Forward by Lester Dildull
I began "birding" when I was but a mere lad, and have made a lifetime of work out of what started as a simple hobby. My work has literally taken me to just about everywhere one can find some kind of species of fowl, and I have had many great (and not so great) adventures. I've spent days high in the mountains of Imminent Peril observing the elusive Silver Crested Goat Scraper. I've endured the relentless pestering of the Rosy Titted Pecking Grouse, who's beak has evolved to the perfect hardness and shape for being horrifically annoying without actually drawing any blood so that it is able to literally spend hours engaged in it's favorite activity, which is perching on the heads of other creatures and incessantly pecking them to the brink of insanity.
Yet out of all my great adventures none has been more intriguing than the time I spent with an eager student named Pork LeMonde. Pork's case is most unusual in that, while he has a tenacious appetite for bird watching, he also suffers from an extremely unusual medical condition that is so rare it appears he is the only person in any known existence to have it, and has yet to be named. It is a condition that renders him incapable of seeing different bird species as anything but Chickens. Oh, he can recognize the different shapes, sizes and color of birds, but lacks the inability to discern between Chickens and other species. To him all birds are just different kinds of Chickens, which made it extremely challenging in his quest to become a professional ornithological observer.
I first heard about Pork and his unusual condition from a colleague of mine at the Bimp County Bland Institute of Monotonous Pursuits (Bimp County chapter of BIMP). It seems Pork had stirred up quite a bit of controversy within the Fowl Observation department with what the senior members described as "a lackadaisical attitude toward proper documentation regarding bird identification." At first I was shocked and appalled by this most distressing news as we highly regarded bird watching scholars take this time honored tradition quite seriously, and the very thought of someone purposefully mislabeling the birds they had observed out of pure apathy made me want to vomit in horror.
However, despite my intentions to personally see to it that the interloper was expelled I found myself taking pity upon the poor wretch. My plan was simple. I scheduled a series of field trips to some local areas that provided an excellent diversity of species (albeit rather common for my tastes, but for the purposes of exposing a fraud it suited my needs). I would then impose a strict regiment of traditional bird watching procedure on a daily basis and either instill within the rapscallion a healthy respect for the hard work and dedication it takes to be an ethical observer of our feathered friends (no offense to any species that do not have feathers) or he would crumble under the pressure!
The latter happened much sooner than I expected. On the very first day the suspected fraud broke down into an emotional state of utter despair and confided in me his terrible secret. He explained to me through undignified tears how he had been suffering this terrible malady since childhood and the humiliation he endured on behalf of his peers. How awful it must have been to be denied the wonderful experience of observing birds in their natural habitat and the constant shame and ridicule by other junior bird watchers.
So it was that I took it upon myself to take him under my wing, so to speak, and tutor Mr. LeMonde, and allow him the freedom to work within the parameters of his condition. Some at the institute still insist there is deception on his behalf and gullibility on mine, but lest you be assured dear reader that I have seen with my own eyes the medical documentation on this unique subject and it is completely without a doubt. Also, I was quite curious as to how things would evolve and decided this would make a worthwhile case study for the annuls of bird watching history.
The following entries track the progress of a very unique perspective on bird watching by a very unique individual. I hope you find it as intriguing as I do.