Seven years ago today—or I guess I should say tonight, because that’s when it happened, at night, since we are talking about a nocturnal creature—I was attacked by an owl. An Eastern screech owl, to be precise, a little, feathered Coleman gallon jug full of murder. It dive-bombed me five times, briefly penning me in behind my garage, and I managed to escape with no real harm done, at least physically, since I dove inside my backdoor as its talons were brushing against the back of my head. I have written about the encounter a few times, starting with this blog post the following morning.
I have had a number of weird avian encounters since, both at my home (which seems to be some nexus of bird activity in the area) and at work (which suggests the word is out about me). I had a similar dustup with a smaller, unidentified bird downtown a couple of years ago, most likely with a similar cause at its root, namely that a mother was protecting her young. Not terribly long before we went home for a year, I had a bird refuse to get off my windshield for about two miles after leaving for the day. There are too many to go into, though I suppose that has never really stopped me before. We could go around and around, but probably what you really want to know is: Zac, what have you learned in these seven years since you were attacked by an owl?
The short version is: nothing. The longer version is: OK, not nothing, but nothing really regarding birds. I know that, even as quietly as I walk—and I can guarantee you that I am one of the quietest walkers you will ever encounter, with footfalls that sound like cotton balls landing on a sunbeam, like a shadow landing on a shadow, like I might be (and, listen, you know I am not prone to hyperbole) an actual living angel—I can’t walk quietly enough not to spook the cranes that occasionally like to frolic on Lippit Creek on one of the various walking routes I take around my neighborhood.
But is that applicable to you? Probably not, unless you also like to look at cranes and are also frustrated that your quietest steps (imagine that I was made of whispers) still manage to cause those cranes to be alarmed and gracefully coast away.