Feathered Ruffians

After being back in Ann Arbor for about two weeks, I decided I was settled in enough to check in with a Writing Minor adviser. I obviously chose T (not that all the other advisers aren’t awesome!) because she was my gateway course professor and I had a lot to catch her up with about my life.

We got to talking and I eventually mentioned that I had purchased a kayak over the summer (yet unnamed, but I have figured out that my kayak is a girl).

See all her curves? Definitely a female
See all her curves? Definitely a female

Anyways, we got to talking about birds — ospreys, eagles, etc. — that are typically near bodies of water. T asked me if I liked birds, and I told her I was pretty neutral towards them. I’m not someone with a deathly fear of them (“The Birds,” anyone?) but I also don’t have a particular penchant for them. She told me to let her know if I changed my opinion as I kayaked more, and when I took my kayak out this weekend, I had quite the encounter with birds.

Gallup Pond was fairly empty, save for the multitudes of lily pads and yellow algae gracing the top of the water. I staggered with my kayak to the dock and managed to get it into the water without help (the kayak is 10ft long; I am a little taller than 5ft — it’s a bit of an effort to move it by myself). This was one of my first times out on Gallup, so I took it pretty slowly and wanted to explore the area. I decided to head towards the bridge on my right, and as I approached, loud honking ensued. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where it was coming from. It became more threatening as I got closer to the bridge, and that’s when I noticed the family of about six geese settled on the rocks near the support structures of the bridge. The goose that I assumed was the daddy goose, as he seemed to be keeping watch for the other geese, started bobbing his neck. I’ve seen that before in geese, and it never means anything good.

I weighed my options. I could try my best to ignore the geese and hope they took that as my submission to them and leave me alone, or I could stop and back away, and hope they didn’t attack me as I was trying to leave them alone. I chose the second option; passing near an angry flock of geese while in a fairly unstable boat did not sound too appealing to me. I managed to get out of there with no incident, but I was a bit miffed. I could understand how my bright blue boat and bright yellow paddle could intimidate the geese, but I didn’t even know if they could for sure see colors. I was just trying to pass them, and meant them no harm. But they had to be bullies and scare me off.

As I moved to the other side of the pond, the same incident happened with swans, which was much more intimidating because of the size of swans compared to the geese.

Way more intimidating....
Way more intimidating….

After a day of bullying by the birds of Gallup, I had more of an opinion on these avian creatures. They seemed to be the bullies of the water I was on; I’d never had a problem with the loons or eagles in Northern Wisconsin where I typically kayak, so maybe it’s a type-by-type characteristic. But, while I’m in Ann Arbor at least, I will be keeping my distance from these winged tyrants. Sorry, T; maybe the love of birds is a family thing!

Kaitlin Schuler

Hey all! I'm a 20 year old female from the southern suburbs of Chicago. I've been in love with books since I was a babe in swaddling clothes, and that has been the one constant relationship in my life. I also love hot chocolate, hockey, hot dogs, and hoe-downs. Well...maybe not the last one. Though I've never been, so that could change! Keep up with my posts and learn more about this hockey-loving, hot chocolate-drinking girl.

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