So, some of you out there know this, and some of you don't: I have a love-hate relationship with birds.
In reality, they scare me.
Yes, I'm afraid of birds! Not without cause, mind you. I can't necessarily trace this back to some childhood Big Bird trauma...
... but I can tell you about several instances where a bird has actually or seemingly attacked me.
Example #1 - one of the only "real" attacks, which I believe began my phobia. I was sitting at a dining room table at one of my parents friend's houses and they had a bird. The bird was sitting across the table from me on it's owner's shoulder. All of a sudden it started bobbing its head at me and then flew across the table, landed on my head and started pecking at me! Uhm, OW! The wife took the bird and put it in its cage, but the emotional scarring had begun.
Example #2 - possibly not a "real" attack, but scary nonetheless. While swimming in a lake at my favorite vacation destination, I came up from underneath the water and a sea gull swooped down and nearly "grabbed" me. I believe now that perhaps he thought I was a tasty fishy treat, but it was scary in the moment.
Example #3 - another friend had a Cockatoo and that daggone bird climbed up my arm (I'm paralyzed at this time), perched on my shoulder, spread his wings and flapped, beating me in the head the whole time. And the damn bird LAUGHED. Okay... now I'm dealing with scary birds and birds that laugh at me!
Example #4 - while at a zoo (or a nature preserve, I forget), someone was doing a demonstration using a hawk. The hawk was tethered to the handler's arm so I felt safe. Until the formidable feathered fowl (it was huge!) cocked its head to the side, looked at me, and flew directly at my head! Thankfully, because he was tethered, he didn't go far, just made a lot of noise flapping his wings. The handler said, "he's never done that before." This is when I began to think I was cursed. Birds hated ME. They wanted to eat me! I was convinced!
Okay, I could go on, but I won't.
Despite my bird 'attacks', having grown up in a household of casual "birdwatching" parents, I have learned to enjoy the sight of birds, as long as there is distance, and often glass windows, between me and the flying demon. In fact, I can even identify a few kinds of birds; however, I'm by no means a "bird watcher" in the sense that I can spot a yellow-tailed, red beaked, purple taloned bobsy doey bird. Or whatever.
A couple of winters ago, my sis and bro-in-law sent me my first usable bird feeder. So I set it out and truly and honestly have enjoyed watching the birds as they gobble up the seed. So much so, that I have a second bird feeder and a suet feeder to boot. Despite the messiness left behind, it's rather fun watching them. Sometimes I get mad at the bigger birds (blue jays and bigger) bullying off the smaller, cuter, less dangerous ones, but it's all good in the long run.
Until this past weekend.
I went outside to refill the feeders. When I finished up, Hunter and I came back inside. I turned around to see where Rocky was and something caught my eye. Something very, very large. Something large and very ominous...
I was fascinated, even as a shot of phobic fear ran up my spine. I ran to get my camera but didn't waste the time to change to my super-ultra-zoom lens (like my techno jargon?) and ran back to the deck.
I zoomed as much as I could and was able to snap off two shots before Rocky figured out what I was taking pictures off and raced, barking, across the lawn and scared him away.
I believe, if my skills at passive bird watching (to save my own life most of the time) are up to snuff, I do believe this is a Red-Tailed Hawk.
In my yard!
This massive, majestic, big, scary bird was looking at me. Seriously. I think Rocky might have saved my life!
I hear (or perhaps I imagined it) that they have "territories" and if this one has picked my neighborhood as his territory, I have no fear of additional red-tail hawks. I think. I hope.
I just fear this one.
Since his visit, I have been a little cautious sending Hunter outside. I have visions of the movie The Proposal running through my head.