Divebombed · 18 July 2015

The Birds movie poster
This work is in the public domain.

Divebombing may seem like an outdated form of aggression, but it seems birds still use it.

I was running the other day and got divebombed by a couple robins. These birds were screaming and doing strafing runs. If they had had ammunition, I would have been seriously pelted. They did not get close enough to peck my eyes out or anything like the Hitchcock movie, The Birds, (besides, they were robins not crows or gulls) but they kept coming at me while I was in this one area. I did not realize what was happening until I left that area and thought about the incident.

When I was running along the road, I saw a small bird sitting there. I did not think anything of it because birds are often on the ground doing something, and they usually fly away when somebody approaches. This little bird had its feathers fluffed up and just sat there until I was right next to it. Then, it screamed and flew a short distance into the trees. Not into the branches, but over to the ground in the treed area.

As soon as the screaming started, others joined in. I thought there were hordes of beasties joining in the cacophony (which was like The Birds). That was when the divebombing commenced.

“Red leader, you are clear for your strafing run.”
“Roger that. Commencing strafing. Red team follow my lead.”
“You may fire at will.”
“Roger. Fire at will.”

I had no idea what was happening, but I knew I had to get out of there with birds flying around my head. If I had been on flat ground, I would have screamed, flailed my arms wildly at the birds, and gotten out of there fast, but I was going downhill when I met the birds and uphill when they were strafing me. They seemed awfully close when it happened, but I was concentrating on breathing and getting up the hill rather than their proximity to my head. Besides, I had no visions of birds attacking people in cars or phone booths at the time.

After I got out from beneath the birds’ air space, the attacks stopped. The robins had successfully driven the intruder out of their area.

I did not think about myself being an intruder until after the whole episode was finished. That was when I realized that the bird on the ground was just a little robin. Its parents had probably had enough of it and kicked it out of the nest. It glided down and was resting when I saw it. Then, when I got too close, it tested its wings getting to the tree line and screamed for mama and papa. I never knew birds could be so protective, but I am sure those parents were the ones who were divebombing me. When I looked up, I realized that there were only one or two birds trying to strafe or bomb me. There might have been backups in the woods screaming for my head, but there were few attackers.

I did not really think about The Birds until I started to recount the episode on paper, but I do remember thinking about Robin, Batman’s sidekick.

Most people think of Robins as pretty tame. Especially, when compared to bats. I have heard people wonder why it was that Robin was clad in this bright yellow and red outfit which would stand out night or day while Batman has always worn black to blend into the shadows. These critics said that Robin was merely a target to direct the bad guys’ attention from Batman.

I would have agreed with them before my incident with the divebombers. I would have said that Robin was surely named and dressed incompatibly with his mentor, Batman. After all, we usually think of robins as those early birds getting the worms. But Batman got it right. Robins can surely be ferocious. Especially when defending their turf. Or protecting their young.

Regardless of whether I think of the movies or comic books when I think of robins, I will always steer clear of any little birds on the ground. After all, divebombing may certainly be an outmoded form of aggression, but take it from me, birds still use it on people.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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