The best way to enjoy birdwatching is to go out into the wild and enjoy nature’s beautiful creatures in their native habitat. I went for a bicycle ride on Sunday and enjoyed observing the following amazing feathered friends.
- Komhawk: Falco whakkus: The Komhawk is very slender, long-legged, and long-winded, averaging 150-155 lbs. and significantly less on Zwift. In adult birds, the upperparts are dark blue-grey lycra with a silly logo or emblem resembling an infringed trademark from Target, with the usual beaked nose and receding cyclist chin contrasting sharply with the slight tummy bulge. This species may be confused with the Zwift Falcon (Falco smarttrainerus) and the Trainerroad Falcon (Falco dumbtrainerus) which have similar brain anomalies but are primarily found indoors swathed in their own sweat and bad smell. The Komhawk’s habitat is roads with a tailwind, the rear wheel of mopeds, and any fast-moving group that can allow it to go from last place to first with minimal expenditure of energy. The Komhawk feeds on large insecurities and small birds that are fumbling about on its segments and will go on frenzied alert upon spotting this “prey.” Small birds fear it more than most other predators due to its massively delusional #socmed postings and bizarre Strava ride titles. It is often seen soaring at twilight hunting insects eating them on the wing. The Komhawk is one of the cleanest birds, bathing daily in whatever trinkets it has harvested. The nest is a platform built of CPUs that can simultaneously display leaderboard rankings for age/weight/zip code/gender.
- Fredded Grouse: Tubbo goofus: The Fredded Grouse is a chunky, medium-sized bird weighing from 180-250 lbs. and featuring short, rounded, stubby wings, and boldly fatted “cankles.” Fredded Grouse have two distinct morphologies: Dropped Quick and Dropped Hard. In the dropped quick morph, the head, neck and back are grey-brown, turning bright pink, brilliant red, violet, then deathly gray once the grade approaches 3% or the speed increases above 12 mph. The breast is broad with barring and splotchy marks. There is much white on the underside, flanks, and chin wattles, and overall the birds have a variegated appearance reminiscent of a century jersey designed by someone’s color-blind kid. Dropped Hard-morph birds have tails of the same color and pattern, but are more conspicuous in the excuses they get for having been dropped by elderly ladies in walkers. The “Freds,” a kind of ruff on the sides of the neck, as well as a crest on top of the head, are used to indicate breeding season, which occurs infrequently. Very, very infrequently. Both genders are similarly marked and sized, making them difficult to tell apart, even in hand. The female often has a broken subterminal tail band and often utters a call that sounds like “Slow down, Herman!” while males tend to have unbroken tail bands, shattered egos, and a call more closely resembling a harpooned whale. Females may also do a display similar to the male when bragging about recent equipment purchases. Like most grouse, they spend most of their time on the ground foraging for caffeinated chews; mixed cookie dough rich in pecans seems to be particularly well-liked. These birds forage on the ground, in trees, or, when on a budget, in dumpsters. They are omnivores, eating both Domino’s and Pizza Hut.
- Badass Warbler: Dendricus delusionalus: The Badass Warbler is among North America’s most abundant neotropical migrants. Inactive during most months of the year, the Badass Warbler comes to life in late spring and early summer, when the weather is fine and their colors are most visible. They are perhaps the most versatile foragers of all warblers, willing to feed on triathletes, obese cyclists, people on the roadside with a flat tire, and small children on training wheels. The Badass Warbler hunts its prey by accelerating quickly from behind, passing the victim, then slowing down due to the effort or due to the prey having gotten back on his bicycle. Other places yellow-rumped warblers have been spotted foraging include rest homes, crematoriums, and of course piles of manure. When bugs are scarce, the Badass Warbler also creates fake profiles on Zwift, lying about age, height, and weight in order to harvest a maximum number of trinkets before being banned. On their wintering grounds in Mexico they’ve been seen sipping the sweet honeydew liquid excreted by aphids as well as garishly colored pina coladas and cherry-flavored margaritas. While foraging the Badass Warbler will occasionally catch a much bigger, stronger, and faster prey than was expected, at which time the prey will be released with the announcement that today is an “easy day.”
- Expro Duck: Anas ustabegreatus: The Expro Duck is found in muddy, shallow, algae-coated ponds, sewage treatment plants, and moist garbage dumps. The Expro Duck’s principal source of food is beginning riders who dote on tales that begin with “Back in the day.” Yet the Expro Duck is omnivorous, also attending group rides until the pace picks up, at which time the Expro complains about all the “kooks,” “newbies,” “Freds,” and “disrespectful younguns.” The Expro mates year round, primarily with younger females just getting into cycling. Expro mate pairings are polyamorous, given they have a suitable territory. A typical reproductive cycle involves multiple stages: Smiling kindly on a group ride, nattily wearing a classic jersey, treating to a latte, copulation, brief public pairing displays, and child support. The Expro Duck courtship period is characterized by billing, bowing, and nibbling. Males generally initiate billing, which is the touching of bills between individuals and exchanging components, particularly upgrades from mechanical to wireless. After a pair bond is cemented, the mating pair looks for a territory to build a nest in. A pair bond becomes permanent when the male willingly goes slow on a beatdown ride in order to not be separated from his struggling partner. Copulation behavior among pairs always falls under the same general pattern. First the male chases the female and gives her tips on cadence, gear selection, and nutrition. Then, the female moves to the display platform and squats with her head under the water. The male then mounts the female, using his claws and wings to balance on the female’s back while she brings her head above the water. Sexual intercourse usually takes no longer than two seconds.
Isn’t nature wonderful?
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