Flight or Fight?

I was sitting in my car at the traffic lights this afternoon when a couple of birds flew overhead. At first they looked like they were dancing (beak to beak?) (sorry), but then it became apparent that they were doing nothing of the sort.

In just the space of a couple of seconds, it became clear that one was dive-bombing the other and as I watched, he grabbed his target’s wing with his beak while descending at speed and brought him to the ground.

Now I have assumed they were both male, but I could be wrong. At any other time, I may have thought that I was witnessing an over-enthusiastic mating game in progress, but we are well past spring, which is when I assume the birds get to become a little excited in that department.

Even weirder, this is the second time this week that I witnessed birds fighting in mid-air – dog-fighting birds. That just sounds wrong.

Something is in the air.

The only other time I have seen birds being aggressive was a few years ago, and they were on the ground, not the air. I was driving my (then) dog, Moody to the park when I saw a small Rosella parrot at the side of the road being set upon by two enormous crows. I wonder that he had done – maybe insulted their mother.

Either way, I pulled up the car and ran towards them clapping to break up the fight. The crows flew off and the parrot, the stupid parrot flew after them. He headed straight towards a tree that had been recently planted by the council on the opposite verge. I am sure the parrot meant to land as normal, but perhaps he was a little dazed. He ended up grabbing a low branch and then hanging from it upside down, like a bat.

I looked at the crows, loitering like hoodies at a bus stop. They were going to get him as soon as I left.

So I opened my boot and grabbed a tote bag from inside, approached the stunned, upside down bird and very carefully brought the bag around him and up until his whole body was covered, at which he dropped into like as if it was a hammock.

‘Not today, guys,’ I said the the crows. I folded the top of the bag over so he could not get out, placed it on the floor of the front passenger side, then continued to the park, all the while keeping half an eye on the motionless lump in the bag.

I pulled up at the park, took the bag out and out it on the ground, then gingerly opened it, expecting to see a gaudy feathered corpse in there. I had heard birds are susceptible to shock.

Like a green and red dart, the parrot shot out of the bag and disappeared into the trees. he appeared none the worse and seemed to think I was the second attacker he had evaded that morning.

Since then, nothing – for years, and now in the last week I have seen the two crows today going at it and a few days beforehand two magpies doing their level best to bring down a Honey Eater.

It has certainly been an eventful and turbulent ten days in the news. The American election, mass demonstrations and in the UK, Brexit 2: The return of Brexit.

Perhaps the birds, like me, have been spending spending too much time on Twitter.


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