Mallard drake taking off

I forgot to set my TiVo!

I have to admit that I feel like Duck Dynasty is a tremendous missed opportunity. Oh, not in terms of the characters or storylines — my opinions about those are not entirely germane to this site. In terms of the title. With Dallas and Dark Shadows getting reboots, and whatever this is existing, why shouldn’t one of our seemingly infinite cable channels take a flyer on a soapy show featuring the lives and loves of the Anatidae? Ducks have everything that such a show requires — vicious rivalries between the males, catty scheming among the females, kidnapping, mate-swapping, even freaky relationships among cousins that result in all kinds of who’s-the-daddy confusion. As far as I know there aren’t any ducks that own oil rigs or hotel chains, but if people can get excited about bidding wars over storage units, then surely the battle for the title of King of the Swamp (Until a Peregrine Comes Along) will generate plenty of dramatic tension.

Now, as many of my long-time readers know, when it comes to me and the entertainment industry, I don’t know when to quit. So I brainstormed a few more programming options, perhaps enough to base a whole cable channel around if we filled in the late hours with rebroadcasts of The Big Year, Rare Bird, and Three Days of the Condor:

1. Mob Wives: While their mates are off harassing owls, these Black-capped Chickadees gossip, feud, and occasionally get a little extra-pairing action!

2. It’s Always Sunny In The Arctic Circle: A gang of misfit Skuas dream of glory, seemingly unaware that everyone else on the tundra looks on them as obnoxious bullies who smell of fish guts.

3. Orange is the New Green: Molt teaches a privileged but naive young Altamira Oriole some valuable life lessons.

4. The Wire: A hard-hitting, critically-acclaimed series about the underprivileged lives of Barn Swallows in Baltimore.

Barn Swallow

5. Hoarders: Watch as Bowerbirds out of control finally confront their inner demons with the help of our sketchy “therapists”!

6. Doctor Who-cooks-for-you: A curmudgeonly Barred Owl somehow knows what’s wrong with every sick bird he sees, but only after two false diagnoses and five commercial breaks. Will he or won’t he eat the cute Spotted Owl he works with?

7. A Game of Perches: Pretty much Duck Dynasty but with Harpy Eagles.

8. Robot Chicken: Brought to you by J. J. Abrams. (Spoilers: He’s actually a Ruffed Grouse and this is actually Purgatory.)

Ruffed Grouse

9. The Flying Dead: During the zombie apocalypse, Black Vultures struggle to stay alive in the face of the opportunity to just gorge themselves 24-7. Could do cross-promotion with The Biggest Loser: Migration Edition.

10. Beaking Bad: Ok, no, that’s just silly.

All photos courtesy of USFWS.

Written by Carrie
Carrie Laben, after years of writing and birding in New York, moved to Montana to pursue her two great passions more effectively. She recently graduated with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Montana in Missoula. When she is not cranking out essays and speculative fiction stories, or wandering around on mountains failing to see the birds she is looking for, she is likely to be drinking one of the many fine local microbrews or attending a potluck with something from the local farmer’s market in hand. On Mondays from 3 to 3:30 Mountain Time you can find her answering questions about birds on live chat at