I was making coffee the same way I do every morning when it happened. There’s a picture window over the sink that looks out into my backyard, and usually that yard is full of birds. Every day at first light blue jays, mockingbirds, cardinals, and yellow-throated warblers all compete for real estate in the branches of the white oak while the rest huddle around the perimeter and wait for an open spot. It’s an avian Wal-Mart parking lot.

This morning though, it was quiet. The gold-green glow of the sunlight on the foliage made its way through the window as I watched the coffee pot drip its way closer to full. Nothing moved outside. The silence was perfect and peaceful. There was no thriller-movie crescendo of music to warn me that anything was about to occur. All was simply silent.

And then I heard it hit.


I didn’t even get a chance to see what it was before it disappeared but it sounded like someone had thrown a baseball at the house. I immediately shot outside to find out what happened, and, turning the corner, was confronted with the saddest little brown and yellow bird I’d ever seen.

I’d found the projectile and it was injured.  After bouncing off of the glass the creature had landed sloppily on the top of the bush below. My first thought was that it was just disoriented, but then it looked up at me, coughed a little dramatic cough, and flopped its head to the side, dead.

Cough, cough. Flop.

It was a bit overacted honestly and kind of fake looking.  It was the way I would expect William Shatner to die.

It had apparently broken its neck in the impact. It just laid there, limp and crooked. I picked it up to make sure that it wasn’t just pretending, and then I walked it out to the middle of the yard. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with a dead bird. As I set it down, I could hear fluttering in the branches above. I was being watched; judged, it felt like. “I didn’t kill your friend,” I said. “Weren’t you watching?”

And then I started to wonder what had caused this in the first place. The obvious explanation was that the bird simply didn’t know there was a window in its way and flew into it on accident. I mean, birds seem pretty dumb. I wouldn’t necessarily put this below them. Unwilling to let Occam’s razor explain this away though, my mind wandered. What really had happened here?

Did the other birds dare this young chick to do it? Maybe he was trying to get into some feathered fraternity – Better Than Ezra’s Desperately Wanting happening live in the animal kingdom.

Maybe there was an emergency and he was being reckless trying to get home to solve the crisis. Maybe one of his eggs had fallen down the stairs or his wife had broken her hollow little hip and he was racing to provide aid.

Or was he drinking? I know I’ve done a lot of dumb things after a few drinks. Maybe he ate some fermented fruit. It was entirely possible that he was just fucked up and all the other birds warned him not to fly, and as usual he didn’t listen. “No, no, no. I’m fine. I’m just going up the block. I only live like two trees away. I’ll call you when I get there.”

Or was he a daredevil bird that pushed things too far? I can relate. I tore my ACL when I was eighteen jumping over a table to win a ten dollar bet. I’m painfully aware that bad things happen. Maybe this bird, flirting with death, got caught up in the moment and took things past the limit. “I’ll go out doing what I love”, he told himself, then tucked his wings in tightly and closed his eyes.

What if this particular bird was a twin and his brother had kept him locked away in an iron mask for years. Now, angry and frustrated, he was on a mission to get revenge. Suddenly, catching a glimpse of his reflection and seeing what he could only assume was his evil doppelganger brother, he attacked. Wait, that’s not how that movie happened at all.

Or had war been declared and I was simply unaware? Perhaps it was a kamikaze strategy employed by the Bird Nation – my kitchen window becoming a clear-paned USS Bunker Hill to the bird’s Ensign Ogawa.

On that note, maybe it was a more traditional suicide. Perhaps he was picked on in bird school and couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe he knew the easiest way for a bird to kill himself would be to hit a window at 30 mph. Now, somewhere off amongst the limbs, a press conference was being held. “He wasn’t that kind of kid,” his mother would cry.

They’ll say he was desensitized by the abundance of violence in bird cinema, or that he used to play that video game where you steal another bird’s wings and run from the blue jays; that somehow he just didn’t grasp the concept that a window will really kill you. Bird society will be blamed for making death seem so simple and small. Thank God he just killed himself, others will say. He could have taken out an entire nest if he’d wanted to.

