Of Flamingo Fights, Indecent Apes and a Charming Bird
The Sedgewick County Zoo in Wichita KS is quite a place. It stands out over all the other zoos I’ve ever visited in terms of convenience for the visitor as well as quality of habitats for the animals that live there. We felt a bit silly at first due to our being at the zoo without children, however in a very short time we encountered several other childless couples and an older man with a very expensive camera. Our fears of judgement allayed we proceeded into the depths of the zoo and had a wonderful time.
We first happened upon a beautiful lagoon full of flamingos. My wife loves flamingos and as she readied her phone to photograph the birds, they began to emit a horrendous cacophony the likes of which I wouldn’t have expected from such elegant creatures. As we watched, two flamingos began to smack their necks together and they tangled together in ways that appeared most uncomfortable. They looked quite comical when they faced each other and, chest to chest, each extended his (or her?) neck and pecked the other’s back. A few feathers were plucked free and sashayed down to add flecks of brightness to the drab greenish surface of the water. Soon thereafter, from the far end of the lagoon, a lone flamingo screeched and spread its wings. It ran toward the fighters waving its wings and I suppose it was the boss flamingo because the fighting stopped and tranquility again lay over Flamingo Lagoon. Unfortunately we were unable to get a video of this. It was quite entertaining.
We next visited the petting zoo because it was the next stop on the path and, as you may know if you’ve read some of my previous posts, I’m a bit partial to goats. Quite a regal goat (regal for a goat, anyway) stood on a bench chewing his cud and watching over the others. I stepped through the gate and was immediately approached by a small goat who, I can only assume, thought I was Bart Simpson. He attempted to eat my shorts.
The chimpanzees were next and they were a putrid lot that day. They were having blatant relations right out in the open causing one young mother (human mother) to drop her Gatorade and exclaim “The monkeys are doin’ it!” and then promptly abandon her beverage and escort her children to some more civilized habitat. My wife and I laughed and hung around a bit. Not because we are fans of monkey love but because we are fans of monkeys. My wife waved at one and he lifted his hand and smiled. I found this charming so I waved as well and the very same animal who’d honored my wife with a response dropped his grin and scratched his forehead with his middle finger! I don’t know if some louse with nothing better to do than corrupt monkeys has visited the zoo or if it was just coincidence, but it bothered me. It bothered me for several reasons. Firstly, if he smiled at my wife but flipped me the bird does that indicate he recognizes the human sexes? If so, was he attracted to my wife or simply indicating his heterosexuality? You may believe me when I say I’m sure it was a male, but I won’t go into why. Secondly, if it had nothing to do with sexuality, what on earth is wrong with me? I’m at least as nice as my wife. What had I done to offend the gentlemonkey? I could go on for a while but the implications still play through my mind nearly a week later.
After this I insisted we vacate the enclosure forthwith and leave the uncouth creature to offend the people behind us. We were off to visit a more classy breed of wildlife. This turned out to be the most charming bird I’ve ever seen. It didn’t talk. It chirped, but it was a run of the mill type of chirp. It sounded like a bird, to put it quite bluntly. What charmed us was its Hollywood demeanor. This bird would’ve fit right in amongst the preening red carpet posers of Famousville, and while I’d normally be repulsed by such behavior this was still merely a bird. She (or he?) strutted to the fence and stood sideways to us, staring at us with one eye. It slowly cocked its head, chirped to be sure we were watching, then, I’ll say fwipped for lack of a better word, its head in such a way as to put shampoo commercial models to shame. My wife and I laughed and the bird strutted off only to turn and, upon seeing that it still had us enchanted, strut back and do it all again. Four times it did this and the fourth we were able to record. I can’t post a video with my current settings, however, believe me when I say it was the best part of a very good day and enjoy a picture of him/her instead.
I bid you Adieu…and A don’t
Adieu…take the time to try and interact with animals. Sometimes they can surprise you.
A don’t…corrupt monkeys. For crying out loud, they’re obtuse enough as it is.