I am afraid of birds. I like to watch birds, but I get anxious if they are too close, or swoop at me. I don’t mind the scolding wren who upbraids me in the garden, since he keeps his distance and scolds me from the safety of a tree.
I think my bird fear started when I was very young and I went with my grandmother to collect eggs from her hens. I remember the birds pecking me and flapping their wings as I tried to retrieve the eggs. Flapping birds really scare me. I also remember a parakeet we had who escaped from its cage all the time and who was devoured right before my eyes by a very proud and self-important pug when I was a preschooler. Alfred Hitchcock didn’t help the situation at all with The Birds.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed what I thought was a robin crash into the French doors leading out to our deck. Robins tend to do that, momentarily stunning themselves and then flying away. This bird fluttered at the door a couple of times. Husband noticed, too, and went to see what was happening. Imagine my surprise when he announced “Renee, it’s a parrot!” It was trying to get into the house.
We don’t see many parrots in our backyard as a rule. I phoned the police to see if anyone had reported a missing parrot. The dispatcher said no, but that a man had phoned to report two small parrots sitting in his tree. Our parrot appeared to be alone, and was sitting in the grape vines that grow up our deck. Husband made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to catch the bird with a net. It flew off each time and then returned to the grape vines on the deck.
It was 99° that day, and I was really worried about the bird’s safety. I asked Husband to get our cat carrier, and I placed it on the deck with some cherries in it. Then I slowly approached the parrot, speaking to it in a gentle, high-pitched voice. It let me come close, and I extended my finger. It hopped right on. I tried to stay calm and not think about having a bird perched on me. It allowed me to walk over to the cat carrier and pop it in. Thank goodness it didn’t flap at me. It started devouring the cherries.
Here is the bird I rescued after the police took it to the shelter.
I learned that it was a Green Cheeked Conure, and that its buddy was apprehended the next day two blocks from our house. They were placed together in a foster home. A work friend knows the foster mom, and she showed me a photo of the two exhausted birds cuddled up to each other on the foster mom’s shoulder. She will adopt them if no one claims them.
I still am afraid of birds, but glad I could help a grateful bird who had enough of the outdoors and just wanted to feel safe and eat cherries. It was the perfect bird for a therapeutic intervention to reduce a phobia.
How do you tackle your fears?