All of the possibilities aside, I’m having a hard time letting go of the idea that in actuality he was just a really stupid bird that couldn’t tell a reflection from the real world; that the echoing impact that rattled its way through my kitchen was just Darwin being Darwin.

No breeding for you, you simple-minded little sack of down. Here’s a window. Eat it. You heard the man!  Life’s got to move on, chickadee, and you’re in the way. Somebody sweep up these feathers. Move along. There’s nothing to see here.

There was no note. Whatever it was that drove that little bird to hurl himself against the side of my house, only he will ever know for sure.

And he’s not saying a word.

TAGS: , , , ,

SLADE HAM is a stand up comedian. He has performed in 52 countries on six continents, a journey that can be followed in his book, Until All the Dragons Are Dead. One day he hopes to host a travel show and continue to trick the world into paying him to do the things he loves to do. Slade is also an Editor for The Nervous Breakdown's Arts and Culture section. He keeps a very expensive storage unit in Houston, TX.

119 responses to “I Didn’t Kill Your Friend”

  1. Anon says:

    Did you check for a tiny Bluetooth headset…?

  2. Amanda says:


    My mother telephones me regularly with bulletins about similar carnage in her backyard. Birds carrying off smaller ones caught off guard at the feeder. Hummingbirds smashing into the bay window. The time when a hawk picked off a chipmunk that moments earlier had crawled right up onto the brim of my mother’s hat while she gardened and sat there contendly glancing around.

    Tragic! I am sorry for your loss.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Wow. Her back yard wins, hands down. The animal world is brutal when you really look at it. Even something as innocent as a feeder out back really can turn into a Braveheart-esque battlefield. Poor little chipmunk.

      • Amanda says:

        Totally. If her yard was a nature documentary, it’d be called “Mrs. Miller’s Wild Kingdom of Lessons in Cute Shit Dying”.

        • Slade Ham says:

          If I’d had that as a child instead of Bill Buirrud’s Animal World, I would have been much more prepared for this.

        • Amanda says:

          What about Mutual of Omaha? That show…of man…the narrator sitting in his safari truck with a rifle while “Jim approaches the lions. They might look restful but Jim must remember, they can wake in an instant…”


          My granddad and I watched this every weekend, and I remember even at age 6, absolutely slaying myself over how poor Jim got the short end of the stick on every dangerous safarai.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Oh, but the cool places Jim got to go, short end of the stick or not. God, the nostalgia.

          I have been in love with wildlife documentaries for as long as I can remember. Bill Burrud was a staple on the Disney Channel when I was still in the single digits. And Wild Kingdom as well, most certainly.

          Now, it seems that Discovery and Animal Planet are the only reasons that I still have cable. I LOVED the Planet Earth series.

  3. Lorna says:

    Both tragic and humorous. I should feel guilty to laugh so shamelessly at death. Poor little birdie.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Your guilt is forgiven, haha. That is precisely how I felt. I don’t like seeing anything die, but I really couldn’t help but laugh at how dramatically the it did so. Very mixed emotions for sure.

  4. Irene Zion says:


    Because of the unusually cold weather up north, there are many robins down here. This is unusual. They are eating the juniper berries, which MUST be different for some reason from the ones up north, because whole flocks of robins are wobbling around on the ground drunk and some are just falling over and passed out. So, just so you know, birds can get drunk.

    Also, birds can’t seem to tell a glass window is there. It happens here all the time and it also happened in Illinois, where we lived last. We try to stick things on the window so they get the idea. Maybe it works for some. They don’t always die. Sometimes they look very much dead, but they are just knocked out and if you give them some time they come to. When I hear one hit the window, I usually go out and put them in a little cat crate for awhile so they are safe from our feral cat population and the pair of hawks that live in our yard. When they come to I release them, hopefully having learned a lesson.

    But I have an idea about your particular situation. When there are usually a lot of busy, noisy birds outside and then, suddenly they don’t seem to be there, usually there is a hawk around. They tend to try to hide and stay quiet to protect themselves. My theory is that since it coincided with the sudden, unusual silence, a hawk had his eye on that bird and flew after him. He flew away scared and misjudged where he was going.

