Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Dead Bird Massacre Part II

Trust me. I didn't know there would be a part II either but my parents' backyard seems determined to be a toxic wasteland of death or some sort of bird graveyard. I really don't understand why this keeps happening here. I've always thought of my parents' yard as a birds' paradise: trees everywhere surrounding the immaculately clean bird feeders. Why don't the birds come here to live and then go three houses down to die where the neighbors seem absolutely determined to kill their grass this summer by taking the "Slow the flow save H2O" slogan a bit too seriously.

But I discovered the continuing trend of days-old-dead-birds this morning when I walked out into my parents' backyard and came tragically close to kissing a rotting dead bird lying face up, its beak opened wide, when I bent down to pick something up inches away from its body. I suddenly had flashbacks to the Dead Bird Massacre of July 26th (although today's specimen looked much worse) and I quickly fled into the house. I use the word "fled" because that's the word they always use in the scriptures when groups of people get freaked out and run for their lives.

I didn't think about it again until tonight when my mom came rushing through the back door, almost inaudibly ranting about some dead bird "with slugs coming out of its mouth!" (Cathie McCann: tellin' like it is) asking me to go out and get it. I must admit she handled the experience better than I did on July 26th which may have something to do with her experience with such situations; her brothers frequently put coiled rattlesnakes in the refrigerator growing up and I'm pretty sure she also had ring worm at some point when she was five although that may have been a made up story to get me to take a bath one night when I was seven.

Anyway, I told mom about July 26th and said as forcefully as I could that I took care of the last one and I was not willing to take the bullet again for these people. She laughed and 10 minutes later my dad walked outside with a thin garbage bag pulled over his bare hand (he had at least 10 fewer tools with loooooong sticks than I used to dispose of the previous bird) muttering something under his breath that was probably a curse to the heavens for only giving him one son and then making that son a pansy. On a side note I stopped feeling guilty for this about 8 years ago when I realized that Micalyne was the son he never had when she almost beat me in an arm-wrestle despite being my little sister, 2 years younger and about 70 pounds lighter.

But gone are the days when children could safely run barefoot through the grass without worrying about a decaying beak slicing their toe open.

And yes, I am in my mid-20s, and I do still live with my parents.


  1. Oh Eli...I wish I was there. We probably would have both been standing on the patio table screaming bloody murder and hugging each other. How did we turn out to be such chickens??

    It reminds me of when I was in Mexico and was terrified of the lizards that were everywhere. And everytime I turned around Bridgette and Uncle Will would be holding one or petting one and I would scream and "flee" the area. One night Bridgette said there was even one running around in our bed!!

  2. Hmm, I did about mow over a dead bird last year. A few weeks ago I just about ran over a bird mowing the lawn, but it limped off and half-flew into the bushes as I approached with the mower. I do OK with dead birds as long as I have gloves and a shovel.

    Snakes on the other hand are another story. Several years ago I went out the path to the BBQ grill (on the carport) carrying a plate full of yummy red meat for the grill.

    As I made the last step from the pathway stones to the grass I had my foot 1/2 way down when I noticed it was about to land on a three foot (that's a full YARD!) long snake. I let out a yelp and a scream that I think woke the neighbors up on the other side of the country! I hate snakes!

    The BBQ went good, I think the snake slithered off, and we were all happy. I thought of decapitating the snake with a shovel, but then I'd have "Dead Snake Massacre" to deal with and I did not want to deal with that.

  3. It's true that you are a bit of a chicken when it comes to animals (dead or alive) -- flashback to the rat fight of Jerusalem. And your oldest sister is, too.

    I was sitting in my back yard the other day spying on the fish and I saw a huge rat's tail disappear underneath the fence down by the stream. It was a bit gross. Then, about five minutes later, I looked back over there and saw the rat sitting in the spring having a bath -- I sat up really fast to grab Claire so she wouldn't go chase it and the rat made eye contact with me and we had a stare-down for a minute, but I won and it scurried away. I usually don't see rats in my backyard, but my neighbor is always complaining about them and plans to get a cat to kill them. I think that's kind of mean, but at the same time I'm kind of glad. Rats are one of the little things you tolerate if you want to live in Sugarhouse where there are springs and streams everywhere. Also, we're having a squirrel infestation, but I think that's fine as long as they don't start eating my vegetable garden or flowers. If they do, I'll buy a pellet gun and sit in my back yard shooting them.

  4. Everytime I mow my parent's lawn, I find a dead snake. It's horrible. I can sort of relate. Oh, and living with your parents in your mid 20's isn't that bad. You could be married with a child and living with your parents. Now that would be lame.

  5. You're such a hoot. Dead birds are quite disgusting though! And you're not as big of a loser as I was at your age, living in my parents basement with my husband and baby!
    Things could always be worse!

  6. I adore the line about "with slugs coming out of its mouth!" This is great. Also, you've been tagged: