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“The Great Flamingo Uprising”

The staunch Never Yet Melted points to this amazing story:

In addition to the aviary/jungle exhibit, our zoo has several species of birds that pretty much have the run of the place. They started with a small flock of flamingos and some free-range peacocks that I’m almost certain came from my old piano teacher’s farm. She preferred them to chickens. At some point in time, they also acquired a pair of white swans (Or as I call them, “hellbirds”) and some ornamental Asian duckies to decorate the pond next to the picnic area. Pigeons, crows, assorted ducks and a large number of opportunistic Canada geese moved in on their own.

Now; the ponds that dot the zoo property (I don’t remember how many there are but the one by the picnic area is the only one with swans) were also full of ginormous koi fish, some of whom by now are at least three feet long. Sensing an opportunity to cash in on the koi, the zoo put up little vending machines all over the place that dispense handfuls of food pellets. I swear to god the fish can hear the crank turning, and will show up at the nearest railing, blooping expectantly at whoever happens to be standing there and doing their best to appear starving and desperate.

And they weren’t the only ones who learned to associate the sound with the imminent arrival of food. The Canada geese knew a good deal when they saw one, and had long since ceased to migrate anyway. They formed roving gangs of thug-geese and staked out their turf around the vending machines, ready to mug anyone with pocket change. Picture yourself as a small child squaring off with a bird fully prepared to strip search you while standing on your feet and yelling “HWAAAAAKK!!” in your face. It’s traumatizing to you and deeply hilarious to your parents.

Anyway.

The flamingos had their spot near the zoo entrance and never seemed to mind the presence of the other birds, as they kept themselves to themselves and didn’t really like the taste of fish pellets. The problem lay in that their shrimp pond was close to a vending machine. Ordinarily that wouldn’t have been an issue at all, but eventually, the goose population grew large enough that one of the gangs decided to annex it. Being territorial little shits, they would harass the poor flamingos any time they strayed within ten feet of it. The flamingos tolerated this for years until one day they snapped collectively. Here’s a summary of the incident in chronological order.

1.) It was a hot day, so everyone in question both human and avian, were cranky by the time the zoo even opened.
2.) A few flamingos (let’s call them The Jets) strayed into the radius of the vending machine and were immediately confronted by the indignant hissing geese (The Sharks)
3.) Possibly due to heat and the simple fact that the geese had been giant douchebags for far too long, the flamingos decided fuck it, this time they were going to FIGHT BACK DAMMIT, and swarmed the geese en mass.
4.) Chaos ensued. The geese were outnumbered 4 to 1 but had the advantage of being able to scream for back-up.
5.) Hearing the shrieking Canada geese and the bellowing of the enraged flamingos, the peacocks came to the conclusion that the apocalypse had come upon them and began to gather in the surrounding trees in droves and wail in despair. Or cheer them on, whichever.
6.) NOISE
7.) Apparently one of the siege tactics employed by the geese is to shit explosively all over the sidewalks. Never in the grass.
8.) The geese, having secured reinforcements from all over the zoo, went berserk and proceeded to attack EVERYBODY who had come to watch be they human or otherwise.
9.) The flamingos were chasing/being chased by the geese through the crowd accompanied by cheers/wails from the peacocks in the box seats.
10.) Complete pandemonium when the zoo tram became stalled on the tracks by the flamingo pond due to battling birds. The Jets, sensing these were somehow reinforcements on the side of the Sharks, charged the tram. Adults were doing the duck and cover. So were the ducks. Small children were screaming, adding to the noise. People were slipping on goose shit and hitting the ground in the fetal position, only to be stampeded by the rampaging flamingos.
11.) The koi continued to bloop hopefully for food.
12.) Two of the geese were cornered by a rival gang of their own and were chased into the swan pond. Cue slow-motion.
13.) The swans detected an enemy presence in their territory and by god, SOMEBODY was going to PAY.
14.) The staff were having no luck in breaking up the fight and on the verge of giving up and just building another zoo elsewhere when the hellbirds stormed the battlefield, trumpeting battle-cries, to dispense feathered justice. The staff promptly dropped their brooms and fled.
15.) The uprising was squashed in less than two minutes. Number of casualties was unknown, feathers were flying everywhere and there was enough goose shit to build another bird. One staff member had been knocked to the ground and was left with a melon sized bruise courtesy of one of the hellbirds. Several children were traumatized, probably for life. The zoo eventually removed the vending machine by the flamingos.

