Ornithology 101: New York’s Bird Game Is Top Notch

If you’ve ever gone for a walk and marveled at the sheer beauty found in local wildlife you’re not alone. Research out of the University of Michigan found that when humans connect with nature it does wonders for our psyches, relieving depression, and increasing our often lackluster energy levels. And — fun fact — James Bond gets his name from an ornithologist of the same name, because Ian Flemming thought the name was just boring enough to be convincing.

But I digress, in honor of the flyest species to flock through the Empire State, we’ve composed a non-sensical list that pays homage to some of the marvelous winged wildlife we get a chance to see out and about.

Eastern Blue Bird

Just look at this plump swagger hound. The beady eyes make it look like a rat trapped in a bird’s body, but that’s all the more fitting because this guy — the whole species, actually — is New York State’s official bird. And while there isn’t officially an unofficial bird, we all semi-officially know it’s the feral street pigeon, which lacks the decency and clean manner to make this list.

Brown Booby

Forget everything you think you know about brown boobies, these birds are the real deal. While typically a tropical bird, they have been showing up in New York for unknown reasons every now and again. Any living being that can match their bill and webbed feet like that should be welcomed into our state with open arms and spread wings.

Pileated Woodpecker

What’s not to love about a grub-eating jack-hammer with wings and a red mohawk? These beaked bodybuilders maintain a nutrient rich diet of carpenter ants, poison ivy berries, and nuts and presumably have more neck muscle as a species than the Schwarzenegger lineage. Don’t tell Arnold we said that, though.

Bald Eagle 

I wouldn’t be a red-blooded American indoctrinated by grade school social studies if I didn’t mention the Bald Eagle. Its feet look vaguely like Ronald McDonald’s hands, if only Ron was packing some mean fish-killin’, McRib grillin’ talons. The bald eagle is also worthy of note, as its physical attributes trump the likes of American human and basketball champion Lebron James. The average bald eagle’s wingspan is longer than Lebron is tall, and when diving, the bird can reach speeds over ninety miles per hour — not to mention Bald Eagles don’t flop.

Eric Cullen is a multimedia artist and musician, known as Cully on the stage and in the hearts of many. When you're done reading his wonderful musings on music, art, and culture you can check out his music on Soundcloud under the moniker Coolest Cully.