Yikes, I’m once again cutting it close … verry verry close this month. After this post I’ll still have another to go and right now not sure what that is going to be. But that is in the future and I’m living in the now. Recently we had the opportunity to visit Sin City, our home away from home. We have been using Las Vegas as a launch pad for photography shoots. If you recall a few years back we hit Zion (link here) while we were out there and this year we had similar plans to hit some scenic sights with a little less driving. Turns out I was able to do some bird watching while hanging out on the strip!
First on the list is the very entertaining Barmingo. This particular bird is rarely seen in the daylight preferring instead to spend its time at local happy hours and whatever hot new club is all the rage.
Basically being inebriated for a most of it’s adulthood, this particular bird has evolved into a clever self-preservation posture. Thanks to the lack of control of it’s legs, it spent the early years stumbling on every curb and uneven tile in the city. This proved a painful burden on the body which developed a permanent pink hue from all the bruising. Unfortunately, due to not having an means to stop itself, the beak took blast after blast from the ground resulting in the bulbous appendage we see today. Somewhere along the line it figured out it could prevent a lot of serious injury by adopting a different posture – one that allowed it to maintain better balance by placing the weight of the head over center mass and giving a much cushier landing should it stumble off the bar stool. There is still one feature that has not changed
They can’t hold their liquor. Quite sad really – they could have been so much more… As a word of caution you might want to reconsider playing in any local Vegas fountains – they tend to be covered in Barmingo vomit.
Hit the jump to see the rest of the birds we found hanging out in the Concrete Jungle we call Vegas
Next up is the stunningly colorful Peachameleon. When not partaking in the festivities at the Brazilian Carnival, these majestic birds can be seen strutting their stuff in local Vegas malls.
Unlike like the camouflage characteristics of their lizard friends the chameleon, these birds use their color changing capabilities to actually draw attention to themselves. These socialites are only happy when they are the center of attention – the life of the party if you will. They provide zero value to the birding community and are generally non-stop fodder to TMZ and those worthless “look at me, I’m a celebrity” shows on E!. To their credit, they are a gift to the marketing world since they can change their coloring to coordinate with the latest perfume bottles being hyped to the wannabees. Take for example the two shots below – while we were watching them, Joan Rivers came on the TV and announced that Blue was out with the trash and red was the new blue. No worries, a quick change will do the trick.
Quickly after that Kelly Osbourne came on the set with her purple hair – horrified that they might be considered “so yesterday” they quickly embraced the new style.
Although they tend to pretty much disgust me with their self absorption, I have to admit their blue plumage rivals anything out in the wild from a beauty perspective.
Contrast these birds with the Aristocatbirds. Unlike the socialites above, these birds have a royal lineage and generally adored by their subjects. They are highly sophisticated and carry themselves with dignity and grace (translated – no bird sex tapes)
Although they tend to limit the amount of jewelry they wear, it can be assured when they do it will be a tasteful ensemble from the crown jewel collection.
This particular subject was busy preparing for a royal wedding complete with a stunning long train.
Note the other bird species are always keen on what new types of hats they are wearing
Not to be outdone by the Peachamelion, the Blingcock can actually stand on its own among the elite in Vegas. Sure, they may be lacking those bright colors, but they scoff at that parlor trick choosing to adorn themselves in the precious stones that make the other fowl turn green with envy. The male (seen below) tends towards the more colorful stones that bring out the highlights in their ornate plumage. These pretty boys are rarely seen without their entourage which consists of uglier birds that earn their keep by repeatedly telling their leader how cool and pretty he is.
The female version of the Blingcock is more focused in their choice of bling. They know diamonds are the ultimate show of elite status and generally make sure every part of their body is covered in them before stepping out the door in the morning. They have no time for the Peachameleon females .. or Ho’s as they tend to refer to them as. These queens of the roost can generally be found strutting their stuff in the Wynn or Belaggio.
Then there is the Hipsterguin. They can be spotted in the trendy coffee shops in the area usually with their satchel bags draped over the chair, munching on a souffle while tapping away on their AirBooks. The good news is they are mostly harmless preferring to take a backseat to the popularity train. That is until you tell them a new iPhone is coming out and then they turn nearly rabid trying to be the first in line at their local Apple Store.
We also happened on the Stonecrane. These birds are often difficult to photograph thanks to the cloud of smoke that is usually engulfing them. Throwbacks from the 60’s, these birds have sampled the products a little too much to the point where they cover themselves in body paint while searching out the closest Grateful Dead concert. I recommend keeping your distance from these particular birds – indifference to all their ridiculous speech on peace and unity, they are really just one bad trip from pecking your eyes out.
Lastly is the Snowise Owls. These shy birds are often ridiculed by the other birds for being too geeky and are often victims of those bullies like the Blue Jay and the Raven. Rather than spend their nights boozing it up, these shy birds spend their time studying the latest finance reports and stock exchange tickers. As a result, they often have a pretty nice collection of gold acorns providing quite the nest egg! Right now these subjects are slightly agitated looking like they’ve been binging on coffee for that last month. This is probably due to tweets of socialism echoing through the trees demonizing them for being successful without any consideration for the sacrifices they had to make to get where they are at. Now the current bird administration doesn’t thing they are paying their share and instead want to take what they have earned and give it to the slackers.
Pretty impressive collection of new birds eh? My pencil is nearly dull having to put so many new check marks in the birding list. This is what makes Vegas so fun for us – every time we head out there, there’s something new to see, some undiscovered gem or interesting perspective we missed the numerous other times we have visited.
In closing, thought I would give some proof we were not making these birds sightings up! For those looking for perspective shots, you can tell how small the Snowise Owls are compared to me.
as opposed to how large Peachameleons are next to Linda – trust me, they have to be that large just to contain their egos.
Remember.. what happens in Vegas generally ends up on the Internet 5 minutes after it happens!