Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bill and Coo

I am often lulled to sleep by the lullaby of Birdland. I don't live at 52nd and Broadway in New York, but the pigeons here in Portlandia can be loud at times. There are lots and lots of them around here, and I suppose dealing with them is part of living in the city. We have installed roosting spikes so they can't shit all over my porch steps anymore. However, there is one spot we haven't quite gotten to yet, and I regularly have to scrape the area below.


There has been a bit of bird drama here since we have moved in, including a crow mob summit, the occasional spat on the roof next to my bedroom window, and even birdie murder.

Oy, vey!

I have dealt with most of this, because it has been easy. It has been distant. It has not really been anything that I felt connected to since it didn't directly affect me.

The day we installed the roosting spikes was a day that I still bristle thinking about. The truss in the front area of the porch is quite high; at least 20 feet. That is just where the two eaves meet. The beam where the pigeons were roosting is even higher than that. We don't really know how high it is, because when we tried measuring it without climbing, we attempted to do so with the tape measure, and that bent and fell over around 17 feet. When the time came for Mr. Hed to climb the ladder up there, we were more focused on him not falling to his gruesome death than curious about the height of the beam. So yeah... no clue.

The process of getting him up there was not remotely easy, or un-scary. We positioned the ladder on one of the middle porch steps, and he climbed up. This had to be done with a sliding ladder. We tried using a "Little Giant" leant to us by a friend, but alas, the "Little Giant" was too short. So, I stood there, on the step above where the ladder was positioned holding onto the fucker for both of our lives, and he climbed up. I think I may have conjured some superhuman strength for this, not unlike that demonstrated by Nadine in "Twin Peaks".

It didn't take long to install the spikes, and they do work, but lord, that was a freaky experience. We were both in tears by the time that was over. Totally worth it for cleaner porch steps though.

That said, please don't drive past my house right now expecting to see anything resembling a good sense of decorum. The porch needs another good cleaning. I will get to it this weekend. Yes, I will.

But to the story at hand: A-hem!

One morning a little over two weeks ago, I started a frittata in the oven. I had run my ass off the day before, and my back, as well as my legs were pretty stiff. I didn't feel like crouching down, and digging through a low cupboard for my usual single-serve, square baking dish. Instead, I grabbed a pan from the pot rack, and added the frittata to that. I placed it in the oven, set the timer, and went to the living room to hang out in my my favourite wing chair, drink my morning coffee and read for a little while.

I heard something. This something sounded close, and distressing. Then, I saw something. The board in front of our fireplace moved, and scared the living shit out of me; almost literally. I knew what was behind there, and truth be told, I am pretty freaked out by birds.

Yes. Birds. They freak me the fuck out.

I don't... usually think the birds are after me or anything, but I don't enjoy close contact with them. From a distance, they are cute, sure. But just wait until one decides to make your life hell! My dad had one, and good god, that bird was beyond psycho bitch. She would lure me in with her cuteness, then when I would stick my hand into her cage for her to climb off of her perch, she would bite. And hard! I am pretty sure she developed a taste for my particular blood early on.

She tricked me once by taking a liking to my mother. I thought for sure then, that she would come around and be nice.


I have a scar on the webbing of my right hand, between my middle, and ring finger from the time I was fooled. No more. No more, birds. Sorry, but y'all are unpredictable freaks.

So, you could imagine my distress when I heard that there was at least one in my damn fireplace. I was so scared, because city pigeons are worse than domesticated birds! They are like rats with wings! They are dirty! They carry disease! I did not want to have to remove it, but a friend told me I should before the thing hurt itself. But... what about Me? What about my baby!? She was upstairs playing in her room, but that was beside the point! What if the bird went insane, flew up there, and pecked her eyes out?



Shit. Fuck. Shit.

I steeled myself, digging the depths of my soul the confidence to open the makeshift door. All the while thinking about the thing freaking out, going after my eyes, rendering my 4 year old motherless, most of the day ahead of her alone. She'd sit there, crying, terrified, with my corpse on the floor; face half eaten by said motherfukcing pigeon, which would of course, be flying around, shitting all over her, and the living room at that point.


But, I did it. I put on my heavy-duty gardening gloves, got the broom, and I opened the door. The damn bird was petrified; standing toward the back corner of the fireplace. I was not very impressed by this, since I guess I was expecting more drama. But no. I had to actually use the broom to coax it out. It wasn't easy but it finally hopped out, then sort of hopped to the door, and out.

I closed the door, and thought that was the end of it.

A minute or two after securing the fireplace door, and sweeping the resulting detritus from that ordeal, the timer went off for my frittata.

Ring-a-ding-ding! It's a classy timer.

I went into the kitchen, replaced the gardening glove with my silicone oven mitt, and pulled a beautiful work of art from the oven. Ahh, breakfast.

I waltzed over to the cupboard, calling MicroSqueak from the depths of the toy closet. I pulled out a couple plates and took them back over to the stove area. At this point, I forgot that I had baked this creation, rather than cooked it on the stove, apparently. I went to release the dish from its hold, and forgetting to put the silicone mitt back on, I grabbed the handle of the pan I'd used, and ended up screaming in pain, in a heap on the kitchen floor.


My right hand sustained a blister that went all the way from mid-palm to the tips of my ring and pinkie fingers.


About 2 hours later, I heard yet another motherfucking pigeon in my fireplace. I wish I'd realized sooner that there were two in there.

What the hell pigeons!? My fireplace is not your speakeasy! Get out!

Well, this one would just have to wait for Mr. Hed to arrive home so that he could release her. I was not going to attempt to remove that stupid door again with an injured hand.

He did, and again it took some coaxing, but the crisis was averted. No more birds. At least for now.


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