As we write, millions of ornithologists around the world prepare to observe the culmination of the world’s largest seasonal migration of birds at the Los Angeles Convention Centre. The event has become a cultural touch-stone for bird-fanciers everywhere, and its importance in the ornithological calendar cannot be understated. The sheer variety of our winged friends on display can be overwhelming to even the most seasoned avian ecologist, let alone the enthusiastic amateur. So, this year, we’ve put together a brief guide to some of our more exciting plumed playmates that you’ll be likely to encounter at E3 2010.
Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata)
Just look at this beauty. He’s usually a rare beast, but will be out in full force at E3. You’ll know him by his distinctive craw: “This game is a community,” he warbles, in his excitable, staccato tones. “It’s more than a game – it’s a social building experience.” Also known to live in and around the now-endangered habitat of the Web 2.0, the Southern Screamer has taken to Xbox Live and the iPhone with species-saving abandon.
Clarke’s Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii)
What a specimen! This titch is a known quantity when it comes to the qualities of new properties. He’ll dive after prey with a sleekness of shape and sharpness of attitude. The familiar cry of “players step into a living, breathing world,” does nothing to dampen the usual enthusiasm with which ornithologists receive him, nor do his mating cries of “epic” and the frequent misuse of “literally”. A treat.
Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus)
Such quality! Such definition! The Large-tailed Nightjar knows no rival in the quest for the Caprimulgiforme-lover’s heart. Of peculiar note is the low profile that the head presents. This allows the Nightjar a singular manifestation of tunnel vision when it comes to press conferences. The Nightjar can stay on-point for tens of minutes and even entire presentations when greeted with a cool reception. This enviable trait has been granted, according to a recent paper by the esteemed R. Bottingstock, by evolution in accordance for the Nightjar’s sad genetic defects.
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)
Ah! Magnificence personified! The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is a marvellous show-off. He’ll preen himself for hours in front of the adoring ornithologist, displaying his glorious animated graph (insidious linguii) and pre-rendered trailer (fallacious imagi). The one to watch this E3, the Red-Bellied Woodpecker is said to be descending on Los Angeles in numbers previously unheard of.
And there we have it, bird lovers! We hope you all get as much enjoyment out of this year’s greatest migration of our feathered companions as we plan to. As you tread your way to those hallowed hides, consider the old ornithologist’s proverb: “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”
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