Vol. 4, Issue 6, July 11, 2006
Poet Obtains Restraining Order Against Intrusive Bird
In a somewhat unusual move, a judge in Baltimore has granted a local poet a restraining order against a bird which, the plaintiff claims, has been harassing him for the past several weeks.
The offending jackdaw, address unknown, has been prohibited from coming within 500 feet of the plaintiff, Edgar Perry, who has complained that the bird has been offering "cryptic and distressing verbal abuse" during what is described as a very difficult personal time for the poet.
"My fiancée Lenore passed away two months ago," said Perry at a press conference following the judge's decision. "Not a fortnight after her untimely passing, this feathered felon barged into my study one night, neat as you please, and parked himself on a very valuable Greek bust, just out of reach. He then proceeded to torment me with endless repetition of a completely pointless word, in an extremely uncouth accent might I add. I have half a mind to sue the beast for emotional damages."
According to Perry's petition, the bird knocked repeatedly at both the doors and windows before entering the study. He provided video evidence demonstrating that the bird remained ensconced in his study despite his best efforts to remove it.
"Animal control said they couldn't guarantee the safety of the antique the bird was sitting on, so I couldn't let them use their tranquilizer guns or nets," said Perry. "The video I submitted to the court clearly shows that the bird's presence cast an unacceptable shadow and gloom upon my study, which prevented me from freely pursuing my chosen profession. Who can write poetry with such a harbinger of doom cackling over his shoulder?"
Perry, known for his light-hearted and optimistic verse and cheerful, romantic short stories, held a cocktail party in his study to celebrate the successful departure of the bird. The jackdaw, faced with the court order, left its inopportune perch with a cry of disgust. Witnesses were unclear whether it shouted "nevermore" or "get the door" when it departed.
Freed from the gloomy pall of his unwanted avian intruder, Perry said he plans to complete a short ode in praise of a "delightful little Spanish sherry" he recently enjoyed in a wine cellar tour with a friend.
It is unusual, but not unheard of, for writers to invoke the protection of the courts against animals.
"Well, there was that case of the old fisherman who filed suit against that marlin in the 1950s," said legal analyst Frances Allen. "It all depends on the judge, I guess. Sometimes they take these really mundane problems and invest them with some kind of huge significance. You're never really sure why."
In this case, analysts remain slightly puzzled that anyone would go to so much bother about a jackdaw, which is the smallest member of the genus Corvus found in North America.
"It's not exactly a big bird, and this isn't exactly a big legal decision," said Allen. "But then, the age of giants is pretty much past, isn't it."