Air Rage

I literally did not know what had hit me at first. There I was, cycling blamelessly along to Papershop Village, thinking my own thoughts, when THWAP, something skelped me hard across the back of my head. The impression I got was of something soft, but heavy, as if someone had thrown a cat at me. It was only when I heard the wings that I realised that ASBO buzzard was back … and this time it was serious. I put my hood up and it still had two more goes, albeit not making contact after the first time. And just to make it even more scary, I could see that there were two of them, although whether both were attacking I couldn’t tell.

I have to admit, I hesitated before I made the return trip having picked up my paper. Even Big A Road was beginning to look less daunting than running the gauntlet through ASBO buzzard’s (or buzzards’) territory. It was the silence that made the whole thing most unnerving, well, that and the force with which it struck. Before, there’s always been a lot of noise before the bird actually swooped down and after the first time when I felt its talons in my hair, there hasn’t been any actual contact. But this time, the attack came out of nowhere – it was overcast, so I didn’t even see its shadow closing in on me. Cycling back, with my hood firmly up, I could only pedal as fast as I could* and hope there wasn’t an angry raptor on my tail, poised to strike. Even though it didn’t actually attack on the way back, I was expecting it at any minute. It doesn’t make for the sort of relaxed, happy, hello trees, hello clouds cycling that I prefer, I can tell you.

The whole episode has left me with a faint, possibly psychosomatic, possibly buzzard-strike induced, headache. And in urgent need of a replacement anti-buzzard hat. Or possibly a new papershop…

* I know that some commenters have suggested that I should stop or slow down in order to make the bird less likely to attack but to that I can only say: you try facing down an infurated buzzard without accelerating away from it as fast as you can. Then come back and let us all know how that one went.

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8 Responses to Air Rage

  1. oftpaster says:

    I have been swooped at (but not touched) by a skua, and would say it was one of the most terrifying things that I have experienced. I was told that I should have had a hat on a stick, to hold above my head. Not sure how you’d do that on a bike, or whether it would work. What I did do was walk (head down, hood up) as fast as I could – I don’t think my brain could have commanded by legs to do slow walking – too scared.

  2. Spent the afternoon gardening for Incredible Edible just below a black backed gulls’ nest. Can’t say that I was very focussed on planting the runner beans and flowers even though a colleague said they would chase any attackers off with a hoe. Got swooped at a few times….

  3. disgruntled says:

    I am now musing fixing some sort of stick to my bike. Might not do much for its aerodynamic qualities though

  4. kevinmayne says:

    When seagulls nested on our roof I had over a month of attacks – I ended up almost phobic about them. Try anything that works!

  5. disgruntled says:

    It’s incredibly unnerving when it comes from the air…

  6. Autolycus says:

    “Something on a stick” did cross my mind as a potential distraction. Or maybe something that might look like prey on the end of some extended (and easily detached) head-dress. But cycling with a dead mouse deely-bopper on might cause comment.

  7. disgruntled says:

    Yes. I *am* trying to plug the whole ‘cycling as a normal activity’ vibe though…

  8. […] we’ve had a bit of a phoney war last week, ASBO Buzzard and I: I’ve done it the courtesy of not daring to cycle through its territory without head […]

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