A couple of points of interest- I took my Instrument written exam two days ago and missed one friggin’ question. I rule, and obviously the question was written incorrectly. Next is the oral exam (insert juvenile attempt at humor here), and then the part where I have to go fly with an FAA examiner, which I get all nervous about.

Second, There is a kind of tree in Georgia that grows berries that look like blackberries. This time of year the branches sag with the weight of these berries, and birds sit in the trees and eat them. Also, the berries fall off the tree when the wind blows or when you park your car under the tree. I left my car there overnight because I am an idiot, and came out to see it covered in berry preserves and purple bird shit that stains car paint. If you walk through it on your way inside, it will leave little blue marks on your carpet, too. The sidewalk and street now look like someone dumped a vat of jam there, and I am in the market for a chainsaw with which I plan to rid the neighborhood of this nuisance.

Okay, on to my weekly home invasion by a member of the animal kingdom. Yes, it happened again. On Sunday I was mopping my nasty blue stained kitchen floor and had the back door open so as not to be overcome by Pine-Sol vapors. Queasy the cat was sleeping on the couch. Be sure and click on that link. Laughter abounds.

I heard some noises coming from my bedroom, and saw the cat go running in there. This is always cause for alarm, as the cat does not run. Ever. Even more frightening was the fact that she was running toward the problem. If you understand the body language of a cat, you know that when both of their ears are pointed forward and they are sort of trotting in a straight line while staying low and have their eyes fixed on something, there is a creature of some sort in your house. I crept toward the doorway and this bird comes flapping right for my face, and I wrapped both of my arms around my head and curled up in a ball on the floor so he would not eat my eyes. I then peered up to see him flying into the kitchen, squirting poop every time he flapped his wings. He flew into the wall above my stove, and left a big shit stain there that started running down the wall. It made me shudder to think that I am 30 and have not yet arrived at a point in my life where I can pay someone to wipe the shit off my walls. He flew back into the living room dropping runny brown turds approximately every two seconds, and finally stopped to catch his breath and make more poo at the base of a lamp. I had the presence of mind to turn on the siren lights, and we danced for the rest of the day. Just me and the bird and my cat, dancing like no one was watching, all covered in half-digested insects. Okay. Just kidding. The cat got to him before I did, and I really didn’t want that to happen. Not because I felt sorry for the bird, but because I knew my cat could easily get her ass kicked by a common swift (apus apus). She ran up to it (she had bird shit on her back by this point, which made me laugh), and the bird flapped its wings, causing the cat to run behind the couch. She looked at me as if to say “Jeezus, Dusty. Did you SEE that?!? That little thing that I am drawn to for some reason MOVED. Almost killed me! Make it go away.” That’s my little hunter. King of the Jungle, she is.

Anyway, I picked up the bird, took him outside, and let him fly free and crap on my car.

Then in doing the tireless research I always do for these entries, I found that the little poop machine that flew into my house was quite an evolutionary (or creationary) marvel.

They weigh about 45 grams, are 16 cm long and have a 40 cm wingspan. If you aren’t familiar with the metric system, I don’t feel sorry for you. That translates to small and light, okay Cleetus? The really cool thing about them is how much they fly. They actually sleep while they fly. I tried that once and almost got kicked out of flight school. The little suckers can live 20 years, and will travel about 200,000 miles every year. Do the math- 4,000,000 miles in its lifetime. They haul serious ass in flight, too. Around 140 Km/hr (faster than the speed limit on the highway) while looking for bugs to eat. They eat their weight in insects every day, and then fly into peoples’ apartments and expel them all over the walls and carpet. Try eating your weight in anything in one day. You’ll die.

This is the really cool part. They fly all of their lives, 24/7, except three weeks a year to breed (keeping the same mate all of their lives, which I think is impossible. There are about 700 of these guys flying over my apartment at any one time, and they all look EXACTLY alike), and the occasional diversion to my pad. They fly into rain clouds to drink (which means they have some crazy kind of instrument flight rating), they migrate from the northern hemisphere every year to Asia, then Africa, then Australia. Then they return to their original place. They can turn invisible, have heat vision, and they can turn their bodies inside out and travel through time when frightened or bored.

See? If I had known this when I was holding the little guy, I would have ignored the fact that he was madly crapping on my hand and just looked at him in awe and wonder and maybe asked him some questions like “When’s the best time to visit Liberia?”, “Don’t your wings get tired?” and, “Wasn’t it funny when you scared the cat like that? Now how ‘bout giving me a hand with the brown stain you left over the stove? Paper towels are under the sink.”

As it was, I missed my opportunity to inspect this aviary marvel and spent the next half hour cleaning my carpet and walls. Ready to get grossed out? THE CAT LICKED HER FUR CLEAN. EEEWWWW.

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