Face Your Fears

Birds & Me

I’m afraid of a few random and irrational things, but one of those on the top of the list is birds.  Actually, I’m not so much afraid of birds, but in an ongoing battle with them.  Before about a year ago I had no problem with birds, no real feelings about them at all actually.  They were just there, being birds.

You should note that I’m a slightly skittish person, so if a bird suddenly flies right in front of my face, I jump and/or scream. Seems like a justified response from my perspective. About a year ago, this starting happening quiet frequently.  I don’t remember exactly how or when, but birds started to have it out for me.  Consequently, my feelings toward their species changed.

Here are a couple stories to help paint this picture for you.

Story #1:

While walking to a bar this winter to watch my Denver Broncos, I was passing a row of shrubs outside someone’s front yard. I heard rustling inside the leaves, but didn’t think anything of it, until a bird darted out and grazed the side of my face and shoulder. Screaming, jumping, and general hysteria ensued.

Story #2:

My boyfriend and I were in New York City last summer. He was there for work and had a meeting early one morning.  I was tagging along to read in a nearby Starbucks while he was in his meeting.  Even though it was morning rush hour, it was still really hot. I was in a tank top and shorts.  While walking along the crowded streets, a bird flies overhead and yes, poops on my bare arm. Needless to say I freak out, and extend my arm as far from my body as possible. “Fix it! Fix it!” My boyfriend is in a suit and obviously has no way of fixing this for me.  But he’s a wonderful gentleman and found some newspaper on the ground to wipe my arm.  I’d take the dirty NYC newspaper off the ground over the bird poop on my arm.

Story #3:

Every morning I watch Morning Joe over a cup of joe before heading into work.  I live on the 5th floor of an apartment building with floor to ceiling windows in my living room.  As I’m watching Joe and Mika, I glance outside and see a black bird out on the railing outside my window. Then two. Then three. Then a large swarm of them flying around, circling around between my building and the one across the street. What is this?! It was really something straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which now seems totally legit.

These are only but a few of countless stories I have about birds seeming to target me. Yes, yes, I know, you are thinking this isn’t all that unusual and I’m just weird.  But I’m telling you, spend a few days with me and you might think differently.

Face Your Fears

I am only telling you this because recently I had to put myself directly in a swarm of birds in order to capture some  photos and really test out what my new camera could do.  I was at a park along the Potomac River and there were some stairs leading down to the river where people would sit and admire the view.  There were two little boys at the water’s edge feeding the birds.  Taco shells oddly enough, but the birds didn’t seem too picky.  And they came in droves to grab a bite.  Probably the closest thing to delicious Mexican food they will ever get. There were ducks, geese, sparrows and seagulls all around flying in and out of the spectators on the stairs.

I told my boyfriend that I wanted to go over to the stairs and get some pictures of the birds.  He was surprised, given my fear and general avoidance of these animals. It was definitely odd I wanted to put myself in large group of them.

So we went, and I didn’t really enjoy my proximity to theirs.  There were some definite close calls.  A couple times I was told it was good I was looking through the lens because they were flying a little too close for my liking.

As minimal as the fear might seem to those of you reading this, I understand. But for me, it was something that I had to push myself to do. And it all paid off.  I was able to capture a couple awesome shots of these birds with my new Nikon D750. Here are a few of the best captures of the day.

The moral of the story is don’t be held back by your comfort zone or by fears.  Face these opportunities head on and you might get something awesome out of it.  If I didn’t go to those stairs in the park, I would have never gotten these shots of the birds.  Instead, I would have left with some mediocre pictures of birds flying in the distance.

Click HERE for more pictures I took at the park that day (they aren’t all of birds).

2 thoughts on “Face Your Fears

  1. What a great post! I love the way you conquered your fear and came out winning! When I was little I hated birds, I think because of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie with heaps of crows in it, I think it was called “Birds” not sure. Then over the years I mellowed simply because here in Australia, they are just so beautiful and colorful, and continually sing all round us.
    You have done really well, beautiful photos and awesome approach. I know I will thoroughly enjoy following your blog!