Monday, June 18, 2007

Giant Birds 2

Once again, Bryan puts his finger on an important and puzzling phenomenon of our times. This giantism among the bird population - and only among the bird population - is perhaps most strikingly demonstrated by the reintroduced Red Kites(mentioned in my post 'More Nige Birds')that fly casually, and terrifyingly hugely, around the paddocks and suburban streets of Bucks. Like wood pigeons, pheasants are now so portly and overfed they can barely take to the air, and huge herons continue to spread alarm wherever there's a 'water feature'. The Ring Necked Parakeet which is now taking over London is not only out of place and raucous but also out of scale. A lot of this, oddly, is down to the same factors that are supersizing sections of the human population - too much of everything, especially fast food and waste (and 'water features') - but it seems counter-intuitive. We expect things to loom larger in our childhood and dwindle as we grow older. With birds, in this generation, the reverse has happened, and the birds of our childhood seem dainty little things compared to what's flapping laboriously around now. We rarely saw a cormorant or heron, let alone a red kite. It also runs counter to ideas of all Nature being huddled defensively against the onslaughts of wicked Man. Large creatures, for obvious reasons, have a harder time staying alive, and are dependent on large supplies of food and human goodwill (i.e. not shooting them). Yes, we've made our country too cushy for these avian giants, we softhearted British, egged on by the likes of cuddly Bill Oddie and that extremely powerful charity, the RSPB. We have made a land fit for gigantic birds, if not for very much else. I blame myself.


  1. Quite so, but man's impact on nature might very well be expressed by the sudden imbalance you describe. Mightn't it?

  2. well, i told you it was a fahkin' ostridge, didn't i? they're all over the shop.

    anyway, you're wrong - little birds are shortlived, it's the bigger ones that live long and prosper. why owls live to be 103 years old, whether they want to or not. you can't kid the dna.

    so, what news of the great bustard?

  3. What news indeed? I think he was last seen promoting some book or other.

  4. Yes indeed, Bryan - man's benign impact. As Blake wisely remarked, 'Without man, Nature is barren'... Happily though, Ian, the plot to swamp the country with crazed Giant Bustards is not making spectacular progress, despite the best efforts of the Great Bustard Group. Can't win em all...

  5. hey, Bryan - that paper you sometimes write for got it bloody wrong too! About Hockney's bigger trees near warter, remember? It was that chap AA Gill, god he's gone down in my estimation. still, I bet it wasn't his fault. I mean, you've only got to look at the thing and ask yourself, ''what bleeding water?!''.

    anyway, if you google 'hockney's bigger trees', the popular return is '...near water', so I don't know why Dave bothered. Where on christ's planet is Warter anyway?!!!

    (sorry, nige - nice post btw.)

  6. that, nige, may have something to do with trying to introduce them to salisbury plain, a place devoid of regular human natural compassion. I've heard they sit around all day trying to hatch unexploded ordnance. silly bustards.

  7. Yes that sounds like typical bustard behaviour. Some animals are clearly hellbent on extinction, yet we insist on standing in their way, if they're big enough or cute enough. Consider the Giant Panda's idea of a diet - it's a wonder they've lasted this long.

  8. that's just plain foolish, what are they thinking of at zoo central? bring back Johnny Morris!

    you have meat substitute for vegetarians, right? well, not a great leap of the imagination, I'd have thought, to come up with bamboo substitute using animal protein - they could use donkey cock, as seen on Paul Merton in China - a billion chinese swear by it! and who wouldn't, given that as a main meal! but my point is, it's almost the right size and shape!

  9. i guess if birds are getting bigger & more uppity, 'tis only a matter of time before we have another dragon infestation. i remember those fuckers.

    The sole advantage of dragons is that, being immune to any but magical weapons, which are in short supply now Kafka is dead, they really usurp Man's position at the top of the food chain. Which is good because people have been getting more & more insolent since Nietzsche slew God with a +2 longsword, during the First World War, i believe it was. There's a scroll about it somewhere, also it proves that your man Jeffrey Archer is descended from an ape, or something.

    Worth thinking about.

  10. What about Ligers. They're pretty much my favourite animal. Bred for their skills in magic.

  11. Can they saw a woman in half?

  12. liger? that's Latin for river, isn't it?

    i always like the idea of wyverns

  13. Hey Bryan what about those giant bunnies:

    'Monster Rabbit Stalks U.K. Village'.

    I say we've got to keep an eye on those bunnies. They may even be the instigators of those squirrel attacks.

    'Bunnies aren't just cute like
    everybody supposes!
    They got them hoppy legs
    And twitchy little noses!
    And what's with all the carrots?
    What do they need such good eyesight
    for anyway?
    Bunnies! Bunnies! It must be bunnies!'

  14. Never had a link to a Buffy script before, Dave, thanks. And you're right about bunnies. We are under siege, no doubt about it.

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