For those of you not in the know, there’s this thing I’ve got going with birds. I guess it started a little over ten years ago, when I’m riding flatland at the usual spot I used to ride flatland at, which also happened to be the territory of a very angry crow. For weeks and weeks, he cawed and cawed and tried flying close to me to scare me away, to no avail. Finally, when I failed to leave his territory, he stepped up his game, flew close to me while I was riding and dropped a dead bird from his mouth onto me.
That was 1996. Since then, things have only gotten weirder.
I got hit in the head by another bird. (This one was living AND flying.)
I tried to help a bird out of an airport terminal that it had mistakenly flown into, only to be yelled at by the security on duty that was asked to kill the bird.
I witnessed a pigeon cannibalize another pigeon.
I was an onlooker to one of the very few bald eagles to ever get grounded in Manhattan. It was walking down the sidewalk, wondering what to do with itself.
And I watched a different crow tear a mallard duck to pieces in the parking lot of my local UPS office.
Of course, that all pales in comparison to the events of April 16, 2005. I was riding my bike yet again, unknowingly passing close by the nest of a Canadian goose couple. The male swooped in from behind, landed on my shoulders and started pecking at my head and back. I reached around with one arm, started elbowing him, then hit a rock, jack knifed over the handlebars and tore my knee to shreds (above photo was the result.) When I sat up, the goose came at me again, and I was forced to punch him in the head, after which time he left. And I limped home two miles. Since then, I kinda developed a phobia of Canadian geese. Yeah, I can appreciate their flight patterns, but that’s about all the appreciation they’ll get out of me. (And while I’m on the topic of them, I’m additionally pissed as of late cause Canadian geese keep shitting all over the place where I ride flatland.)
Anyways, things have been quiet for a few years now. Then my bird feud started up yet again a few weeks ago, when I was leaving the supermarket and got shit on. It just hit my leg and I wiped it off with a tissue, but in no way would it prepare me for the events of today.
Again, coming home from riding, this time crossing over a wooden pathway that runs above a canal near Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It’s a path that’s about 5-feet wide and fenced on both sides, about 6-feet high. I come to the end of the pathway, and what’s standing in front of me? A fucking rooster with his wings outspread in attack position, standing between me and the street, in the middle of a fairly congested city just across the river from Manhattan! I didn’t want another fight, so I ghost rode my bike in the direction of the rooster, and it flew over the fence, allowing me to continue on home. For the life of me, it’s honestly the first time I’ve ever encountered an angry rooster adjacent to a busy waterway in one of the most congested metropolitan areas in the world.
So like I was saying, there’s this thing I got going with birds. And the symbolism hasn’t made itself apparent just yet.