One would think that, after twelve years, the process of meticulously crafting an enormous wooded chicken statue only to stuff it with fireworks and ritually incinerate it would get old. Believe it or not, a Chicken Inferno always feels fresh!

Yes, this third weekend of July brought friends and family from around the Northeast to my father-in-law Will’s home for the 12th Annual Chicken Inferno. These three days of fun, food, and flames were simply sensational. The centerpiece of the event was the gigantic galliform itself. This year, craftmanship was a quintessential feature of our avian effigy; I can’t recall using a tape measure quite so much. This year’s chicken may not have been as enormous as some in past years, but it still required an incredible number of man- and woman-hours to complete. As usual, the bird needed much less time to burn!!

The Hill was well-attended by a plethora of non-burning birds as well. Red-winged Blackbirds seemed the most noticeable of the local breeders, just based on the number of comments and questions I received from my nature-deficient friends. But high-fliers like Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, and even Common Ravens pleased the crowds as well. Other observed species included Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, American Goldfinches, Wild TurkeyBlack-capped Chickadees, Savannah and Chipping SparrowsBarn and Tree Swallows, Mourning Doves, and American Robins.

However, as I’ve mentioned before, the smarter or more sensitive birds have quit the Hill for the peace and quiet of typical agrarian culture. Our lines once bedecked in bluebirds remain mostly bare, but down by the road, Eastern Bluebirds don’t mind hobnobbing with the occasional Indigo Bunting. Eastern Kingbirds and American Kestrels inspired fear in smaller lifeforms from a multitude of perches. Best of all, Brown Thrashers seem to have increased in numbers just down the road. I wonder if some will be brave enough to crash (or thrash) the party next year…

Burn, baby, burn!

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.