Monday, May 16, 2016

Bird Brain

Where have I been for a week?

Right where I am now. Sitting in my office chair and grading papers.

I'm ALMOST finished with the grading. Grades are due tomorrow.

I've gotten nothing done today, though, because as I got here and settled in and started productively responding to e-mails and getting ready to tackle my stack of student portfolios, I looked up and saw A BIRD strolling down the hallway in front of my office.

My door was propped open with a door stop, so I knew immediately I needed to get the door to my office closed before I ended up with A BIRD trapped inside.

Here's the thing: I know birds are not vicious or scary (mama geese excepted), but when they are WILD and SCARED and TRAPPED IN A BUILDING, they are going to FLY  AROUND LIKE CRAZY and ram into things and SWOOP and then THEIR FEET ARE GOING TO GET CAUGHT IN MY HAIR and then they are going to claw out my eyes and also POOP ALL OVER ME.

This is what is going to happen. There is no AVOIDING this scenario, should I end up in a room with a bird. I have seen the future, and that is what it looks like. There is no escape.

There is only shrieking.

And so, shriek I did. And as I shrieked and gasped and leaped up from my chair, hoping to startle the bird away so that I could shut the door.

But, you guys.

When I did that, I startled ANOTHER BIRD that was already INSIDE MY OFFICE. It had apparently sauntered in without me realizing it. And it was just HANGING OUT next to my desk. Lurking. Spying on me. Biding its time until I would inadvertently startle it, at which time it would no doubt play out the scenario detailed above, ending with my eyes clawed out, my hair cut off, and blood and bird poop everywhere.

But somehow, thank the Good Lord and Baby Jesus, it flew OUT of my office door. While I screamed my ever-loving head off.

Honestly, I'm offended that no one raced up to the third floor to check on me because it must have sounded like I was being attacked. It was a genuine shriek of startled terror, followed by blood-curdling screams of a very hysterical nature, and I was left shaking, my heart racing, the back of my neck crawling with the fear of a Hitchcock-style invasion.

It was outside my office, yes. BOTH birds were now in the hallway. But then I was afraid to shut the door. Were there MORE BIRDS, lurking in my office? Waiting and watching until they found the right moment to panic, get tangled in my hair, and shit everywhere while flapping their wings and accidentally clawing my face apart? I did a cursory stomp/scream around the office to keep birds out and scare any lurking birds out of hiding, then closed the door, then called my friend and colleague whose office is down the hall.

"THERE ARE BIRDS IN THE BUILDING!!!" (This announcement preceded and followed by unintelligible screaming.)

She reacted more calmly and logically, venturing out to close classroom doors and keep the birds confined to the hallway, while I peeked cautiously out my office door, helpfully gasping and shrieking anytime a bird fluttered its wings.

At one point, I ran and called maintenance, who seemed TOTALLY UNCONCERNED. So my friend tracked down another colleague and between the two of them, they managed to catch one bird in a blanket and get it outside, while the other one observes us from the top of the window blinds in the classroom across the hall.

We (okay I was not involved at all because I won't enter the classroom where the bird currently resides because WE ALL KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN) put a lure of breakfast bar crumbs on the window sill (I provided the breakfast bar) but the bird hasn't moved and I fear this coaxing plan could backfire and we could end up luring MORE BIRDS into the classroom, Hitchcock-style.

I've now consulted with two colleagues in the biology department (one of whom specializes in animal biology, although she studies tortoises, not birds) and they have a net they are going to use so they get rescue the bird because they are afraid maintenance might hurt it. They are going to let it rest first because it seems somewhat stunned and exhausted. (I KNOW THE FEELING.) They have identified it as a mourning dove, which is evidently not known for being very bright.

I'm still riding the adrenaline wave of being NEARLY ATTACKED by a BIRD IN MY OFFICE.

I have calmed down some. The reassuring presence of the biology professors was helpful. Birds are nice creatures. Birds do not want to get tangled in my hair. I just want the bird to be safe and happy and NO WHERE NEAR MY OFFICE.


  1. That is AMAZING.

    Not the birds themselves, but your reaction to them! My heart is racing. For you. Not for the harmless doves. You crack me up.

  2. It sounds like you have a bird phobia. :) It reminds me of myself with cats, actually. I had a HUGE cat phobia. I just adopted a cat (which I realize sounds crazy; I had my reasons!). These last six weeks have been one giant exposure therapy session and, believe it or not, while not gone, I feel it dissipating. You should just let a few dozen birds move into your office for a few weeks. ;)

    1. Hahaha that is a TERRIBOLD idea (as Zuzu would say). But good for you adopting a kitty cat! Not nearly as scary as birds. ;)

  3. I don't suppose it would make any difference to your, uhmm, concerns? To know that I've owned birds as pets and never once got one caught in my hair or lost an eye?

    And now probably isn't the time to yell you about the time my mom, as a young teen, had to walk home, alone, in the increasing dark, after watching Hitchcock's The Birds?

    But, you know, thank God you survived! And for biology professors!

    1. Pet birds are TOTALLY different.

      Your poor mom!

      We are all bird survivors, really.

  4. I have a similar thought process involving squirrels. I KNOW that if I startle a squirrel, it will frantically run right toward me, up my pant leg and start gnawing on my shin. Without a doubt.

    1. Either that or it will lodge itself between your shoulder blades and you will be unable to escape it, a la Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation.

  5. That sounds horrible ... a bird was LURKING! in your office. I came home from work one day and a black bird was in our living room. I called my husband at work and screamed into the phone so loud his co-workers heard it on the other end ... Maybe keep an umbrella by your desk for future protection from hair entanglement ...

    1. HOW DID IT GET INSIDE YOUR HOUSE? An umbrella is a great idea.

  6. I am trying, YET FAILING, to stop laughing.

  7. This is pretty much EXACTLY how I feel about birds.