Sunday, October 26, 2014

"Holy Crap!  That cut my scalp," I yelped as I saw the blood on my fingertips from scratching my head where the talons had just glided by.  

In a panic I bolted across the street to the nearest porch and rang the doorbell.  No answer.  I swept the blue sky to see if it was safe.  Nothing.  I quickly made a dash up the sidewalk towards the next house.

It came out of nowhere and flew by my head in a blurring, screeching noise that caused my to stumble.  I got to the second porch and knocked on the door.  No answer again.  With sweat trickling into my eyes and my pulse in overdrive, I paused to recompose myself.

"This shouldn't be happening," I told myself.  And I was right.  This was a typical neighborhood in the middle of the Bay Area in California.  

I was taking some time to go for a run on a fine sunny weekday morning.  This was the first time I'd ever been attacked by a bird while running.  It wouldn't be the last though.  Only this wasn't your ordinary craze-panicked Robin or Blue Jay protecting their young, this was a full-sized Falcon!

Why there was a full-sized Falcon in a neighborhood in Alameda, California I had no idea but it was there and it was after me.  Sure, they don't look like much from your cushy couch watching Wild Kingdom reruns but let me be the first to clue you in on the terror of having one claw you across the top of your head and then circle back for more.

As you can see, not a lot of protection from attack here...
Alas, it was just one more page in the why-in-the-hell-does-this-stuff-happen-to-me journal of my life.  I really didn't know what to do.  Nobody seemed to be home anywhere.  Do all these people really have jobs?  I thought all Californian's were rich and retired!  Would the Falcon attack me on the porch?  Would the police think I'm insane if I called them?

Lots of stuff goes spinning through your head when you're being hunted.  The only logical conclusion I had was that I had unwittingly run by its nesting area somehow.  Surely I couldn't be the only person to do this.  I hadn't seen a pile of bodies from previous encounters stacked up anywhere along the way; claw marks running down their dead pale skin.

I snapped back into reality and made another mad dash across the street to a tree that was large enough to provide cover. Crap!  It was waiting in a tree just next door and I could see it launch as I started my sprint.  This time though, I was able to dive under the tree in time and as near as I could figure, the Falcon had taken a strategic overhead position waiting for me.

Do you see a lot of "wilderness" for Falcon breeding here?
I looked up and down the street of nicely manicured homes.  There wasn't a single person in sight.  I was already zero for two by ringing random doorbells.  So I crept past the first tree and stayed under two more just beside it.  At the end of the trees I made a sprint for the next porch I could see.

I looked around.  The Falcon was flying in a circular motion but he wasn't attacking.  I rang the doorbell.  Again, nothing.  I stood there shaking with adrenalin, waiting, watching.  The seconds bled into minutes and felt like hours.  After what seemed like 20 minutes but was probably only 5-10 I slowly stepped out and chose to walk slowly down the sidewalk.

Nothing moved.  My eyes darted from tree to tree, power line to pole, rooftop to chimney but he was nowhere to be seen.  I walked on gingerly and cautiously.  Still no sign of the Falcon.  Eventually I moved into a slow run and continued my run, taking a right down half a dozen streets so I could give a wide berth to the area and return back to my start.

To this day I have no explanations and never heard of any other sightings in that area.  The scars healed, time marched on but the memories are there and as vivid as the day it happened.


  1. I have an explanation. That wasn't a stamp you had licked earlier that morning. Haha!

  2. I am Woody - Ha! It's always the little details that get you...

  3. That's hilarious.... and scary at the same time? Who knew you had to watch for falcons! One of my friends from California has had a seal, or sealion? I wouldn't really know, end up on her porch one day. My sister gets attacked by one vicious squirrel every day walking home from school, I think some people are just targets!

  4. Stacy - Wow, now a seal would be scary...they can be pretty big! But I think I can outrun one. I do agree...some people are targets; sort of like for mosquitoes wife got a bite in Phoenix over Thanksgiving! Oh makes for amusing blog posts...