    Just so you know it, I realize this was a funny piece and it did make me laugh, especially the William Shatner line. I just seem to have a lot to say about birds today and you were the lucy winner.

    • Slade Ham says:

      You have robins with gin problems? That is awesome! Now I have to go research drunk birds.

      My first thought was that the thing had just knocked himself out, too. I did give him a few minutes before I gave up on him. Based on the fact that he STILL hasn’t moved from the middle of the yard, I’m pretty certain it’s safe to pronounce him dead. I was really pulling for just unconscious.

      I hadn’t considered the hawk theory, especially the idea that it was being chased. I guess I should just be happy that first thud wasn’t followed by a bigger one. I don’t need a raptor in my kitchen.

      • Irene Zion says:

        Oh, you were right. Usually they are flying so carefree that they don’t even slow down and hit head first, breaking their little necks. It’s so sad.
        I think Hawks are too smart to do that.

        One Christmas in Illinois, there was lots of snow on the ground and I looked out the window from the comfy couch and saw a hawk not two feet away eating a cardinal on the snow. Red bird, red blood in the snow. Made an impression on me. Don’t get me wrong, I love hawks, but, wow, that picture is still in my head.

  5. Irene Zion says:

    lucky not lucy.
    lucy doesn’t make any sense at all.

    • Slade Ham says:

      I’m really disappointed now. I thought someone was going to pretend to hold the football for me and then pull it away at the last second.

      Or I thought I was going to get some really old monkey bones.

      There are lots of ways to be a Lucy winner 🙂

      • Irene Zion says:

        Okay, Slade, obviously I got the football reference, but what the heck does the old monkey bone reference mean? Tell me.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Lucy is a 3 million year old hominid skeleton. Basically just a bunch of famous bones – bones that I cannot see manage to see in person no matter how hard I try.

          Lucy’s Wiki Page

        • Irene Zion says:

          Okay, you totally tricked me. I know about Lucy and the hominid bones, but you said MONKEY!
          You are a wily trickster and untrustworthy, Slade Ham.

        • Brandy says:

          Haha. I don’t even want to hear you whine about that!

        • Irene Zion says:

          Hey, Brandy, I do some of my best work in whining mode! Don’t knock it.

        • Brandy says:

          –it’s not that. My first degree is in Biological Anthropology and I was extremely jealous of Slade when he got to visit the Great Rift Valley. 🙂

        • Irene Zion says:

          So join in and make fun of him.
          He’s a big boy and won’t get hurt
          and it’s fun!

        • Brandy says:

          Hah! It’s impossible to offend him. You’re right though–MONKEY bones makes me think of something from a Stephen King novella.

        • Slade Ham says:

          I wasn’t whining per se, but I did find it a strange coincidence that her skeleton was in Houston while I was in Addis.

          And Irene, I apologize for the trickery, hahaha. Monkey bones just kind of had a ring to it. It’s hard to be poetic with the word Australopithecus.

  6. Matt says:

    Yeah, birds do that. The Soundgarden song “Like Suicide” off the Superunknown album is about that very same thing.

    You’re line about William Shatner death scene immediately made me imagine a tiny feathered Shatner having flown into your window and broken his neck.

  7. Slade Ham says:

    Wow. I don’t know how I forgot about that song. I haven’t listened to that record in ages. I guess I know what’s on my playlist for the day. Good call.

    Dazed out in a garden bed
    With a broken neck lays my broken gift

    The Shatner visual made me laugh, and it hit me exactly as it happened, not afterward when I was writing this. It was an honest laugh, and one I owe the bird a thank you for.

  8. Richard Cox says:

    I know it’s early but this is my favorite TNB line of the week: “It was the way I would expect William Shatner to die.”


    Also, have a look at this photo. I took it at work, but it goes perfectly with this post.

  9. Slade Ham says:

    Holy shit! That’s amaaaaazing. And a two story fall afterward? Ouch.

