Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


March 13, 2014

Dan Graves: Genus Floridanus

While the Midwest suffered a record breaking winter of snow and cold, we, like rats abandoning a sinking ship, packed the wagon, hitched the mules and headed south, joining the rest of the scrabbling horde known as snow birds on their annual migration.

For years, I’ve been aware of this species but have never had a desire to join them. I visualized them as a flock of wimps who are using a few winter months in the tropics as an excuse to avoid their responsibility of shoveling the driveway and replacing frozen water pipes, just as the rest of us have to do. After all, isn’t that the accepted fate of all who live in the snow belt? Why should a select few be allowed to shirk their duties while the rest of us perform our sworn duty of whining and cursing Mother Nature as the radiators on our vehicles freeze solid.

So, as a public duty to those of us who normally remain in our frigid prison, Judy and I decided to follow those traitors and study their movements in their winter habitat. To distinguish between the native species of birds and these migratory snow bird types, it is necessary to describe its chosen habitat and physical characteristics.

Genus: Elderus Winter Hightailius:

Description: Normally characterized as being somewhat advanced in age, often between 65 and 105 years. Incapable of flight except by commercial airlines, the species travels by a number of means, the most popular being large motorized homes and goose-necked trailers (unrelated to the species, Canadian Goose) or by automobile. If travelling by automobile, advanced living arrangements are made in condominiums usually found along either eastern or western shorelines of the chosen state.

For those with trailers or motor homes, special parks are available. These parks go by rather fancy names, such as Sea View Manor, Pelican Landing, or Sea Gull Haven. Those utilizing the condo’s pay exorbitant monthly prices, sometimes exceeding the annual income of the average New York cab driver. These are the birds who have their Ferrari’s and Porsche’s shipped to their destinations as primary forms of local transportation. Studies have been conducted to determine why those who prefer trailer parks will purchase motor homes for $250,000 and yet scoff at spending $5000 monthly on beach side condos.

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