Why did the chicken cross the road? I have many punchlines for that old joke, but on our recent trip to Hawaii, I think it was to make sure the Fannons woke up in the middle of the night to keep our bodies on Florida time. After getting up at 5:00 a.m. Florida time (11:00 p.m. the night before, Hawaii time), flying more than ten hours, taking another two hours to pick up a rental car and drive to our condo, and getting dinner and groceries the first night, our bodies were more than ready to call it a long day. Imagine our surprise when we were awakened to rooster crows that started around 3:00 a.m. and went on through the night.
It seems feral chickens are everywhere in Hawaii. Many explanations are given as to why Hawaii is overrun with feral chickens. They were originally introduced when the Polynesians came to Hawaii several hundred years ago, bringing chickens with them. Later, plantations had chickens. Storms destroyed domestic coops releasing chickens into the wild. The domesticated birds then bred with wild chickens, producing a population that is ever increasing. The chickens have no natural predators, enabling them to multiply. Chickens are literally everywhere, from the beaches, to restaurants, golf courses, shopping centers, and condos. I won’t go into the effect of the chickens on the ecosystem as that is a boring subject, but suffice it to say that I am a veterinarian, as well as the owner of two yappy dogs and a loud macaw, so one more animal making noise is no big deal to me.
We generally ate breakfast on our outdoor patio, which drew the attention of the wild bird population. Being the softie I am, I was more than willing to share some of my pastries, even though there seems to be some kind of secret messaging among birds that says when you drop a crumb for one bird, all his friends somehow know about it. They must all be on Twitter. I’m sure the condo owners get tired of cleaning bird droppings off patios because of people like me who enjoy feeding the birds, but, hey, for the most part, I am a very considerate guest. I did manage to restrain myself from sharing my lunch with the birds in the one nice outdoor restaurant we ate at. It really wasn’t my fault that I accidentally dropped some of the bread from my sandwich on the ground.
Over the first few days, we got used to having breakfast with the birds. Then our rooster showed up. He was a cocky little fellow who stood on the low stone wall of our patio and crowed until we fed him, too. Then he strutted toward the food, running off the smaller birds, as if he owned the place. Maybe he did. He was obviously there before we were. Younger Son got a big kick out of him and named him Harold. Why “Harold,” I have no idea. Harold was not picky. He ate anything and everything. He clearly did not know the outrageous cost of food. Come to think of it, not only was Harold cocky, he was a brave soul. Considering the price of food, we could have caught Harold and had several free meals.
Okay, to answer the question of “why did the chicken cross the road:”
- To prove to the possum it could be done.
- Because it saw Colonel Sanders coming.
- Because this is America. It can go where it wants.
- To prove it wasn’t chicken.
- Because it was free range.
- It was social distancing.
- To knock knock on a door, walk into a bar, and change a lightbulb.
- It thought it was an egg-cellent idea.
- To bock traffic.
- I don’t know. Let the chicken mind its own business. I just want to live in a world where a chicken can cross a road without having its intentions questioned.