  10. Brandy says:

    —or maybe this little bird had just gotten into a fight with his girlfriend. He fled the nest with his angry lover directly behind him. Menacing. He knew she was behind him somewhere. He could feel her dark presence behind him. And he thought “If I can only make it to the building where the strange bipedal animals live–I’ll be safe!”. Alas…

  11. Slade Ham says:



  12. Quenby Moone says:

    re: drunk birds. Yep. Entire flocks of starlings would come and pick all the fermented plums off the ground in front of my mother’s house in Denver, and then they’d sort of flop around all boozy and social. Convivial and clowning around, just like a frat party.

    It’s all okay until the hazing begins.

    In other news, it must be bird-death week. My cat apparently grabbed one last week, and tormented it a while, then dragged it into the basement to finish it off. Horror of horrors, we have not found the carcass. Only a delicate puff of feathers blowing past the washing machine and a clump of wing.

    • Anon says:

      I don’t have a cat but I am familiar with that plumage! We’ve got a large nesting colony of raptors near the house and I frequently find little plane-crash-shaped tufts of down and feathers – and little else – in our backyard. The downward force that these birds generate on impact is impressive – I can see it in the speed of their dives on the local prairie dog colonies. I’ve told my wife that I could apply for a gig with the NTSB, with all the cleanup I’ve done back there….

    • Slade Ham says:

      I used to think it would be incredible to be a bird; flight looked so liberating and fun. After half a day immersed in bird horror stories though, I don’t think I do anymore.

      Although I must admit, the avian nightlife is starting to sound good. Fermented plums and juniper berries? Those birds can party.

  13. Zara Potts says:

    I’m with Richrob -best line of the week: ‘It was the way I’d expect William Shatner to die.’
    I often wonder where all the birds go when they die. I mean, there are so many of them, you’d expect to see little bird corpses everywhere, but apart from the ones that hit windows or get run over by cars, you don’t see them. Maybe there’s some secret bird cemetery somewhere…
    Oh and you’ve got some nice ninja action going on there Slade..

    • Anon says:

      It’s an interesting point you bring up. Some months ago, some bird plowed into the window of the neighboring office, hard enough that it left a greasy-feathered imprint on the glass. Couldn’t tell if it was a small duck or a large pigeon but you could make out the fuselage, both wings, the hint of neck and maybe a head in profile, with a little imagination. Really, freaked out the woman whose office it was and she, um, did not share my sense of humor but that’s neither here nor there.

      There was no carcass. Maybe it was flying a raptor which then claimed its cheaply-won prize but… interesting. You think with an impact like that, there’d be some evidence in the bushes below. You may be onto something.

      • Zara Potts says:

        I think a full scale investigation needs to start immediately!

        • Slade Ham says:

          Anon, did you see Rich’s picture above? I’m glad that line worked as intended, Zara. The visual really made me laugh. As for the corpses, I do not know. The carcass from my yard is already gone. I think they go where that other sock goes when you put it in the dryer.

          We lose socks, car keys, and dead birds to some unknown dimension. I think they send us dust in return.

        • Anon says:

          No, I didn’t. I’m one of those insanely odd people that has no use for Facebook (except to see linked pictures, apparently).

        • Slade Ham says:

          And yes. I am much more ninjish today. Thank you for noticing 🙂 I see your Tulip Head is gone as well.

        • Lorna says:

          Anon – I clicked the link, but it says the pic is temporarily unavailable. I’m in the dark too.

        • Anon says:

          Hmm. Perhaps it was a pic of a dead bird – and it has now vanished!! Egads! The mystery deepens.

        • Slade Ham says:

          That’s no good. It won’t let you see it without being registered?

        • Lorna says:

          Yeah, he’s got it protected to friends only I think. I can’t even see it.

        • Richard Cox says:

          My bad on the FB pic. That was poor form.

          Here’s a Photobucket version: UFFbird

        • Anon says:

          Ha! Exactly! Mine apparenty didn’t even try to stop – full cross-section splat. Yours looks like it tried to slam on the brakes at the last second. I’ll have to go see if it’s still visible….

