Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Boids is everywhere these days, I tells ya.

First there was Erica, the Wiseass Jooette herownself, whose complacent quotidian existence was thrown into turmoil (or, as she might say, toimerl) by the unanticipated arrival of one Doofus the Cockatiel.

Doofus (AKA Vlad the Impaler, on account of his purported viciousness) was clearly an escaped pet, cockatiels not being native to Sheepshead Bay. His owner evidently has been in no hurry to track him down, however, and it is not an unreasonable conjecture that said owner might have, ahhh, gently encouraged Doofus to escape.

Meanwhile, upon our recent arrival in northwestern Connecticut, we saw all manner of avian life.

Flocks of mallard ducks graced the local lakes. Canadian Canada geese filled the skies with their characteristic V-formations, no doubt heading south to Georgia so that they could shit all over our neighborhood in our absence.

Monday morning, we saw a brace of wild turkeys in the Mistress of Sarcasm’s back yard. After pecking their way around the perimeter, they waddled off into the woods, up the mountain that sits behind the house. The Mistress informs us that they are daily visitors.

Wild Turkeys
Gobble, gobble: Wild turkeys invade the Mistress’s back yard.

Are they tasty? I wondered. No, responded the Mistress. Apparently, that experiment has been essayed: The turkeys, disappointingly, are gamey, stringy affairs. That surprises me not at all, but still, I would be willing to try one. Think of it, a non-factory-produced bird fed on... whatever the fuck it is that wild turkeys eat. Slower wild turkeys, I imagine.

The weirdest Bird-Sighting we had, though, was the pheasants.

In Sharon, Connecticut, there is a pheasant farm that raises and sells Mongolian ring-necked pheasants. They’re beautiful birds, with their characteristic red head and white neck feathers; they also make excellent hunting and eating.

And they’re smart enough to recognize an opportunity when they see one.

Just before Hallowe’en, northwestern Connecticut was hammered by a rare early nor’easter, a storm that dropped a foot and a half of sodden, wet snow on trees that still were carrying most of their leaves. Predictably, a lot of limbs snapped off, wreaking havoc with the distribution of electrical power (the Mistress was off the grid for four full days) and damaging untold numbers of trees.

The pheasant coops at the Sharon Pheasant Farm were, apparently, no match for the storm’s destructive power. They collapsed, releasing over 6,000 pheasants into the Great Outdoors. I can picture it now, pheasants jabbering to each other in whatever passes for Pheasant-Language:

“Awright, guys... the wall’s down and there ain’t no screws in sight! Let’s make a break for it - anyone stayin’ behind ends up on a plate!”

Since then, pheasant spotting has become an Everyman’s Sport in Sharon and its environs. Sunday, as we passed through the town - even as the Mistress was relating the story to us - a solitary pheasant stood in the middle of the road, as if to dare motorists to flatten him. We approached cautiously and slowed to a standstill, whereupon the unperturbed bird marched to the other side of the road as if to inspire a retort to the age-old Chicken Riddle.

Boids. I tells ya, there’s a soifeit of boids in da Nawtheast!


Bou said...

Happy Thanksgiving to y'all!

El Capitan said...

Wild turkeys will eat just about anything they can stuff down their gullet, but the ones down here seem partial to acorns & mesquite beans.

Every turkey I've unzipped usually has a crop full of acorns, smooshed grasshoppers and assorted vegetation. I've heard a flock of turkeys can chew a swath through soybean and millet fields, too.

Wilma said...

About 5 years ago I used to see a pheasant wandering the street on my way home from work every day for about a month or so. Strange creature to see wandering a barrio on the southwest side of Tucson. Oddly, after Thanksgiving I saw him no more. Wonder what happened to him....hmmmm.

BobG said...

I know several people who hunt wild turkey; they usually make soup from them, since they aren't as plump as the domestic breeds.

Gerry N. said...

Pheasants usually do fairly well in suburbia, now that most communities have leash laws and dogs running loose are not as common as they once were. Quail are another boid what does well around humanoids as long as there is sufficient cover, for "cover" read somewhere to hide and nest. Wild, or more correctly feral, pheasants are one of the tastiest morsels given by a loving G-d to his chirrens for their delight and nourishment. When I was a sprog of but six or seven years we was po' folk, and subsisted in large measure on foodstuffs that could be obtained for the trade of a few hours of labor or the expenditure of one or two .22 shorts, which cost less than 3 for a penny in the early 50's. Pheasants and prairie chickens were often on the table as were cottontails. Thanks were sincerely given to G-d for the bounty.

Jackrabbits, while more plentiful on the South Dakota prairie, we left to the coyotes as jackrabbit meat must be boiled for a day and a half, then ground at least thrice in order to soften it up sufficiently to drive a fork into the gravy. Merely chewing it has little effect.

One who subsists on jackrabbit meat can easily be sorted from the crowd as he will have massive jaw muscles and will often bite the heads off 20D common nails for sport.

Kevin Kim said...

This poem needs to be reworked, but it's got an ornithoid theme:

Impervious Bird

subpoppy said...

Look Homie:

You been lied to.

Once you taste a wild turkey, you'll never want to eat another farm raised bird. Given, the wings and the legs are of the rubber band texture when cooked. But the breast of the wild Rio or Hybrid or Merriams or South Mexican is like feathered ambrosia. Delicate with the slightest of game taste.

Wonderful deep fried.

I'd be a turkey hunter hard core, but picking pin feathers is such a pain in the ass, I can only bring myself to bust out the shotgun for one or two birds a year.


LeeAnn said...

I was just reading a list of group names for animals, and I was tickled to see a group of turkeys is called a "rafter" of turkeys, and a group of pheasants is a "bouquet." The prettiest one, though, is a "lamentation" of swans.

Elisson said...

@LeeAnn - Don't forget a "murder" of crows.

BobG said...

I've also seen a couple that people have made up that I like:
A pandemonium of children.
An irrelevance of golfers.

Fiona Kathleen Hogan said...

This was hysterical to read :)

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Houston Steve said...

Somebody's gotta be a nag, and it may as well be me. Those birds flying in the V-formation were Canada Geese, not Canadian geese. Unless, of course, you saw their entry visas, in which case I stand corrected.

Elisson said...

@Houston Steve - So noted. Putz.