Saturday, June 26, 2010

UN-Civil Air Patrol

During the course of the year, we have several overflights of different types of "aircraft" - everything from B2 bombers to Ch-53 helicopters. Most every day I hear or see at least one fighter aircraft zip over head, and there is the nearly constant overflights of local Cessna's and the like.

The Nebraska Air National Guard likes to "stop" by ever-so-often, too, flying their UH-60 Blackhawks, or the occasional KC-135 Tanker. Everything from Piper Cubs to an F-117, from Med-avac Helos, to F-16's - they all go by.

Lately, we've begun seeing a different kind of "fighter aircraft" - ones that are small, EXTREMELY agile, and are trained in all manner of tactics, including "kamikaze" attacks.

I'm talking about those pesky little Barn Swallows....

There I was, minding my own business - out using the leaf rake to sweep together a pile of fresh cut grass clippings when they attacked. They came from high above, swooping down to within inches of my head - so close, I could feel the snap of their wings as they zipped by.

The thing was, I was in the MIDDLE of the yard, 50 yards from ANYWHERE they could have a nest. This "Air Force truly has "aggressive" pilots....

I stopped working for a bit and watched them make their "strafing" runs at me - they would swoop down, zip by, then climb out, do a fancy "wing over" maneuver, then come zooming back toward my head. Some would just circle, but others would continually attack.

As I stood watching, I studied their flight plans and learned their tactics. Then, like an Epiphany from above, I had an idea.....

How good of reaction does a Swallow have, anyhow?

I followed the most offending feather dart, and watched her as she made her next attack run. I waited....waited.....waited....Then, just as the bird was coming in at ear level, and about 4 feet from me....

I lifted the handle on the rake and placed the "fan" of the rake directly in it's flight path.

I don't know who invented "air brakes", but I DO know one particular Barn Swallow that is glad she had them installed. I could almost hear the brakes squeal, and smell the burning rubber as that crazy bird stopped in mid air, slid sideways, then BARELY missed the rake. She flew of cussing loudly.

For what it's worth, they still circled me, but at a more "wary" distance. I still need to give out a refresher course every once-in-awhile, but things have calmed down.

They must have gotten tired of swooping the cats and decided to move on to other "targets".

For now, I still have the upper hand....

1 comment:

  1. Smile and wave at the helecopters. One of these days my kid will be in there waving back! :)


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