        • Lorna says:

          I ran over a pigeon one. It was the ugliest sound ever. A huge pop. I couldn’t look back, just couldn’t. On another note. I once owned a cockatiel named Lucky. We thought he was a he until he laid an egg. We renamed him/her Lucy. He escaped a few times and was easily caught and brought back into captivity. Except the last time he/she truly did escape. I always look around the neighborhood for a strange looking pigeon/cockatiel breed. No luck as of yet.

        • Slade Ham says:

          This is the second time the Lucy/Lucky thing has come up on this post, hahaha. It’s the third time in as many posts that unrelated things have popped up independently from each other. actually.

          Cheetahs, puppy curling, and now Lucy.


        • Lorna says:

          That type of synchronicity happens to me quite often. In this case, however, I read the Lucky/Lucy comment above and it reminded me of my cockatiel. And then Richard’s picture reminded me of the popping pigeon. Hahaha.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Ummm… how exactly did Richard’s pic remind you of popping a pigeon?

          Ohhh… never mind. The window picture. I thought you meant the golf swing.

        • Lorna says:

          And I thought my puppy curling comment was original. WTH?

        • Slade Ham says:

          Yours was a weightlifting comment. I think (over on Erika Rae’s last post I believe) puppies were being slid across floors like the Olympic sport. Different curling altogether.

        • Anon says:

          Yeah, that was, um, me again. Attention Whores Anonymous meetings are few and far between. I didn’t exactly redeem myself by changing it to “infant curling”, either….

        • Lorna says:

          Anon you know I’m not good with determining gender. Is your avatar wearing a dress and did you just refer to yourself as a whore? I’m so confused!

        • Anon says:

          Dammit! The devil really is in the details. Okay, it is conceivable that I’m wearing a dress under the trenchcoat or possibly nothing at all. Naughtiness levels are currently undetermined. And I did declare myself an “attention whore” due to my excessive posting but this does not in any way determine gender. In fact, being any kind of whore definitely bridges any gender gap. Attention whores, caffeine whores, I-like-to-have-sex-for-money whores – all blessedly open to both genders. And, um, I’m not the last kind. I would be except 1. my wife would kill me and 2. nobody would pay to have sex with me anyway. Or, if they did, they’d probably scare me into impotence anyway.

          What were we saying? Ah. I’m a man, baby!

        • Irene Zion says:


          This is as close as I can get to that photo you posted a link to.
          (What’s up with the arrangement here?)

          That is an amazing picture!

          Thanks for putting it up twice for us.

  14. Lorna says:

    Oh the things I learn from reading Slade’s posts. Drunk birds, disappearing bird carcasses, Lucy the 3 million year old hominid skeleton. It basically why I hang out here. To learn stuff. 🙂 I only hope death is not the trending tropic on TNB this week.

  15. My dad has always had a thing for feeding the birds in his yard– I mean, the man is 80 and he will go to the store for bird feed in a snow storm if he thinks the birds might starve. We can’t keep him home and so we’ve all stopped trying. My brother and I have tried to draw some sort of weird analogy about our dad being an Air Force pilot and his love for birds– but it just doesn’t work.

    When my parents moved into a new house with a sun-room– literally a room of windows on three sides– my dad set up this majestic bird feeding contraption with various iron branches and dangling feeders in the yard right outside so there’s not a chance he’ll miss a species. Inside he set up his telescope, pad of paper and bird books.

    My mother keeps those windows sparkling– and what neither of them could have ever imagined was the amount of bird suicides they witness during any given day. That and the fox that ate the doves, and the squirrel who snagged a robin’s nest and the hedgehog that lives under the shed who comes out when he thinks no one is looking to scarf the leftover seed on the ground. My parents, who love to give every visitor they have, a play by play of the carnage, liken it to the movie Kill Bill ( I think because the birds who die most are bright yellow and black). Did I mention they are also Tarantino fans? Says something, doesn’t it?

    • Slade Ham says:

      The Kill Bill reference is hilarious. I somehow see all the birds being slaughtered in black and white, with only flashes of red blood and yellow feathers interrupting the monochrome.

