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Very, very angry birds

From the time we moved into our house in York, we’ve always recognized that the weird little “porch” on the front of the house was just odd.

It’s not that we were blind – we knew it was odd – and we always had the intentions of ripping it off and replacing it with something that made more sense.

But life took over, as it always seems to, and the years flew by.

And with each changing of the seasons, the strange little awning thing on posts over the front step remained.

When small cracks formed on the sides, we weren’t quick to fix them because we were always going to rip the thing off the house anyway.

I tried to spruce up the little flawed feature – which was like polishing garbage – by hanging flower baskets each summer. I reasoned that maybe some colorful blooms would trick the eye into not noticing how awkward that structure was.

Years ago, I was thrilled to notice beautiful eggs in the baskets, as mama robins had come to nest.

However, in their third summer of hatching little ones in my flowers, I was appalled to find broken eggs on the ground and a dead mother bird lying nearby. I wondered what on earth could have happened.

I quickly, however, discovered the likely murderers. They were stout black birds with their beaks in scowls and a mean streak in their hearts.

They moved into the nests and started to work their way into the built-on awning overhead where cracks had worn over time.

Each day, when trying to open the door to leave the house, we were met with great disdain by the birds because opening the door really ticked them off. They would fly off in a huff and sometimes circle back around to make sure they got the last word – or “caw, caw” as it were.

Being busy, we just left them to their own devices and each spring and fall we saw strands of grass, weeds and straw sticking out from the interior of the awning structure.

“That’s got to be a massive nest in there,” we’d mention, but just move on with our lives . . . with our hands over our heads as we left each day.

This fall, it was with great joy that I saw Curt Larka pull up with his enclosed trailer bearing the name of his business, Handy Man Express.

Yes, Mr. Larka and his two-man crew were there to build the deck around the house we had always planned for . . . and in doing so, also rip that strange little porch/awning/thing off the front.

Each day, as I returned from work, I marveled at the construction work that had been done while I was gone. The three would greet me with a wave and a quick little run-down of what was happening at that point in the project.

They built the deck structure first – and while their work was simply beautiful, I just couldn’t wait for the porch thing to be taken down.

“You do know there’s a bunch of birds living up in there,” they’d say, pointing at the odd little structure.

Oh, I was very much aware, I said, as they swirled about in the sky above us.

Time passed by . . . the deck kept growing . . . and the unsuspecting birds kept flying into the feathered hotel.

At last, the day arrived . . . as I drove up to my house, I saw the three Handy Man Express guys working away . . . and the odd front porch-thing was gone.

It was finally gone.

Which I happily and proudly exclaimed, with the three of them grinning from ear to ear.

“We told you we’d get to it,” Curt said, laughing.

The guys noted that yes, indeed, there was a large layered nest in that contraption where there’d apparently been a long lease with the black-winged ones.

“It was pretty nasty,” one said.

“Yeah, it was something else,” said another.

“But it’s gone now,” Curt said, grinning.

I went inside the house while the guys packed up their tools for the day.

Curt had waved good-bye and I thought they left, so I found it odd as I could hear a hammering sound coming from the new deck while I was in the kitchen.

Then I noticed it wasn’t necessarily hammering – it was more like an odd, methodic tapping that was coming with more sporadic ferocity as the minutes wore on.

There was also sort of a screeching sound – a cross between a mad rooster and a broken fan belt.

“What on earth is all that noise?” I wondered aloud as I made my way toward the door.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Screech. Screech. Screech.

My curiosity was running wild.

As I opened the door and proceeded to walk outside, I saw no Curt, I saw no Handy Man Express activity.

What I did see was a thunderous storm of black wings.

I heard no hammers held by men.

I heard harsh scratching sounds and tapping on the freshly placed wood.

And in a flash, I realized the birds had returned home from work . . . and realized we had demolished their house.

They were mad.

Really angry.

They were very, very angry birds.

The bomb diving began.

As the air arsenal attacked me, I frantically waved one arm to shoo them away and with the other jammed my hand into my pocket to grab my cell phone.

I instinctively knew I had to video this moment – to please my online co-worker, Eric J Eckert who needs documentation of all strange things in life. And to record my last moments on earth, should rescue workers be baffled by the odd peck-like injuries that led to my demise.

But, alas, I had just gotten my new phone that morning and wasn’t easily aware of how to accomplish a video.

Plus, my adversaries were way too angry, way too aggressive, for me to fight back and video at the same time.

“What the heck?” I yelped as kids stopped to stare while walking home from the school bus.

The birds screeched, I fumbled for the door.

The pecking sounds – oh, they rumble about in my brain as I remember the haunting echoes of sickening horror.

I eventually got back inside and relished the shelter from the crazy birds which in my mind now looked like giant Pterodactyls.

Hints of their dark shadows flashed over the fresh new deck as they prepared to launch another air strike should I be bold enough to engage.

I waited until the sun went down and the pecking sounds died off, before I decided to make a run for my vehicle as I had somewhere else to be.

I admit, for a little while, I felt guilty. I robbed them of their fabulous mansion where entire flocks had probably planned to spend the winter! They had probably been in there the entire fall – cleaning, decorating and getting ready for Christmas. Then we humans, with our talented Handy Man Express guys, ruined everything in a matter of hours.

Where would they live now, I wondered.

I hope they are going to be alright, I wished.

Maybe some day they can forgive us, for we knew not what we were doing.

The next day, however, when I returned home from work – in the sunlight – the evil ones were waiting for me. They extended their talons and prepared to pounce. They had revenge on their minds – while all I wanted to do was look at my new deck.

I used the back door to enter the house and realized I was no longer sorry.

“You guys have lived in that awning thing for long enough,” I said out loud as they swooped and swirled.

“You have done nothing but poop and molt and kill innocent sweet robins,” I continued.

“You leave piles of straw sticking out of the porch and act mad at me every time I leave the place even though we own this building, not you,” I said, behind the protection of the window.

“It’s time for you to go,” I mumbled. “Time to find a new place to live.”

And they did. The fussy flock moved on, after they discovered Curt and company sealed up the new overhead structure.

No more pecking.

No more screeching.

No more angry, angry birds.


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