The Birds

It’s more than a little ironic that I turn into such a shutterbug at the beach since I am not typically a huge fan of The Nature (unless there are trees involved), but everything about the beach is so stinkin’ beautiful that I find myself taking pictures of things that would normally terrify me.

You know, things like birds.

As a general rule I have a healthy fear of birds. I’m always suspicious of them, wary that at first opportunity they’re going to starting shoving their beaks in my neck (because in case you weren’t aware of it, “shoving beaks in humans’ necks” is the #1 kicky bird pasttime), but the beach manages to ease my aviary anxiety a little bit. The birds seem so small and so graceful in relation to that big ole Gulf, and so I make my peace with them. I seek them out, even.

Saturday morning when the little guy and I were out walking, a woman was sitting on a lounge chair and tossing bread crumbs in the air. She was absolutely surrounded by seagulls, and while part of me wanted to freak out and scream “BIRDS! BIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS!” while running for my life, I decided to be a real-live grown up and simmer down, already.

Alex and I very slowly made our way around the birds so that we were facing them and not behind them (that way I could keep my eye on them if they started to make a beeline for my neck), and before I knew it I was squealing just a little bit, totally captivated by their enthusiasm over those bread crumbs.

I was terrified, mind you, but squealing and captivated just the same.

And then I started to feel brave. And I got closer.

So after all of that, I feel like I’ve made some progress with my bird fears. In fact, I’ve come up with what I think is a catchy mental subtitle for Fall Beach Trip ’08: “The Time All The Birds Ate Bread And Looked Pretty And Didn’t Yank A Vein Out Of My Neck.”

It has a real ring to it, don’t you think?

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  1. I”m so jealous and would love to be at the beach. Even if there were a flock of crazy birds. LOL

    I thought of you today when I saw the preview for the new office episode this Thursday. I can’t wait to see it. It looks like they are giving Jan a baby shower and all kinds of craziness is going to take place. I’m pregnant now, so I am especially looking forward to this episode to see what sage advice they have for her. LOL

    I can’t wait until Friday morning to see what you think.

  2. Bird issues, hmm? I have the same issues with moths. Pesky, stupid little creatures that don’t know where they’re flying and leave dust on your body when they land. Yuck!

  3. So…I’m guessing that the Alfred Hitchcock flick isn’t one that ranks high up on your list of “must have” movies, huh?

    Unless that’s what started it all…



  4. I, too, have a healty fear of birds, but I have to admit – those are some BEAUTIFUL pictures. Maybe you’ve transformed me!!

  5. I think you need to take facing your fears a step further next beach trip and feed them out of your hand. It’s a fun experience – but I recommend holding up long items (such as fries or bread) so they don’t bite you. Or attack your neck.
    I’m only allowed to feed the birds 10 feet or more away from our beach setup so as not to cause my husband’s fear – a bird-poo-rain on our beach scene.

  6. I found a link to your blog, and I’m glad I took a look. It’s enjoyable.

    I know what you mean about the birds. I’ve been scared of them since I was a teenager when I used to “lay out” to get a tan. These nasty black birds would swoop down so low towards me. They can poop on you at any second. Ugh. But you got some great shots.

  7. so many of my girlfriends are afraid of birds! dang that Hitchcock–he ruined it for all of us with that movie… :0)

  8. I’m with ya! I was in London a few years ago and taking a photo of a church. There were TONS of birds milling around outside. While taking the photo, someone’s child thought it would be funny to run through the birds and scare them.

    The child did this as I was taking the photo.

    So, here I am, in the middle of the square, trying to take the perfect photo, zoomed and lined up…and this child is running through the flock and they made a bee-line straight for me.

    Imagine seeing THAT through your zoomed-in camera! AHHH!!!

    So, I know how you feel.

  9. Makes me think of the song–“He makes me wanna be brave!” You are so stinkin’ BRAVE, girlfriend! Thanks for sharing His beauty at my very favorite place.

  10. I never thought about them pecking my veins out, my fear is the other thing birds do on the opposite end from their beak.
    I’ve been a target twice..that’s twice to many for me. Your a brave gal.

  11. Once on a beach trip, hubby brought home more gull pictures than pictures of us – – – and I KID YOU NOT!!!

    Yours are gorgeous gull pictures though.

    Your Dawgs pulled off a BIG UPSET Saturday!!! Wooooo Hoooooo for you and them!!!

  12. i am so with you on the bird issue. they are all crazy at my grocery store parking lot.

    my fear is more the nasty feathered wing flutter in my face than the peck on the neck.

    uhh, just thinking about it gives me the willies!

  13. Glad you simmered down now ya here? What beautiful photogs .. they need to be framed ..

    My fear? All the bird gook that gets on newly washed cars would be on me .. eewww …

  14. Those birds are just biding their time. They’ve got you where they want you, and they’re plotting their neck attack the next time you’re at the beach. Your guard will be down, your camera up, and WHAM! YANK! There goes your neck!!

  15. So what did you think about the cranes in Kampala? My rule of thumb is to generally avoid birds that are taller than me!

  16. Oh, I have the bird fear too! Especially of those low-flying, deep-dipping sea gulls! I usually end up taking pictures of them at the beach but have never been so daring as you and taken CLOSE-UPS!! My but you’re brave!

    Marilyn in Mississippi

  17. Love the title!! It has a kind of song-in-your-head-all-day ring to it, don’t you think??

  18. Mine? Mine? Mine?

    I’m not a fan of geese. Any bird that hisses at me is not a bird I want to hang around.

  19. Yeah…the not yanking veins out of your neck is a real plus:-)

  20. I love the pictures, but no way will I ever be a bird fan. I’ve never had a good experience with them. Nev-uh!

    There was the time at Disneyworld when a HUGE bird swooped down and snatched my hot dog from my hands, scaring me half to death. Then there were the mockingbirds that terrorized me on my daily walks with our dog a few years ago, so much so that I started crossing the street to avoid their taunts.

    We took our son to the zoo Friday, and while his Daddy took him in to see the birds, I sat at the cafe and drank a diet coke. Why walk willingly into the house of the enemy?

  21. I once had an unfortunate incidence with a massively proportioned june bug. If you don’t know, those things have some serious little claws that prevent them from being pulled from any type of garment. Insane reaction is an understatement.

    Ever since then I have not had any type of fondness for living things touching me. So I understand about the birds.

  22. Oh my word, Sophie. Every single one of those photos is just gorgeous. I’m so jealous that you’re at the beach.

    But I’m also thankful all your neck veins are intact. There is that! :-)

  23. Our beach is rurnt. . .so says my Hubby who went to Galveston with his mom and dad to work on cleaning up their house. . .which is standing and did not flood due to it’s locale. . .but the island, she is a MESS.

    Not that Galveston has the lovely white sand beaches of our neighbors to the east on the Gulf Coast, but it’s ours.

  24. Oh my. Just reading this post brought back memories of a movie I saw as a child.
    (yes, as a child.)

    “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock…
    Perhaps you were witness to it also at some point in your life, and this is why you are traumatized like you are. Granted, I was born in 1970, so it must have been on as a rerun and my parents watched it in my presence.

    I’m so happy for your progress at the beach. Truly a good thing!

    In hoping not to set you back some paces, I just have to share this with you:
    Can you believe they actually have THIS out there to commemorate this classic movie? I saw it in Walmart a few weeks ago walking the toy aisle with my daughter and stopped cold in my tracks. Can you just imagine?

    Please notice that bird number two appears to be heading straight for either the right carotid artery or the juglar vein — I can’t be for sure.

    Gracious. I’m going to go watch something on my dvr just to get this image out of my head before bedtime.

    (love your beach pictures by the way! so glad you got to spend some time there.)

  25. Elizabeth says:

    I have just started reading your blog after hearing so much about you from Travis, Beth and others… Great Stuff!

    What great pics! I admire your bravery.=)Check out the tops of the light poles… Maybe you will see some pelicans sitting on top! They used to hang out there when we lived on the East Coast. Don’t know why, but it was kind of funny to drive across a big bridge and see them all sitting on top of the lights on the light poles!

    Note to Roxanne: We are praying for the folks on the Island as they clean up after the mess Ike left behind… When I was in college (HBU)I lived in Sugar Land/Alief…

  26. I am so totally with you on the whole bird thing. Something about beady eyes and pointy beaks. Ugh.

    But glad you had a breakthrough. Me? I’m still going to avoid them!

  27. You’re a braver woman than I. The birds are not my friends. Eew.

    Good for you though. Conquer those fears!

  28. You just put words to my fear! But I have to say those are beautiful pictures.

  29. I deprived my children the joy of feeding the duck at the local park because I was sure they would peck their eyeballs out. Yep, that Hitchcock movie ruined it for several of us…what were our parents thinking?
    Good pics and good for you facing your fears!

  30. You are so funny! But I can totally relate to the bird fear. I like to watch them from my window, but if they swoop anywhere near me, it freaks me out. I think Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” did that to me. That man was not right.

  31. That picture of the lady feeding the birds made me have a tiny little anxiety attack! I could never sit there surrounded by a flock of gulls without some serious help from God…or an assist from Xanax.
    I’m joking. A little.
    The pictures are beautiful, though. And I’m impressed with your bravery as much as your photography!

  32. LOVE the subtitle! It’s got beauty with just a TOUCH of horror sprinkled in.

    Your photos are beautiful! Man, I’m impressed! You must have an incredible image stabilizer on your camera as I can just imagine how much your hands were shaking as you pressed the shutter button!

  33. That last picture is so sharp. I love it!

  34. I think that dern Hitchcock movie ruined all of us when it comes to birds.

  35. You did it! These are awesome pics!!

  36. Janet (aka JT) says:

    If I could share a little bit of my crazy with you:

    When I was about 4, I saw what I thought was a healthy dollup of ice cream on the hood of the family car. “Look, Mommy, ice cream!” I shouted as I scooped it up and stuck it in my mouth.

    It wasn’t ice cream. At all.

    My mother, horrified, opened my mouth and with her hand scraped my tongue, the inside of my cheeks, and quite possibly, my tonsils, clean. However, what she did not realize was that she had a tiny paper cut on one of her “cleaning” fingers.

    And for the next two weeks, my mother was in the hospital with the North American Bird Disease.

    True story.

    She almost died, because apparently this is a pretty serious illness. So I tend to admire birds from a safe distance. And I am HORRIFIED of their droppings. Which aren’t ice cream.

  37. congrats on your success in *somewhat* conquering your fear of birds. I once dated a guy whose step-dad had several birds in the house- not in a cage, mind you, just flying around. And I am pretty sure that was at least 82.5% of why I had to end of the relationship.

    I also one time (at the beach, none the less) I was with a Campus Crusade group, sharing our faith with the Spring Break wild ones and just when my friend and I started to really explain the problem of sin, one of those pretty birds relieved itself all over us. Perhaps God planned it though since the girls we were talking to suddenly had a huge wave of pity on us, helped us get cleaned up, and then allowed us to share with them more :) (God does work in mysterious ways, right?:))

  38. Birds are scary. And dirty. But your pictures are great!

    I’m scared of grasshoppers. So, there are sillier things you could be scare of. Just so you know.

  39. You gotta love the gulls. My pastor’s wife is terrified of birds, and this one time,,,oh wait, I’m savin’ that for my blog!

    Thanks for sharin’ it makes me miss the gulf. We stayed in Gulf shores for two months this summer, it was heavenly!
    Welcome back, we missed ya.

  40. I am totally with you on the bird fear. I remember VIVIDLY a moment when I was five years old. I was playing on our swing in the backyeard. I had a frosted shredded wheat in my hand that I was eating dry. A large black bird swooped down and plucked it out of my hand. Birds scare me to this day.

    I am very impressed with your bravery!

  41. I have a similar name for the Fall of 2000: “The Time We Went To The Dam, And Though I Couldn’t Bring Myself To Leave The Observation Room And Go Out To The Three-Foot-Thick Wall With Everyone Else, I Didn’t Pass Out And It Was Kinda Pretty.”

    So, I say, good for you!

  42. I thought I was the only one with a fear of birds!

  43. ooooohhhhhh I love it!! good for you girl! I’m kinda weirded out by ’em too. Hope y’all are having a fabulous time.


  44. Nice pic but don’t really like birds.

  45. Doodlerah says:

    Last Summer you posted about Destin Florida. I was moving my son all the way from Texas to Orlando for college. I knew that on the way back I would be a total wreck! Being that he would die in his own filth with-out me! LOL So, I made a detour on the way home and spent 4 of my fondest memories laying on Henderson Beach in Destin. It helped me relax, get my mind strait and give Quinn to God! I even got a few photos of my younger son feeding the birds cheetoes (WHAT A WASTE OF PURE CHEESIENESS). We then burried his 14 year old cousin in the sand and COVERED him in Cheetoes. The birds ate him up. Great photos too! Just glad it wasn’t me!

  46. Love it! Reminds me of this season’s Big Brother and a grown man who was deathly afraid of birds.

    Anyhoo…I have GOT to know what kind of camera you use. Your pictures are marvelous. That shutter speed has got to be ultra fast to have gotten those clear pics of the flying birds. Must know!!!

  47. Sooooooo … You got “closer to them” … with THE ZOOM??? Or IN PERSON???

  48. You are brave. I hate birds. Sorry, but I do. They are so dirty and yucky. And they poop on me. A lot. Derned things.

  49. I’ve not been a bird fan since one pooped on my mama in the middle of Opryland. Fun times.

    Your pictures are beautiful, though.

  50. I also have a healthy fear of birds (by which i mean completely irrational terror) i would never get that close to seagulls – so congrats to you :-)

  51. You, my dear, are quite funny. In case you didn’t know.

  52. My girls & I have a video (or we did) from giving birds food and we were all just squealing and screaming! It was some good times.

  53. I am glad you have made some theraputic steps toward conquering your fear. May each day bring you closer to a oneness with our feathered friends! :-)

    I find nothing majestic, intruiging, sweet or even slightly interesting about seagulls. They are one of the most repulsive members of the fowl family to me. My hate of them was spurned on, in part, by those dumb seagulls on “Finding Nemo” that scream “mine, mine!” in an obnoxious tone.

    That is the only part of my beach experience that causes me distress….knowing the birds will be circling about, waiting to dive and peck at my head.

    Perhaps I should buy a really nice camera and wander around the beach, looking for opportune bird poses……maybe I would make a step in my therapy too.

  54. Seriously awesome photography. Will you tell us what kind of camera you have? I’m trying to kill mine so I have an excuse to buy a new one.

  55. Awesome pix! I’m glad you embraced your fear. :o) My youngest daughter calls them “french fry birds”, ‘cuz that’s what we usually feed them … LOL!

  56. I haven’t liked birds ever since a seagull pooped on my head in Victoria, Canada. The hubbie and I were out for a romantic stroll (it was supposed to be, anyway) when I heard, then felt, the poop hit my head. Grrrrooossssss. There just aren’t words to adequately describe the sheer grossness of the warm poop on one’s scalp.

  57. Oh, sweet, sweet Ocean…I long for thee! Soon, soon…even if it’s when I attend my daughter’s basic training graduation in South Carolina this Thanksgiving…
    …I think I’ll Google how far the nearest beach is from there! I’ll look okay in boots, won’t I?