Birds. I hate them.
I can handle looking at them, but I don't want them near me. I prefer not to make eye contact with those beady little eyeballs and I definitely don't like large gatherings. This gives them a chance to network against me. Every time I see one taking off, I picture all the tiny bird mites falling from their fluttering feathers and landing in my hair and in my food. Yuck yuck yuck puke.
My most terrifying near-bird experience happened in my late teens. On a visit to Cape Town, my family decided a trip to World of Birds was needed. Like I said, I can handle seeing birds. It's not like I'm going to run screaming from pigeons poeping on the pavement (I'm more likely to run screaming AT them) and so it was that I joined my family at the World of Birds Crawling with Bird Mites.
While strolling through the gardens, a starling decided to lodge itself in my hair. It was probably aiming for the glinting sunglasses perched on my head but, with me having the hair of Medusa and it having the talons of a gryphon, entanglement was the obvious result. Of all the people in the flipping place, it targets me.
Picture the scene: Starling frantically beating its wings against my head as it tries to take off with my sunglasses; me frantically flapping my arms in response close to tears; screaming, "Get it off! Get it off! Get it off!" while my mother tried not to wet her pants in laughter.
[Picture of birdmite removed due to grossness. Ed]
Think of all those bird mites in my hair after that little flap. Gross. Needless to say, I have never ever gone into another aviary. Never. Ever.
And I will never, ever allow birds as pets. Unless I'm using them to feed my pet snake.