation will come to a head.  If you see me outside, sitting behind a bush with a garden hose and a plastic bag, you will understand way.

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