Angry Birds

There I was, blamelessly cycling to the papershop when I realised I was under aerial attack. I had just reached the steepest bit of the biggest hill, into the wind, and I heard the noise of an angry buzzard above me but didn’t really pay any attention to it because they’re constantly getting harassed by crows and ravens at the moment. It was only when I heard the rush of wings and actually felt it swipe the back of my head with its talons that it realised it was me it was angry at. Steep hill or no hill, headwind or no headwind, I discovered some radical powers of acceleration at that moment, I can tell you.

On the way back I nerved myself up, pulled up my hood, and then bombed down the hill as fast as I could without screaming round a blind bend on the wrong side of the road and risking a worse hazard than an stroppy raptor. Fortunately there was no sign of either buzzard or oncoming traffic and I made it home unscathed, but now what? We’ve been buzzed by buzzards before (I note *exactly* two years ago – must be buzzard nesting season) but that was on foot, making it easier to carry a stick, and besides I don’t need much persuading not to go for a run whereas not cycling down for the paper isn’t really an option. The alternative routes are either the suicide papershop run, which is lovely but not really an everyday sort of a ride, or the lorry-infested Big A Road which is even more scary than Mama Buzzard on the attack.

I’ve never been one for wearing a helmet on the bike, for various reasons which range from the rational and practical to the political and possibly illogical but which, if I’m honest, mainly boil down to the fact that I don’t really think it’s likely I’ll fall off my bike now that I’m all grown up and know how to ride one. But if the on-bike hazards are likely to continue, perhaps I’ll have to think again…


13 Responses to Angry Birds

  1. Downfader says:

    Guy I heard of put a “face” on the top of his hat. Made the animal think it was being watched. Dont know if its an urban myth or real though, or if it would work.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I think they tried that in Australia, where Australian Magpies make a nuisance of themselves. But it didn’t work – the only thing that stopped them swooping was no helmet at all (and I was bareheaded). But at least if I had something on my head I’d feel a bit more protected …

  3. Kim says:

    Humm, you need an umbrella… 😉

  4. disgruntled says:

    Not in the wind we’ve been having!

  5. […] looking on the bright side, she says determinedly, at least it turns out that buzzards don’t like to fly in the rain. Cyclists don’t particularly like to cycle in the rain […]

  6. Frits B says:

    Actually speed is your greatest enemy here. Buzzards usually attack quick-moving people such as runners and cyclists, and leave walkers alone. Running away from any predator, even a barking dog, is always a bad idea. I have never been attacked by a buzzard but owls do the same thing; when they noticed that I saw them they just looked back and then turned to the dog – who never knew what was hovering above him.

  7. disgruntled says:

    Are you sure? Because buzzards mostly feed on dead rabbits in these parts …

    • welshcyclist says:

      Buzzards do take live prey if they get the opportunity, like all predators though they are always on the lookout for carrion. I see plenty of buzzards here in the Neath valley, but have never seen them attack humans, probably because they don’t feel their young are threatened, due to them being in the steep sided woods either side of the valley.

    • Frits B says:

      The buzzard isn’t trying to catch you for food, it’s just protecting its brood. They apparently see rapidly moving “adversaries” as more threatening. Forest and park rangers around here always give the same advice: behave as if you aren’t there, don’t run and certainly don’t wave arms or branches at the bird as this only confirms your aggressive intentions – they have very small brains so thinking isn’t their forte. Contrary to us humans.

  8. disgruntled says:

    yeah, I was just questioning whether they’re ‘predators’ or ‘scavengers’. I suppose opportunists is the answer, a bit like humans after all…

  9. […] went well until I got to Buzzard Corner and then I heard the ominous noise of an enraged mama buzzard who had spotted me and wasn’t […]

  10. […] doing it again?). In May we almost took up involuntary bee keeping and in June I first encounted Asbo Buzzard  – and the ford closed to pedestrians sign was finally removed  (although, as it later turned […]

  11. […] missing, feared lost, possibly on Monday’s epic ride (or rather in the pub afterwards). With ASBO buzzard season almost upon us, this could prove fatal to any campaign for safer cycling in […]

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