I Have The Bird Flu

Widely-known, little-known fact: I’m afraid of birds.

It’s one of those things that people tend to find out about one way or another. A turkey vulture flies too close, a swan takes over the beach I’m lifeguarding, a peacock escapes the nearby farm that inexplicably keeps terrifying winged monsters. Either way, I end up cowering in a corner cursing my ornithophobia, typically accompanied by a choice collection of other profanities.

I think it started when I was in pre-school and went on a trip to the aforementioned farm where they also kept emus.

Three-year-old me squaring off against an emu as it leaned over the fence and squawked in my face over and over is the sort of memory that’s scarring. Now it’s like some sort of grainy black and white nightmare, but the feeling of absolute disgust remains.

Or maybe it was because my dad’s co-worker bought me a life-sized stuffed animal of “Sesame Street”s  Big Bird that used to stare at me across the room with its cold made-in-China eyes.

It also may have been due to the time I was at a zoo in Frankfurt and got pecked at by a peacock.

Maybe it’s the dirty, nasty talons or the numerous diseases they carry. Maybe it’s irrational. I’m not really sure, actually. All I know is birds are gross. Seriously.