Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Birds are Pissed

and when the birds get pissed, terrible things will follow.

I blame my irrational fear of (some types of) birds on my childhood. This was shaped by two things: the superstitions of my grandmother and her sister, and bible movies, like The Ten Commandments.

My maternal grandmother lived in our house, in the apartment above us, with her sister, well into their old age. For a while, theirs was the place to be, as my cousins and aunts and uncles would drop by for lunch, seemingly every day, to a spread of mortadella, prosciutto (before it was gourmet food), capicola, ham, etc. It was usually quite loud and there was always laughter, but one thing I remember, and I can't quite remember the occasion -- maybe someone died or someone had noticed a bird outside the window -- but it was either my grandmother or my aunt who said that when a bird appears outside your window, then someone's going to (or already has) die. They were southern Italians, as if that explains it. For some reason I've always remembered that.

Then of course there were those bible movies, where birds were the harbingers (no pun intended) of disease, death and darkness. That affected me quite a bit, as did a certain poem by Mr. Poe.

I like many birds -- little birds are cute, exotic birds of unusual colors fascinate me, I'll always stop to watch a cardinal (especially if they are beating the Chicago Cubs!), and I was in awe the other day when I saw a bluejay atop a stop sign. But dark birds with their dark eyes, give me the creeps, especially if, you guessed it, they're outside my window.

For the past year we've had some nesting birds on the back porch. The same back porch where I like to hang out late at night, on my 'weekends,' and have a cigar, watch the airplanes heading into O'Hare (yeah, I know, I'm a good 10 miles east of the airport but still, they come in pretty low around Uptown/Andersonville), and tool around Facebook and the Internet on my ipod Touch. For the most part they didn't bother us and we didn't bother them, since our schedules are the opposite - by the time I enter the outdoor smoking lounge at night, they're all sleeping.

But lately -- this is their second year here -- things have been getting out of hand, with bird poop all over the porch, the railings, the steps, and pieces of nesting materials strewn about, as well. So, the landlord was notified and while I haven't heard from him, it appears his handyman may have plugged the hole in the rotting beam about the porch, where the birds were nesting. Because when I got home tonight I found one bird, at the top of the stairs, chirping, incessantly, and occasionally looking up in the direction of where that hidden nest was. But no chirps came back at him. But he's still there. On the porch railing, pooping, and chirping, and looking right at me. And I think he's pissed.

I may need to self-medicate tonight to avert the inevitable nightmares. Then there will be the full-fledged attack of the surviving birds once I step outside. Better get the umbrella...

(NOTE: The bird pictured in thsi post is not the bird on my porch today. But I know that look ...)

1 comment:

Erica said...

I never thought about birds that way ... thanks James' grandma! :) I see a lot of red-wing blackbirds up here in the NW burbs and don't remember seeing them anywhere else. They're really dark, but pretty. The little bit of color on their wings makes them stand out. I like pretty birds, too, and I get to see a lot of them on our birch tree right outside of our kitchen window. Mostly robins, but the occasional cardinal, which were my grandpa's favorite and I always think of him when I see one.