This weekend I visited Bath, excited to see this city which has existed since Roman times. The whole city is exquisite. The buildings are all made from the same Bath stone, as required by building laws, and much of it is in the Georgian style. Bath is incorporated into the countryside so beautifully that was proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 (“City of Bath”). I wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of London life and take in the infamous Bath waters as many have done before me, like Queen Victoria and Jane Austen. After this trip I am convinced the good people of Bath need somewhere to escape our fine feathered “friends”.
It’s rather funny, the morning of the incident, I was reading Joe’s blog post about London from a pigeon’s perspective (If you haven’t read it, please take the time to do so, it’s well worth the read). I remember thinking, ‘why on earth would someone portray a bird as such an evil creature?’ Oh boy, was I about to find out.
For lunch that day, I visited one of the many delicious pasty shops in Bath and sat outside to take in the beautiful scenery. As I was innocently sipping my gigantic hot chocolate, I was hit in the back by a seagull. You can imagine how confused I was when I was slammed so hard in the back I nearly threw my pasty across the street. I quickly scrambled to get up and away from the offender, as I have very long hair and could have easily lost it if the creature decided to entangle its wings in my locks. Also, I, like many others, do not wish to be pecked to death by a bird. Thus, I ran away and watched this bird struggle to get out from under my table. Somehow the demon managed to trap itself under the table and required several hops around to get out from underneath it.
While the bird escaped the scene (a hit and fly, if you will), my dining companion informed me that I was hit not by one, but by two seagulls. Apparently the other one had gotten away as I clambered away from the birds. There’s no way this could be an accident. One seagull could have been an accident, but two? Absolutely not. As I contemplated this incident, a pigeon jumped up on the table and began to enjoy the remains of another person’s lunch. This was clearly a setup.
As I was walking around Bath, I noticed the birds fly rather recklessly. Rather than soaring over the rooftops, as they do in other cities, the birds of Bath fly low enough to hit you if you aren’t careful. As a 6’00” woman, this is quite perilous. I’m not quite sure how smaller creatures live in this city. I’m not a small woman, and yet the birds have no problem attacking me. Why haven’t they been snatched or worse by these foul fowls?
After several hours, I finally began to relax and went for a game of mini golf in one of Bath’s fine parks. I thought I was finally safe. I was wrong. A duck and his mate nearly hit me in the head as they claimed the miniature pond and park for themselves, quacking gleefully as they came within inches of my skull. I thought for sure they too were going to smack into me this time. My only consolation was that I was armed this time with my putter. Thankfully I was able to escape the establishment without provoking them further.
While walking home to the safety of my hotel, I noticed one of the birds that hit me walking around. He was really having trouble flying and had to keep landing as a result, probably because he only had one foot. Don’t feel bad for him, no. See, this bird got me thinking, why does he only have one foot? Shouldn’t he have died from an infection when he lost his foot? Shouldn’t all the birds with one foot, or only two toes, or only peg legs have died from some kind of infection from the incident? Surely some of them would have? But here’s the thing— I have never seen a dead bird in any of the cities I have visited in the UK, and neither has anyone I’ve spoken to. This led to only one conclusion: Birds don’t die. That’s right, they multiply, they grow old, but they don’t die.
You can try to pray to God about this problem in Bath Abbey, but it’s no use. The Bible tells us the Holy Spirit appears as a dove multiple times, after Noah sails in his ark (Genesis 6-8), at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32), and again at Pentecost (Acts 2:3). Correlation? I think not. Clearly we are being punished for our sins by today’s birds.
Don’t kid yourself, Bath has tried to rid themselves of this problem. The rubbish bins everywhere have warnings about the birds in multiple languages (Including French, Mandarin, and English), telling people not to feed the gulls. The underlying message: they are getting too strong. This clearly hasn’t worked, as people continue to dump entire bags of bread for these demon spawn. So, Bath has had to fight fire with fire. That’s right, they’re bringing in birds of prey as part of their “Urban Gull Strategy”. I’m not kidding, google it. I found a seven page document, complete with flow charts and diagrams outlining the gull problem in Bath and advertising hawks as a potential solution. Because apparently the gulls weren’t ferocious enough.
These birds are not content with the Z axis, as Joe talked about in his post. They are now after the XY plane too. We need to take action. Think of the children. If we don’t, Bath is going to descend further into the nightmare Daphne du Maurier wrote about in her famous short story, The Birds. I hope to visit this otherwise wonderful city again someday, but I really need a break from Bath’s birds.
-Katherine Jones 2018
Articles about the problem:
“City of Bath.” UNESCO World Heritage Centre. N.p., 2017. Web.