The Curious Incident of the Bird that Erasmus-time

May I relate unto you a tale of woe?

It was a lazy Sunday in Salzburg, the afternoon was still young and a rustic sprinkling of autumn had settled over the October city.

I, being the studious little soul that I am, sat working doggedly at my desk. Or maybe I was sprawled on my bed watching Netflix…you know, that part of the memory is somewhat hazy.

Regardless, I was in my room with the door slightly ajar when a thudding sound caught my attention.

I listened.


I put my headphones back on  returned to the arduous task of my studies only to have the process repeat itself. This time it wasn’t a thudding I heard but a definite flapping.



I walked to the door feeling every inch the Hitchcock heroine (only without the appropriate beehive/ shower- hair) and  pulled it back far enough to pop my head into the hallway and confront the vision that was THE BIRDS.

Well, a bird.

I reckon it was a little thrush of some sort that had found its way into our apartment via a very small opening in the hall window. The poor thing was panicking, trapped with all the air of a………well a bird in a cage as it fluttered frantically from one perch to another.

I decided to end its distress and relinquish its freedom, calling to my roommates to catch a parting glimpse of the creature as I made my way towards the window.

Unfortunately, the combination of my sudden cry and the oncoming sound of footsteps seemed to force the desperate bird to switch to a reliance upon instinct.

It was a bad call- I hadn’t reached the window in time.

Turns out instinct doesn’t know the difference between the sky and (reasonably) clear glass.

My roommates materialised just as its lifeless body landed at my feet. With its neck broken on impact, we couldn’t even entertain the notion of pedaling it to the nearest vet. Perhaps this was for the better given that we had no idea where that might have been.

“What did you do?!” was the (decidedly harsh) accusation my Italian flatmate greeted me with. She always knows how to comfort me during the difficult times in my life. The three of us looked upon the morbid scene in silence before making the only rational decision we young women could possibly have made.

We held a birdy funeral.

Wordlessly, we took our procession down to the courtyard of our student housing and, after fussing over the perfect burial location and the digging of a grave about seven dessert-spoonfuls deep (we improvised), we started our feathered friend’s voyage to Valhalla in style.

Death clung to our apartment that day like a popcorn kernel to the back of the tooth. An apt analogy as I’m fairly sure we held a movie night that evening to cheer ourselves up/ in homage to our ephemeral companion.

Anyway, long story short it’s true that sometimes the strangest things happen when you least expect them.

RIP Franz.

Franz, we hardly knew ye.
Oh Franz, we hardly knew ye.

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