A Comprehensive Guide to Fowl, from Worst to Best

A Comprehensive Guide to Fowl, from Worst to Best



Have you been to a state fair? Have you seen the rooms with rabbits, chickens, ducks and swans all in cages waiting to be judged? Rabbits are in the cages because they are reasonable creatures who would like to leave the fair. Swans are in cages to protect you. From them.

Swans are what happens when you take pure hatred, impatience and self importance, compress them into a hot core, and then put it into a body that can only communicate its rage through hissing and biting.

Swans are smarter than turkeys and geese which is why their wrath is so much more potent. You’re also unlikely to be harassed by a single swan, as would be the case with a turkey or goose. If a swan sees one of its own kind has found something weaker to attack, other swans will join in.

Canada Geese

You might think these are called “Canadian Geese,” but that’s wrong. Not that there’s ever been a Canada Goose competent enough to correct you, so the misconception is not really your fault.

I have, on more than one occasion, changed my plans based on there being a Canada Goose in my way. I’m not ashamed of this. I understand when it’s important to choose your battles and I refuse to participate in a battle with anything more physically dense than I am covered in algae and its own shit.

Speaking of shit, when these arrogant, ignorant jerks get into flocks in the spring and fall they completely destroy any piece of land they decide to take over. It’s very much like if an Occupy Wall Street protest were populated by incontinent hooligans whose team just got eliminated in the first round of the Euro Cup. They’re drunk, they don’t understand why this keeps happening, and when they see you they just know it’s your fault.

Don’t argue their worth by telling me you saw that Anna Paquin movie about geese. That was science fiction and those “geese” were the same guys who played the Ewoks, just in better costumes.

Wild Turkeys 

What separates wild turkeys and the previous two entries on the list is malice. All three of these beasts are surprisingly threatening animals, but their levels of ill-will and stupidity are what distinguish them.

The first thing you need to understand is these are, by and large, a lot bigger than you think they are. And they know that. Wild turkeys wander around my suburb in fairly large groups and routinely interrupt traffic, but I’ve never seen one dead in the road. I can only assume that it’s because they are immortal.

Mating season is particularly bothersome where turkeys are concerned, because they’re much more active and aggressive. My mom watched one chase an old neighbor lady back into her house one morning and the males try to fight their reflections in my sliding door every year. They also shit all over my patio in these epic battles against their own reflections. And honestly, if you shit on my patio, I’m probably going to hate you no matter what you are.

Don’t argue their worth by claiming they are delicious—the factory farm generated Butterballs you like to stick ducks inside of in November bear little resemblance to the assholes shitting on my patio.

Fancy Chickens

Fancy chickens are very much like regular chickens (see: Most Birds) but with more plumage, more attitude, and more frightening talons. It’s like if you’re a chicken then you watch RuPaul’s Fancy Chickens on TV. Chickens can be irritating and territorial, but fancy chickens have got something to prove to those regular chickens and they will not hesitate to take out their feelings of inadequacy on you. Do not step to this bird.

Birds of Prey

These are like birds, but larger and probably smarter than you are, tbh. That surprised, vaguely angry look most of them usually have is the result of seeing you and wanting to know why you’re on top of the food chain. Because you probably don’t deserve it when compared directly to, say, an eagle or an owl. Owls can turn their heads all the way around, see in the dark, and I watched a young bald eagle rip some kind of animal apart one time by my parents’ house. I wear glasses and I pick up boxes of Cheerios that hold still in a grocery store. I suppose my opposable thumbs are pretty decent, but I’m not letting that go to my head. Birds of Prey are like octopi: admirable, but you need to watch your back.

Most Birds

This encompasses a lot of small animals that are in general either colorful or brown and make pleasant noises. Your grandmother might be upset that they build a nest on the porch every year, but she won’t let anyone do anything about it because eggs are neat.

Hummingbirds are pretty cool. They migrate over the Gulf of Mexico. Think about that.

Birds do a great many things for the environment. For instance, without them indoor cats would be a lot more bored overall. And if your mom wasn’t putting out birdseed for the things she wants to see in her yard then the squirrels would all starve to death.

Ducks of all kinds

When baby Wood Ducks leave their nests for the first time, they fall out of the tree and bounce so they don’t just die hitting the ground. They then grow into very shy, wonderfully colorful animals that never forget to be awesome. As a species, they are generally Hufflepuffs. But not in a bad way.

Wood Ducks are only my favorite kind of duck. Some mate for life, their webbed feet are wonderful, and male ducks are called “drakes.” That’s right: ducks are so great that Drake is named after them. If you leave your house, chances are that you’ll encounter any number of different kinds of ducks, and I’m sure you’ll be charmed by all of them.

Flamingos and Penguins

If you didn’t already know this one, I honestly don’t know how to help you.

Lisa Olson

Photo by Elizabeth Abernathy (Creative Commons)