Perhaps the red-winged blackbird in this photo looks beautiful to you. However, when I look at him, I see this:
And this. (Click the link at your own risk.) (Okay, those might not really be red-winged blackbirds, but still. That's not the point. The point is, that's how I feel about birds. All of them.)
It is safe to say I loathe the red-winged black bird.
For the previous two years, one horrid little male red-winged blackbird has chosen to settle down with his family (ahem, families, apparently these fellas like to have about five lady friends) in a tree (two years ago) and a tall bush (last year) outside the school where I teach. Every morning, noon and night that someone attempted to come or go, the thing attacked. Two years ago, our principal had "specialists" come and remove one of its nests. Last year, I arrived to work and left work in fear. It would sit on the power lines that bordered the parking lot and wait. It waited for us to try to make it to our car. It dove. It hissed. It pecked. That's right. It pecked at the glasses our kindergarten teacher had on her head. It's wings flapped at mine one day. Well, it swooped and hissed and threw a mad fit every day. Every day. But it only made contact with my head once. I shiver now just remembering it.
I lived in fear.
This year, it doesn't matter that he relocated. Every morning, I yelp and swear under my breath as I run into the building, cursing at the innocently tweeting birds in the trees of the park behind me. No bird can convince me they are lovely signs of spring and summer.
Two weeks ago, I took a jog outside. Guess what was waiting for me on some power lines? You betcha (Yes, I live in Wisconsin.). One of those horrid creatures. He dove. He swooped. I trudged through a ditch and ran on the gravelly shoulder of the highway instead of along the path that held his precious eggs. That's right. I'd rather get hit by a car than pecked by a bird.
I think I decreased my running pace by half for the remainder of that run.
Now I run on my treadmill.
To learn more about this bird, in friendly, non-biased report, go here.
To learn more about how this bird attacked pedestrians and bikers in Chicago, go here. It's an article published in The Telegraph in 2008, entitled Blackbirds Dive-bombing Chicago Residents.
Also in 2008, an article about attacking red-winged blackbirds was published on Suite101.com. Read it here. Although the author writes they are not truly dangerous and tries to pacify me by telling me these birds eat weed seeds and insects, I'm not buying it. As if I care!!! The weeds that grow faster than I can pluck their thorny little stems don't try to peck holes into my skull! Mosquitoes may be one of the most annoying things on my list of "Things That Annoy Me About Wisconsin Summers", but they do not keep me on a treadmill for fear of running on the path outside my neighborhood!
I can only pray that the thousands of runners accompanying me in my half-marathon in two weeks will deter any territorial birds from swooping at my head while I run.
Although, it might help my time....
Posted by erica and christy