IT'S enough to drive a squaddie stark-raving mad. Or should that be stork-staring mad?
For staring at storks is precisely the duty a hand-picked team of 24 Austrian soldiers has been ordered to perform to prevent the big birds from disrupting an air show at Zeltweg next week.
The troops have been called in because the storks could bring down a plane if they get sucked into an engine. But the army has been banned from setting off explosives or firing at the birds, and soldiers have been told by experts to intimidate the storks by staring at them until they fly off.
So that's what they are going to do, from five in the morning to 10 at night.
Birds of a different feather are causing angst in Barrie, Ontario, Canada, where up to 50 wild turkeys have taken to terrorising the local population.
The aggressive turkeys have chased people and attacked cars, and local councillors have appealed for help.
Councillor John Brassard, himself a victim of a turkey attack, said he feared someone would be seriously hurt if the birds were not brought under control.
In America they might end up on a dinner plate on Thanksgiving Day, but in Canada, the wild turkey is a protected species.
Perhaps they should call in the Austrian army for some serious staring.
Or they could call upon Nancy the tiny chihuahua who thinks she's a sheepdog.
Nancy, who weighs in at just 1.4kg, has amazed English farmer Ali Taylor who hand-reared the puppy alongside her border collies.
Nancy has proved herself to be far more than the lap-dog fashion accessory that is her breed's lot.
Show her a flock of sheep and she rounds them up with all the skill of a traditional sheepdog, even though the sheep are more than 10 times her size.
And while we're on the subject of over-achieving small things, cops in Detroit are still baffled how a seven-year-old boy managed to drive his stepfather's car about 32km, reaching speeds of 80kmh.
The boy, barefoot and wearing pyjamas, apparently stood at the steering wheel so he could see through the windscreen of the Pontiac Sunfire.
When traffic police finally got the car to stop the little lad burst into tears and told officers he wanted to go to his dad's house.
Amazingly, although he drove through stop signs and red lights, he didn't hit anything and no one was injured.
Meanwhile, in Delaware, Ohio, Stephanie Robinette is in custody and facing assault charges after allegedly spraying her breast milk at police when they tried to arrest her.
The 30-year-old had a row with her husband at a wedding and police were called to intervene.
After hitting her hubby a couple of times she locked herself in the car and turned her loaded breasts on the cops as they attempted to coax her from the vehicle.
Finally, if you have particularly strong toes it might not be too late to jump on a plane to England to represent Australia in the world toe-wrestling championship.
The 35th annual world cup is being staged in a pub in Wetton, Derbyshire, and has attracted hundreds of entries.
I do hope they cut their nails first.
Alternative Universe is a weekly humour column.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.