How To Avoid a Bird Attack
Weird but true. I'm always getting attacked by blackbirds. There's a bagel store close to my office so when I'm feeling like having a bagel, I walk over there. Problem is that there are some blackbirds that hang out in the trees on my way. I think it's cause my hair is black. They must get me confused for one of them. They'll always swoop down, which makes me scream and duck and must look hillarious to the people who are watching. Anyway, here's what you can do to avoid this: (From the University of Florida, Go Gators!)
Patricia Sprott and Frank J. Mazzotti
Although not a common occurrence, some of Florida's birds are known to occasionally subject humans, pets, wildlife and other birds to seemingly unprovoked aggression. These attacks, though usually short-lived and inconsequential, do raise several questions, and this article will try shed some light on the issue.
WHAT IS A BIRD ATTACK?
Bird attacks usually consist of swoops, dives and chases by common yard birds, such as mockingbirds, blackbirds and bluejays; attacks at the beach or near the nesting grounds of least terns and gulls; in playing fields by burrowing owls' or near forested areas by raptors. Other forms of attacks include vocal castigations from perching birds; "mobbing" or ganging-up on the victim, which crows may do; or intentional defecation or regurgitation on the victim, which may occur in areas of concentration, such as rookeries.
WHY DO BIRDS ATTACK?
In the spring and summer birds establish territories, build nests and rear young. During this period, birds may engage in belligerent behavior, such as attacking creatures and humans many times larger than themselves. In this case, the birds are simply trying to protect their homes, their mates or their young.
Other birds, such as ducks and geese found around suburban water impoundments or gulls and pelicans found near fishing piers, become accustomed to being fed by humans and lose their natural fears. When a human appears at the spot where they usually are fed, they expect food and may approach without caution, which may look like an attack to an unsuspecting person. Some of these birds become quite aggressive in their begging methods and may actually chase, hiss and peck at the hapless human. This "conditioned response" technique was used to train the gulls and crows to chase the actors in the Hitchcock thriller "The Birds." Attacks may also originate out of fear, or if the bird is startled in some way by a passerby, but most attacks are motivated by defense of territory or young.
WHICH BIRDS ATTACK?
Many species of birds will attack humans to various degrees when threatened or molested. In South Florida, birds most likely to attack humans or pets for coming too close to a nest are mockingbirds, least terns, burrowing owls, nighthawks, crows, bluejays, and domestic waterfowl (muscovy ducks, swans, geese). Ruby-throated hummingbirds have been noted to buzz people wearing red. Pigeons, doves and woodpeckers may look like they are attacking humans, when actually they are returning to their nests in the eaves of buildings.
WHO DO BIRDS ATTACK?
If threatened, a bird will attack anyone or any- thing adults, children, pets, other wildlife including other birds, even buildings with windows that reflect the bird's image.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU ARE ATTACKED?
First, try to decide what provoked the attack--
Are you close to a nest? Note the exact location of the attack or the nest, and avoid the area for the duration of the nesting season and advise children and visitors to do the same. Hatchlings are usually fledged in two to three weeks and when the young are completely on their own, the parents will stop attacking.
Is there a baby bird around?Birds have strong parental instincts and will continue to defend their young for a few days after they have left the nest. If a young bird is found hopping around the yard, it is probably still under the care and feeding of the parents and should be left alone or placed low in a bush.
Is the bird sick or injured?If you find a sick or injured bird, be extremely cautious when approaching or handling. Beaks and claws are formidable weapons and will be used against you. Approach smaller birds from the rear, cupping gently in both hands. For larger birds, use a piece of cloth such as a towel or a shirt to drape over the bird before picking it up. Very large birds such as herons, osprey, ducks, geese and anhingas should be left alone. Call a wildlife agent or the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission for assistance.
These are the most likely causes for attacks, and the only defense is avoidance. This behavior, however annoying or disruptive, is only temporary and is a small price to pay for enjoying the benefits of South Florida's wildlife.
How To Turn a Bridesmaid Dress Into a Halloween Costume
If you're a woman in your 30's, you've probably got an old bridesmaid dress in your closet. If you're me it doesn't fit you right and makes you look absolutely hideous. I probably attend 2-3 weddings per year. They're usually somewhere far and expensive. So when one of my friends decides not to put me in their bridal party, I consider it a blessing. Luckily, I've only had to wear a bridesmaid dress a couple of times. Even if you've only got one bridesmaid dress in your closet, here's how to make sure you get some good use out of it:
Do not spend a small fortune on a Halloween Costume; instead pull out that disaster from your closet that you have sworn never to wear again.
1. Prom axe murderer. Chose your most hideous pro dress, a home made plastic corsage, some fake blood and an axe and you have an instant costume that shows your dress in its best light. Put on lost of mascara and eyeliner, then smudge it and get some to run down your face. Put on your lipstick in a moving car, and do not fix the mistakes. Wear sneakers so you can chase down your victims.
2. Beauty queen. If your dress is kind of nice, but un-wearable for any reason (stain or other imperfection) go ahead and wear it for Halloween. Don a tiara, get a pretty bouquet on flowers, and sash you can make yourself, by naming yourself Miss, Mrs., or Ms. (whatever you want).
3. Queen of the world. By adding a homemade cape to any old bridesmaid dress, and a big crown (you can alter a crown from Burger King). Do not forger to make yourself a scepter.
4. Evil stepsister: If you are a guy with access to an old bridesmaid dress, you can dress up as one of Cinderella’s evil stepsisters. Do not bother shaving, or trying to wear women’s shoes. You would not want to look too good!
5. A Good Witch: Any light colored satin gown and magic want with a glittery tiara or white witch’s hat will transform you into a good witch.
6. Run away bride: On the rare occasion that your bride’s maid dress is white or close to it, you can dress up as a runaway bride. Wear your best sneakers, get a cheap veil, and pin the front of the dress up high enough to get a good view of your running shoes.
7. Little girl: If your dress is extra frilly, go the extra mile and add a big sash with a huge bow in back for an instant little girl in a party dress look. Add a bow to your head and get a big swirl lollipop to carry with you.
8. Always a bridesmaid: No time to be creative? Do the obvious, and be a bridesmaid one more time. You can get a beat up floral bouquet and pretend you caught it. If you are going to a Halloween Costume Party with a long time boyfriend, this would be a good opportunity to drop playful hints.