Unhinged Alaska: Hitchcock would be embarrassed

There is something seriously askew in our little piece of paradise when it comes to the bird population hanging in the ‘hood this time of year.

Hitchcock directed a famous film about the critters massing together to put a serious hurt on a bunch of clueless humans but these creatures couldn’t organize a two-bird flyby without smacking into each other head-on. It’s pathetic.

More about them later.

The genesis of this column was the sudden appearance of a Steller’s Jay on the kitchen’s window sill last Tuesday.

It’s not unusual to see them flit by or land on the deck’s railing but this thug was on a mission. It started beak-smacking the pane like someone in desperate need of advanced anger management training.

I couldn’t figure out what the hardheaded camp robber was up to until it took another pane-rattling shot at a small golden incense burner sitting on the inside sill. When that didn’t work, it took a whack at a miniature Harley replica and finally a ceramic frog before it turned and glared at me with an insolent look stating, “You gonna make me come in there and kick your ^&%$ or set these things out on the deck?”

It was then that I realized that I was probably in a confrontation with the direct descendant of a despicable Jay that I skirmished with several years ago.

I searched my archives and discovered an old draft narrative.

It went like this:

“Anybody want a raucous, obnoxious, and totally useless beast?

“I’m talking about a nasty little critter that’s driving me nuts. It’s a Steller’s Jay whose ill-mannered behavior may guarantee his future as feather resource for some of my fly-tying bros.

“The avian @&^%%&*^ thinks that he should get a share of my curing salmon eggs and I beg to differ.

“He started stalking my cure about two days ago and it has turned into a war.

“I’ve never had any trouble with thieving creatures before, except one of the neighbor’s ex-cats, so I didn’t think much about his keen interest in my secret curing ritual until I turned my back on the azure midget.

“I wasn’t in the house for three minutes when all hell broke loose on the porch. I heard a pan hit the deck and a loud squawk. By the time I could blow back outside the possessed refugee from a diseased egg casing had his sorry beak buried in my prized roe.

“He just sat there staring at me like some little caerulean clown with a dripping red proboscis. The roe was at an exceptionally sticky stage so the dolt was an unmitigated mess. He tried to take off with a half skein and promptly crash landed on the hood of my rig smearing fire-red guck-o-eggs from the wipers to the hood latch.

“I fired off my entire repertoire of basic training D.I. vocabulary plus a few upgraded descriptive insults acquired while overseas.

“The winged psychopath gave as good as it got.

“It started manically squawking while bouncing around with his scarlet-gooey feet filling in some spots he had initially missed during his mortifying touch down.

“The two-way denunciations of each other’s questionable pedigrees suddenly ended when I attempted to implant a broom handle into one of his significant orifices and it launched toward the safer environs of Seldovia.”

I’m glad I saved that missive. All I need now is another broom handle to deal with his demented descendant should he take another crack at the window exhibits.

Now, as for the other avian dipstick migration holdovers, some are tolerable and others are brain-fried idiots.

On the tolerable side, our feral pheasant population has nearly returned to the point to where we can give them pet names again such as Entrée, Baster and Grill Boy.

The idiot group consists of a squadron of little grey buzz bombs that keep smacking into our windows. They seldom ghost themselves but lay in a feathered lump until they can stagger away like they just crawled out of a birdbath of single malt scotch. (We watch over them until they can take off.)

Then there’s the mega flock of blackbirds lurking in the area. Congregates of these schizoids are also known as clouds, clusters or merles.

Their scientific name is Turdus merula of the Turdidae family with a higher classification as a True Thrush.

I’m not surprised at the official nomenclature because every time a cluster/cloud or merle lands on our metal roof, they seem to enjoy assuming the role of caterwauling cretins until they can synchronize a community dump and launch leaving our roof looking white enough to be skiable.

Luckily the little Turdus should be headed out of here soon and we’ll have a cone of silence until the Wax Wings roll in or that cobalt butthead makes another run at the miniature Harley. Either way, Hitchcock would be embarrassed.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t busy setting up a unique, defeathering, airhorn greeting system for the next incoming scallywags of the Turdidae gang.

More in Life

Minister’s Message: Who is this man?

Over and over again, they struggle to rightly name who he is and what he’s up to

A still from “Casting Maya,” a film about Ascension Bay on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is seen in this screenshot. From Pure Films, the short will be one of nine shown at the International Fly Fishing Film Festival on Aug. 10 in Kenai, Alaska. (IF4/flyfilmfest.com)
Anglers’ night out

Annual International Fly Fishing Film Festival returns to Kenai

Candy pecans make a sweet snack to enjoy on excursions. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Road trip reimagined

Candied pecans accompany more subdued wandering

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Take a chance

The fact of the matter is, you can find a way to hurt yourself in just about any athletic endeavor.

Alaska Digital Archives
George W. Palmer (left), the namesake for the city in the Matanuska Valley and the creek near Hope, poses here with his family in 1898 in the Knik area. Palmer became a business partner of Bill Dawson in Kenai in the last years of Dawson’s life.
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 5

Thus ended the sometimes tumultuous Alaska tenure of William N. Dawson.

Minister’s Message: Plenty

The Bible story of Joseph in Egypt preparing the harvest in the seven years of plenty teaches us some vital lessons

A still from “Jazzfest.” (Photo provided)
DocFest could be the golden year of documentaries — again

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns for 18th year with solid mix

From left: Lacey Jane Brewster, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Donna Shirnberg, Tracie Sanborn and Bill Taylor (center) rehearse “Menopause Made Me Do It” on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Applause for menopause

Kenai Performers’ new play takes aim at ‘not the most glorious part of womanhood’