By C L Mac Neil
Inspired by JulesKD’s photo
I had always suspected that birds had birdbrains. They didn’t seem to have a lot going on in their feathery little skulls. They could be tricked into liking you by something as silly as dried bread or stale popcorn and swam in birdbaths. How smart could they be?
I used to throw the remains of my lunch around for the pigeons at work and it seemed harmless enough. A few of them are like tiny, shiny dogs that would coo and beg and bat their eyelashes at me. I know, I know… Mom always told me feeding the little guys was a bad idea, that it only encouraged them to beg, that it made them dependent on us…
But they were cute, they seemed harmless, and surely they needed some sort of planning ability to be mischievous in any way.
One night I was walking home from work later than usual, nibbling on a cookie that had been sitting in the break-room for longer than I cared to admit, when a scrawny little black bird with patchy feathers hopped up to me.
I tossed him a piece of cookie but he didn’t seem phased.
He pecked at it then moved it aside with his foot and fixed a glassy eye on me.
I tossed him an even bigger piece of the cookie but he hopped right on top of it and opened his mouth at me. It was red, raw, gaping….scary.
Chirp SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK.
It was then that I looked around and saw the trees were full of these weird, patchy-coated birds. They all stared at me like the typical lunchtime pigeons—expecting food, not wanting to have to work too hard for it, not expecting me to question their motives for begging. There must have been a hundred birds, a thousand birds, and they were all starting to hope closer and closer to me.
I tossed the whole cookie on the ground.
They ignored it.
Then they jumped on me for the scraps they really wanted.
Looks like I was the birdbrain.