Back in 2007, DK Publishing produced what I still consider the consummate birding coffee table book. If you haven’t seen it, BIRD: The Definitive Visual Guide is simply stunning. But that’s not what this post is about.
To help promote this book, we ran a series of giveaways, one of which was a call for original bird limericks. The response was stellar: birders and limericists alike responded with incredible ingenuity, precision, and wit. While only one of these writers walked away with a free copy of BIRD, all of them should be congratulated for these amusing odes to avifauna…
If bird songs, in your mind, aren’t sticky there
Try this one for those Zonotrichia
For White-throats somebody
thought “Old Sam Peabody”
Would make that remembrance less trickier
But Song is a little less easy
I’ve always thought it rather cheesy
to say “Polly, doggone
put the teakettle on!”
Such is the trick on Melospiza
– Nathan Swick
The robin flies all around
Just to pick worms from the ground
You might think this a bore
But this bird I adore
Because of its sweet, sweet sound
I love a bird called the jay
Cause it keeps my neighbors at bay
When they are about
It begins to shout
“Keep out, leave, go away”
A bird I despise is the crow
Cause it picks at crops I grow
As it picks the corn from the ground
I shout and jump all around
then I chase them away with my hoe
– Gavin Laben
Two noddies approach in the blue,
Then intense acrobatics ensue.
This form of cavorting
Is ritual courting:
How terns of endearment pitch woo.
A certified non-vegetarian
Is flying today
With a condor fillet,
So he’s carryin’ carry-on carrion.
A parrot or cuckoo would do,
A canary or cockatoo, too.
I’m planning to buy
A new cageling to try
Out the coop that my birdie just flew.
– Chris Doyle
In this effort, I’ve set out to tackle
My least-favored avis, the grackle.
The large flocks make me blench
From the noise, and the stench
As they cover the sidewalks with spackle.
In the autumn, our darkening skies
Fill with crows, then each cloud of them flies
To a suitable tree,
Where they land, and to me,
Form an animate, foliate disguise.
The chicken hawk–It’s a bit sad–
Is disparaged. The troubles they’ve had!
A few hawks, folks avow,
Attack poultry, and now
Bush and Company make them look bad!
– David Franks
Asked a great ancient poet, “Oh when
Will we have a fair ode to the wren?”
But that, as you know
Was a time long ago.
Now it’s now and, of course, that was then.
When you think (and you should) of the crow
You can think of some corn fields, although
You should think of their caws
But if that gives you pause,
Well, just note their effect and then go.
– Edmund Conti
A chabo’s a minuscule chicken
So cute that your heartbeat will quicken.
On your shoulder he’ll ride.
You’ll display him with pride.
He is “good” but he’s not “finger-lickin’.”
(Note – the chabo is also known as the Japanese bantam.)
I cautioned my Swedish maid Inga,
“Take care when you feed the anhinga.
That fish-eating bird
Is bad-tempered, you’ve heard.
Watch out or he might grab your finga.”
– Chris J. Strolin
The Redpoll is a bird of happiness,
Though when he feeds its messiness,
And though their calls are very silly,
One thing they say is “Hey Willy”
But to guess the rest is craziness!
– Will Raup
Ernie, a handsome young eagle,
Thought his white-feathered head was quite regal.
But the ladies he called,
Having heard he was bald,
Said they’d rather go out with a seagull.
– Joanna G. Larson
The Gallinule can be quite Common,
‘Cept comeri from Charles Gough Islan’
Related to Coots
Eating bugs and fresh shoots
No Moorhens from Gallinula hodgenorum
– Seth Hopkins
This last one didn’t qualify for the BIRD giveaway since it’s from my wife, but I included it because it’s so true…
My husband caught sight of a wing and a beak
Next thing I knew, he was a bird freak
Our hiking boots put away
Awaiting migration in May
Can’t remember my last mountain peak
– Sara Hopkins
These are all great, but the “carry-on carrion” one is my fav.
Kudos all around!
Nice! I love limericks!
The limericks all were so sweet.
Reading them was a treat
As satisfying as seeing
A flock of birds fleeing
A raptor with outstretched feet.
Bushes rustling and moaning on their walk
Gave the birders from Quito a shock
When two love birds popped out
The group gave out a shout,
“Whew! It’s only some Cocks of the Rock!”
Anxious lady night birds on the prowl
Huddle waiting for mates, cheek and jowl
There’s good reason to fear
When the hooting is near
Its the call of the Great Horny Owl!
Down in London the old codger sits
On a park bench, half out of his wits
When the birds flutter by
He lets out a sharp cry
‘Cause he can’t get enough of Great Tits!
I’m having trouble finishing my “There once was a wren in Nantucket” limerick.
Boo hoo, I wish I had known,
My words, like the birds, would have flown.
Peacocks and koels, coots and darters,
This will have to do for late starters!
Consider the case of the condor:
If he were more ardent and fonder
Of his truculent mate
Then his ultimate fate
Would not be so gloomy to ponder.
I didn’t write this but the father of an ornithologist did around 1980. I’m glad the population has increased since then!