Of mascots, meadowlarks and mallards

This is Oregon’s state bird, the Western meadowlark:

Pretty, right? This photo was taken in South Dakota by an EWstaffer. Problem is, the Western meadowlark seems to be a rare sight in most of Oregon, at least, according to this change.com petition:

As you may or may not be aware it is generally accepted that the state bird of the great state of Oregon is currently the Western Meadowlark. As an avid birdwatcher I live next to an area with abundant wildlife. My only sighting of a Western Meadowlark was on a trip to desolate south east Oregon. According to Wikipedia the state legislature of Oregon never voted on the state bird, it was named as a result of a polling of school children in 1927 by the Audubon Society. It is my belief that over 90% of our residents have either never seen one or would probably not recognize one if it were to alight in their vicinity. How we ended up with this bird(it is not even in the lark family it is a kind of blackbird) is beyond me but I suspect either hanging chads or a butterfly ballot.

The Western Meadowlark is the state bird of Oregon, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. That’s right, FIVE OTHER STATES! Only if we changed to the Mockingbird (Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas) could we equal this total lack of originality.

By now it must be obvious what needs to be done. There is only one obvious logical choice for state bird, Anas platyrhynchos AKA the Mallard. It is my contention that most Americans if asked would assume that our state bird was a duck. Along with park pond denizen, farm bird, popular waterfowl game bird, in Oregon the duck is a very powerful symbol loved by true Oregonians.

We’re conflicted on this suggestion… on the one hand, it seems only fair that since the beaver is Oregon’s state animal, the duck should get its share of the limelight. And let’s face it, we see ducks absoutely everywhere: on campus, at Delta Ponds, along the river, even across the street from EW‘s office, nesting under some stairs.

But do the UO’s Ducks really need yet another symbol glorifying their existence? Ducks themselves are suprisingly badass, with their corkscrew penises and their relative ubiquity in Lane County (see EW‘s 2012 cover story). But can they really measure up to a mysterious, golden-colored songbird?

You can make your case known and sign or detract the petition here, at change.org.