Saturday, April 1, 2023

Bird flu under the cuckoo’s nest...


Written by By Jim Heffernan for the Duluth News Tribune/4-1-23

In honor of April Fools’ Day, here’s all the fake news that’s unfit to print.

DATELINE: EAST EGG, N.Y — The government announcement last week that American chickens should be vaccinated against bird flu has ruffled the feathers of the avian world, with many chickens and other of their feathered friends vowing to resist.


While some chickens have welcomed the news, a vocal minority is vociferously resisting the mandate, claiming the order infringes on their freedom and liberty to range freely. Others claim these resisters have gone “cuckoo…not to disparage a fellow bird,” sang songbird Jenny Wren.


Powerful Sen. Foghorn Leghorn, I-Moon, who has aligned himself with foul resisting vaccination, clucked: “I say, we will never submit to this, I say,

unconstitutional order by, I say, deranged leaders in the capitol, I say again.” Leghorn is known for peppering his orations with “I say.”


Speaking in favor of vaccinations, activist Desmond “Daffy” Duck noted, “I’m no chicken but this is a bird flu epidemic. We ducks and other feathered friends like loons and coots are threatened by bird flu as well, not to mention geese.” Among those others, grouse are said to be ruffled. Another duck leader, Donald, declined to comment.


Meanwhile, the leading foul expert in the National Institute of Bird, 

Fish, Insect and Reptile Safety (NIBFIRS), Dr Anthony Swan, has been berated and attacked by Sen. Leghorn’s followers, trumpeting expletives at him for advocating chicken vaccination.


One prominent opponent, Emmet “Chicken” Little, said, “The sky is falling,” when informed of the vaccination plans. “No chicks of mine will ever submit to it,” Chicken Little asserted, referring to his 200-plus offspring. “We lay a lot of eggs,” he noted, “not all of which become chickens per se,” adding that many become “breakfast.”


Not all in the avian community are resisting, however. A bird named Tweety (who declined to give her last name) said she doesn’t fear the vaccine but there are many other dangers threatening birds. “I tot I taw a puddy cat just this morning,” she chirped. Pigeons reportedly don’t care, nor do gulls.


Sources also said turkeys are becoming increasingly concerned. One, Thomas “Drumstick” Turkey, said if his fellow turkeys submit to vaccination, there won’t be much to be thankful for come Thanksgiving. “Of course, there never is much for us turkeys to be thankful for on Thanksgiving,” he lamented.


Rhode Island Red, anti-vaxer and spokeschicken for eastern bird breeds regardless of provenance, like the Baltimore Oriole, vowed to lead a chicken coup against the government if officials persist with bird flu vaccination efforts. “We’ll organize every coop in the country for this coup,” Rhode Island Red declared.


Seasonal bird migration is considered chiefly responsible for the spread of avian flu in the United States. Senator Leghorn called for erection of a huge net the length of the southern border to thwart further migration. “And I say we’ll get Nicaragua to pay for it,” Leghorn vowed.


Local ornithologists expressed concern that such a net could prevent arrival in the spring of welcome birds, citing the robin red breast, finches, thrushes, gulls, wrens, the scarlet tanager and the scarlet pimpernel. Roman Catholic leaders decried preventing cardinals from their annual visits. Pope Francis, who hails from South America, is said to have added this to his multifarious concerns.


“This chicken vaccination business is like inviting a wolf into the hen house,” said Ronald Raven, a spokesbird for many species of migrating birds. In response to a question from CNN asking if he believed he could be infected with bird flu, quoth Ron Raven, “nevermore.”


Film at 10.


Editor’s note: This exclusive report will be submitted for a Pullet Surprise.


Jim Heffernan is a former Duluth News Tribune news and opinion writer and continues as a columnist. He can be reached at and maintains a blog at