Sentinel of America’s Ditches

Day 7, June 4, 2005

A few years ago I was on a ride in Iowa. I was battling a stiff headwind and working hard to go 12 miles per hour. 12 miles per hours must be a threshold in bird land that transfers you into a threat. The redwing blackbirds would call out to each other, “Alert! Danger! Intruder!” On this ride, they started lining up on the fences. One brave soul, determining that I was not leaving the area fast enough, did two very close fly-bys. I could hear his wings flutter past by head.

That day must have put me permanently in the red-wing most wanted list. As I was cycling through Oregon, the redwing blackbirds kept constant vigil, calling out to all the other birds that I was coming. No fly-bys this time, but it is amazing the amount of energy birds spend worrying about a 12 mile per hour cyclist on the road.


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