I was out for a lovely, leisurely cruise on my bike the other day.
The air was fresh, traffic was light and the sound of the knobby tires on the hard surface of the road was like a cat purring.
The bike trails around Swan Hill are a result of wise planners. They make me feel safe and make riding a pleasure.
Where we come from in the US, you often take your life in your hands as the lanes are very busy with distracted soccer moms and texting teens.
I was just innocently cruising along when all of a sudden "slap, crack". Something hit my helmet on the right side.
I thought I had brushed a low hanging tree limb but in a few seconds "whacko." Looking up, I saw the tail end of a black and white dive-bombing bird.
I kept going, denying the thought that this was actually happening to me.
I reached up and felt my ear. Blood was running down my cheek. The little devil! He had pecked at the same place, just ahead of my right ear until he drew blood.
He knew how to utilise each swoop to the max. Along the way to my cheek, he also clipped my ear. Blood flowed. He was very effective, and it hurt!
I went for the other side of the street. He followed me, and when I stopped on the sidewalk, he roosted and brooded boldly on the nearest tree limb.
He had lost all fear of man. I looked into his red, beady, intense little eyes. He honed his shiny beak on a limb, like a butcher with a knife and a strop. He flexed his claws.
I was afraid to turn around. I tried to reason with him, that I was no threat. I slowly backed up, watching him — and that is hard to do with a bike. He stared. I stared. No way could I back up all the way home.
So I turned around, mounted up and headed for home.
"Slappo," he swooped again. I kept my head low on the bars.
I had lost the battle and I yelled an apology. Finally, out of his bombing range, the bird returned to base.
Since then I am reluctant to ride anywhere in this town. I am still traumatised. I can't sleep. I watch the trees and sky.
I have done nothing wrong here.
Is there a solution? What religion are these birds?