Friday Dilemma: pest or downtrodden beauty?
With apologies to the venerable Hillary Clinton, whose plea to treat women with dignity has enjoyed a clear run atop this website for six hours, we now move to a lesser but no less impassioned issue.
The Australian White Ibis, better known as “Bic Macus Scabicus” or “that stupid ugly thing stealing my sandwich! Shoo! Shoo!” is a much-maligned species.
But does it deserve our derision? Does it warrant being chased across city parks by office workers with umbrellas? Or has it earned the right for a tiny slice of the affection we automatically bestow upon kookaburras, rosellas, ducklings and the Minogue sisters? That, friends, is today’s dilemma.
Ibises haven’t always dwelled in our cities. According to the expensive leather-bound encyclopaedias on The Punch’s book case, which just happen to correspond exactly with what Wikipedia says, Ibises only migrated to urban areas in the 1970s.
Some say they headed for the Big Smoke as their traditional wetland areas came under threat.
We’ve got another theory. The 1970s just happens to be the decade when McDonald’s commenced its relentless march across the Australian landscape. That proved too much of a temptation for old Ibie. As the photo above shows, they just love the stuff.
In the movie Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock reported that he started reeking after his month eating Maccas. The Australian white ibis is an extremely stinky bird too, according to our gold-embossed reference library. It also honks like a drunk horny goose and has filthy, ruffled feathers.
Truly, the ibis is the bird God made during a toilet break.
Having said all of that, it is a bird not without elegance and charm. Some call them “tip turkeys”. We prefer to think of them as graceful swans down on their luck. If we can muster sympathy for scruff balls like Lindsay Lohan, surely we can find a little love for old Big Macus Scabicus.
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