This is about two birds flapping, not one, but I needed a title.

So the other day I was sitting at my outdoor table, minding my own business, when two birds came sailing around the house and nearly took my head off.

I don’t know what the issue was – trespassing, lovers’ quarrel, uneven division of parental duty – but one was out to get the other. They were songbirds, approximately the same size, and sort of brownish. That’s all I can tell you, because I saw them out of the corner of my eye, heard a bunch of mad flapping, and then – before I could get a bead on them – they were circling my face.

They only flew one lap before taking off into hyperspace, but it was enough to provoke a knee-jerk reaction.

“Stop it!” I cried. “What are you doing, you bad birds?”

flyingpackman.blogspot.comI reacted that way because I’m a wildlife rehabilitator. I’m used to entering a songbird flight filled with young Blue Jays and having one of them bang into the side of my head by mistake, or entering a raptor flight and having a Great Horned Owl deliberately try to scalp me. I’m used to trying to be helpful, and in return getting smacked in the face by a wing.

I’m used to doggedly trying to restore some kind of order, no matter how slim the chance.

This was the case when these two wild blurs decided to use me as a live maypole. But by the time I’d reached  the second sentence they’d disappeared into the foliage, so it’s not like they even heard me, much less paid any attention to me.

And such was the sound of two birds flapping.

Photos by and

Written by Suzie
Suzie Gilbert is a wild bird rehabilitator whose shameful secret is that on more than one occasion she has received a female LBJ, or a fledgling whatever, and has been completely unable to ID it. Luckily she has birder friends who will rush to her aid, although she must then suffer their mockery. She is the author of her bird-rehabbing memoir Flyaway (HarperCollins) and the children's book Hawk Hill (Chronicle Books). Her recent suspenseful, bird-filled adventure novel Unflappable (Perch Press) was selected by Audubon Magazine as one of their Three Best Summer Reads of 2020. She lives in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley and is always up for a good hike.