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The Birds

I have to admit, there are creatures I fear more than frogs.

It would be the birds.


Recently when I went home to Texas to visit with my family, I had the unique experience of dining with their pet birds at the breakfast table.  My dad and step-mom have 3 birds that they treat more like children than feathered carriers of disease and pestilence.

They release a bird at a time to fly willy nilly throughout the room.  Whenever a bird flew in my general direction, I would quickly cover my face, MY EYES MY EYES.

This amused my family to no end.  They assured me that the birds only wanted to make friends with me.  RIGHT.  Just before they pecked my retinas out.  NO THANK YOU.  Then there was also the issue of a bird landing on my head or shoulder.  And I’ll tell you right now that these birds WERE NOT HOUSEBROKEN.

My dad and step-mom thought nothing of walking about with bird droppings dripping from their shoulder.  The first time I witnessed this, my eyes rolled to the back of my head, but I did not allow myself to black out, because just as sure as shootin’, one of those mangy birds would have landed on my lifeless body.

The birds were also allowed to traipse about on the kitchen table.  My father, who once grounded me for drinking milk from the carton, demonstrated how his bird would eat oatmeal FROM HIS SPOON.  And then my father went on to continue his breakfast, WITH THAT SAME SPOON.

I may never recover from this particular visit.

This memory was vividly brought back to me today when we spent a portion of our afternoon at the beach.  And before my northern friends begin lobbing vegetation at me because we are enjoying 83 degree weather today, I DID NOT ENJOY MYSELF.

First of all, we did not take into account the fact that there is WIND at the beach and it would be rather CHILLY.  Secondly, I forgot about this favorite past time enjoyed by my son and nephews.

Imagine how difficult it was to capture this Kodak moment while holding my hands over my eyes.

17 Responses to The Birds

  • Yeah! And I don’t see any glass phone booths around for you to run into during an attack. You could have gotten one of those visor helmets…for eye protection, don’t ‘cha know.

  • Here in East Texas we see about a gazillion black birds in our yard every day. When they take off at the same time it literally rattles the windows and I look out thinking the wind has really picked up. Nope, just the birds. I think of the movie every single time.

    And I am TOTALLY WITH YOU on the bird eating from the spoon. (((Shudder)))

  • I’m with you on the bird eating from the spoon! GROSS. We had a cat that would get on the back of the couch, put her front feet on “Daddy” and drink the cereal milk out of his bowl. I would have to get up and leave every single time!!! No thank you! Now as for the beach – I would change my dirty 3+feet of snow any day for a windy day at the beach when it’s in the 80’s! We are hoping for 20 today – want to trade?

  • Isn’t it funny how as our parents age their thoughts of what is acceptable changes. My in laws have a bird too and do much of the same with their bird. We just think it is gross and vow to NEVER do this. My youngest says she will not visit us if we have a bird she is much like you has a great fear of them.

  • I’m with you, DeeDee; I can’t and never could stand birds flying anywhere near me! Gadzooks, girl, how did you tolerate it?!!?
    However, I have friends who’ve recently lost a parrot, and feel they don’t have a prayer of outliving another one. So when they drove from SB to my recent reception, I asked why they didn’t just get themselves a “used one.” They didn’t think that was funny, but I’m sure they’ll appreciate your column, so I’ll forward it to them.

  • I have to agree with you. I am not a bird person. They are beautiful but I would not want to keep one in my house. I visited someone’s house one time and was completely disgusted. The bird was not in the cage and just pooped anywhere it felt like, all over the living room. Her furniture was ruined and she just did not care. Gross.

    Now, I’m definitely not a clean freak, but another gross thing is people allowing their cat up on the kitchen counter. I understand that perhaps they have a dog that might want the cat’s food, but feed them somewhere else, like maybe on top of the washing machine or dryer. The cat uses the litter and then jumps on the kitchen counter – YUCK!

  • We have a huge flock of blackbirds that stop by
    Our house every night just as the sun sets. I can hear them
    On the roof and they land in my apple trees. Totally
    Nasty. I send the kids out to chase them off. The neighbor gets out his pellet gun. I think of that movie every time.

  • Just to set the record straight – not all of us Texans eat with birds at the table. ;0)

  • Yargh! I cannot STAND having animals of any sort roaming freely about the eating areas. Particularly if those animals aren’t encumbered by gravity. Who needs plagues delivered by air? Bad enough when cats are given free range to plunder the kitchen surfaces. I’ve been in situations where I’ve wanted to shout: “Fluffy uses those same paws to scoop litter over her poo, by the way!”


    • Tom,

      I hear you. I’m horrified to admit that I grew up with a cat that had free reign of our kitchen counters. Until she ate the whipped topping off of one of my mom’s prized pumpkin pies. Which gave her the scoots. (The cat, not my mom.)

  • You know, it adds credibility to your story that there’s a bottle of medication sitting right in front of the coffee cup!!

  • Here in Arkansas, we’ve figured out a way to kill thousands of blackbirds ALL AT ONCE. Okay… well, we didn’t really figure it out because we still have no clue how it happened… but the point is – the birds: they died.

  • I am not a fan of the birds, either. I would’ve passed out at your parents’ house for sure.

  • I would have been freaking out too if I was staying with someone who allowed the birds free reign like that. Gross!

    As for the beach: Oh.My. Please tell me your son and nephews are not feeding the seagulls? Please? Haven’t you lived here long enough to know that is forbidden? Floridians do not feed seagulls. Floridians know that feeding seagulls results in them dive bombing you for food which leaves you in fear of getting your eyeballs pecked out! That is why we scowl at anyone near us at the beach who feeds them. Please stop the madness and just. say. no! 🙂

  • We had a walk in aviary in the garden when I was v.small and we would go in and let them fly about us and land on us. They were all budgerigars which are only 4 or 5 inches long.
    I dont think I would let one walk about on the table in my house though ,nor nibble off our cutlery.
    My mother is terrified of anything that flies and will screech if there is as much as a moth in the same room with her.
    We had a cat for 13 years and he was never allowed on the kitchen surfaces ever although the german shepherd did manage to eat a whole frying pan full of liver and bacon without her feet leaving the floor.

  • OK DeeDee, you asked for it…

    When I was a teen, my family had a blue and gold macaw named Diamond. I used to feed him. You know how birds eat each other’s vomit? (It’s a sign of affection, I’m not lying) Well, I used to chew up saltines until they were nice and moist and then let him eat it OUT OF MY MOUTH!!!

    You’re welcome.