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July 17, 2008
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I appreciate birds.  I'm not an avid birder.  I don't grab the Autubon book and key out every new bird I see.  Yes, Amy, I opted for the Autubon book which is maybe not as good as the other one with a similar name, but it's quite a bit cheaper.  So when I saw a strange bird in a tree in my own suburban (more urb than sub) backyard, I shot the fuckin thing. 

Not really.  Instead, I took notice.   I ran outside to get a better look.   It was a good looking bird.  Bigger than a Robin and just as colorful.  I edged closer.  It was perched (that's birder lingo for lounging) in my Linden tree.  It was mostly gray with a vibrant, blue head.  And it wasn't afraid of me.  I figured it must be injured or just old.  I find as I get older I tend to do more perching and I aint moving for anyone.  Except for my wife.  She scares the hell out of me.  I edged my ass within 5 feet of the strange bird and it still didn't move.

Here's where the action starts.  I'm switching to present tense so just pretend it's a flashback.

I feel compelled to reach out to the animal.  First I look around to see if I'm being watched, then I stretch out my hand to it.  This is mainly because I want to see if it is alive.  I've been on both ends of too many pranks, you see.  My hand is a foot from the bird when it flies off.  Almost.  It flies straight down to my feet.  And then I realize we are not alone.  My six month old lab, Josie, has been watching this whole ordeal unravel and she is ready to jump in and make something happen.  I tell her to stay back.  She does but she is quivering so violently I am afraid she may just explode.  Then I see our cat Abby coming across the yard making a Terminator-like bee-line for the fresh meat.  I don't try to tell her anything.  She kinda scares me too. 

Well you know how when you are in the middle of a crisis you can sometimes just rise to the occasion?  I reach down and offered the bird my arm as Abby closed within striking distance.  Josie stays frozen the entire time (I think she thought that Abby was coming for her).  Abby scares the hell out of Josie.  I carried the bird into the house and into the guest room.  It's on my forearm now and I'm feeling a bit heroic but it's time for the bird to get off me now. 

I appreciate birds.  But they scare the hell out of me.  I grab a pencil and try to get the bird off my person (by now I realize it's some kind of parrot-like escapee) and the bitch bites the pencil...hard!  And it moves up to my shoulder and screams out some kind of Fucked Up aviary warrior cry.  I'm really freaking out.  Did I mention my son is in the backyard (he has about a 30 second window of safety unsupervised) and I have some pasta on the stove. 

Well you know how when you are in crisis mode are can  somehow just rise to the occasion?  I pull the hood of my sweatshirt over my head just as the feathered fuck moves to the apex.  In a Narnia minute I flip the sweatshirt off me and it captures the bird safely.

I put the bird in a cardboard box on the buffet and wait for my wife to get home from work so I can haul it to the humane society.

The two things I remember her saying to me that night are:

"Jesus Christ!  What's in this fucking box!"  and "Honey, the sauce is great but I think you overcooked the penne". 

Sigh.

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