Taking the Birdcrap Counter to the Next Level

Categories England

We have a problem. Well, “we” don’t have a problem, I do. But since I take you along for the ride during any problems (and injuries!) that have arisen in my years of travel, it is only fair that you come along with me during this latest issue, too.

For those of you not joining me since the first crap, I’ve been unceremoniously dumped upon by birds big and small a grand total of 12 times since I quit my job to travel in 2008.  I’ve been shat on twice in one day in Myanmar, with witnesses to prove it, by pigeons in Mongolia and the Philippines, and even by a giant frigate bird in the Galapagos. No one wants to be crapped on by a frigate bird. No one.

My nemesis: the pigeon.

My nemesis: the pigeon

Because birds were not sufficient, a bat also shat on me during a press trip to the Dominican Republic in 2010. The best part was that I had just finished telling the others on the press trip that I had a “bird problem” and immediately following the conclusion of my story, that bat decided to teach me a lesson. Duly alarmed that this would mark the beginning of being terrorized by mammals too, I warily watched all winged creatures out of the corner of my eye.

My friends (or should I say my “friends” because with friends like these….) decided to start a ridiculously-named “Poop Slots calendar”, each betting on two-week periods of my life based on when I’d next get hit. Phil from Phil in the Blank was particularly upset when he went “all-in” during my week in Essaouira, fully expecting me to get nailed in the town’s densely seagulled harbour.

But, I did not. And I haven’t since the last crap on Canada Day 2011, in Ottawa. No payments under the Poop Slots, to the disappointment of those who bet on the calendar. No move by the birds, nothing – until October in England when I was unceremoniously dive-bombed in the face by a pigeon in the Cotswolds.

Pigeon welt

Pigeon welt.

The welt healed quickly, of course, but my pride did not. Nor did I forget the incredulity on the faces of those walking nearby as they watched a pigeon fly straight into my forehead.

The birds, they have upped their game.

I once took a flight from Zurich to New York and during the many hours in the air, the woman next to me asked about the strangest thing they kept happening on my travels. The bird issue was the first one that came to mind, and I explained how strange it was that other travel bloggers outside as often as I am were crap-free. Twisting in her chair, she grabbed my hands and implored me to find out what the birds were getting at. “What are they trying to tell you?” she asked. “I… I don’t know?” I answered slowly, “maybe they just like my head?” She shook her head. “You need to find out – it’s just going to get worse!”

Perhaps she was right. I’m no closer to understanding why, but I sure hope that this latest development isn’t a step toward a new and scarier direction. You’re sure to hear about it on Legal Nomads if the birds continue to up their game.



On a more serious note: thinking of all those affected by the massive Hurricane Sandy.

I’ve posted a long list of resources (maps, photos, etc) on my Google Plus page,  and those in NY and surrounding areas, this transportation finder is frequently updated with information about metros, buses and trains as the city creaks back to routine. For anyone in the NY area and available to volunteer, the NY Advocate’s office has a Google Doc up and is collecting names. The NY Blood Center is also in need of blood donations. And finally, Redditors have put together a Shirts for Sandy page, with 100% of the profits going to hurricane relief. Hope the city dries itself off and rebuilds quickly.

Worth reading from Twitter’s impact on the storm: ”The virtual community experienced the storm both in seclusion & all together.”  - http://bit.ly/UeZIzm  and ”Twitter’s capacity to spread false information is canceled out by its savage self-correction” - http://bit.ly/SuUVwd. Both interesting reads.

24 comments to Taking the Birdcrap Counter to the Next Level

  1. You do know that traditionally it’s considered a lucky lucky thing, to be shit upon from a great height by a bird. By this reasoning you are an exceptionally fortunate young woman, Jodi.
    The problem of the pigeons flying into people is something I have noticed in my local market in South London as they regularly attempt to dive-bomb the humans with differing rates of success. As a visitor to the area you might think that the eternal bobbing up and down of the people is a new dance craze in this part of London or even a desire to elude recognition but no……it’s just us ducking and diving to escape the airborne wildlife..
    I don’t know why they’ve got it in for us, maybe they are still sore at Ken (Livingstone) because he banned them from Trafalgar Square where they befriended generous bird- feeding tourists by the thousands. It can’t be because they have lost all their comfort zones, I still have to dispose of their sad and inglorious nesting attempts on my balcony each year.
    I am considering being caged in with netting!

    • I do, yes. People tell me this all the time. But this many craps?! Surely I’ve crossed the line from ‘luck’ to ‘a vendetta’? :) I am back in London and will definitely be on the look out for pigeons, especially given your note!

