The City of Birds

Parallel World

We live in Los Angeles County in a city adjacent to the City of Angels itself. This fact is mind-boggling for me because I had a fear of this city for a long time. You see, as a child in Japan I thought LA was a place where scary crimes happened. But, look, here I am, and I even created the comic book, The Pigeons of Los Angeles!

When we decided to move to LA from the suburbs a few years ago, I thought I would be sure to miss nature. But to my surprise this is where I found a deeper connection with nature…specifically, with birds.

Since I started to feed mourning doves in our courtyard (Blog post: Me and My Mourning Doves), I started to notice more birds in my world and some strange bird incidents started to happen - some are bizarre, even a mystery. But today I would like to share what happened on a seemingly normal day to let you know what I mean.


A Seemingly Normal Day, August 2021

7:30 am - in the house

After my morning stretches I lay down on the floor looking up at the morning sky through the glass sliding doors. Suddenly two birds flew into view. Though they were high above I could tell they were big and saw that they had long legs. I thought they might be some kind of heron. (Read my comic, Parallel Worlds.)

9:00 am - in the alley

I stepped out in the alley to go to the market. I saw crows — 16 of them! They looked at me as if I was an uninvited guest for their alley meeting. Timidly I walked along the edge of the alley to the parking garage. They didn’t like that so they flew away one by one.

9:30 am - on the highway

I was driving down the highway to the market and had a close encounter! Out of the blue two things happened. One, I suddenly heard an ambulance siren and saw it approaching from the opposite direction. Two, at the same time, a dove appeared and flew in front of my car in the direction I was driving! I have no idea what happened, but I was staring at a dove flying for her life in front of me. I thought, Whoa, this is how they fly! Fortunately the traffic slowed down for the ambulance and the dove pulled away. I felt like I was in a car chase scene with the bird!

10:30 am - in the alley, again

With multiple grocery bags in my hands I was at the gate of our building. I noticed a black phoebe on a pole in front of me. I often see him in this area. I said, Hi, but he wasn’t interested in socializing with me and flew straight toward a concrete block wall nearby. Really?! I thought he was going to hit and hurt himself on the wall and I felt terrible for causing his possible death. But in front of my eyes he quickly flipped his body before hitting the wall, kicked off of it with his tiny feet, changed direction, and flew away like it was no big deal. It was like a swimmer turning at the end of the pool. I stood stunned. This was the ending of my exciting outing.

2:00 pm - in the house

Then as if all of the encounters weren’t enough for one day, I saw a dove shuffling her feet in my courtyard. (Read the comic, The Four Gears of Doves and the blog post: Suffled)


This is why I call this city, the City of Birds. And this is where people and birds live together.

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