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Sweet Memories and Ornithophobia

Posted Nov 09 2012 7:08pm
A month or so ago my sister texted me in the morning asking if I wanted to go with her and the kiddo to the duck pond to feed ducks.

I have sweet memories of ducks from childhood.

There was a duck park close to my home growing up in Salt Lake. I'd go there with friends to feed the ducks all the time. Once, we caught some boys throwing rocks at the pond and they'd actually killed a mother duck. Horrified, we chased the boys off and then collected the baby ducks into our bicycle baskets and rode home to raise them. We did, and eventually released them back into the wild when they were strong enough to be on their own.

Eager to create new memories with my sister and nephew, we all piled into her truck and headed down to a duck park in Albuquerque by the Bosque.

We stepped out of the vehicle and noticed that in addition to a handful of ducks in the water, there were several large geese and a flock of pigeons.

And it was at that very moment that my sister and I both remembered that we are terrified of birds.

Me: How did we forget something so awful!?

Kristine: I don't know! I just thought it'd be cute to feed ducks!

Me: Well yeah, ducks are cute and harmless, but other birds look at me like they know how often I eat poultry!

I've been afraid of birds since I was little and was told that my Mom got kicked out of the Zoo once because a loose Toucan attacked me when I was a baby. Aside from ducks I'd never had any really good experience with the feathered friend. Geese snapped at my feet when I was a little kid. I watched a seagull steal a sandwich from my friend right out of her hands, and a parrot once got it's razor sharp claw stuck in my hair, when as a joke one of my cousins put it on my head.

Aside from ducks, the only time I've ever felt somewhat calm around birds is at the zoo where they have a Lorikeet feeding cage where you walk in with a cup of nectar and tiny little birds perch on your hands to drink out of the cup. It's cute. They're not scary, they drink nectar for goodness sake. They're like fairies.

Geese are what nightmares are made of.

Determined to face our fears and make a nice day for everyone, we edged closer to the water.

While I snapped photographs of the event, Kristine faced her fears by teaching her son how to feed the ducks and geese. It took several tries because anytime they got to close she'd stomp her foot and scream, "Go away!" But eventually the moment happened.

Feeling somewhat relaxed, we stood, took a deep breath and began to enjoy the surroundings.

Kristine: Hey look up there, the pigeons are flying together in a cool pattern.

Me: Wow, that does look really cool how they all fly together and oh not they're coming this way!

Kristine: Run!

As pigeons flew overhead, we covered our heads and screamed as we ran to a covering of trees where we stopped dead in our tracks because at least twenty geese began screaming right back at us.

With no where left to run except back to the car, we put on our big girl panties and yelled until the geese left us alone so we could snap a few family shots without the look of terror on our faces.

By the end of the day my nephew walked over to me, wrapped his arms around my leg and buried his face into my hip saying, "Birds, birds, birds," and shaking his head no. I hope one day I have kids of my own so my sister can help me scar them for life like I helped her.

When I got home I texted Motherly.

Me: Hey, so Kristine and I took Trey to the park today to feed ducks.

Motherly: Yeah I saw your pictures on Facebook. Funny, I thought you girls were terrified of birds.

Me: Oh we are.

Motherly: LOL How'd that work out for you?

Me: Not well.

So, what are you afraid of?

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