The Return of the Weird Birds

Weird Birds

~From the diaries of Edward Finbock, amateur ornithologist~

Upon taking my usual stroll though the neighborhood this evening, I was delighted to stumble upon, not one, but three of this region's more unusual bird species sharing the same perch atop a lamppost.  I have never seen such a remarkable sight in all the decades of my ornithological explorations. As it just so happened, I had become accustomed to carrying a small camera about myself at all times. Once I had been certain I had successfully captured the amazing site for my life list, I went about properly studying the behavior.

On one end of the lamppost was a fine example of a Keewapa; a species of sea fairing bird related to the duck family. Although they prefer coastal habitat, sometimes the lure of fish can draw them up rivers. Even though the large Cumpaw river is just down the road a bit, I would have never expected to see a Keewapa this far inland. As name is onomatopoeic, the sound that this bird creates usually involves three or four cries of kee-wa-kee-wa-kee-wa-pa-wa-pa, or some variation thereof. This specimen was doing just that. He (as indicated by the bright feet only found on males) called in a series of three shrill kee-wa-pa renditions, then fluffed his feathers as if to say he had proven his point.

The bird on the other end of the lamppost was a Two-headed Northern Meadow-hawk. This particular species is hermaphroditic. Despite this fact, the species has evolved breeding plumage. This continues to stump scientists. To confuse matters even more, even though all species of two-headed meadow hawks have no separation of sexes, they still court; not each other, but themselves. The two heads put on a display for one another during the breeding season. However, as it is not currently two-headed hawk breeding season, this particular specimen was just eying itself, seemingly oblivious to the other two birds sharing its roost.

The third bird, situated directly in between the other two, was the most spectacular out of the lot. This one was a Tentacular Great-horned Hoatzin. Usually found deep in the thick temperate rain forests of this area, it is very rare to see this majestic bird, let alone out in the open, as was the case. Being native to lush forest understory, it has evolved several prehensile tails in addition to fingered claws on its wings to clamber around the dense vegitaton where flying would be impossible. This particular specimine looked a bit distressed about its current situation. I'm not sure if it was due to being so exposed, out in the open, as it was, or because of its perch companions.

I watched the group for a good twenty minutes, but they did not seem intent on leaving anytime soon. So, I continued my walk. Upon returning to that spot on my way back home, the lamppost had been vacated. For a brief moment I wondered if I could have imagined the whole strange site.

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This entire piece was done using a wacom tablet. The first two steps can be found here.