      My grandmother was exactly the same way, sunroom and all. Not a day went by that she didn’t march out to the shade of the backyard to fling breadcrumbs. She used to paint them constantly. Every time I was there as a child, there was a half finished blue jay or cardinal perched on a watercolor branch.

      She used to have a Field Guide to North American Birds, too. I loved that book. Strange, the memories that little dead bird has conjured up.

  16. First: BTE FTMFW!!11!!

    Sorry. I don’t get to do that nearly enough. But they’re up there, for me, with Roger Clyne and Butch Walker.

    I remember an old Seinfeld bit about birds and mirrors. I think his aunt once owned both, and the damned thing used to fly into the mirror all the time. And Seinfeld could understand if maybe the bird thought it was flying into another room, since it was a mirror, but never understood why the damned thing didn’t at least try to avoid the other bird flying straight at it.

    I always loved that image.


    • Slade Ham says:

      I’m a huge fan of theirs. They just keep hammering out great albums too. They never drop off, regardless of the lack of commercial interest in the last decade. Plus, they cover a Prince song in every live set. I respect that. They were here in Houston night before last actually, and I missed it. They play the I-10 corridor between here and N.O. all the time though, so I’m sure I’ll catch them again soon.

      I vaguely remember that Seinfeld episode. Now I have to go on a YouTube search for it.

    • Irene Zion says:

      I have no idea where this will end up because of the FUBARed arrangement of comments, but I wanted Will to see this, since he was talking about mirrors, and Slade, because he likes the episode.
      Here’s my offering of an interesting mirror pic:


      • Slade Ham says:

        Well, I deleted the duplicate comment and somehow deleted Will’s response as well. Come back, Will!

        It’s fixed though.

        I do wonder sometimes about animals’ abilities to recognize themselves. Clearly Kimchee seems to be able to. I know tons of studies have been done on the subject, but you have to wonder what goes through their mind.

        • Irene Zion says:

          Oh poor Will!

          You have to find him in the ether!
          He’s lost!
          Send out a search party!

          Kimchee seems to know she is looking at herself, I think.
          She thinks she’s pretty.
          Girls are like that when they’re young.

  17. Courtney says:

    Maybe the bird was coming at you. I don’t think you can rule out avian violence. Have you seen “The Birds”!? “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” was right…birds and tomatoes can be just as deadly as mankind. All of my practical knowledge comes from cinema.

  18. Slade Ham says:

    I didn’t even consider the possibility that it was after ME. Hmmmm. Maybe it watched me cooking chicken last night.

    • Judy Prince says:

      Hey, good stuff, this, Slade! Great William Shatner bit, especially, and “He could have taken out an entire nest if he’d wanted to.”

      Might be something these birds are attracted to that’s on the other side of a window. Case in point but with a cat not a bird: dear Rodent, car parked in town centre, briefly petted a cat as he neared the car, and then got in to drive off. The cat threw itself at Rodent’s side window several times, so R got out of the car whilst wrestling the cat away from climbing into the car. He carried the cat off several yards, put it down and hurried back into the car…..but couldn’t drive off bcuz the cat had hopped up onto the bonnet and was parading up and down, rubbing his shoulder against the windscreen.

      This thing that cats have for Rodent is weird. Must be his pheromones; I find myself wanting to throw myself at his windscreen, too.

      • Slade Ham says:

        It could be the name Rodent that the cat was attracted to 🙂 I seem to have a strange magnetic appeal to cats, too – though they’ve never prevented me from getting in my car. It’s possible that that thing on the other side of the window that they want so bad is, well, me.

    • Irene Zion says:

      Really, Slade,
      How could you not pull the shades?

      • Slade Ham says:

        I am horribly oblivious sometimes to the fact that anything would look IN my window. Windows are for looking OUT of. Once you’re on the other side you’re free, so I just assume you would never think to look inside… even as a bird.

        I was obviously quite wrong.

        chicken+window=shades drawn from now on

  19. Mary says:

    Dang. I really love a well-worked metaphor. Great job, man.

  20. Gloria says:

    “It was the way I would expect William Shatner to die.” Ha! I burst out laughing in the middle of a tragic little birdy death description. The whole thing was funny and tragic. Nicely done. 🙂

    • Slade Ham says:

      If I hit both tragic and funny, then I did what I set out to do. Sometimes it’s fun to tiptoe through the dark and accidentally find some light.


  21. jmblaine says:

    In college I
    did grad studies at the zoo
    and worked some in the bird house

    And Nelson the curator would say
    “Watch out for damned old Hattie”
    who was this finch-like bird
    who thought she was an Eagle
    and would dive-bomb
    zoo workers
    soon as they stepped through the door.

    & sure enough she would just
    straight towards my ears.
    “What’s up with that?” I asked Nelson.
    “Birds are crazy,” he replied.

  22. Slade Ham says:

    I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t do the same thing if I had wings. Nelson said it as succinctly as it can be said I suppose. “Birds are crazy.”

  23. Simon Smithson says:

    I can’t believe he didn’t leave a note. The not knowing… that’s the worst part.

    • Slade Ham says:

      It really is. I fully expected a six page manifesto like the suicide pilot in Austin a few weeks ago, but alas, nothing. Selfish bird.

  24. Alison Aucoin says:

    Squashed bird in the road next to our car at least three months ago & my daughter still asks what happened to it. Each time I answer, ‘it died.’ Each time she asks, ‘but where did it go?’ The I have to decide which answer will be less emotionally scarring: 1) I threw it in the garbage or 2) Well some people believe in a place call animal heaven, but I’m not even sure there’s a people heaven so animal heaven seems less likely. I just go with, ‘It just died.’ I’m going to have to come up with something better very soon.

    Nice change of pace from your pieces that make me gafaw.

    • Slade Ham says:

      It’s nice to shift gears every now and then. Thanks.

      Not having kids, I don’t know the right answer to that. It would seem so important to answer them honestly, though “I have no idea at all really” is hardly going to appease them, hahaha. I wonder if animals lose 28 grams when they die as well?

  25. Ducky Wilson says:

    Poor little chickadee.

  26. Slade Ham says:

    Chickadee is such a great word.

  27. Tawni says:

    This made me giggle. The William Shatner part, and the other imagined birdie suicide scenarios got me. But then I felt like a heartless wench for laughing. Darn. (:

  28. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    Now I’m rethinking the bird strikes that happen at my house. I guess if you’re a bird, you have limited options to off yourself. There’s so much DRAMA in hitting a window. (I’ve seen it happen from the inside, the wings flung out in terror.)

    I take care of the ones who are just stunned, though. I bring them inside, give them quiet, and then release them an hour or so later.

    • Slade Ham says:

      Humans do it in quite dramatic fashion as well. Maybe this was just a cry for attention that went to far, haha.

      When I first saw it on the ground, my intention was to rehabilitate it. I was excited that I would have a project. That bird really let me down.

  29. Zara Potts says:

    HA! That looks awesome – it works particularly well with the look on your face. Makes me wonder what it is you are planning to do with that thing.

  30. Summer says:

    So… if the birds watched him fly into your house and watched you carry the poor little birdy to the back… do you think maybe they are planning a war against you now? I think you should watch your back. {I liked you myspace better!! 🙂 }

    • Slade Ham says:

      I’m not afraid of them. Maybe they took it as a message… The way I set the bird’s body in the middle of the yad… it was a warning 🙂

      And you will adjust to here, haha. I hate the idea of abandoning MySpace as well, but it’s just not realistic to interact there on top of everything else I have going on. TNB is a much happier community. Maybe I’ll find some sort of compromise though. I’ll think about it.

  31. Aaron Dietz says:

    Birds entirely do not see those windows!

    Once, I worked as a census interviewer and went to this apartment where the steps went up the middle of the building, with a window at the top of each flight of steps.

    When I walked in, I spooked a bird and WHACK–it flew right up a flight of steps and right into a window.

    I followed it up stairs and it got scared again–WHACK! Right up another flight and into another window.

    This pattern persisted until it had nowhere to run. Fortunately, by moving at about the pace of a snail, I was able to reach over, gently put my hands around the bird, and carry it slowly, slowly, all the way down all the steps, and release it at the bottom. Might be the best thing I’ve ever done.

