From the editor's desk: Bird is a dirty word


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Everybody laughed when Ritchie Petrie was continually attacked by a “giant woodpecker” on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in 1962.

The best line came from the game warden who suggested Rob and Laura’s boy put on a pith helmet when he went outside to play.

Sharon Fleury fails to see the humor.

The Clovis woman has been under attack for a week by what she’s been told are Mississippi kites.

“When I go out and the birds see me, they attack my head,” she said.

She wears a hat and carries a broom for protection, but the birds won’t leave her alone long enough for her to work in her yard on the west side of town.

“I called animal control,” she said, “but they told me they don’t deal with wildlife.”

Fleury, 57, said the birds are nesting in a neighbor’s tree, too high off the ground for her to eliminate. She’s called the fire department, the state game and fish department, even asked for help on Facebook.

“What is a person to do,” she asked.

Tony Gennaro, a retired animal biology professor, has a few thoughts.

link Staff photo: D'Nieka Hartsfield

Clovis resident Sharon Fleury says she has been under attack for a week by what she’s been told are Mississippi kites.

“They are federally protected, so she can’t kill them, she can’t hurt them,” he said.

Gennaro recommends the next time she’s under attack, she look that bird right in the eye:

“If she turns her back on it, the bird will think she’s looking at its nest. If she looks at the bird, he’ll think, ‘Oh, wait, no she’s not looking at my nest, she’s looking at me. She’s OK.’ And he’ll leave her alone.”

There’s one other thing she can try.

In the “A Bird in the Head Hurts” episode of the TV show, Rob Petrie surmised the bird didn’t want to hurt Ritchie, but wanted the child’s hair to build a nest. And so Rob was able to lure the bird into a trap with a few hairs from Ritchie’s hairbrush.

Do what you have to do, Sharon.

From the Editor’s Desk was compiled by Clovis News Journal Editor David Stevens. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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