Every now and then, I think I’m the toughest person in the world. And then I find a dead bird on my balcony and realize that in a fight between me and a cotton ball, the cotton ball would win. Yes, my squeamish side (a side which covers about 95% of my body) emerged the other day when I discovered the lifeless corpse of a sparrow lying uninvited on my balcony chair (from Costco, no less!). You see, for whatever reason, sparrows absolutely adore that Costco chair — something I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t ceaselessly register their pleasure with constant bodily emissions in the form of white goo. I find myself in a constant, tireless turf war over that chair, and no matter how many times I bust out the Clorox, those damn birds come back time and time again to peck away at the fabric and shit up a storm. So normally you’d think I’d be thrilled that for once, a sparrow found death on the chair, but instead, I was grossed out. After all, I’d be the one who’d have to clean the damn thing up; so once again, sparrow wins.
In an effort to keep my day carrion-free, I first attempted to ignore the bird, thinking that sooner or later my roommate would return, and I could pawn all crime-scene cleanups onto him. However, my roommate was mysteriously absent that day, which meant the responsibility of dealing with the bird fell squarely on my shoulders. Needless to say, I was not particularly happy about this, especially when the task took a gruesome turn for the macabre…
After about four hours of hoping the bird might wake up and fly away, I finally came to grips with the notion that it was time to take care of Senior Sparrow. My first strategy was to annoy as many friends as possible by asking them all repeatedly for advice: should I use a plastic bag? Should I use two plastic bags? Should I call some sort of Avian Flu resource center? Was this West Nile? Should I be concerned with airborne rabies? Of course, this was just my way of stalling. I was certainly not looking forward to feeling the little bird in my hands, even if I did have a thick layer of plastic to protect me. Then I thought of an idea (and to give credit where credit’s due, my friend simultaneously came up with the idea too): I would merely lift the chair over the balcony and let gravity do the rest.
Well, after hemming and hawing, I finally did the deed, but not without a certain degree of mystery and intrigue. I went outside to face my feathered foe, and I quickly realized that this was no ordinary bird corpse. Upon further inspection, it became clear that the deceased bird was… HEADLESS!!! I looked to see if maybe some ill-fated journey into the sliding door had caused an unceremonious, avian decapitation, but there appeared to be no marks on the glass. And even more perturbing was the complete lack of a bird head anywhere in the vicinity. I was simultaneously appalled and intrigued. The bird’s feathers were also somewhat ruffled and mangled, which led me to believe that it suffered at the talons of a larger but somewhat clumsier bird of prey. I imagine that a wayward hawk or FALCON scooped up this hapless sparrow, gnawed off its head, and then dropped its bounty in a harried moment of bird-related confusion. Basically, it’s what would happen if I were a falcon.
Nevertheless, the unfortunate victim was given a heroic send-off as I hoisted the chair over the railing, tilted it, and sent the invading vessel of disease down to the dark, bushy abyss below. The crime scene has since been heavily doused and scrubbed with Clorox. And in turn, an unseen, marauding host of sparrows have happily defiled the chair once again with their feces. ’Tis the circle of life.