Birds, though!

I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that No Award has some bird-related guest posts coming up.  I’m in favour of guest posts in general, but I do have to take a moment to express my feelings about birds.

They are horrible.

THERE, I SAID IT.

I didn’t always hate birds — I used to be quite indifferent — but I was swooped by one too many magpies as a teen, and now I flinch if I hear wings flapping behind me.  It isn’t easy, walking home from school after a bird has flown off with a chunk of your scalp.  Not to mention some hair which it no doubt used to line its nest and signal to other birds that it was a great nestmaker.  I begrudge every hair that magpie took.

Many years ago, when I worked in a book store, our back room was invaded by a pigeon.  It perched high atop the shelves and stared down at us, daring us to come and get it.  “Just try it,”  it seemed to say, “and I’ll shit on some new releases.”  It had beady little eyes that burned with hatred for humanity and books.  We eventually chased it out with a broom, but I’ve been strongly anti-bird ever since.

My mother has a pet budgie named Charlie.  Charlie seems harmless enough, but Mum bought her thinking she was a boy budgie. Then Charlie began laying eggs.  An innocent mistake on the part of a pet store owner?  Or a nefarious budgerigar conspiracy to expand its population?  Well, the joke’s on Charlie, since Mum only bought the one bird.

Mum lets Charlie out of her cage to walk around the kitchen table.  “Pock, pock, pock,” go her talons as she marches over my laptop, examining the keyboard like it was composing an essay on birds rights activism.

Birds are basically miniature dinosaurs — the exception being, of course, that miniature dinosaurs are ADORABLE, and also don’t exist anymore.  Except in the form of birds.  And birds remember.  “Liz,” you say, “they’re not that bright.  There is no way birds have a genetic memory of their lives as dinosaurs.  And avian reincarnation is theologically dubious on a number of grounds.”  Sure.  That’s just what they want you to think.

How do I know there’s a vast bird conspiracy?  Because we live in an age when you can put a bird on something and just call it art.  Portlandia was a warning, people!  One that we didn’t hear, because we were distracted by twee bird prints and plush owls and flying ducks!

Chickens will eat each other if you give them a chance.  They also eat their own eggs.  THAT IS NOT COOL BEHAVIOUR.  Frankly it’s a little troubling, and I think chickens should seek counselling for their cannibalist urges, though obviously not from this guy.  In the meantime, buy organic chicken and free range eggs, and under no circumstances trust a chicken.

I speak with some authority about birds, because once a bird tried to use me as a mule in its attempt to escape a pet store.  There I was, innocently admiring some kittens, when I felt something move … and when I looked down, there was a budgie attached to my skirt.  Attempting to blend in, so I’d carry it away from the pet store and into Ikea.

Don’t worry, though.  I single-handedly prevented the avian invasion of Sweden by yelping and jumping, and then making high-pitched squeaking noises until a shop assistant took the bird away.

Some particularly evil birds

An emu gazes at the camera. Its eyes are empty, its gaze hollow.

Seconds after this picture was taken, the photographer was murdered in cold blood by the emu. I expect.

Bird apologists will tell you that emus are just inquisitive birds whose habit of pecking at anything they find interesting is easily mistaken for aggression.  THAT IS A LIE.  And even if it was true, what do emus even need to be curious about?!  Are they the intelligence-gathering vanguard of an invasion?

Simplistic pixel art depicting a bird.

Even pixellated birds are evil.

Okay, yes, Flappy Bird went from “explosive meme” to “old meme” in, like, three days.  This monstrous game was basically unwinnable, and if anyone tells you otherwise, they are a sneaky bird appeaser.  Now it’s come out that some of the knock-offs contain malware.  So that’s great.  Please hold while I delete some stuff from my phone…

The main birds of Angry Birds. They look contemplative. I don't know why.

Some of these birds don’t even look angry!

While we’re on the subject of birds that make people want to throw their smartphones…

Look, Angry Birds, I get it.  Pigs have stolen your eggs, and that makes you mad.  But then, you avian hypocrites, you send your hens off with explosive eggs!  To save your children, you must kill them!  You are well over the moral event horizon, birds.  Not to mention that it’s totally problematic how the hens are the weakest of you.  Let’s talk about the unexamined misogyny inherent in Angry Birds.  Let’s think about your bird privilege.  I’m calling you out on Tumblr as we speak, that’s how strongly I feel about this.

I’m not racist.  I don’t hate all birds.  Why, some of my best friends are birds!  Like that time my BFF jumped up on the futon and pretended to be a bird.  Although that was horrible.  She made her hands into talons and had the wild-eyed look of a person who would stop at nothing to get a reaction.  It was remarkably like that episode of The Carrie Diaries where Freema Agyeman’s character mixes ecstasy and LSD and hallucinates that she’s a bird, only it happened eight years earlier and my BFF isn’t Freema Agyeman.

Freema Agyeman, looking divine yet somehow evil, wearing feathers - it's a high fashion Hallowe'en costume.

But here’s a picture of Freema from that episode anyway.

Anyway, the point was, I don’t hate all birdkind.

Here are some birds which aren’t terrible

Big Bird! Looking happy and waving.

I especially enjoy it when he roller skates.

Look, I’m not a monster. How could anyone hate Big Bird?

Although I do find it troubling that he’s basically a giant four year old running around Sesame Street without a guardian.

I’m in favour of Muppet birds generally, as a matter of fact, because all the evil of birds is concentrated in Sam the Eagle, and he’s really not around that much.  However, I do think Bert needs a better hobby than pigeons.  Paperclips are where it’s at, Bert!

Mo Willems' The Pigeon waves at the reader.

‘Sup.

The Pigeon is actually my very favourite bird ever.  I wouldn’t let him drive the bus, but I’d probably share my hot dog with him.

Two galahs, pink birds with grey wings, gaze at the camera. They look pretty mellow.

Look at these guys! How can you hate them?!

Galahs just crack me up.  I see them hanging around, all puffed up, like they’re some kind of credible bird, and they have no idea they’re basically the same colour as Barbie’s Dreamhouse.  No one takes you seriously, galahs.  But I like you, I guess.

IN CONCLUSION, birds are mostly evil, but some are okay.  If a bird has infiltrated your home in the guise of a pet, I recommend approaching it with caution, treating it with affection, but maintaining CONSTANT VIGILANCE so you’ll be ready when it turns against you.

Advertisements
6 comments
  1. Moya said:

    THIS IS AN EXTREMELY ACCURATE PORTRAYAL OF BIRDS. LISTEN, FOLKS. LISTEN.

  2. Uh, excuse you, Bert also collects bottle caps.

  3. Ess said:

    What about Satin Bower Birds?! The males (who have pretty blue black feathers) make an awesome shaped nest and decorate it with the rarest colour in nature: blue! And they don’t even do it for the female Satin Bower birds (who are green), they do it for themselves (hence all the blue, like their feathers) and for the other males. There I said it, I ship the male satin bower birds with each other!

    • Liz Barr said:

      It’s true, Bower Birds are pretty excellent.

      • Ess said:

        My grandfather called them Satan Bower Birds – because they used to steal his cherries!

  4. I think we all know what political stances the emus hold. Lordly fascists.

    (more seriously, hilarious post)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: