Mornings near the Ertan Deep are usually quiet. You have to understand that I have absolute freedom all around my house. I could run laps around my house, naked, flapping my arms and tweeting like a bird without fear of being seen or even heard. Even if you had seen me do that, I would've made a far less disturbing bird than the ones that haunted my poor ranch that year.
Early that morning, I had a hot cup of Ethiopian medium dark roast brewed in a pour-over, to fight the cold. Best possible cup, I drank it all winter long, but I digress. Alexa started droning my news feed, as she's programmed to after I've yelled at her to stop alarming.
If I remember correctly, it was around then there were dark rumors of freezing rain. That is an evil phrase in my corner of Kentucky, but that's a different blog post. There was also some nonsense about a virus spreading overseas. I didn't pay it much mind. Things like viruses never seemed to make it as far as the Ertan Deep and I had little contact with the outside world even then.
I broke my favorite mug. I heard a noise and it slipped off my finger into my stainless steel kitchen sink and shattered. Not to waste your time with details, but I really loved that damned mug. I'm not even the sort who was ever prepared to love a mug. It had the opening lines from a large list of famous novels, written in different fonts all over. Anyway, part of the mug got jammed into the bottom heel of my right hand and when I pulled the porcelain out it started to bleed into the sink with the coffee. It must've nicked a vessel cause it took a styptic pen and silk tape to stop it.
I hadn't forgotten the noise that startled me, either. It had been a bashing sound on my front bay window. Outside, underneath the window, was a bird, twitching and dying in the front planter. It was a red-winged blackbird. It's eyes were crusted over and swollen shut. The poor thing, with some sort of avian conjunctivitis and reduced vision, must've dashed itself to death against the window. Strange, maybe ominous, but definitely not unheard of...
By the end of that week, four birds had elected suicide by attempted defenestration. I began to look at it scientifically. There are plenty of explanations about glare or trying to fly through windows into buildings. But that did not apply. My front bay window is made of fogged glass cubes, and the curtains are perpetually drawn.
Psshaw, don't give me that! I like privacy and I don't like sunlight. But honestly, it wasn't just the bay window. They had dived into the brick wall of my carport, smashed into the side-door of my house and one other window.
Each had swollen and encrusted eyes, from what I could tell. The right thing to do would be to visit the extension office with the birds and some questions. But like many things, I couldn't be bothered.
By April, there must've been a body-count of nearly twelve birds. They were grackles, blackbirds, cardinals, jays and mockingbirds. The compost pile at the end of my garden became a piebald mound of rotting plumage nearly two birds high. One bird dove into the side of my house right in front of me. I had decided, like all problems at the time, the cause must be a virus.
What you might not guess is that, as of today, the last time this has happened was only a week and half ago. I cannot even tell you how many birds have thrown their lives against my house. Now, unlike fabricated stories, this one is an open-ended mystery. I say this because there still is no cause and while this was brought to my attention by a friend: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/02/science/birds-eyes-disease.html
It does not explain one small detail...one that has been nagging at me all this time and grows weirder every time I consider it. Why do they fly into my house? I have neighbors, distant neighbors, it's true, but several of them. They are isolated in different patches of the same middle-of-nowhere as I am. Some of them are relatives, others are friends and well-known to me. None of them have had this happen to them. Not once. And yet, the number of birds that have died around my house is about forty-something to date. One even shattered out my carport window it hit so hard.
Once again, you're gonna think I'm bullshitting you... But our brains have a weird way of connecting things, that, in all fairness, have probably nothing to do with each other. But I had found a blue T-shirt thrown over the front of my mailbox. Looking at it now, I'd say it was a joke, but I just don't see the people I've told about this having this specific sense of humor. It was just draped over the front, like someone had tossed it on the mailbox from a moving vehicle. It wasn't a new t-shirt. It was stained and covered in holes. I've since added it to my "mystery cabinet." Looked like it had been used to wash a car or something, but that may just be my impression...
Keep your eyes on the skies and watch, for you know not the hour. Oh and drink your coffee, fellow Darklings. Besides, a lot of caffeine and a little paranoia is no