The duffel-coated college student

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The duffel-coated college student

This species is a rare bird indeed. It's found mainly in one of two places: on branches fixed with large white blackboard contraptions, or in wooded areas smelling chiefly of coffee beans.

The females seem to communicate most often on matters relating to chirping, warbling and twig decorating. The bird seems focused on learning new things, most of which center around beak polishing and cooing at the male of the species.

In public areas the females prefer to flap about together, with talons joined. They make distinguish themselves mainly by their feathery garb, which becomes more stylish and sophisticated as, over time, they climb their way higher into trees.

Compared to the male in this habitat, the female's feathers are well-groomed. Indeed, a fact that intrigues ornithologists is how duffel-coated college students apply what appears to be some sort of cosmetics again and again to the areas around their beaks,

In groups, the birds display a kind of coquettishness and flightiness. They are affectionate and effeminate, glowing especially when the males scavenge for chicks.

The female birds have similar mannerisms and high-pitched, squeaking tones that clearly resemble human giggling. They even have similar goals, a chief one being to obtain and compare the best beak adornments.

Duffel-coated female college students generally are a happy lot -- even if they appear to be more than a little self-absorbed. They look to be without a care in the world, except, perhaps a furious desire to find a suitable male companion of the species. That trait has caused many bird-watchers to mistake the female of the species for the more aggressive dreamy-eyed kingfisher.

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The duffel-coated college student typically has long, straight crown feathers that periodically change from coal-black to varying shades of reddish-brown. The changing colors apparently has something to do with fluctuating moods of the female species.

The species generally can be spotted with what is a diamond-like pin on her crown feathers, and most of these females seem to insist on finding the same round pins as every other species in Northeast Asia.

These females seem to wear what humans might call "contact lenses," or something like that, and do it for reasons that have yet to be understood, though vanity may be involved. The female species also undergoes some sort of transformation to have their eyes permanently fixed with better vision. Further, many of these birds appear to even experience an enlargement of their occipital lobes. Bird researchers are still baffled as to the reasons for these procedures. It's known, however, that most of the procedures are done when the birds fly off on what has been identified as "vacation" periods from those branches fixed with large white blackboards.

Small, gold ornaments, retrieved from densely populated thickets, decorate the birds' ears. The ornaments seemed to have been welded to the ears, much like the human process of ear-piercing.

The species, it's been noted, shun bright beak gloss, opting instead for pink or peach colors. They have an unspoken rule that when it comes to markings above the eye, they must carefully blacken them into perfectly even arches. The meticulous treatment that goes into eyebrows somehow determines where exactly on a tree this bird may roost.

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The duffel-coated college student has what can only be labeled a fetish for a sort of carryall bag that hangs from neck areas. The bags all bear familiar markings of well-known Italian birds, for example. In truth, the bags are not crafted by those Roman fowl, but by bird species in far-off Asiatic lands who pass themselves off as, say, hook-billed pradas or gray-winged guccis.

The bags hold what on first glance look to be tiny mobile phones. These phones are typically decorated with puppy dogs on a leash, an adornment that has baffled scientists. Inside the handbags are usually a variety of beak application materials and even something that could well double as human tweezers.

Nearly all of the species' members have what closely resembles a backpack the size of a small shopping bag. It, too, displays the marking of far-off craftsbirds, such as the blue-bellied lucas or the white-necked eastpak.

Oddly, when the duffel-coated college student eats with other female birds, all will spend much time studying their beaks in tiny pieces of glass. This is an idiosyncrasy that distinguishes this species from other female birds: The beak must be touched up with a strange powder before ceasing the eating regimen.

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The duffel-coated female college student does not not strut queen-like in all four seasons, as some researchers have said. During specific periods, times much like humans' exam days, researchers have pointed out, the female species becomes almost crow-like. Feathers go unattended, adornments disappear, as does the need for special cosmetics.

Once this exam-like period is over, the species returns to normalcy, working at crown feathers and scrubbing and polishing beaks to a high gloss.

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Generally thin in stature, the female duffel-coated college student has, appropriately, birdlike legs that are often covered with a jean-like fabric. On their lower talons they seem to prefer either white rubbery sneakerish items or dark boot-like devices named Doc Martens, after the famed 19th century veterinarian, Dr. Marten Buzzoff.

When the female species can't be found in these jeans fabrics, she often can be spotted in web-like stockings that come in elaborate designs and colors.

Talons are at times covered with raised platform devices, at least five centimeters high, featuring ribbons on the toe areas. This gear is utilized, researchers suspect, to add height when sitting on a branch in the presence of a male.

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Depending on the season, the species' feathers are generally painted black, navy or beige. Pastel colors are regarded as feathers for older females, it's been noted. On most occasions, the duffel-coated college student can be viewed in sweater-type layering, in colors and styles matching every female bird in flight. Over that is the mysterious, bulky coat-like layer with large wooden buckles and a hood-like accessory. This is the "duffel coat," also known as the "duffle coat" (see "Peninsula Princesses," Wiggins, Nightowl Books, London, 1908).

On very cold days, or even milder ones, the female duffel-coated college student will flutter about smelling of a perfume substance and coffee beans in a brown-plaid item that is most closely associated with what might be defined as a scarf. In 1991, the celebrated zoologist Edna Ewha named this scarf-type accessory a "birdberry."


by Choi Jie-ho
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