Monday, August 23, 2010

RARE SCARLET-PHASE PIGMY VULTURE?

"Monday, Monday," sang Mama Cass, "Can't trust that day…"
But if you thought your Monday turned out bad, just look at this rare scarlet-phase pigmy vulture…a.k.a. plain old cardinal.
What a difference a few feathers makes!
You have to wonder what this normally natty ol' redbird would think if he could see himself in a mirror. Would he be aghast? Would he try and roost with the buzzards in the sycamores across on the island? Do chickadees flee in terror while pileated woodpeckers double over in laughter every time they see his ugly mug?
Molting is such a drag. No wonder most of his feather-regenerating time is spent hiding in the underbrush. Yet a feller has to eat; the occasional daylight foraging excursion must be made…and as luck would have it, there's always some member of the paparazzi waiting to snap your photo and slap the unflattering shot up on the Internet. Just ask those chagrined movie and T.V. folk who simply popped out for a double dip of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, sans makeup, comb-over, and tummy-tucking jeans, and a week later found full-page screaming color images of their sorry-looking selves plastered all over the supermarket tabloids.
Of course it doesn't help when one assumes a doltish, rather guilty expression. Where's that noble redbird visage—the patrician beak, the regal eyes, the striking red-and-black neck and facial cloak, the glorious crest? Who's the doofus with an oversized honker worthy of a parrot?
I almost feel ashamed posting this…almost. But hey, it could be worse—the vulture look could be permanent instead of just temporary. Count your blessing!
Now, if I were you, I'd skedaddle back into the underbrush.
———————

20 comments:

Bonnie said...

I would feel guilty reading your list of insults if I wasn't giggling so hard.

Poor little fellow. We've all had bad hair days - at least they only last 24 hours.

George said...

That is one odd looking bird! I was shocked to learn that it is a cardinal. I actually thought I was looking at a pigmy vulture. Once I saw that it was a cardinal, I assumed that his condition was the result of flying into your windows, that suicidal practice we talked about a few days ago. Thanks for the posting. I just hope I can get to sleep tonight.

Jenn Jilks said...

Cute! My 2 ½ year-old does a good 'vulture' look, too!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

Yup, being the neighborhood scarlet dandy has its price. And this look will continue a lot longer than 24 hours. Gotta be tough on the self-image.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

Ha! If Mr. Redbird did this by flying repeatedly into my window, I'd have already given his lifeless carcass a proper burial. But I don't think you could head-pluck this fellow any more completely if you scrubbed him with a power-washer.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jenn…

I hope he looks better afterwards than this cardinal!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

HAHAHA! I love this post. It was a long work day and a giggle is just what I needed!
Thanks Griz!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Lynne…

Hey, glad the cardinal and I gave you a laugh. (Speaking only for myself, of course; who knows how the cardinal feels about the matter?)

Jain said...

Great capture, Grizz, I expect this image to be in the next edition of Sibley's!

Bernie said...

Have a glass of wine Grizz, this bird will look better then I promise....Hugs

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

Sibley's? Don't think scarlet-phase pigmy vulture is in there now. Why, I'll have a whole section, including photos! I'll be famous!

Nahhhhhhh…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

Your suggestion is great, but your estimation of the amount of wine necessary to make this bird look good is short by about three gallons. (That'd be two for me, one for Mr. Redbird.)

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh my goodness me - talk about being caught with your knickers down, as they say! You know me, Jim, the cardinal is my all time favourite bird - oh the ignomony.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

I do know your fondness for cardinals, and hope I haven't disillusioned you too much. However, just as clothes make the man (or woman), feathers make the bird!

Richard said...

The first year Cardinals and Blue Jays go through their molt a little earlier then the adult birds. I also feel a little sorry for them in their ratty condition.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Well, I never knew they really molted til bare...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Richard…

This is by far the worst looking cardinal I've seen—though there's a female who looks bad. The other cardinals are just, as you say, ratty.

I do sorta feel sorry for them in this condition.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Teri…

Not all of them seem to do it this way, though maybe I just don't see them. But I mostly see cardinals with little clumps of missing feathers—ratty looking, as Richard said—but not really so completely bare in such a large area.

Jayne said...

Snickering and yet feeling sorry for him at the same time!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

Yes indeedy…it's hard not to smirk are the sight of cocky ol' Mr. Redbird temporarily reduced to a scarlet turkey.