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Has anyone else noticed that the birds in this city have been acting rather strangely of late?  In the last few weeks, wherever I happen to venture after work, the trees seem to shake wildly with flocks of excited birds. I’m talking about excessive chirping, wing-fluttering, branch-vibrating, leave-falling action, all of which contributes to a palpable and unnerving sense of foreboding in the air.

I’ve seen this phenomenon all across town—from the waterfront to Farragut to Petworth—although largely confined to the hours between 6 and 8 p.m.  The other day, one bird went so far as to dive out of a tree and nearly collide with my face as I rode down Princeton Avenue on my bicycle.  

I’m telling you, there’s some seriously sinister stuff going on in the airspace these days.  

I am convinced that it has something to do with the markets.  With global warming confusing birds’ migratory habits, I think they have turned to the Dow for some sort of guidance.  This is obviously ill-advised, but I suppose birds, not unlike many human beings, just don’t know any better.

Yesterday, at her fifth annual Blessing of the Animals in Frederick, Pastor Andrea Ernest advised the members of the Bethany Lutheran Church that during these dismal financial times, we humans need more than ever to emulate our furry and feathered brethren in the Animal Kingdom.

“Animals don’t care how the stock market closed today,” she said in front of a congregation of canines. “Thank God for their place in our lives, which would be poor indeed without them.”

Fine, Pastor Ernest, I see what you’re saying — animals are swell, God bless the critters, and darnit they’re cute too! — but if they are so carefree, if they’re such good role models, if they truly don’t give a hoot or a tweet about the global economy — then why is it that every evening during the last month, as one financial calamity has tumbled on top of another, shortly after the stock market closes our winged comrades have routinely gone berserk in the branches?  It’s as if the floor of the stock exchange has been hoisted into the trees, and when I hear the ominous Hitchcockian rattling at dusk each night, I can’t help but think it a harbinger of some sort of apocalyptic event — financial, environmental, ornithological, or, God help us, even worse.