Environmentalists and naturalists have sounded the alarm for a threatened avian species resident in Washington, D.C. Having been spotted in the region for close to six years, this bird has recently suffered numerous setbacks and setblacks and appears to be on the verge of extinction.
Native to Chicago, it was once a flamboyant bird that was erroneously identified as a trumpeter swan. People were enthralled by its unusual dark-colored plumage and impressive wingspan and singing voice although some were put off by its arugula-based diet.
Thanks to supportive conditions, the bird was able to take flight and quickly migrated to Washington where it took up residence in and around The White House. Despite a flashy arrival, it quickly became apparent that its species had been misidentified.
Uncharacteristic of a trumpeter swan, this bird was, in fact, more of a loner and less invested in social interaction. Not inclined towards mediation and compromise, it soon appeared to others as weak and indecisive.
This bird made valiant but ultimately unsuccessful attempts to bridge Washington’s red-blue color divide. Its hopes of achieving a mixed-hue plumage like its distant cousin the purple martin were quickly dashed.
Some suggested that the bird’s shortcomings were due to an underdeveloped and underused left wing. Despite flapping that wing repeatedly before arriving in Washington, it never fully utilized all of its strength. And the bird’s right wing was so far removed in style and nature from those of many other avian inhabitants of the city that it was never able to maintain a consistent flight path.
Local birdwatchers have recently been able to get a closer look at this unusual bird and have noted markings and characteristics which definitely belie its original classification as a trumpeter swan. With every passing day, it is becoming clearer and clearer that what we actually have is a lame duck.
Those same observers have predicted that upcoming changes in the avian population in Washington which are likely to take place in early November will further alienate the lame duck from other birds. In fact, they are almost certain that this bird cannot possibly continue functioning in its current habitat for more than two years.
As is often the case where a species is under threat, other birds have recently taken to seizing on its weaknesses and looking to invade its domain. Sadly, while foreign species wreak havoc in such far-flung territories as Syria and Russia, the lame duck appears to be little more than a bystander.
Although it looks like the lame duck is under severe threat and no longer capable of forceful action, Washington natives should be cautious.
Oftentimes such birds will perceive that they are no longer beholden to those who brought them here and will quickly assume a new activist stance that can lead to all kinds of unexpected results like scads of regulations and questionable pardons. As one local Audubon Society member noted: “Watch out for the term-limited lame duck; it may have nothing to lose.”