Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Those Birds

In New York City and London you see tons of pigeons.  They're everywhere.

In Sydney, there might be pigeons.  I don't remember.    But the prevalent bird is the Ibis.

They're everywhere.

I did a lot of research about Australia before we left for our holiday.   I don't remember reading anything about the Ibis.   I read about parrots and Kookaburras.  

No Ibis.

And suddenly there they were.

My cousin asked me if I knew what they were.

I had no idea.   She said she figured I would know since I seemed to know so much about Australia.

Why is this bird kept such a secret?

Are the Australians ashamed of the Ibis?


I love animals, but this bird is a bit hard to love.

Jack and I were at first enthusiastic about the whole thing.   I love anything that makes Australia different from North America.    Christmas in summer instead of winter.  Vegemite instead of peanut butter.   Ibises instead of pigeons.

You're not supposed to feed the Ibis--well according to some signs posted.  We ignored the rules.  Once.   We learned or lesson.

The Ibis is very aggressive.   Oh, I hate to stereotype, but I kind of think it's true.  Okay?

One flew down while Jack was eating and grabbed a piece of turkey right out of Jack's hand.   A bit rude if you ask me.

I witnessed a worse crime by another Ibis.   He stuck his head in the garbage can to find food and ended up scattering bits of litter all around the grass.    For the rest of the holiday, when I saw litter around, I could no longer silently curse other tourists for trashing Australia.  For all I knew the guilty party may very well have been a bird.

Despite it's unethical behavior, the Ibis is beautiful and graceful looking.   He's very photogenic.

Okay, there I got the obligatory positive statement out there.

Now for more bad stuff.

The Ibis poops too much.   I think Sydney needs to invest in some toilets for these guys.   It gets a bit gross.

A popular hang out for the Ibis is the playground in Darling Harbor.   So there is poop everywhere.   You can't really sit or stand anywhere without coming into contact with the white stuff.

Once I sat with my friend Michelle.  We chatted as we watched our children play on the climbing equipment.   An Ibis came over and pooped on my backpack.

I was disgusted but Michelle cheered me up.   She said it could be souvenir.  

It sounded so much better when put in that context.   I wiped it off a bit--well, because keeping it completely there might be a bit too gross.   

Thank you, Mr. Ibis.   I treasure the gift you gave me and the faint leftovers that are still on my backpack.