A flash movement
near what appeared to be a large printing plant caught my eye.
Following after the movement, I approached a small vegetation cove
and beheld a bird I'd never seen before.
I was dumbstruck." Dr.
Acorn described the new bird. "It was an ungainly creature, quite
lanky, with large wings, but a scrawny frame.
It resembles large sea-going birds, reminding me instantly of a
petrel or albatross. In
mannerism, it was cowering in the cove, looking about indecisively.
A plane taking off from the local airport startled the bird and
threw the poor creature into terrible fits of ruffling feathers and
scratching feet. Then, noting
my presence, the bird quite lost it, making an odd stuttering sound
repeatedly, sounding forth to seemingly no purpose.
It had a tremendously ugly yet flagrant plume atop it's head that
was striking to the point of artificiality."
ornithologists welcome news of the discovery but some remain skeptical of
confirming a new bird. Ernie Tripolito – his friends jokingly call him “Ornie”
- the Director of Bird Issues at the Center for Bird Issues, issued the
following statement on Dr. Acorn's discovery.
"Despite Dr. Acorn's renowned reputation, I remain extremely
wary of a new species in that particular ecosystem.
I find it difficult that such a bird species, with an obviously
sparse population, could endure in the fetid, chemically-saturated
environment of the Hackensack swamps. On the other hand, perhaps this new species demonstrates that a
hardy bird can thrive there. It's
way too early to tell, and perhaps we'll never really know until more
studies are done. It's an issue we here at the Center for Bird Issues will
watch closely, and if necessary issue further statements on the issue.
his office, amidst tasteful bird-themed prints and objects, Dr. Acorn
countered Tripolito's analysis. "Look, Ernie sits over there cooped up in his Bird
Issues office and holds forth on bird issues, but he never gets out in the
field. Where's his research?
I understand he has a parakeet in his office - oh, and a bird
feeder in his yard. Whoa, big
bird man! Now he does do a
worthy job of publicizing important bird issues and in the process
publicizes his center and himself. I
think Ernie has some quote-unquote 'serious issues.' That's fine. Still,
I would invite Ernie to come out and get some fresh air and join me in the
swamps to see this incredible new bird for himself."
here at the company is in stitches, god forbid my boss gets wind of
the discoverer of any new species goes the distinguished honor of naming
that species, and on the subject, Dr. Acorn - his close colleagues
good-naturedly call him "Dickie" - turns philosophical.
"It's a gigantic responsibility, finding and naming a new
species. Since my discovery, I have gotten input from bird-lovers the
world over. It's really
refreshing to see the level of attraction that humans hold for birds.
Modesty prevents me from providing detail, but some female bird
lovers are a little too enthusiastic.”
Dr. Acorn turns emphatic. "Let
me just say right now that this new bird WILL NOT be named the ‘Panties
Bird’ or 'Panty Bird.' I
appreciate a good joke but enough is enough.
Please, PLEASE stop fooling around out there and messing with
important bird science and research."
in what direction is Dr. Acorn leaning?
"Well," he muses, rubbing the top of his gracefully
balding head. "I could
go the ego route, and call it 'Dickie Bird,' which frankly has a pleasing
ring to it. I think 'Dickbird'
on the other hand, conjures unpleasant connotations." Dr. Acorn seems frustrated, tension lines creasing his pallid
complexion. "This is not an easy process," he states glumly.
the end, Dr. Acorn's modest reputation wins out. "The new bird's
salient characteristics are it's cowering nature, the disgusting head
plumage, a kind of stuttering indecisiveness, combined with the strong
resemblance to seagoing birds. Yet
it's not nearly as graceful in appearance as those voyaging species.
Therefore I am going to christen the new species the "Homely
Albatross," with a more commonly used name of 'Halbatross'."
Acorn obtained a PhD in ornithology (with a specialization in
bird-droppings) from the Jersey City Institute for the Birds - which he
also founded. He is the
author of numerous best-selling books including, "Flip your
and/or Bush?" and his most recent comedy effort, "Be a
Birdbrain!" He lectures frequently at convalescent homes and all-girl
high schools, but is more often and happily found mucking around in
various bird-infested locations, seeking new species and a greater overall
knowledge of birds. Learn
more at his website: birdpoop.com.