State Birds: Wild, Weird and Wonderful


They come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Some are plain; some are spectacular. They are state birds. But underneath it all is cut-throat competition among some states.

Alaska named the Willow Ptarmigan as its state bird.. Why is obvious because this bird can survive deadly winters and even has feathers on its legs. You might say it is the legging bird. It has bright colors and is a favorite of hunters in the British Isles; one of the reasons Alaska would have fought in the Revolution if it were a colony then.

Arizona has a dotted bird, the Cactus Wren, as its herald but it sounds awful when its calls hit the airwaves. Quite a lot of Arizona is stark and so is this bird. Hard to tell males apart from females; but it’s so hot in Arizona that I don’t think the birds have the energy to care.

California has a rather dull bird. I guess Californians didn’t want the dull birds to feel bad because they aren’t as beautiful as the beautiful birds so they picked the subdued California Quail. That’s progressivism for you. This bird looks as if it can survive earthquakes, mudslides, forest fires, homelessness and high taxes. It is a true Californian.

Delaware has a domesticated multi-plumaged bird, the Blue Hen Chicken, and is easy to find in order to eat after you’ve marveled at its colors. Barnyards are great habitats for it. Don’t kill it with a gun as you’ll then be eating pellets.

Georgia named the Brown Thrasher, a so-so-looking bird, as its peach. Don’t quite know why but then again we’re talking about Georgia which is rarely on our minds.

Hawaii is our most recently recognized state and a paradise to visit; but its bird does not match the state’s beauty. The creature is somewhat yuckaii. Meet the Nene or Hawaiian Goose.

Idaho has the Mountain Bluebird  and recently the falcon as its birds. The Bluebird is a stunning blue. Of course, like all songbirds it fastly flitters so you must have that “songbird patience” to get a good viewing. But make it quick because falcons eat Bluebirds.

Perhaps the prettiest thing you’ll see in Mississippi is its state bird the Wood Duck. Its other bird is the Mockingbird. That bird it shares with Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee.

Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio are at war as they all picked the Cardinal as their state bird. I see many Cardinals at my feeders (I live in New York); and they are beauties. However, I do not see any Kentuckians.

Louisiana picked the Brown Pelican. When Louisiana floods these birds feel happily at home.

Montana and Nebraska have a thing for the  Western Meadowlark, a yellow bird that doesn’t seem strong enough to hang out in these cowboy states.

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