LOWELL, MA—Reluctantly admitting he still flinches at the sight of it from time to time, a local pigeon confirmed Wednesday that he feels pretty silly about continuing to be a little scared of the plastic owl on a nearby porch.
The 3-year-old pigeon, who months after his initial encounter with the artificial owl acknowledges he still gets “kind of freaked out” by it, reportedly doesn’t like walking or flying near the railing where the 16-inch-tall lawn ornament has been placed, despite knowing full well that it’s just a harmless piece of molded plastic and not a dangerous predator.
“I completely flipped out the first time I saw that thing, but that was more than a year ago, and I’ve gotta say I feel like kind of an idiot for still being afraid of it now,” said the pigeon, who conceded he will sometimes take out-of-the-way routes to avoid the plastic owl and, when in its vicinity, will circle overhead for several minutes before working up the courage to land. “I get that it isn’t real. I even saw it tip over in the wind once, so I know it’s fake. But it still gives me the heebie-jeebies.”
“I can’t help it,” he added. “Every time I see it out of the corner of my eye, I’m like, ‘Fuck! An owl!’”
The pigeon went on to describe a recent incident in which he was flying around and spotted the plastic owl in his peripheral vision, became alarmed, and nearly swerved straight into a chimney, telling reporters he was thankful no one was around, as he would have been “mortified” if anyone had witnessed his frantic reaction.
“Every time I see it out of the corner of my eye, I’m like, ‘Fuck! An owl!’”
While he reportedly recognizes the danger is entirely in his head, the pigeon nonetheless refuses to scavenge for food anywhere near the plastic owl, emphasizing that its replica talons and large yellow eyes can look very real, especially at night—a chilling spectacle that immediately causes him to freeze in place and cease bobbing his head or pecking at the ground. The pigeon also noted that, even though he knows the owl isn’t going to come alive and attack him, he can’t help but feel as if it’s watching him, which often causes his heart to race and feathers to stand on end.
Though there have been times when he thought he had conquered his irrational fear, the pigeon sheepishly told reporters his anxiety inevitably returns. All it takes is the plastic owl getting moved to a different porch post or placed facing a different direction, he explained, and he soon finds himself flapping his wings in a furious panic.
“The other day I was walking along, I turned a corner, and bam—there it was, looking right at me,” the pigeon said of the life-size polyurethane owl. “I got so nervous I just shit all over the place.”
“That was pathetic enough, but I was so scared of the owl I had to hide behind a trash can for half an hour until I worked up the courage to fly away,” he continued. “It was completely humiliating.”
The pigeon confirmed these embarrassing incidents had become a nearly daily occurrence. With some hesitation, he recounted an episode in which he had been flying along contentedly with a large piece of bagel in his beak when he caught a glimpse of the plastic owl below and, in a state of fright, dropped the baked good, fearing to retrieve it because it had landed too close to the bird decoy.
“One of my friends went right up and perched on it once,” the pigeon said. “I was freaking out the whole time, telling him to get down. I know it’s dumb, but something about the look on that thing’s face always makes me think it’s getting ready to rip me apart.”
“I keep telling myself it’s not a big deal, that I could go roost right next to it and I’d be fine,” he added. “But the moment I look over there and see its big sharp beak, I’m too afraid to even move. God, I’m so fucking pathetic.”
At press time, the pigeon had turned around to see the plastic owl, let out a startled coo, and taken off in a terrified frenzy.