The illusive Costellobird

Thursday, 18 June 2009 By Max Gross

Max Gross dips into his animal instincts and vodka spritzer to report on the last gasp of the o­nly remaining descendent of the extinct Dodo: the fabulous Costellobird

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Australian ornithologists were vindicated this week as predictions of the demise of the legendary Costellobird were confirmed when the last of the species fell from its perch in the national Parliament, causing a mild flurry among the local wildlife.

"This is the end of an era," o­ne keen bird watcher noted before correcting reporters with their spelling. "That's e-r-r-o-r."

In recent years, the Costellobird - a kind of oversized, flightless parrot - had faded as a source of interest among most professional bird watchers but managed to attract mild attention by occasionally flapping its stunted wings in desultory fashion and emitting short bursts of dissonant squawking.

Most serious observers, however, dismissed these antics as the last throws of a species of little purpose or interest to the scientific fraternity.

"We've seen this coming for years, "commented o­ne bored bird fancier. "Clearly, a bird that constantly indicates that is about to lay an egg but fails to do so is not long for this world."

Brain-damaged admirers of the timid Costellobird claim that the creature's shrinking habitat is responsible for its extinction and point to a previously unknown natural predator, the Krudd, an industrious yet constipated little mammal in the Peanuts family. With its best defence demonstrated by its characteristic monotonous vocalisations that go o­n and o­n and o­n, the Krudd is best approached wearing ear plugs, as observers have discovered the hard way, to avoid the risk of severe migraine.

Indeed, close study has revealed that the Krudd's seemingly breathless stream of incomprehensible babbling, matched with its rapid movement and blank-faced demeanor, make it a difficult new species to define.

"We're certain those sounds mean something," one scientist revealed to this gob-smacked reporter. "We just can't quite make sense of it."

As to the Krudd's origins, even the experts are puzzled.

"It came out of nowhere from the Queensland rainforests," Parliament's chief zoo keeper explained. "We think changing Cane Toad migration patterns due to global warming may have something to do with its sudden appearance in Canberra."

As for the hapless Costellobird, a successful breeding program while in captivity failed to stem its deterioration when released into the wild. With dwindling numbers and without the previous tender care of Parliamentary zoo keepers, its health began to wane, most clearly indicated in its steady loss of feathers and relentless flatulence.


In its final days, the Costellobird was occasionally glimpsed scuttling about in the underbrush bneath the back benches, preening and sniffing its own anus, apparently seeking solace in familiar odours and looking for a place to nest and rest in eternity.

Experts in the field predict that the Costellobird will attract far more interest as a stuffed and mounted specimen in the national Parliament's historic Museum of the Miffed, where its uniquely rigid expression - described by scientists as an amalgum of smirk and apparent nausea - may be a source of study for years to come.

"That smirk," mulled Professor Ivan Itsch of Canberra's Institute for Fringedwelling Sychophants. "It is difficult to assess its purpose, as it would be prominently displayed regardless of the circumstances. Most fascinating."

Professor Itsch was later found drowned in Lake Burley Griffin.

Despite its tendency in its latter years for glum flapping and the occasional colourful display of its depleted tail feathers, the Costellobird was unable to survive outside the narrow confines of the Government's front bench, which it had apparently presumed to be its natural habitat.

"It were the shock," sobbed one admirer of the once high flying bird. "All he needed were a brass band and a lot of confetti."

Some experts have concluded that the Costellobird's symbiotic relationship with the now extinct native rodent Ratfuckis Howardii may explain the Costellobird's steady decline.

In the words of o­ne Parliamentary aviary keeper, "Well, at least now there'll be a lot less bird shit to sweep up. Now if o­nly we could move that incontinent bloody Turnbullock out of here, I wouldn't have to wear waders!"

This was Max Gross reporting for Xenox News, flipping the bird, giving the word and popping a tinnie. Cheers!

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