With the launch at last week’s Birdfair of a bafflingly pointless quest to find a new ‘national bird’ for Britain, a nation cries “enough of this shit” and “for fuck’s sake, not yet more fucking Puffins”.
The inclusion of Puffins on the shortlist for a bird to replace Britain’s current national bird, the enduring and resilient Robin, is proving hard to swallow for a general public that’s frankly had enough Puffins to last them a lifetime. “If I see another bastard Puffin being pointlessly cute and anthropomorphised by the RSPB and the media, I might just shoot myself and put an end to it all,” said Nikki Hollis, a mother of two from Basildon.
“The little bastards are everywhere at the moment. On telly, online, on my kids’ beds at night – I don’t know what sorts of batteries the RSPB are putting in those cuddly Puffins, but they seem to have the half-life of plutonium – I wake up to a chorus of Puffin voices, they’re the soundtrack to the day, and I can still hear them ringing in my ears when the kids finally go to sleep in the evening.”
Tom Logan, a wildlife tour guide from the Western Isles, had the grace to look embarrassed when asked about how important Puffins were to his business. “There was a time when they were all people wanted to see,” he said, “but now nobody gives a flying fuck about them. Everyone’s sick to death of the sight of their cheerful, gormless faces. I blame overexposure – you can have too much of a good thing.
“Speaking for myself, when I hear someone call a young Puffin a ‘puffling’ it makes me want to punch them repeatedly in the face. Or vomit. They still eat them in Iceland, and that’s maybe not such a bad idea. I wonder how they harvest them...
“I’d love to hit a Puffin with a stick.”