“Do you want to go feed the ducks today?” Is there any question that incites the feelings of happiness and enthusiasm as much as that one? Probably, but not many are as timeless. At some point in their life, usually on a Saturday morning during breakfast, many children will be asked if they’d like to go to the local pond and feed the ducks. It sounds like a lot of fun to a child. I had that experience the first time I was asked. I was so excited.
I could barely contain myself. I was going to feed ducks. Ducks were going to swim up to me. Some would walk up. I might develop a connection with a duck or two. In my seven-year-old brain, there was a chance I could become best friends with a duck.
While the car was coming to a slow halt in the parking lot I was gazing upon the pond. There were so many ducks. So many friendship opportunities.
My sister and I slowly crept up to the edge of the pond, food in hand. My sister was first to throw her food into the pond. It only took a few moments for the ducks to take notice. Soon, we had a legion of ducks in front of us. It was a joyous time. I introduced myself to many of them. I’d make eye contact with a few of them in an attempt to incite a moment of trust and comfort. It never worked. These ducks weren’t easy.
At some point, I looked to the other side of the pond. “Oh my gosh! There are geese! A swan!” I grew up in the prime of Disney’s animated films, you know, the ones that convinced children that they could grow up to be a prince or princess and most animals are dying to love you and help you through the hard times in life, so I assumed they were waiting to be coddled. I also had seen plenty of PBS and National Geographic specials that featured the beauty of geese and swans. Geese were princes of the duck world. Swans were the kings. I got up and walked over to the other side of the pond. I no longer had any interest in ducks. I was chasing royalty.
I got close to a group of geese. To my dismay, there was brownish-green poop everywhere. Their kingdom was surrounded by a moat of feces. I crept past the excrement. A swan stood in front of me. “Hi!”, I yelled to the beautiful creature. I half expected butterflies to fly from its ears. “Don’t get too close to it!”, my mother yelled. Unbeknownst to her, this swan and I had already made eye contact. We connected. It wanted me to come closer. I took a step closer. My hand outreached. Eyes locked. My best smile was strong. Everything was firing on all cylinders. Then it happened. The swan opened its wings. Was the first swan/human hug about to happen? No. Not at all. It snapped at me. Then it charged - at a child. Things are almost a blur after that. I remember terror. The look in its eyes. Tonight’s feast was a human child. I remember running, with flapping wings closing in on me. I ran to my mother. I turned around. The swan had stopped giving chase. It stood there. It peered into my soul. I was no expert in swan facial expressions, but I do believe it gave me a threatening smirk.
I’ve met many people who have been attacked by geese and swans. There are many victims sucked into the charm of this Venus Fly Trap of a bird in order for it to take years of winter travel rage out upon the innocent. Did you know that the wings of a goose can break a grown man’s arm? Did you know that most birds defecate before flight? Geese and swans don’t care. Everything is a toilet to them. You know what living creatures think the world is theirs to crap on? Geese. Humans look up in awe as they fly above doing the flying V, but do not realize that the geese are dropping waste bombs of disease on all the things we hold dear. Go ask a native Canadian what their country hates the most besides the arrogance of Americans. They’ll tell you geese.
Sooner or later one of these birds will kill a person. Sooner or later they’ll taste the blood of a human being. The word will spread among their kind. It won’t be long until we look to the sky and no longer see beautiful Flying Vs but the shape of an Avian Kamikaze death squad.
We need to strike first friends. We need to gather them all and move them to an island, preferably with a volcano. Our children’s futures are at stake.