Disagreement can be found anywhere…even on license plates. Maine is probably the only state to have a dead animal featured on our official plates. A bright red lobster looked like it had been just removed from boiling water-steamed and ready for melted butter. In 1999, we switched to the chickadee. That seemed like a safe bet until Nick Lund stirred up the pot. Lund is an employee of Maine Audubon and knowledgeable about all eight kinds of chickadees found in the United States. In 1927, the Maine legislature named the chickadee our state bird, but what kind of chickadee? Is it the familiar black-capped species or the brown-capped boreal hiding in the northern woods?
I read a newspaper article on this controversy and ended up unsure of where I stood on this hot topic. It should have been simple. I like the spunky black-capped species that frequent my feeder in the winter. I admire its gumption, braving these northern climes. Of course I vote for the black-cap. Or do I? The article bounced back and forth like a ping pong ball, quoting politicians and birdwatchers. The discourse went something like this:
For the black-capped- “It’s very common. That’s probably the one it should be.”
For the boreal – “It is more representative of Maine’s wild beauty… and Maine should not have to share the same bird with Massachusetts, whose state bird is the black-capped.”
For the boreal- “The state bird should be inspirational. People travel to Maine to see the boreal chickadee. It’s a much better symbol of state pride.”
Interjection- I have never heard that birdwatchers flock (sorry about the pun) to Maine to catch a glimpse of the boreal chickadee -probably not a big source of tourism dollars.
For the black-capped – “We need a bird that unites us-and that would be the black-capped.”
Hmm…maybe the black-capped should be the national bird. Lord knows we could stand more unity in this country. However, to tweet this proposal on twitter would set cyberspace all atwitter. No tweet on twitter to set twitter atwitter. I promise.