I mention fairly often that people should not feed the birds at Walt Disney World. Yesterday, it got personal. It was my daughter’s birthday, and we were at Disney Springs. We have a family tradition of ordering from Erin McKenna’s Bakery whenever we have a special occasion, and yesterday was no different. Since there is no seating at Erin McKenna’s, we decided to enjoy our treats outdoors in a nearby shady area.
That is when things got weird. We sat down to enjoy our Pineapple Upside Down Cake (which is soooooo good!). There were some birds in the area, but we’re pretty good at protecting our food, so I didn’t think that they were going to be a problem. I was wrong.
Not too long after we sat down, one of the birds decided that I was a threat. It attacked me. It wasn’t after my cake, it was after me. It flew full speed into my back, nipped me (if that’s what birds do with their beaks), and then flew away. It didn’t go far, it stayed in the area. I wasn’t hurt and we all laughed about it. We finished our cake and thought that was that. I picked up the plates and went to throw them out. That’s when the bird came after me again. The second time, it bit my neck. Again, I wasn’t hurt, but that time it really scared me.
A couple of Cast Members realized what had happened, and they came over to check on me. I assured them that I was fine. I’m pretty sure that they were going to file a report of some type. One of the Cast Members explained that the area where we were seated was near the bird’s nest, and for some reason the bird decided that I was a threat (I wasn’t). She also mentioned that they think that they might need to move the nest, because this particular bird is so aggressive.
In speaking with the Cast Members, one thing was clear. These birds are used to people. Even though there are plenty of signs that state that you should not feed the birds, people do it anyway. At least once a week I’ll see people at the parks with a French fry or popcorn in hand, trying to capture a Cinderella moment. I’ve even seen people have their young children be the ones to feed the birds. Not only is human food not good for the birds, it makes them tamer. That will then lead to the birds not fearing humans, and then they will attack when they decide that someone is a threat.
Another behavior that needs to stop is kids chasing the birds. I see that almost daily. That will make the birds aggressive. It’s not cute, it’s not funny. It is bad parenting, plain and simple. I have seen birds that will then go after the children because they feel threatened. That is not the bird’s fault, it is the fault of the parents for allowing the kids to disrespect nature.
Walt Disney World is the most magical place on earth, but not every being there realizes that. The grounds are shared by birds, squirrels, mice, snakes, ferrel cats, and plenty of other creatures. These are wild animals, and need to be treated as such. If someone isn’t going to try to feed a bear on property, they shouldn’t feed a bird either. My being attacked yesterday was a direct result of other people ignoring the rules, and helping the birds to get used to humans. I wasn’t hurt, but what if it had been a child who was attacked? This whole thing could have been avoided if people followed the rules and used their common sense. So please, leave the birds and the other animals alone.