On a recent trip to Mallorca, Spain, Charles and I wanted to visit the Natura Park in Santa Eugenia to see various farm animals and the much advertised ‘birds of prey.’ As usual, I was prepared. I had a change of clothes, extra snacks, juice boxes, my emergency boo boo kit, sunscreen, small toys, crayons, a coloring book, and Rufus the Cat inside the plump nappy bag. I was ready for whatever happened that day. But nothing could have prepared me for the four-foot crazed and very determined pelican.
After buying our tickets and perusing the park’s map, we descended down the cobblestone steps. Full of energy and anticipation, Charles ran ahead to spy our first animal of the day. Seconds later, a wide-eyed, frightened Charles came running up the steps, shouting, “Lizzy, HELP! A huge, white bird is chasing me!” My first thought was that Charles’ overactive imagination coupled with excitement has inspired this crazy statement. Boy, was I wrong. As we reached the bottom step, I quickly realized he was telling the truth.
The bird was huge, its great wings were outstretched and its beak was agape. It stood in the middle of the path about 5 feet away from us. Thoughts flooded my mind, “Why isn’t he in a cage?” “A pelican wouldn’t attack a grown woman.” “It’s more scared of me, than I am of it….right?” Then as if possessed, the bird darted toward us. I started laughing. It looked hilarious. Without hesitation, Charles scurried up into the arms of our driver, while I was left alone to fend for myself. With a strategically placed nappy bag as my only shield of protection, I tried an array of downright genius techniques to scare off the deranged pelican: I made loud noises, kicked, dangled the bag in its mouth, bribed it with cookies, jumped on top of a stone ledge and fought off my beady-eyed nemesis. All the while, laughing in disbelief, but nothing seemed to work.
With an impressive wingspan, a scissor-like beak and that frightening inflatable pouch, my fierce opponent, I admit half my size, was a formidable solider. It moved faster than I thought it could. It lunged and darted, and his beak chomped down on my leg a few times, which surprised me more than it hurt. I have failed to mention that while I battled with this determined creature, our driver held Charles in one arm and began recording the incident on his phone with his free hand. Charles continued shouting “Help,” “I don’t like this!” “Run away, Lizzy,” between screams of terror, while our driver couldn’t stop laughing. I soon accepted my defeat and listened to Charles. I shouted “Run!” and the three of us fled the scene of attack. This strange animal attack was all captured on film, unfortunately I haven’t seen the footage. Charles and I have shared this war story with family and friends and still laugh at this bizarre encounter with the Malllorcan ‘bird of prey.’ Being randomly ambushed by a crazy pelican taught me that no matter what I put in the nappy bag, I can never be fully prepared for life’s surprises.
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