When I look into Simon’s brown eyes, it’s hard for me to envision how people can fear this little green Quaker parrot.
This is the ball of fluff that falls asleep while cleaning his toe jam. He whistles at passersby to entice them into a game of Simon Says, bobbing merrily when they choose to follow his lead. This little boy asks for head scratches by demurely ducking his head and waiting.
The only slightly scary thing he does is call out when he flies. Those who aren’t used to it might think it’s some kind of war call but the boy can’t help himself for some reason.
He certainly can’t sneak up on you.
And yet there are a few individuals in my life who find this little green ball of feathers utterly terrifying.
It’s somewhat understandable in at least one case. One such individual was bitten by a bird of the same breed. The bite left a small puncture on her hand — far smaller than the damage done with a skinned knee. This young lady once played with Simon, but now won’t be in the same room with him.
In the almost two years Simon has been in my custody, he hasn’t bitten anyone. He’s pinched to show his displeasure, but he’s never bruised anyone or drawn blood.
But because of her unsavory experience with another parrot, she won’t be in the same room as Simon if he is free from his cage. She cries and runs off if she sees Simon loose.
Simon, who enjoys her company, thinks we are all about to die. After all, that’s how she’s reacting, so he flees along with her, which terrifies her more. Then he lands and looks around in confusion as to what could possibly be about to eat us all. After all, no one else is running away.
Simon has no idea he is the terrifying creature.
The fear of birds, otherwise known as ornithophobia, is a concept I find difficult to comprehend.
The response I most often hear from those who want nothing to do with Simon is, “I’m afraid he’ll peck my eyes out.”
Simon doesn’t care for the taste of eyeballs. He prefers Nutriberries.
But seriously — who is going to sit there while a little bird smaller than your hand eats your eyeballs? If a bird flies at your face and reaches for an eye, don’t you think you’d move your hand up to protect said eye? Maybe shoo the bird away?
Simon weighs less than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. I think he would be easy to defend against, unless you suddenly fell comatose, with your eyes stuck wide open, and even then he’d probably just straighten your hair.
Proper grooming is important, after all.
And when it comes to Simon, it’s not like he’s got a gang of wild birds sitting just outside, waiting for you to let your guard down. As far as I am aware, he doesn’t even speak the same language as the wild birds, unless the wild ones are holding back on me.
Perhaps we have Alfred Hitchcock to blame, in particular that scene from “The Birds” where the neighbor is found with his eyes missing. But if you recall, in that movie, all the bird mayhem was caused by teams of feathered fiends working together.
Simon’s only pals are humans.
Search the web for the number of humans killed annually by birds, and you get a fair bit of information about how we humans are killing birds. They don’t even come close to cracking any most dangerous animal list, while the dog does. And far more people keep dogs as pets than birds (not that I’m picking on the dog lovers out there).
And even if you come across a list of the most dangerous birds out there, predatory birds make the list — owls, hawks and the very odd-looking cassowary. And all those birds are far heavier than Simon’s 104 grams.
Simon has far more to fear from us than we do from him, and yet all he wants to do is cuddle.