Sunday, March 10, 2013

Me Vs. Nature Part IV - Revenge Of The Grackle.

Just like with the job I had about a year and a half ago, I now work close enough to where I go to school that I can walk from one point to the other in less than 20 minutes, even if I take my time and walk slowly. I consider it my cardio for the week, plus it saves me on taxi fare, so why not? Right?

Still, it is the dry season again and the sun has been out with a vengeance the last few weeks, so I recently started taking the scenic route, which in this case, ironically, is the shorter of the two main routes to get to class. This route takes me down a street that runs alongside an area known as George the 5th Park, which allows pedestrians to walk under a series of the trees, lining the sidewalk. On the southern side of that street, however, there are some houses and businesses and The Oval, a really large sporting ground used mostly for cricket matches. That takes up about half of that side.

Now you know.

The Oval's walled off like a maximum security prison, sans the guard towers and razor wire and so it's kind of boring and you get more of the blistering sun on that side of the street, so I prefer to stick to the other side with the cool shady trees, some of which start to show their colors off at this time of year, like this Pink Poui tree:
My apologies to all of you who are currently not enjoying the snow wherever you are that are forced to watch this.
Pretty, right?

There is a down side to all this, though. Where there are a lot of trees, there will probably be a lot of Grackles. I've mentioned these guys before. They're tiny black birds that get very territorial around this time of year and attack anyone who comes too close to their nesting spots. They seem to favor attacking me.
Nothing personal, bub... I still kill you.
source
How they normally do their thing is to swoop down at the heads of passers-by from behind, squawk and then fly back to the safety of a nearby tree. They'll continue doing this until they're satisfied the intruder is well enough away from their territory. You might think they're brave, but I've observed them running from pigeons, which is kind of insulting, if you ask me. Since I don't particularly like being made to duck like a crazy person in the streets every time I suddenly hear that high-pitched "Squawk!" behind my head, I prefer to avoid them.

Then I found the solution to all my problems.

With the birds anyway...

It was purely by accident. The other day, I was on my way to class as usual. I wasn't even thinking about my feathered nemesis at the time and had my music cranked up through my headphones as I made my way. I was also distracted by the text conversation I was having with my wife at the time. It was then I looked up from my phone and noticed my shadow in front of me and an even tinier shadow of a Grackle that was repeatedly swooping down from the trees. I was almost to the end of the Park so I could only assume it had been trying to get my attention for some time, but I hadn't even noticed it until then and not once was I forced to duck or dodge his assault.

AT LAST!!! I found my answer. Music! Music loud enough that it prevented me from hearing the fluttering wings and the annoying "Squawk!" that would force me to look like an idiot in the streets. That was my answer. From here on in I knew what I had to do. So the next day, I was ready. I decided the shorter, scenic route was mine and no tiny bird was going to deter me ever again. I would have the shade of the trees. I would have the shorter walk. I would not be denied! I walked down the street and, as I came up to the trees, I saw a Grackle take up position.

"Hey, Mr. Grackle'" I thought smugly, "You here to try your luck? Betcha won't spook me. Betcha I don't even notice ya."

I may have been enjoying this a little too much.

I continued my walk and turned my MP3 player on my phone up. I wasn't even going to look out for him. In my mind, I had already won against the dreaded bird, so why bother paying attention to his fruitless efforts. The Grackle was now beneath my noticing.

Or not.

Here we have a saying: Who doh hear, does feel.
Apparently, Grackles also practice this policy since, I hadn't made it more than a few steps before I felt its talons on the back of my head.

And I ducked.

Son of a....

The Grackle will not be ignored, it seems. I guess he figured he would try harder this time around to get my attention. It looks like the bird is more persistent than I thought. I looked up and he perched himself up in a nearby tree waiting to strike again, watching me with his beady little eyes and daring me to continue. I decided to admit defeat and crossed over to the other side of the street, away from the trees. I don't get enough sun anyway.

This round went to the bird.

16 comments:

  1. oh Vinny. Angry birds cannot be denied.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just warn me when they start using slingshots in real life.

      Delete
  2. In the spring we get the same thing with Red Winged Blackbirds. Those suckers are mean!

    Which doesn't stop me from laughing hysterically when I see a cat trying to race away from them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you're saying I should get a cat to use as a decoy?

      Delete
  3. Why have you not started bringing a tennis racket, or more sinister, a cricket racket? I know, "it's just protecting its nest." But remember what Wu Tang said, "protect ya neck".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great idea! Plus, I bet it looks a lot less crazy to swat at them with a racket.

      Delete
  4. I suggest a hat...and maybe some goggles in case he decides to go for the eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those could wor- Wait! You don't think they'd really go for the eyes? Do you?

      Delete
  5. Full body armour and a motorcycle helmet with a faceplate, along with an airhorn to scare the shit out of them. That could work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Another good suggestion!

      None of this will make me look crazy, right?

      Delete
  6. Dude. You're screwed. Just sayin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. There's no way to avoid them until sometime around may, which is coincidentally when my semester ends.

      Delete
  7. Red Winged Blackbirds are like that. My husband had one attack him once when we took a long bike ride on the road next to the Mississippi River just north of Alton, Illinois. I was behind him far enough he could not hear my warning. It was actually quite funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you tried to warn him. I have the sneaking suspicion my wife would just watch it happen & laugh... and laugh... and laugh.

      Delete
  8. You know how the saying goes. If you can't beat them join them. Therefore I would spend the rest of the week chasing and squawking at people that get too close to a nest. Be sure to flap your arms as you run around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That might be fun... But only if I get to dress in all black. I look good in black.

      Delete

Go ahead, say it! You know you want to: