I had a hard time coming up with something for this month’s theme without getting too dark. (I tend to go dark to begin with, and the “cuckoo” topic lures me even darker.) But something happened this morning that made me think of cuckoos in a different way, and I figured I’d share.
I was driving with my son near our home, and as we approached an intersection, a small, dark bird kamikazed itself at our front grill. We were only going about 30 MPH to begin with, and he attempted to stop, but it happened so fast, there was nothing he could have done to prevent it.
|Photo Courtesy of morgueFile|
As we continued forward, we both checked the mirrors to see if there was any evidence of dead bird in the road—but nothing. Then we wondered if it was actually stuck in the front grille. We checked when we stopped the car, and thankfully it, too, was free of bird guts.
Then my son said, “What is wrong with these birds in Virginia?! They’re crazy! They’re always flying right at the car, or the tires! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve swerved to miss one of the stupid creatures.” (He's like his mother. He gets a little melodramatic when confronted with something compelling enough.)
Having seen no proof of a dead bird in this case, I told him not to worry about it. But he had a point. It's happened to me many, many times, and it got me wondering. Why do birds do that? Is it coincidental—they’re flying along (like three feet off the ground), and a big, old car happens along and gets in their way? Or, like my son seems to believe, do they see the car from a perch high above the roadway and purposely aim for it?
So I did what I always do when an intriguing puzzle comes along…I Googled “Why do birds fly in front of cars?” I found an online forum on straightdope.com from Julyof 2002 where someone had posed this exact question. There were a number of theories posited, like: Birds are playful, and maybe they’re playing chicken. (:-)) Or they perceive the car as a giant threat to a nearby nest so go on the attack.
The one I found most plausible claimed that cars create an updraft, a current of air that birds ride, like we might ride a wave in the ocean. What a neat idea, but so potentially hazardous to our feathered friends!
I hope that little bird made it across the street just fine, but if he didn’t, I hope my car’s updraft gave him the ride of his life. (Ouch? Did I really just write that?)
Happy reading and writing, all!
Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil, and the enduring power of love. Learn more at LeahStJames.com.