Yesterday, I tweeted this:
and everyone probably thought what you are ALREADY THINKING, and that is: of course it’s an exaggeration. Who gets attacked by one hawk, let alone FOUR? I mean, if you want us to believe it try to keep it within the realm of possibility, Megan.
I know. I KNOW, and the fact that I know should lend credibility to my story, because if I KNOW that saying four hawks attacked me is unbelievable, wouldn’t I only say that if it actually happened?
Although, perhaps “attacked” is an overstatement. If I had been attacked by four hawks, I would be totally scratched up. “Followed” is accurate. I’ll even vouch for “stalked” or “stalked with potentially malicious intent.”
Here’s what happened:
I was leaving the house for my daily run, and three steps down the driveway realized, “dang, it’s cold. It’s colder than I thought, and I’m totally going to blog about this because the fact that it is cold enough to force me to wear something on my ears in APRIL is certainly the only blog-worthy thing that will happen on this, my 15th day of running in a row.” I headed back to the house, found my favorite neon green headband, and then was out the door for real.
One mile into the run, I saw a large bird in the field across the road from me. It appeared to be hovering, and my first thought was, “sucks to be you, bird. It really is windy today.” Then, it made a slow, lazy circle high above, with me at the center like some kind of target. “Probably a vulture,” I thought to myself, “there’s something to scavenge in the field.”
Then, it changed course again, and this time it was racing towards the ground in a trajectory that looked to end at my head. As it whizzed over me I was thinking, HOLY BLEEP and beginning to panic. It was probably not as close to me as I perceived, because when a giant bird flies at your head you tend to skip straight to the best posture to protect your eyes and face from talons, but it was definitely close enough for me to identify it as a hawk or falcon (do we have falcons here? Not sure…) or something similar. It was most decidedly NOT a vulture interested in something smelly in a field…it was a bird of prey, and it was interested in ME.
Then, it was gone. Whew. What in the world was that about? I wondered. Has the cold snap forced all of the little field mice and squirrels (or whatever hawks eat) back into hibernation? I AM NOT A SQUIRREL!
I took the usual turn for my 4-mile route into a neighborhood. As I’m fighting the wind and a hill, I notice movement to my right. I look, and it’s that dang hawk again. It’s flying over a line of houses, exactly parallel to me and matching my pace. Now, I get mad. Why doesn’t it leave me alone? I’m not cutting this run short due to a weird, stalker bird. I’m almost wanting it to swoop at me again so I can punch it in the face or otherwise convince it to leave me the heck alone (which is not a realistic plan, obviously, but I was MAD), when out of nowhere a companion joins it in its relentless pursuit. As I’m still registering this, two more hawks join their friends, creating a hawk posse that I can only assume is plotting against me.
What. In. The. World. I don’t know a lot about birds, but I’m fairly certain that hawks do not ordinarily gather in flocks. I don’t know what’s going on here, but I know that I’m no match for four hawks if they all suddenly decide to attack.
I take the only truly viable option at that point: I pick up my pace. It’s not that I think I can actually run faster than birds can fly, but perhaps if I am perceived as “quick” and “healthy” they will go off in search of an easier target. Also, I’ll get home faster and potentially before I wind up clawed and beaked.
By the time I make the next turn, they’re gone. The remaining mile and a half of my run was uneventful, giving me time to imagine the scenario from a bird’s point of view.
Bird #1 – I’m hungry. Hey…is that? SQUIRREL!
Bird #1 zooms towards my head, because my long brunette ponytail isn’t entirely UN-squirrel-like.
Bird #1 – Wait a second…maybe that’s NOT a squirrel. Squirrels don’t normally have bright green on them…or are that big. But WOW I’m hungry. If that is a squirrel, it’s finally dinnertime. Hey, Joe!
Bird #2 – Hey, Frank! How’s it going?
Bird #1 – Come over here…is that a squirrel?
Bird #2 – Ooh, squirrel sounds delicious, let me see. Hmm…no?
Bird #1 – You’re crazy. That’s totally a squirrel.
Bird #2 – Wanna bet? Hey Marvin, Al! Settle a bet! Is that a squirrel down there?
Bird #3, 4 – WHAT? No way that’s a squirrel. Too big, and wearing that funny-looking, bright green thing. Squirrels don’t wear clothes.
Bird #1 – DUH, of course! I feel silly now.
Bird #2 – Let’s get out of here.
Moral of the story: headbands can save you from confused, hungry hawks. Also? I’d rather see a dog than a bird these days, what with territorial geese and aggressive hawks filling the sidewalks and skies. And one more thing? I’m apparently really un-creative in my naming of birds.