This post was co-published at talanhorne.com.
Everybody loves chickens.
You love chickens. I love chickens. The whole world loves chickens.
And it isn't hard to see why. Chickens are small. Chickens are (mostly) gentle. And even if you have zero experience with livestock, you can spend an afternoon in the company of chickens without a lot of headaches. They're fun to watch and interact with. Apart from that, they also provide delicious meat and nutritious eggs.
Many people actually keep chickens, even in urban areas (local laws permitting). They make good hobby animals and can coexist with a variety of other pets.
Likewise, ducks are universally beloved.
They're adorably awkward. They're non-agressive. And the way they shake their little tails is just too precious. Ducks are therapeutic, which is why so many people feed them during a leisurely visit to the park.
I will never hate ducks, no matter how my life turns out.
And I am particularly fond of Hummingbirds. But then, who isn't?
Hummingbirds are so celebrated that there are bird feeders specifically designed to cater to them. And these feeders are often more popular than the traditional seed dispensers used for other birds.
The bright and shimmering plumage of male hummingbirds make them look like little flying brooches, and who wouldn't want to be visited by one of those?
Yes, there are many kinds of birds that we all love. Some are loved for their beauty, others for their usefulness. On the whole, birds are wonderful.
Oh, but there is more to this story. Among the rainbow of birds in this world, we find a few that are not so innocent. Some have earned the fear of many species, as talented and voracious predators. Others are a nuisance---as much a pest as any rodent. And some are simply detestable.
For today's post, I will reveal those among the Avian Class that have won my hatred, and memorialize that feeling here. It's not one of my usual topics, sure, but it needs to be said, because some crimes simply can't go unmentioned.
I resent the fact that owls present themselves as the wisest of all birds, knowing that particular honor could go to a number of other worthy contenders: ravens, crows, and African Grey Parrots, to name a few.
But, in some ways, it's appropriate for owls to be depicted---in a cartoonish fashion---as curiosities perched in a magician's study, surrounded by books.
This kind of image suggests, in its own misguided way, the owl's true nature as an eldritch creature of arcane prowess. Owls are primal killers invested with perverse talents. When a creature can suddenly change the number of toes it has, or turn its head entirely around on its neck, something seriously wrong is going on.
In nature, owls are apex predators. They fear nothing, but are feared by all.
The above footage was taken in Israel, and reveals an owl hunting eagles for food. The eagle that gets carried away can be safely presumed as eaten. Owls are horrifying.
And yet, I don't hate them.
Owls are killers, but only in the same way that nature itself is a killer. All their violence is done in the name of survival. Nothing about it is mean or cruel. It's just the food chain.
This is an important sticking point. All the birds that follow are worse than owls precisely because they do not share the owl's unfortunate necessity. From here on out, I list only birds that are unsympathetic.
Geese are monsters.
They present themselves as cousins to the much more beloved ducks, even going so far as to hide among these friendlier waterfowl. But make no mistake: they are vicious and wicked.
It is said that the dark lord Morgoth first created geese from captured ducks he locked in the deepest cells in the pits of Angband. There they were tortured and mutilated into the forms they assume today.
But they cannot hide their true nature for long. When a goose approaches, it is looking for a fight. Not content to simply wait for you to drop bread in front of them, they will try to take the whole loaf from you, even attacking should you give them an opening.
Children, in particular, can fall victim to a goose's brutality. They will peck, slap, and even ram young children, often without provocation.
They're only redeeming quality is the softness of their down, and that is gathered at great peril by anyone bold enough to reach under their wings.
I hate geese, and I wish for their destruction.
But there is one bird I hate even more.
Flying filth. Feathered rat. Eleventh plague of Egypt.
"I'll always be watching."
Call them what you will, they are the most detestable of all birds. They are unsanitary in the extreme, and they are often forced to confine themselves to rooftops and parapets, as there is no earthbound species that will suffer their presence.
And you can always tell when they are near. Unlike other birds that only chirp when communicating, a pigeon's asthmatic rasping sounds with every breath. You'll be sitting on your couch, minding your own business, and you'll hear one wheezing at your window, staring at you.
They only thing they give to the world is their excrement. And that piles up in the most inconvenient of places. In particular, they love to defecate on ancient houses of worship, in contempt of all that is good and holy.
As carriers of lice and worms, pigeons are a danger to other birds. They live as parasites on human society and breed like flies.
I hate pigeons. I hate them enough to wish that genetic engineers would invent the one creature that can eradicate them: the cat snake.
Apparently, I am not the only one, as a simple Google search of "Cat Snake" brought up several relevant images.
Imagine a future where a pigeon's last moments include seeing a cat's jaws unhinge, and a bottomless throat open up to consume them. Maybe I shall see it happen in my day. If not, then I must content myself with hating pigeons (particularly the ones that hang out on my balcony; seriously, I cannot even step outside anymore).
It's Your Turn
Those are the birds I hate. Do you agree with my assessment? Did I neglect to mention any detestable species of birds?
If so, then please leave a comment detailing which birds are the most odious, and I will be sure to avoid them in the future.
Until they manage to invent cat snakes, that is.