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  • by Jean-Francois Podevin

Rare Birds of North America: The Salton Sea Goose

The Salton Sea, once a vacationer's paradise, pelicans, pastel colored motels, happy hours, fresh fish in biblical abundance, house boats, clear skies and azure blue but salty water, very salty water, so much so that all creatures at Salton Sea have moved to greener pastures. But life goes on and takes new forms with or without the help of man , and for the first time something akin to an alien life form has finally happened on planet earth, right here at Salton Sea. A new creature resembling a bird or should I say a plant, has made this unforgiving landscape its home: the Salton Sea Goose. Unable to categorize it properly, the scientific community has chosen to ignore its existence at the present, so you will not find the Sea Goose in a manual of botany or in a bird watcher's field guide. The Sea Goose is at the crossroads of the vegetal and the animal kingdom. It is, in itself, a seemingly perfect ecosystem. It paddles like a duck with two lengthy root like legs, its long neck will bring to life a mighty palm tree that gives shelter to hummingbirds, a plentiful of dates will fall in the water which in turn will feed the smaller fishes. It takes half the length of Salton Sea for the bird to take flight. With great anticipation one can watch the Goose struggle against gravity. It takes advantage of the western breeze at twilight to achieve the necessary lift that will make it rise into the air like a flying tropical Island. Once airborne, it ruffles its fronds with the exuberance of a cheerleader. When it has reached a lofty altitude , it lets itself fall from above like a Cormorant, disappears underwater for the length of a breath and resurfaces with the force of a nuclear submarine. Its foliage shimmering with the gold of the last sun rays, the Sea Goose straightens its posture and shakes its upper body like a wet dog in a magnificent display of waterworks. When hearing the long "Peterbilt" honk sigh of contentment you'll realize how much the "Goose" is enamored with itself, and so much so, that it never seeks the company of others. This flying island is its own portable paradise, it never goes hungry or thirsty it has no friends or enemies which can cause discord or misunderstanding. The goose is narcissogenic however it will grow seven (coconuts) eggs, which will float above the water until they hatch out as fully functioning and self reliant Sea Geese. Thriving in an eternal present, the Sea Goose lives like the lilies of the field and worries not about the morrow.

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