Off the Board, Opinion

Birds: My mortal enemies

I didn’t see a single bird during the U.S. government shutdown between Dec. 22, 2018, and Jan. 25, 2019. While the feathery fiends in British Columbia may have just been taking the month off from antagonizing my fellow high schoolers on the frosty coast of Vancouver Island, I choose to believe the conspiracy theory that all birds are government drones, and were turned off amidst the political instability in my home country. Sure, the theory may be far-fetched, but despite birds’ pea-sized brains, they are smart little gremlins ready to spread evil everywhere they go. 

Every time I look a bird in the eye, I consider what nefarious ploys they are plotting. I’m not kidding. These modern dinosaurs may be small, but they’re crafty. They have access to the sky, the land, the sea, and yet they choose to scavenge for food that humans are actively trying to eat. Some birds understand basic Keynesian economics. Others can literally converse with humans. While the average pigeon you see today might be looking for its next backpack to peck for crumbs, their ancestors were literally war veterans. Now, let loose in an outcry of anarchy, I fear the day the pigeon clusters waiting outside the metro learn how to unionize. 

The fact of the matter is that I find birds terrifying. Whether I’m facing off with a robin trying to steal my almonds, or a crow blocking the stairs to my apartment, I would rather be subjected to a Saw trap than their wicked little beaks. There’s a reason that Darwin’s theory of evolution was based on birds and not sharks. They quickly evolved into a diverse network of beasts, each able to spread evil in a multitude of disturbing ways. Pelicans are essentially giant venus fly traps: They trap prey and swallow them whole. Hawks will pick up fish from the ocean and drop them from large heights. And crows… crows never forget a grudge. 

I think the most terrifying thing is that crows (and their bigger yet thankfully rarer cousins, ravens) can recognize and remember human faces. I remember once chasing a crow away from a lovely, peaceful Seattle picnic I was having with my friends. The crow came back, brought friends, and pelted us with acorns. If I had realized that wanting to eat a sandwich without a bird pecking at my fingers was akin to inciting a clan war with the local kings of the park, I would’ve cut my losses and handed my food over. I still haven’t returned to that spot. I know they’re waiting for me and I refuse to fall back into the same trap.

On the other hand, there are some birds that I understand. I grew up on the West Coast surrounded by armies of Canada’s most ferocious animal: The Canada goose. My upbringing taught me a lot of things—how to duck and cover during an earthquake, the fact that you should never wear crocs while traversing a blackberry bush, and how to swat a goose. As the younger sibling to my older brother, I was the designated fodder for any threat we encountered. As such, I was always the one to face off against the geese. Geese know they’re evil. They own it. And luckily for me, I feel a lot better pushing a hissing, flying rat than another bird species that retains its innocent façade. 

So what’s the moral of this piece? Easy: There is no moral. I am simply here to warn my fellow people of our feathered fiends that we share the sidewalk with. Don’t trust them. Don’t mess with them. I yearn for the days in 2019 when they disappeared from my vicinity. I fantasize of peace. I know it may never happen, but a girl can dream. 

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