For my husband’s birthday a few weeks ago, I kidnapped him for the day and took him to the zoo. As kids, we ended up at museums, zoos, or historical sites at least once a month. (Ah, the fun of being homeschooled.) But now as adults, those adventures normally wait until a vacation.
Our somewhat-local zoo is filled with exciting things to do, particularly feeding the animals. When I decided to take him, feeding the giraffes was a must. They wander up to the platform perched high over the Africa exhibit, stick out those long, black tongues, and take the crackers more gently than you would anticipate.
The other creatures we could feed were the lorikeets — birds around the size of a normal parakeet or something of that nature.
I had told my husband all day that the zoo was an adventure, but when it came to the aviary where the birds fly around quite freely, my adventurous spirit hid inside my purse. As a kid, I had been bitten by a cockatoo in this aviary. I’d had my elbows resting on the rail, and the cockatoo came right up and bit my arm. Random and hilarious, absolutely. A little traumatizing, definitely. And my parents’ awful track record with birds didn’t help either.
But it was an adventure, so he pretty much literally dragged me in. The lady with the nectar cups gave very specific instructions: hold the cup in your one hand like so, cover the cup, don’t uncover the cup until you’re in the middle of the walkway.
Doesn’t sound so bad, right? So I bravely allowed my husband to go first and waited by the door as he ventured forward. Before he even uncovered the cup, an anxious lorikeet was already on his shoulder.
All I could think of was my dad’s bird, Oops, who only had one eye (hence his name). Oops used to land on your shoulder like that. He’d even sort of nuzzle your neck. Then he’d clamp that beak down as hard as he could.
But the lorikeet didn’t bite him and there was only one way out, so I dragged my adventurous spirit out of my purse (in spite of its kicking and screaming) and ventured to the middle of the walkway.
It’s one of the most terrifying and exhilarating things I’ve done lately. Terrifying because those sharp claws dug into my arms and some of the lorikeets were determined to fight with each other over whose turn it was around the nectar cup. But exhilarating because, well, I was covered in birds and it wasn’t like a scene out of The Birds.
Once the nectar had been finished, the birds flitted away, waiting on the sides of the aviary for the next nectar cup-bearing patron to arrive (and not waiting to draw blood from unsuspecting children).
What’s the most terrifying and exhilarating thing you’ve done lately?