Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Trash-face" The Skua Pirate

I hate Skuas.....They are Antarctica's pesky, harassing, birds of prey. 
The size of small eagles, their wingspans can stretch up to 5 feet across.

Unfortunately the only prey on this continent are baby penguins and penguin eggs. For thousands of years these enormous birds have been swooping down on penguin colonies. They snatch up baby chicks and eggs and devour them in front of the helpless, slow-witted penguin parents.
However, a new target of "prey" has popped up in the past few decades for this ancient bird. 

New Prey=The McMurdo Dumpster
On any day of the week, you can walk by the big food dumpsters near the galley and see "Trash-face." He is the biggest, meanest, scariest of all the Skuas that scrounge around McMurdo Station. He is mangy, loud, and I am pretty sure he wears an eye-patch.

Trash-face lies in wait for any day-dreaming McMurdo townsperson to saunter out of the galley with a hot plate of food. He targets his poor victim (who is most likely thinking about the next Star Trek episode that he is going watch in his room while eating his deep-fried food). Then Trash-face noiselessly dive-bombs the plate of food and knocks the nerd off his access sending the plate of food askew.

Then the Feathered Pirate flies away in gloating victory with a slice of pizza dangling from his beak.

It is a deeply frightening and embarrassing moment for the McMurdo nerd. Fortunately this has never happened to me as I am much too cat-like and alert to be attacked by nature's predators. I tend to sprint like Quasimodo all the way to my dorm, hunkered over my food plate.

Trash-face and I have an armed truce.

(If you really want to start a feud with some unsuspecting co-worker here, you can secretly place a cookie in the hood of his/her jacket as he is walking outside. Then watch and wait for Trash-face to Kamikaze his butt. It's pretty funny).

In conclusion, the unpopular Skuas are one of the few creatures that make up the macro-ecosystem of this frozen continent.  

As in any great Shakespeare play, the world is a stage, and every player plays it's role:

The Penguins are always the adorable Heroes.
The Seals are always the hilarious Buffoons.
...And the Skuas will always be the unwitting, universally-hated Villains.

It's a lonely life being hated

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