May 19, 2013

"Seven cardinals but no hawks? Come on!"

"What the State Birds Should Be."
This has been the most depressing post I have ever put together. Three robins but no blue jay? Seven cardinals but no owls or hawks? Five filthy mockingbirds? This is what we pay taxes for, folks.

43 comments:

Rae said...

That's easy to explain. Hawks are carnivores. Cardinals are commies. If hawks were to take up the vegan lifestyle, they too would be honored as state birds.

Rae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

I was going to say that there's avoidance of birds of prey but people love the bald eagle as the national bird (and think the idea of having the turkey as the bird was ridiculous).

Also people love hawks and owls and don't think about them the way they think of vultures.

Rae said...

People love hawks and owls until they do something hawkish, like take a pigeon you're raising.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Mr. Lund needs to tighten that essay up considerably if he wants to get it posted on Cracked.com. He'll also need to work the word "badass" into it about a dozen times. Title it "Six Better State Birds."

Nice photos, though.

I guess that's really the point.

The Drill SGT said...

some of his picks make sense, but as a Californian, bred and born, I'd rather have the Quail to the Condor.

However there is a strong family resemblance between the California Condor and that other great carrion eater, the California Teachers Union

Mitchell the Bat said...

Also people love hawks and owls and don't think about them the way they think of vultures.

People admire such birds or they respect them or they're awed by them or they appreciate them.

Anybody who "loves" an apex predator is a litle sick in the head, like people who enjoy feeding rodents to their snakes or those low-life idiots who go into a fish store wanting to buy a 10 gallon aquarium and a piranha.

Althouse, sometimes you chose your words rather strangely.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Rae's right. Spend some time listening to a goldfinch as a hawk makes off with it to a nearby branch.

Love?

Astro said...

Oh, Christ, no - not the damned Flamingo for Florida. The Charles Nelson Reilly of birds.

No, the state bird of Florida should be the laid-back, graceful, amazing Brown Pelican.

wyo sis said...

Astro
No duplicates!

Astro said...

Wait - Louisiana has the Brown Pelican? That's just not right; waaay too laid back for exuberant Louisiana. Louisiana should have that flashy, squawking, hot pink Madame on stilts, the Flamingo. Flaming...

MrCharlie2 said...

Gold finch, who could ask for better

Paddy O said...

I'm with Drill SGT, the California Quail is a great choice, fitting all the criteria that gets approval for others states.

Quite fun to watch scurrying about. I miss living in a place where they are regular visitors.



Paddy O said...

His comments on Floria were great.

dreams said...

When I think of my favorite college basketball team, I don't think of the Louisville Kentucky warblers and when I'm cheering my team on, I don't yell go WARBS, thankfully.

I have to say though that the KY warbler is a pretty bird.

Astro said...

Actually, the Double-Creasted Cormorant should be the state bird of Lousiana.
The Brown Pelican's habitat barely reaches to Louisiana, whereas the Cormorant thrives there.

dreams said...

Bird day at Althouse.

wyo sis said...

I'll agree with the Wyoming choice. But find a picture of a grouse taken in Wyoming at least.

Gahrie said...

The California state bird should be the road runner. with a sombrero on its head.

Meade said...

Wisconsin's state bird should be the northern cardinal: Cardinalis cardinalis, known colloquially as the redbird.

edutcher said...

How dast those cardinals disrespect state lines?

mariner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mariner said...

Like I'm going to read what some Slate dipshit thinks the state birds should be?

Not in this lifetime.

Dusty said...

Lund provided some nice alternatives, especially the painted bunting for Arkansas, even though Arkansas is only it's summer breeding ground.

Actually several of his alternatives happened to be those birds for which the state was only the summer breeding ground. As an attraction for the state, that may worth choosing it, but is a migrant the best bird then for choosing as a state bird?

I found it funny that, according to the range map, the Mississippi Kite, another migrant, tends to avoid, of all places, Mississippi when coming to the Gulf states for the summer.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Some of those are excellent picks (definitely the gyrfalcon for Alaska). I thought OR and CA were a bit tendentious -- I mean, I see the advantage to an endangered species of being declared an official state bird, but isn't the idea of a state bird that it typifies the state?

Me, I'd go with the California quail for CA, the Steller's jay for OR.

As for the guys hate-on for mockingbirds, I don't get it. I love mockingbirds. And miss them now that I'm in OR, because there aren't any mockingbirds in the state. I don't know why not -- you'd think they could live here as well as they could live anywhere -- but we're outside their range.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Cerulean warbler for NY? Nah. Depending on whether you want to be inspirational or self-deprecatory, it's either the peregrine falcon or its favorite Manhattan meal, the city pigeon.

ricpic said...

I'm glad New York's official bird is the bluebird, truly a beautiful - and very shy - bird. Though why they call it the eastern bluebird is beyond me, just bluebird will do. Okay, I just googled western bluebird and there is such a critter, orange vested as opposed to the neutral vested eastern so...nevermind.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As for the guys hate-on for mockingbirds, I don't get it. I love mockingbirds.

