Rural Living

Feathers in My Nest

Uninvited Guests Come Home to Roost


by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Writer

Margo Oxendine

It was such a nice day.       

Toward the end of January — a month of single-digit temperatures, snow and ice — there came a beautiful day when temps were in the mid-40s. A friend and I decided our first order of fun was to “open all the windows” and let the sun shine in.

I was busy working, Brownie snoozing in her office bed. She kept interrupting me to go outside, then interrupting me to come back in. Finally, I thought to prop open the front door so she could come and go as she pleased.

Pleased with myself, I continued writing some column or other.

About 5 p.m., I shut ’er down, and closed the open doors and windows. I walked into the kitchen. On one of the black tiles of the black-and-white floor, I noticed something odd. I bent closer. It seemed to be a scrap of lace. Hmmm.

In a move that I soon regretted, I reached down to pick it up. Ewww! It was bird “doo.” How in the heck did … Oh. No. A bird must have flown into the house through the open door!

I began the hunt, with my ears as much as my eyes. I have had an errant bird in the house before, back when I had two cats. The ensuing rumpus was chaotic. A treasured vase and an heirloom pitcher became crashing casualties. I managed to close the little bird into one room, after I had opened the door and all the windows and screens. Thankfully, it did not take him long to flee my coop. The cats seemed disappointed.

That recent January day, Brownie and I stalked from room to room. We did not see or hear the intruder. Apparently, he flew in, relieved himself on the kitchen floor, and then flew back out again.

The whole scenario reminded me of a trip I took to Virginia Beach one early spring. My beloved Belvedere was not open until the day after my arrival; I was at the mercy of some other, always lesser, oceanfront accommodation. I chose one near the Belvedere. I asked the all-important question of any front-desk clerk: Is there construction going on near this hotel? He assured me there was not.

I checked into my room and discovered sheets of plastic over the adjoining door. I heard hammering. I called the desk. Oh, they said, they’re just fixing the balcony.

After a harrowing five-hour drive, I was too tired to argue. All I wanted was a nap, with the sounds of the ocean waves soothing me into slumber. I opened my balcony door. There was no screen. (The Belvedere doors are screened; the only ones I’ve found on the oceanfront.)

Soon, I was deep into a nap. I was awakened by a sort of fluttering sound. I heard cooing. It seemed quite close.

I opened my eyes to discover my room was crawling with pigeons. Lots and lots of pigeons. Dozens of them were strutting around, pecking at things on the floor and dresser. One perched atop the headboard, surveying his cooing feathered cohorts.

What to do? I had to somehow corral a host of pigeons out the balcony door. I began my unwelcome, not-easy task. Marching around the room in scanty nap attire, I shouted “Shoo!” and “Get outta here!” I flapped at them with a pillow. I slapped at them with a towel. The sound of flapping wings and angry coos (Can a coo be angry? I’m telling you it can.) reverberated throughout the room.

Upon closer examination, I discovered that the rafters of the balcony were chockablock with pigeons; only the advance scouts had entered my sanctuary. The balcony itself was completely covered with splotchy globs of pigeon goo. It was disgusting. I’d been too intent on my nap and the ocean to notice it when I’d opened the balcony doors.

Rather than call the desk, I marched down there in a huff. Well, perhaps it verged on a rage.

They would not refund my money, but offered yet another room.

I spent a disgruntled, restless night, plagued by Hitchcock-like dreams.

Bless the folks at the Belvedere. They let me check in at 8:30 the next morning. I was the first guest of the season! 


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