Mojo the Bird Nerd, Redux

Blue Jay Penguin

We have long established that poor Mojo, in addition to her many other social faults, is also a bird nerd of lllloooooonnnnnng standing. One needs only to search the site for the word "birds" and you will instantly be transported into a magical realm of, umm, birds. Even Mojo's occasional brushes with greatness tend to dwell not so much on said greatness's many contributions to society, but on freakin' BIRDS.

Mojo also subscribes to Boing Boing's Twitter feed. Boing Boing, of course, is a directory of wonderful things, and whenever Mojo wants to look pathetically hip or cool she might share a link she finds on Boing Boing. And if she is feeling particularly generous, she will give Boing Boing full credit instead of taking the link from the original source and pretending like she is cool enough to read said original source on a regular basis. Because we all know by now, in addition to her bird nerdliness, Mojo is in reality an old clueless fuddy-duddy who relies greatly on Google and a hipper Younger Sister to Explain Things to Her. (And finds, as she gets older and even more of a stick-in-the-mud, that many of these things, once explained to her, she wishes she never once ever heard about. But I digress.)

So perhaps the more imaginative among you can guess at Mojo's glee when she saw the BB headline in her Twitter feed: "Penguins: Now with more color". (A great many people who are NOT bird nerds nonetheless like penguins, probably because they march around like serious little people in tuxedos, which makes non-bird people giggle and say stupid things like "Oh, look! They think they're people!") I was a hair disappointed to learn that the added color to the penguins was not some exotically-plumaged new variety, but merely the result of thermal imaging. Which is important and interesting in its own light, but not what I expected when I clicked on the link. (Some of this convoluted thought process was no doubt because I was trapped with the dog in a hotel room at the time, and since I don't really watch cable all that much I was bored out of my skull. But again, I digress.)

Anyway, as anyone who has looked at frogs and fishies and many other critters can tell you, penguins derive their monochrome attire due to what's called countershading. Many animals have light bellies and dark backs to help them blend in better in their environment. Water animals are particularly striking in this regard, and you can see why: if you look down through the water at them on a sunny day, their dark backs blend in better with the dark water and (often) dark bottom, whereas if you were swimming UNDER them looking UP, their light bellies would blend in better with the sunlight and the usually very light sky.

Anyway, this tendency is what makes penguins look so, uhhh, drab while they're waddling about on the ice floes. For all the folks saying they look like little tuxedoed gents, and for all their ability to withstand bitter, bitter cold beyond anything Mojo could ever wish to imagine, penguins are... well... penguins. There are different types, of course, but--much like how people ignore the difference between black-backed gulls and herring gulls and just call them all "sea gulls" (a bird that does not actually exist)--to most people a penguin is a penguin is a penguin.

Mojo decided, then and there, to sublimate her boredom of being stuck for days in a hotel room with the dog combined with her mild disappointment that penguins remain generally monochromatic and hence not as interesting as other birds by reimagining penguins with more ... shall we say ... interesting plumage. Like this fellow here, who I have redrawn with blue jay plumage.

So I've done several of these reimagined penguins--see? I TOLD you I was bored!--and over the next several weeks as I have the time or the inclination or the space to fill when more philosophical ramblings might fale me, I'll put one up for our amusement. And put them up on Zazzle in case anyone wants one on some merch--Mojo is, after all, a heartless, crass capitalist pig when you get right down to it.