I hate the mockingbirds. They are loud and go on forever showing off their repertoire. Not that they aren't skilled and it is somewhat interesting all the different bird sounds that they can make. The annoying thing is that they are NOT repetitive or predictable in their 'noise'. Try sleeping in on a Sunday morning with a mockingbird going off at the butt crack of dawn in a tree right outside of your window. A normal bird will just repeat the same song over and over and you can kind of tune it out after you get used to the rhythm of the song. Not so with a mockingbird. Damn!!! SHUT UP!!!!!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

ricpic,

And there's the mountain bluebird, with no orange at all. Lund's pick for Idaho (whose state bird it already is).

I grew up in NY and I think I saw an Eastern bluebird there once. Cerulean warbler, never.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ, fair enough. Mockingbirds certainly do start in early, and they're hard to tune out because the ceaseless invention is so darned interesting. The irritating thing is that back in CA I had no call to be awake at 5 a.m., but the mockingbirds were going nuts at that hour, whereas now I do have to wake up around then, and there aren't any mockingbirds.

Anyway, music is my profession, and it's just so cool to hear them improvise, vary, riff on other birds' songs, &c. If birds had copyright law ...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

DBQ,

One other thing: Earplugs. Really.

creeley23 said...

I've taken no small delight that the state reptile of New York is the Snapping Turtle, which was voted in by the legislature after a children's campaign for Mr. S. Turtle in 2006.

mariner said...

Michelle Dulak Thompson,
Anyway, music is my profession, and it's just so cool to hear them improvise, vary, riff on other birds' songs, &c. If birds had copyright law ...

Then mockingbirds would be paying large fines and some would be in jail.

Even bird-brains are smart enough to avoid some human fads.

ken in sc said...

I grew up in Alabama but I never saw a Yellow Hammer. However, it was used in a popular cheer at football games—Rammer-Jammer Yellow Hammer, give ‘em hell Alabammer.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Enh, just lost a comment.

Creeley23, I was in a NY children's campaign in the mid-70s, to make the Karner Blue butterfly the state insect. I sort of spearheaded the thing, designed the petitions (though someone ended up re-drawing my 4th-grader's drawing of a Karner Blue on a lupin with something looking more, um, professional, as in "traced." I was on local TV presenting the massive pile of petitions to our Assemblyman.

Need I say that we lost? To a ladybug. Meanwhile, the Karner Blue is now the state butterfly of ... New Hampshire. (They've hedged by having a ladybug too.)

If Lund thinks seven states choosing the cardinal as state bird is excessive, he ought to see the sixteen states that picked the European honey bee as state insect. And that's with nine states not bothering with a state insect.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

mariner,

Then mockingbirds would be paying large fines and some would be in jail.

Nah. In the first place, unless the other birds thought to put their own songs in a "fixed and tangible medium," they don't even hold copyright in the US. Supposing their to have arranged to fix their work, the mockingbirds might be paying license fees, or facing injunctions (violations of which might indeed result in jail time). But how do you assess monetary damages for copyright infringement when the ones being infringed are giving the product away for free?

Sorry. Damn course is long over, and I still have copyright on the brain.

William said...

In keeping with the rigid separation of church and state, no birds of pray should be considered. And, of course, that includes cardinals.

Nomennovum said...

The New York State bird is , if I recall correctly, the Blue Bird. I've never seen a Blue Bird. I doubt more than a handful of people have.

It should be the Rock Dove -- commonly known as the pigeon.

The Godfather said...

I've lived in 5 states, and the only one whose bird I ever knew was the Baltimore Oriole. That wasn't hard if you lived in MD when Cal Ripkin and Eddie Murray were playing for the O's. After that, things went downhill pretty fast. I think it should be the Dodo now.

Clyde said...

Flamingos really aren't a good choice for Florida because they aren't native to most of the state. I think better choices might be the anhinga, the little blue heron, the white ibis or one of our other wading birds that are more common. For ubiquity, the cattle egret, although they're an invasive species that only arrived in the 1950s. The anhinga would be my first choice, though. Like cormorants, their feathers aren't waterproof because they don't have any oil on them, so they have to stand around with wings extended until they dry out after swimming.

furious_a said...

Mockingbirds are as Texas as a NO TRESPASSING sign. And as territorial -- I've lost count of the number of times I've watched a nesting pair run off a much larger bird of prey.

John said...

I live in Iowa, and I see goldfinches all the time. It's a great state bird for us, and I have no idea why he thinks they're boring. Has he ever even seen that brilliant flash of yellow as a goldfinch flies by?

John said...

Of course, I was born and raised in Missouri, and I never once have seen a bluebird there... maybe the red-tailed hawk would be a good one. However, I think an even better choice for Missouri would be the cardinal, since it's already known for the Cardinals (Arizona stole their Cardinals from us as well, so they don't count). No other state has any such cardinal connection, not even Wisconsin. ;-)