Birds. They Scare Me.

Thirty years ago, I babysat a boy named Skippy Wonder. (Pause. Yes. That was his name.) One afternoon, while he napped and I watched Days of Our Lives, I felt a picking at the leg of my Levi 501s. (Pause. Yes. They were in. And, the tighter the better.)


I looked down and saw the Wonder’s parakeet. Terrified, I called my cousins who worked in a pet shop. (Pause. Yes. In 1985, I didn’t know pet stores were bad.)

Barb told me, “Get a towel, toss it over him, and put him back in the cage.”

I found a towel in the bathroom. Then, I looked at bird.

“Please.  Please.  Please.  Just go back into the cage.”

Then, I tossed the towel over the yellow feathered fuzzball, and, carefully placed the towel next the cage and said a silent prayer. Please get back into the cage.

I watched the movie, High Anxiety, that spoofed Alfred Hitchcock’s films. I never saw The Birds. So, I was afraid birds, including that parakeet, would poop on me.


Most of my life has been spent in the mountains. Too often birds hit the windows, break their necks and die. I have not grown accustomed to picking up dead birds and putting their light bodies in the garbage.

Tonight was a lovely evening. There was a delightful cloud cover that cooled off the neighborhood. Doug, Jodi, Rhille and I sipped wine in the side yard surrounded by dogs and flowers.

The scintillating conversation turned from things like, “I hope my dog is a lesbian” to “I can see you with a lesbian midget.” (Pause. Yes. Only one glass of wine was consumed. And, we discussed the politically correct terms.)


Everything was going so well until we said “goodnight” and I went upstairs. Looking out onto the deck off my bedroom, I shrieked and cursed.

There was a dead magpie on the deck.


For a tenth of a second, I thought, “If I was married, I wouldn’t have to do this.”

Then, I strode down the stairs, collected two full-sized garbage bags, walked back up and out to scoop up the bird. In the process, poop leaked onto my hand.

After discarding the bird, crossing myself and saying a prayer near the garbage can, I cleaned up the mess he left. There was blood.  Ick.

Birds scare me.


About Julie Hooker

I'm a teacher, writer, and editor. In addition, I'm an animal rescuer, yogi, and friend.
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