Hey lady, there’s a bird on your helmet

Red-winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus, mal...
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There’s rarely a warning. Sometimes you catch a quick glimpse of shadow fluttering about on the pavement, so you know what’s coming.

Most often, the Red-Winged Blackbird just sneaks up from behind, swooping low to try to chase you from its territory.

Sometimes it actually pounces, clawing and scratching at your helmet as you pedal along some rural road, minding your own business.

Mrs. Smith was bicycling alone on Wright Brothers Boulevard the other day on what we call the “Tippie Beef Loop,” so named because the route loops back around to pass the Tippie Beef Education Center on 76th Avenue. (We educate our beef in Iowa before we eat it?)

Just as the bird struck, no doubt having launched itself at her from behind in a classic sneak attack, Sue saw an oncoming motorist break out laughing. He felt compelled to lean out and state the obvious as he drove by:

“There’s a bird on your helmet,” he said.

As if she hadn’t noticed.

So, what do you do when you have a bird on your head and people are laughing?

You pedal on, of course.

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3 Responses to “Hey lady, there’s a bird on your helmet”


  1. 1 John May 27, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    There seems to be a few aggressive ones in the Wright Bros. and Ely Rd. area just south of CR. It used to freak me out a bit but now its now big deal. One more reason to wear a helmet.

  2. 2 art3 May 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    last weekend in Kansas City, we drove into the parking lot at a bike trailhead preparing for a ride. As we entered the lot, a hawk settled on the wooden fence railing, and a redwing immediately attacked it . The hawk flapped away in a hurry, with the redwing pecking away at its noggin.

  3. 3 Jonathan Dunder May 28, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    I was attacked two days in a row on C avenue north of county home road. There is only one blackbird brave enough to do it and every time I go through there he comes after me lol.


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