I know I said that I would probably only post about once a month, but this week I've got a story to tell!
Perhaps you saw my post on social media about advice on how not to be attacked by birds? Well, here's the story behind that! The week before I started researching bird safety, I was out on the farm, like I am nearly everyday, doing things that needed to be done. On that particular day, I had to walk through one of the fields to get to the center where the controls are for the sprinkler. Usually, we would just drive to the pivot, but that day, the road was muddy, so I was going in on foot.
On my way, I looked up and noticed that there was a hawk flying right above and beside me. He was so close I could look into his eyes. My first thought was, Wow, this is so cool! He started squawking and making all kinds of noise, and I just thought it was the best thing ever that I was getting to witness this up close. After a few seconds of this, he turned and flew the other direction, and I kept walking, thinking nothing more of it. Suddenly, I felt a swoosh of air directly behind me and I turned around quickly to see what had just happened.
I saw the hawk flying over head, but I thought, surely not. Surely that hawk did not just fly that close to me. So, I watched him. I was a little more than freaked out at this point because I was alone in the field and I wasn't entirely sure what had just happened. Then, as I was watching him, the hawk dove at me again! I ducked down and covered my head as he swooped over me. The terror set in.
I had no clue what to do at this point. Do I run? Do I try to swat at him? How can I tell him that I mean him and his family no harm? He dove at me again and again, each time sweeping close enough to scare me, but not so close as to touch me. I got out my phone to call my brother, who was a field over and he told me to punch the bird if he tried it again. (Stellar advice.) Fortunately, the hawk left me alone after this.
After that episode, I was a little shaken, but mostly, just glad I had a cool story to tell. I thought it was a one time thing, but it happened again!!
Monday, I had to walk to another pivot (on a different field, nearly 4 miles away from the first field) for the same reason. As I was walking in, I noticed a bird above me (not a hawk this time, but still a big, threatening bird) making a terrible ruckus. I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach as I watched the bird holler at me and fly overhead. (Scenes from the movie, Birds, were playing in my head. My heart was already pounding.)
This time, being a little wiser, I kept a good eye on the bird so I would be ready if he tried anything funny. I watched as he flew away from me, and for a second, I thought I was safe. I continued to watch, and the bird turned, flew down to maybe 3 or 4 feet above the ground, and came straight towards me. As he got close, I jumped out of the way and he flew out across the field, turned and did the same thing. Instead of dive-bombing me, this one flew straight at my face.
This happened several times as I tried to get to the pivot, and as I was on the verge of tears, I decided to just turn around and walk (run) back out of the field. The bird left me alone as I got further away from his territory.
Since the incidents, I have done a bit of research about birds and their habits, but quite honestly, I don't feel any better about it! These stories, while scary in the moment, make me laugh after the fact. I'm hoping it doesn't happen again, but if it does, I have a feeling that these small terrors will form into real fears. In the moment, I'm so frustratingly helpless and that's not a good feeling at all.
These guys. Hawk on top, Curlew below. (Not my photos, thank you Google.)
Just yesterday, Zane and I were driving down the road and in less than a mile, we saw 13 hawks. 13. That's way more than I'm comfortable with. This year there are mice everywhere. EVERYWHERE. The hawks are eating well-- they're healthy and quite large.
Maybe I really was getting too close to their nests. Maybe they felt threatened by my presence. Or maybe birds just don't like me very much.
Until next time,