Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Noble Snow Chicken

Today I am dedicating this blog post to a truly noble beast that no one gives its due. It is often referred to as the "snow chicken." And, given that it is winter and there is still snow in front of my house I thought it only fair to give this animal a little honorable mention. Another name it has is the ptarmigan. The 'p' that starts its name is just for show, so it is pronounced "Tar-mig-an." See, the bird is getting tricky already.

The reason the ptarmigan is so tricky is because he has to be. He is the official game bird for Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada. So, he's always on the run, usually being chased by backwoodsy types with enormous fur coats. Fortunately, in other places he is more respected, and not made the Josey Wales type. In Nunavut Canada he is the official bird (that seems nicer than official game bird). In America he is called the partridge, and even plays an integral part in Christmas music as you can recall from the Twelve Days of Christmas.

But one good reason we can admire this noble snow chicken is because of his actions. The male ptarmigan's song is a loud croaking (not unlike the Budweiser Frogs) And, if that weren't enough, it turns out that they can be surprisingly tame and approachable. If you don't like the idea of a guard dog, perhaps you should get a snow chicken to croak at would be robbers. Furthermore, they are rough and tumble birds only living in harsh climates like the mountains of Scotland, the Pyrenees, the Alps, Bulgaria, the Urals, the Pamir Mountains, the Atlay Mountains and Japan. They are in essence the mountain men of the bird world.

I personally plan on owning a snow chicken. I will probably get him a spike collar and call him Bruno. 

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