Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Key West Wildlife

There is one spot you can go in Key West if you want to check out some wildlife.

The main post office on Whitehead Street has a jungle that is home to these wild predators:

The chickens lurk in the shrubs and grasses.

They hunt by day and sleep by night.

I find them loud and messy, as they dig holes in flowerbeds and spread dirt where they hunt.

Some people like them because they eat bugs that annoy some sensitive humans.

I am much more a fan of ibis and egret, local birds that eat bugs with delicacy and tact and in silence.

I am not an enemy of Key West chickens but they are hardy birds and don't care about my feelings. The story is that they are descendants of Cuban fighting roosters brought to Key West, a story that makes no sense on many levels.

I doubt Cubans escaping their island would take their roosters under their arms as they jumped into boats but even if they did roosters are male chickens...It's like Key West pirates, one more cool story based on no known facts.

The chickens I guess just got loose when Key West was a less organized town than today and now they are a tourist attraction and protected. The version I heard is that chickens can only be killed if you are going to eat them. If true that sounds like a depression era rule.

So there they are hunting and killing and eating and reproducing.

They are scattered all over the island and drive some residents mad by crowing at all hours and wrecking sleep. The city hired a local barber to catch the chickens and export them to a chicken retirement home (they said) on the mainland. Mistrustful supporters of chicken rights would release the birds from the trapper's cages, rendering him impotent and frustrated so he quit.

And the chickens remain.

On the streets.

Minding their own noisy messy business.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Rob said...

I'm surprised KW doesn't have some sort of "Chicken Fest" yet.

Conchscooter said...

they had one, sponsored by the chicken store. both have gone.