I have been an avid reader of VTBIRD messages and appreciate everyone's fascination and joy in all things avian. Indeed, I have had many memorable experiences myself over the years and especially enjoy this time of year. There is, however, a darker, mostly unspoken side to the world of birds, and I think it only prudent and fair to warn others of the dangers lurking out there.
Actually, thoughts of atlassing and bird song were not even on my mind last Friday as I ordered fries and a hamburger from the bus at Battery Park. I was hungry and looking forward to a quiet break from my all day conference. I sat on a picnic table and contentedly began eating my admittedly less than gourmet lunch. Just as I was ready to take yet another bite out of my hamburger, I was rudely thwacked on the back of my head. In the split second that it took to begin processing the assault, the burger was knocked from my hand, landing on the ground several feet away. A ring-billed gull landed nearby, squawking loudly in an attempt to intimidate me further and was quickly joined by several co-conspirators, all carrying on loudly. In the excitement of the moment, I managed to spill my fries all over the picnic table. I instantly decided that there was no way I was going to allow such churlish behavior to pay off. But it also occurred to me that the hamburger might have only been a diversion and that if I went after it, the fries would quickly become history. I resorted to several feinting moves toward the burger while quickly scooping the fries back into the container. Fries safely back in the box, I then gathered up the no longer particularly appetizing hamburger (to me, at least) and buried it in a nearby trash container, taking perverse pleasure in knowing the gulls would realize it was there but that they were not going to be able to get to it. I scurried out of the park, nervously eating the rest of my fries while frequently looking over my shoulder, lamenting that I really had not had enough lunch to hold me.
Could a similar traumatic event have been Hitchcock's inspiration?