Strange Animal Tales


DIVE-BOMBING BIRDS, weed-whacking goats and a fox who suns on a neighbor’s porch. Have things in the animal world gone suddenly haywire, or is this yet another sign of global warming?

Readers are writing about the oddest things these days. It started with last week’s column about the bird who is attracted to hair in Montclair Village. After reading my item, Emily Sparks says she was walking past Hallmark when she was attacked twice by the winged aggressor.

“I could tell she had some reason to do it,” she says, “and I looked up, and in one of those sort of thin, feathery little trees in the sidewalk there was a nest.” A nest, no doubt, feathered with hair.

Then there was the piece on Andy Hawkey’s 4-H goats, which have been earning their keep eating weeds in the hills. Several readers have called asking for Hawkey’s number, hoping she’ll bring her bionic grazers over to their yards. I’m hoping I can just borrow one and walk it on a leash like a lawnmower.

The fox story comes from Annie Pelayo, who lives up against the Huckleberry Regional Preserve. She says a neighbor has also spotted a mountain lion near the yard in recent weeks. With all this wildlife, Pelayo worries about her own cat, who spends a lot of time in the park. I told her to call the East Bay Regional Park hotline at 510-881-1121 and report the mountain lion.

FLUSH WITH CASH: Montclair Park is getting a much-needed facelift, thanks to a grant. My mole at the park says the bathrooms are being redone and an elevator is going in to make the recreation center accessible to the handicapped. If they could just solve the little problem they have near the basketball court: Vandals keep stuffing rocks in the toilets down there, causing them to overflow. Until workers get a handle on the problem, the water closet is closed.

PARTY ANIMALS: Thanks to reader Therese Brewetz for telling me about the fund-raiser for the Humane Society of America, Saturday night at Berkeley’s Missouri Lounge. Her band is playing for the event, and their name, alone, tells the story. It’s Karmadogs.

GALLOPING RESCUE: And finally, an animal tale from my own personal collection. Last week, I was horseback riding near San Luis Obispo and my car keys popped out of the saddlebag during a long, bouncy gallop on the beach. I didn’t realize they were missing until I got back to the stable, so I high-tailed it back to look for them. The chances were slim and none — but I found them — just a speck in the sand, seconds from being swept out to sea in the surf. The cost of a Prius key? $350. The cost of a daring beach rescue on horseback? Priceless.

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