Taking the Birdcrap Counter to the Next Level

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.