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Bye-bye birdie


In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that I am not wild about birds. Oh, they’re fine up in the trees or flitting about, soaring through the sky overhead, but when they get in my personal space? Different story. Honestly, I have never understood the allure of keeping birds inside and loathe the idea of caging them. It boggles my mind to think that if I had the ability to fly, someone would want to clip my wings and prevent me from experiencing what must be an amazing way to live. That said, I’m not crazy (about birds, anyhow), but at the moment, they are making me crazy—seriously crazy.

To be fair, not all birds are sending me to the loony bin—just robins. It all started a few weeks ago when, as always, a pair of robins set up housekeeping under the eaves and built a nice nest in which to hatch their young. Happens every year, and until now, has never been a pressing issue. This spring, however, has been problematic. I’m used to the birds dive-bombing me and the dog whenever we leave the house, and even though I don’t care for the swooping, they’ve never really threatened me, nor I them.

I am a nature lover (I swear!) and even enjoy photographing birds (from a distance), but these robins are out of control. A few weeks ago, one showed up at my sliding glass door on the second level of the house and began pecking at the window and flapping its wings incessantly up and down, up and down, for hours on end. If I dared to chase it away, it would fly around the house and begin the same routine at my rear deck windows, or on the skylights, or at the windows, strutting back and forth on the railings, staring in at me. Unnerving, to say the least. Waking me at sunrise with the pecking and swooping has gone on for weeks,and between the sleep deprivation and jangled nerves, I’m losin’ it.

Since I had to be up in the wee hours last Friday, the crazy bird wasn’t so much of an issue, but annoying nonetheless. I pounded on the sliding glass and left the house to check out newcomer Claudia Hoyser, who was scheduled to sing on Thunder 102 radio during a remote broadcast from Defilippis Italian Bakery in Monticello.

“You look shaken,” general manager Paul Ciliberto said, while I set up the tripod and snapped away. “It’s the damn bird!” I replied. “I can’t handle it!” Hoyser (www.claudiahoyser.com) was very entertaining, especially considering the hour, and she performed her new single “No Matter What It Costs” along with other tunes, ably accompanied by guitarist Ryan Hurley.

When I arrived home, the bird was waiting. It continued its assault on the glass, staring at me the whole time, daring me to confront. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but those beady eyes are haunting. Napping is out of the question, for the bird apparently never sleeps. You’d think I’d be all over the Internet in an attempt to resolve the issue, but between the constant flapping, pecking and lack of sleep, I wasn’t at the top of my game.

Thankful to have a reason to leave the house, I made my way to the Tusten Theatre (www.delawarevalleyartsalliance.org) to see the newest offering from the Act Underground Theatre Company, (like ‘em on Facebook!) which opened its second season with “Nine Revue Sketches” by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter.

The show, which featured actors Janet Burgan, Dorothy Hartz, Aleta Kahn, Charlie Trowbridge and Peter Walsh, was “Pure Pinter,” meaning that the sketches were a bit difficult to comprehend. I studied Pinter in college—didn’t “get” him then and don’t “get” him now, but the actors were all absolutely on point, and while there may have been some pacing issues (IMHO), the show was very well done. I don’t have to “get” it to appreciate it. Just sayin’. Alan Kehoe and Sean Harrington’s set and lighting were innovative and alluring and Wendy Kaufman’s direction (pacing notwithstanding) pretty spot on.

Arriving home, the Hitchcock nightmare continued, and I got on the horn to the National Audubon Society to seek advice. While the operator I spoke with was clearly amused at my distress, she was also (I hope) helpful, offering tips including owl decoys, window clings, shiny objects… the list goes on. At the moment, my doors look like a funhouse, festooned with tin foil, metallic ribbons, paper cut-out bird silhouettes and more. Both decks look like the bottom of a bird cage (if you catch my drift) and I’m praying for relief. Too bad there’s already a play called “Bye Bye Birdie” (on stage this summer at the Forestburgh Playhouse), but I bet Pinter would have something to say about my current situation. I might even “get” it. 


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