Friday, 24 August 2012

Twinning with species

We have recently read an article by Frank Moorhouse in Gourmet Traveller magazine in which he proposed expanding the idea of “twin cities” to having people twin with other species.   He chose the Oyster, for reasons described entertainingly in the article.  This led to me thinking about the species I should twin with.

Before getting down to my choice I decided to research the origins of the idea.  Although there appear to have been twinned towns for a long time it appears that the idea gained traction after an initiative of President Dwight Eisenhower.  (So that and the US Interstate Highway program make two very good ideas from Ike's Presidency.)  The introduction to the wiki page about  Sister Cities International suggests there are some 2,000 areas participating in such programs.  I have no idea of the provenance of that number but it is clear that there are lots of towns and cities involved.

I will also note a rather strange formulation used by Canberra, Australia.  They have 'twin cities' arrangements with Nara, Japan and Beijing, China - and also a 'friendship city' of Dili in Timor Leste.   The difference between a Friendship City and a Twin City has proven far from simple to establish but a page by Wollongong City Council appears to suggest that a twin city arrangement is about exchanging people while a friendship arrangement is about exchanging information.

My first thought about my choice of species was to go for the Saguaro Cactus Carnegiea gigantea, 
largely because I recalled with affection the humanoid depictions of this plant in comics when I was a kid.  Then I realised that something abrasive from the deserts of Arizona (that photo was taken in Saguaro National Monument during a 2006 trip to Tuscon) should be twinned with someone more suitable: John McCain sprang to mind as a more deserving candidate.

While retrieving that image I came across this one from the same trip:
A bird reference is pretty good, and there are those who reckon a cuckoo (Geococcyx californianus) is also appropriate.  However the way I am running the roads these days the Coyote would nail me every time.

The final candidate from the Arizona trip, this 1.8m resident of the Mojave Desert (Crotalus scutulatus) is attractive
but as I nearly trod on it (before it assumed the position) this could upset the US Marine Corps!

So let us stick close to home.  My first thought was to follow my Blogger avatar.
However it appears that at times one can get scragged by bush poets (Keith McKenry quite liked this image as his poetry publishing business is Fanged Wombat Productions).
Or you might have milk squirted down your throat.
So  I passed on that option too.

I have decided that my species of choice is the Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides).  In so doing I am implementing a suggestion by Frances who was thinking of the amount of time I spend each day looking at (or searching for) our resident pair -and their offspring in the season.
Unlike Frank Moorhouse I will not spend time considering the taste of my chosen species.  Apart from my strong disinclination to see them end up in a pot I reckon there would be very little eating on them and they'd be pretty tough to boot.

The positives of Frogmouth life seem to be:

  • It is pretty mellow during daylight, as all you have to do is snuggle up next to the love of your life;

  • Food is easy to find as you either drift up to the dam and knock off a few frogs or swoop an illuminated window and grab some moths;
  • You are pretty popular with tourism operators (that comment is based on a trip to Cape Yorke where every caravan park seemed to have a resident pair of {Papuan} Frogmouths who were shown to campers);
  • Accommodation is relatively stable (the local pair have been within 100m of our house for 5 years); 
  • You get lots of photographs published in this blog; 
  • You are relatively quiet (at least compared to Cockatoos);and 
  • Your kids are pretty cute....

.,,, and look rather wise
Thinking about myself and how I line up against these attributes, I suspect I get about a pass mark.  I will leave to others to make a point by point score.

We now come to whether this is a twinning situation or merely a friendship arrangement.  I certainly get a lot of information from them - possibly too much from the view of folk who are subject to my ravings about the birds - but I am not sure that the reverse applies.   While I don't climb up to them I have visited a chick on one occasion
and they do descend to human levels occasionally.

So I conclude that I am twinned!

1 comment:

fnkykntr said...

love the thought process that went into that :o) Superb Fairy Wrens always remind me of my Mum for some reason, but Im not sure what I would be twinned with!