The geese went back to being giant douchebags. Because geese.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rob De Witt October 3, 2019, 11:44 AM

    I believe the uprising was quashed, not squashed – else visions of pressed duck.

  • James ONeil October 3, 2019, 12:14 PM

    Haven’t tried it, mind you, but I’ve heard if you tie a piece of pork fat back to a very long string and put it in front of one goose, very soon you have a long string of geese.

  • OldFert October 3, 2019, 1:38 PM

    Now *THAT’s* entertainment.

  • PA Cat October 3, 2019, 3:01 PM

    The geese went back to being giant douchebags. Because geese.
    Just ask Captain Sullenberger and the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549.

  • Gordon Scott October 3, 2019, 4:00 PM

    Around the Twin Cities, geese can be a real menace. If they find a grassy area they like, they can overgraze it as quickly as a herd of cattle. There are lots of ponds and lakes with walking/jogging paths, and the geese can menace anyone on the path. Of course, every other person here owns a golden Labrador retriever, which has never retrieved anything. But the instinct remains, and they aren’t scared of the geese.

    The abundance of year-round geese has also, I think, contributed to the growing population of urban foxes, coyotes, and even wolves. Raccoons are all over the city, including my compost pile, and the turkeys turn up constantly Eagles are so unremarkable that the DNR stopped counting them several years ago when the count of breeding pairs exceeded 10,000.

    Someone said to me, “Oh, it must be very stressful for all of those animals to live so close to humans.” I laughed and replied, “As far as the animals know, it’s always been like this. They like it or they’d leave.”

  • Jewel October 3, 2019, 5:12 PM

    For some reason known only to Building Code Dipshits, the new construction of Whatever must include wetlands. Swamps. So when the Miller farm in East Petersburg was sold to make a Wawa, it came with a moat. When Red Rose Plaza on Fruitville pike was built, it came with a huge swamp right next to it, even though it was a 200 year old dairy farm 20 years ago.
    But the bennies for mosquito breeding grounds are: mosquitos, dead crows that get mosquito sicknesses…and Canada geese…who never go back to Canada because why bother?

  • Auntie Analogue October 3, 2019, 6:20 PM

    At one of my duty stations, just outside my second deck barrack compartment’s windows was a tree whose densely foliaged meandering branches were home to a colony of pea fowl. Round the clock the peacocks let out their unearthly screech-howl. During the early weeks of my tour there, that piercing screech-howl woke me faster than an aerosol air horn could. Adaptable as our species is, within two months of enduring the cries of those birds I managed to sleep through them undisturbed.

    Outside the barracks the black, ropy, runny pea fowl excrement, shat from up in the tree’s branches, plopped to earth and draped willy-nilly upon itself in bizarre macramé-like tangles ranging in size from that of a saucer to the diameter of an automobile tire. Their poop knots everywhere littered the greenswards and concrete walks. At the end of a night of imbibing at the EM club, on our way back to our quarters my shipmates and I exercised due vigilance for our footfalls lest we’d tread in the fowls’ foulness – not only because pea fowl shit stinks to high heaven, but also because removing it from one’s footwear is a long, tedious, intensely disagreeable endeavor.

    What’s more, peacocks are goose-like in their aggressive, full-fan-feathered rushes at human passersby. While walking in the vicinity of the barrack’s entrance we’d keep ourselves on Orange Alert for those annoying birds.

  • Nori October 3, 2019, 9:32 PM

    Large avians crap largely. And with great stench. There’s the added bonus of viruses we have yet to experience.
    Feral things used to feed on scraps,now we actively feed them.
    This is not a formula for a good outcome,but here we are.

  • Sam L. October 4, 2019, 10:29 AM

    Zat vass FUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN-NEEEEEE.

  • Snakepit Kansas October 5, 2019, 5:33 AM

    Canadian geese around here are formally known as Sky Carp, and have no aversion to dumping their guts while flying. We had a short rain a few days ago and I noticed a remarkable pile of goose poo that the rain had washed off the roof, into the gunner and into the downspout and spilled into the driveway.