  2. Oh, no, Jodi…really I had heard pigeon poo was good luck, but welts? a new level you really don’t want to explore!

    And, on a serious note, I love our virtual community; it is heartening to experience the support and love amplified through the volume of enriching material being shared!

  3. I loved the bird stories. I thought I was rather ‘special’, with two aviary incidents to my name: Once in Venice under a pigeon in St Mark’s Square (would that count double?) and once in Kampala – major vertical encounter with a Marabou stork. Without getting into sticky detail, you do NOT want to sample Ugandan bird drop. It stays with you for days…

  4. In DC a couple weeks ago, a bird crapped on my iPhone (which I was holding in my lap) and it splattered all over the screen — but, somehow, missed my pants entirely. And my backpack got crapped on in Barcelona earlier this year.

    It’s been a rough year..

  5. Ok, this is why I get so freaked out by pigeons. European pigeons seem to have no fear, too. Now, I’m extra scared one is going to smack me in the head.

  6. I haven’t had the fortune of getting shat upon by birds. Maybe I am not as lucky as you. I’ve heard the stories before but the welt thing is new. Maybe they are trying to send a message but you are getting it so they felt they needed to pound you in the head?

  7. You know how to have all the fun don’t you!

    I can’t believe the odds. Thank goodness you have a blog to document it, it’s almost too crazy of a story to believe someone without proof.

    • Ha, no kidding! I’m also glad for the many witnesses in Myanmar because that twofer was ridiculous. The best part being when I was telling monique & steve ABOUt the birdcrap problem … and then a pigeon crapped on my head. We were in a Bangladeshi area of Yangon and people were already staring at us wandering around animatedly talking, and then when we keeled over with laughter and tears at the birds, they were completely mystified. :) Hope you and kyle are well! Love that you’re enjoying nesting into Chicago. x

  8. Well at least if they ever do a remake of the Hitchcock film, you’ll totally get first dibs at the lead. Probably best to keep your distance from Bodega Bay in the meantime, just in case ;)

  9. The timing of this post is incredible. I was just thinking about you and specifically this issue for the past few days. I was at a hotel in Kita, a small town/large village west of Bamako, and the bird-obsessed owner had filled the place with geese, swans, pigeons, turkeys, chickens and guinea fowl. One of the geese actually tried to run me down. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much anxiety around animals. I was not shat on, however. I think you may need to go to a place like this to seek some kind of resolution. You need to find a way to make peace.
    PS I still think it’s bs you didn’t get crapped on in Essaouira. In fact, I’m not sure you actually even went to the harbor ;)

  10. Holy Crap!

    There has to be something superstitious in all of this, and I don’t usually believe in those things….

  11. So where do I find the said poop poll?

    On a slightly more serious note, you might want to stay away from Ukraine. I have had two pigeons take off and almost smack me in the face on two separate occasions just in the last week.

  12. Everyone knows that Kamikaze attacks are much more effective than dropping bombs!

    It seems they now have a new commander calling the shots — and he’s implementing an improved strategy to win the “War on Jodi.” Unfortunately this bird commander doesn’t realize that the War on Jodi will never be won (even with Mammal support).

    This unwinnable war will just continue indefinitely…

  13. Wow! A bird welt now?? This is some serious bad luck when it comes to birds. Glad you recovered quickly :)

  14. I don’t have quite as bad luck as you, but the birds seem to enjoy torturing me as well. I got crapped on mere minutes after getting off the train from Schipole on a 12-hour layover, and had to wash my dress in a restaurant bathroom. I recently decided to take up running, and then was attacked by TWO crows as I ran – they dive-bombed my head and grabbed my hair, but I escaped without a bird welt. I have since decided swimming is more my style. When I was a kid, I got chased by two vicious Canada Geese – those things are not nice.

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh – and stay safe out there!

  15. Geesh! And I thought I had problems with animals. I’ve had parrots literally peck hair from my head and once in Las Vegas, the white tiger sprayed me. I never did get the scent out of my clothes after multiple washings and so in the rubbish they went.

  16. Oh no! My grandmother told me that it is good luck actually, but I’m still not giving in with the ‘luck’ thought. …

  17. Haha wow! Once I was driving having the worst day ever. My sun roof was open, and I thought to myself ” The only thing that can make this day worse is if a bird shat on me” Not even thirty seconds later a bird shat on me through the sun roof. Talk about good aim! So i feel your pain!


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