It was a holiday Monday much like any other. Ed had to go to the office because he always gets the Friday off instead, and the kids and I happily bummed around the house with nothing to do. Then it dawned on me that we had nothing to do and the children were systematically destroying the house. We were also completely out of fresh fruits and vegetables and I was starting to worry about the onset of scurvy. Because what would people think? Who gets scurvy in the middle of the growing season in Ontario? You can’t even roll out of the house before noon on a Saturday to hit up your local farmer’s market? What’s wrong with you?! It would be mortifying.
So I did what I do whenever I need to get the hell out of the house, but have nowhere else to go. I drove the five minutes to my parents house. But my kid brother was just returning from an ER diagnosis of either strep throat or mono, so … er … yeah, no thanks. I swung back home, grabbed the children’s suits and let them loose at a park with a splash pad. Then, realizing there was no place open to buy groceries, we drove downtown to meet Ed for dinner.
Dinner was gyro sandwiches, Greek salad and fries at a picnic table by the harbour. It was lovely.
We were trying to round up the kids after dinner so we could go for a walk. “Oh, look!” I said, “It’s a little birdie.” A small bird was perched on the arm of the empty stroller and, amazingly, sat quite still as we inched closer. The kids were excited, but we warned them it would fly away if we got too close or moved too suddenly. Nonetheless, Irene went right up to it and we had to stop her from trying to touch it. It still didn’t fly away. Huh, that’s weird.
We were speculating that maybe it was a baby bird that fell out of the tree overhead. Maybe it was hurt? It fluttered its wings a little and we told Irene to step back to give it room to fly. She took one teensy, tiny step back.
Then, all of sudden it kind of leaped forward and LANDED ON MY DAUGHTER. It was clutching her t-shirt with it’s bitty claws and flapping it’s wings and flailing its head. I was holding baby Mary in one arm and trying to sort of shake it off with the other. It wasn’t working. The bird clung ever tighter and I swear I thought I saw pecking. Irene was screaming; I was screaming. We were screaming and jumping up and down and fully and completely LOSING OUR SHIT. “Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!” I was screeching at Ed to please, for the love of god, come over and help us. He tells me he was over within ten seconds. It did not feel like it. It did not.
Somehow, Ed managed to knock the bird off Irene and it lay dazed on the ground. She was shaken up despite my shining example of grace under fire, but otherwise unharmed. We began to gather our things again and I was walking Irene past the baby bird when WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?! I started screaming again, this time because a bird just flew into the back of my head and started pecking at me. Ed was trying to get me to calm down, everything’s all right, woman, and I was trying to explain that a bird had attacked my head. Then I saw it coming at me again.
It was a black streak out of the corner of my eye flying low and fast. I didn’t even have to time to consciously process that it was coming straight at me and my baby. Some sort of animal instinct kicked in and I hit the deck hard and fast just as it whizzed over us. Somehow, Mary was fine. The kids and I all scrambled up a nearby hill to safety.
Clearly the mother bird wanted to protect her baby. And clearly she identified me and my children as the prime threats. We were totally on board with getting the hell out of there just as soon as we retrieved our stroller and the rest of our belongings from under the tree of the psycho killer bird. I sent Ed.
He started walking the long way around, hoping to sneak in on the side furthest from the injured baby. The bird came out of nowhere like a shot, bee-lining for him. He ducked just in time. The bird swooped down again, this time just missing a child who happened by. Ed made it to the tree and managed to pick up our stuff and get the stroller. “My purse is under the table,” I called out helpfully from fifty yards away. The bird made a few more strikes that Ed was able to avoid and people on a nearby blanket were laughing and laughing.
How dare they?! Oh, hahahahaha. The bird almost got him that time! Look at him running around, with one eye over his shoulder, pushing a stroller and carrying a purse. It would have been the funniest candid camera ever.
We did manage to get away from the birds and continue our walk along the harbour front. My head started to hurt a little from the attack, but there was no bump or bleeding or anything, so we counted ourselves lucky. As we circled back toward the car, though, we saw this:
The bird was STILL attacking passersby and a crowd had gathered to watch. I think we need a new picnic site.