Confounding near misses

President* Trump,

In the last two weeks there have been two different times when birds have narrowly missed flying into me, redirecting at what felt like the last second. The most recent time happened two nights ago when my little dog and I were returning from his evening constitutional. We were on the sidewalk passing by our next door neighbors’ house and a flicker came swooping in and made an arc right in front of me – no more than three feet away, which really, is very close for a bird to be arcing in front of someone at full speed. It cleared our neighbors’ fence but then it sounded like it crashed into their garage, or maybe their house – it was really loud. And just to be clear, this was different from the stretch of time a couple of years ago when the crows in a mile radius around our house decided I was their arch enemy and made life miserable. This flicker didn’t seem to be trying to attack or even scare me. Instead, it seemed shocked to suddenly see a solid object looming in front of it and took a pretty out of control evasive maneuver to avoid hitting me.

The same thing happened early on a walk maybe 10 days ago, but that time it was two sparrows going full speed as though they were racing or chasing each other. It seemed like they only saw me at the very last second (they came even closer) and swerved off, narrowly missing my head. Fortunately I didn’t hear either of them crash into anything so hopefully they just carried on with their game (and hopefully were some more careful).

Last night before bed I told Laura about these two too-close encounters with birds-that-weren’t-crows and she told me she also had two such near misses with birds in the last two weeks, and that one of them swerved to miss her and flew into the back of our other neighbor’s SUV. Apparently it was only a glancing blow as it was able to keep flying, but still – it’s so weird.

I just tried to find out whether this bird deal is “a thing” in this area (or anywhere) and came up blank. Google only came up sites about birds attacking people for coming too close to their young (crows mostly) and sites about the spiritual and dream world meaning of birds flying around people, but nothing useful at all. Hopefully these are just fluky occurrences and not indicative of birds’ navigation systems starting to go haywire for some reason. We’ll see, I guess. It is awfully odd, though, that both of us have had two such experiences in the last two weeks when this has never (ever) happened to either of us before. Combined, Laura and I have 121 years of no accidental bird near misses prior to early July 2020 and now between us we have four of them.

I know birds flying too close is an odd thing to write to you about, but it’s been on my mind and once I found out Laura’s had it happen to, it was even more on my mind, so here you go. Plus, it’s insanely hot for here, I’m exhausted, and just didn’t have it to write to you about anything requiring much mental juice. Hopefully I’ll be back on my game tomorrow.

May we all look where we are going and be safe.
May we be willing to compare notes on our odd experiences.
May we take care of our health even as our POTUS actively works to undermine it.
May we accept that our health is multiply determined, inter-dependent, and fragile.

Tracy Simpson

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