I have a confession to make. I don’t particularly like birds. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Why is a middle-aged fitness instructor with a degree in science afraid of a little birdy? What a wimp!”

You don’t have to get so personal.

Actually, fear has nothing to do with it, although it could be. As a toddler, adults warned me not to roam about with my fly open because a robin might think it was a worm and fly away with it. What would Freud say about that?

I dislike the feathers, and not their miserable personalities or their annoying habits of making a racket before the crack of dawn. The texture of the feathers tickles my nose. Some people sneeze when confronting bright light such as sunrise. I sneeze when I see or even think about plumage. I hope I make it through this essay before the keyboard shorts out as a result of the aerosol mist spraying from my snoot.

Once I worked as an archaeological technician in the archaeology museum at the University of BC. My job entailed collecting dead animals and rendering them to skeletal remains, labeling the disarticulated bones, and placing them on trays so other archaeologists could compare their finds with the reference collection. We included all manners of critters in the collection from fish to whales and bears and moose . . . and, of course, birds. The presence of some species of bird bones in a site can give an archaeologist an idea of the time of year a prehistoric site was occupied.

Once, on an expedition to the Canadian Wildlife Service branch office in Delta, my partner and I collected a flock of dead loons and cormorants that met their doom by falling into a navigation aide. The game officers froze them and placed them in plastic garbage bags. We loaded the birds into the archaeology truck (the time machine) and I sped back to the lab. En route, my partner reached into the back and grabbed a grebe and put on a Punch and Judy for me in the front seat.

To my credit, I warned him to get the bird away for me, but he didn’t. He reached into another bag and produced a great blue heron. That was too much for me. My sneezing fit caused the truck to plummet over the dyke and into a Fraser River slough.

The carnage almost resulted in the loss of my license to collect dead animals.

Although I don’t particularly like birds, they have their uses. Most birds are excellent when served up in a lemon or garlic glaze, and I love chicken skin. Chicken skin is the reason I teach aerobics. They also stimulates and inspires my doggerel gland. Here’s a poem for spring.


A robin is a robin, but ours is but a thrush.

It has a first name – Turdus, then migratorius.

Its was named by Carl Linné, Linnaeus if you please,

The original taxonomist, for all critters and posies.

I like to think Linnaeus was once awakened early,

By the inane prattle of a thrush, both boisterous churly.

Surely such an awakening would put one in a snit,

The resulting name for robin, translates to “Flying Shit.”

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He also does some work as a field Archaeologist. He is also a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazineDoctor in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at or at looking for a change, start with a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia


2 Responses to “FOR THE BIRDS”

  1. energywriter Says:

    LOL!! You’ve had some VERY interesting jobs, Mike. Keep the tales coming.

    Because my love of birds is on a par with yours, my family used to tease me that I’d marry a chicken farmer when I grew up. I fooled them. I married a drug addict instead. So now I’m single.

  2. Lanine Bradley Says:

    I don’t like squirrels. They’re creepy

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