Tuesday, June 14

Dodo Sightings

Dear Mr Oddie,

It has recently come to my attention that there must be a range of undocumented wild birds at large in British suburbia. Myself and several acquaintances were witness to possibly the first sighting of Raphus cucullatus since it's extinction circa 1681. The large waddling bird ran into the garden, shrieking and bellowing from out of the under growth, snatched the remains of a friend's breakfast and made it's hasty exit through a small a hole in the garden fence leaving a shower of grey plummage.

Many members of our party proclaimed that it was nothing other than a dodo. They were quite excited and quite convinced, although some might say they were hysterical and deluded. For my part I have my reservations, if pushed I'd be more inclined to suggest that it was nothing more than a RĂ©union Flightless Ibis (Threskiornis solitarius).

But this brings me to another quandry. How would such large flightless semi-tropical birds have come to be in this country? Idle speculation leads me to postulate some of the following; that there might well be an established colony of such birds released from captivity by well meaning 17th centuary dilettantes. Certainly there seems to be some precedant for this more recently with large wild cats roaming bodmin. My alternative and favoured theory is that the dodo never became extinct, that in fact it is a migratory bird which migrates to north western europe. However as it is flightless such a walk takes it an exceedingly long time. It's little wonder that when they left mauritius at the end of the 17th centuary it's taken them this long to finally arrive at their feeding grounds in the UK.

I do hope you'll able to pass comment.


D.Buchan (Dr)


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