  32. Ofelia says:

    Hey Slade, glad to see you again, I had given up on MySpace myself when it stopped telling me that there were new blogs to read. Look forward to keeping up with you on here. Take care!

    • Lorna says:

      Ofelia! Yay, I sooooo missed your wit and wisdom within Slade’s blog comments.

    • Slade Ham says:

      That’s a huge part of why I have chosen to abandon it, for the most part anyway.

      Thanks so much for following me here. It wouldn’t be the same without ya.

  33. Joe Daly says:


    We may never know why good birds go bad. Maybe this little fellow had seen too much “Jackass,” or perhaps it was some sort of aviary gang initiation gone horribly wrong. There clearly are no easy answers, although the ones that you offer are uncomfortably funny.

    Oh, and this evoked one of those out loud laugh things:

    “It was a bit overacted honestly and kind of fake looking. It was the way I would expect William Shatner to die.”

    Usually it’s the bird in the red shirt that ends up on the bush.

    Thanks for the great read. Every morning as I walk the dogs, there’s this one (maybe many?) bird that attacks the side mirrors of the neighborhood cars parked in their driveways. Everyday it’s a different car. Tomorrow morning when I see him/her, I’ll most certainly do so with greater empathy, and just a twinge of alarm.

  34. Erika Rae says:

    Slade! This is so sad. (I’m sort of skimming over the part where I apologize because I’m reading this so damned late due to crazy life circumstances.) Loved this line:

    No breeding for you, you simple-minded little sack of down. Here’s a window. Eat it.

    For whatever reason, birds love to commit hari kari on our windows, too. Once, a little bird (it was a young junko) slammed into our kitchen window. I heard the hit and went out to see. It was limp, but alive. Figuring I had no business interfering, I left it alone to die. Half a day later, though, and it was still out there – alive. I couldn’t stand it. I put it in a little box filled with soft things, thinking, “At the very least, he can die in comfort.” But the next day, he was still alive. Fully paralyzed, but alive. “Shit,” I’m thinking. “I should help this little guy. But how?” I put some sunflower seeds in the box and a little jar lid with water. Maybe he would wake up in the night and want to eat, I reasoned. He did seem to be moving ever so slightly. Something about his wings – they were rippling. This went on for three days. On the fourth day, I made a startling discovery: He was covered in maggots. Alive and covered in maggots. (You didn’t know this was going to turn into a horror show, did you?) Get this, the movement in his wings was from the maggots EATING him. Thinking I had misjudged his aliveness v. deadness altogether, I nudged him. He sort of did a full body spasm. Oh yes, the little guy was still kickin’. I had no choice. I had to put him down. But how? I was sort of freaking out. I’d never killed anything before. Should I wack it on the head? Slit its feathery throat? Hurl it once m,ore at the window? In the end, I opted on drowning it, thinking the thing was so far gone, it wouldn’t feel it. I got a pot, filled it with water, and put the sad creature in it. Oh, how it flailed. That moment haunts me. I didn’t realize. I should have grown a set and put him out of his misery earlier with a rock. Drowning a helpless bird. There’s a special place in hell reserved for people like me.

    Now, what’s with all the light sabers? I am going to go investigate. Megan D tells me you’re at the heart of all this tomfoolery. ( :

    • Slade Ham says:

      Oh, Erika… that story ended up in an altogether different place than where I thought it would. I think that what is important obviously, was your motivation. It was pure. Too many times have I intended to do something good and ended up just causing more pain.

      You never know though… maybe those four days gave that bird a chance to get his emotional affairs in order. They say drowning is the most peaceful way to go, though I’m not sure who decided that. Certainly not a drowning survivor.

      I think you did the right thing, for what ever that’s worth.

      I might or might not be at the heart of the lightsaber movement 😉 I will happily christen you a Jedi, but you might have to hustle up Richard (Cox) for an actual saber. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be spending the next six days in a canyon – totally out of Photoshop range… unless you happen to email me quickly that is.

  35. […] Slayer of dragons…and of Ronnie James Dio…but not of your friend. […]

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