The Cinematic Wilderness Survival Guide

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Since Daniel Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe and even before then, survival stories have always been a source of endless entertainment to the masses living in civilization. Today you have survival movies like Castaway and The Revenant along with TV series like Lost and The Walking Dead, and even reality programs like Survivor or stuff from the Discovery Channel. Many of what you see about surviving in the wilderness or devastated urban environment isn’t necessarily what’s going to help you in real life. Reality shows have camera crews and don’t really depict reality anyway. And survival stories that took place in historical times may feature characters that do stuff that violate basic common sense. Here I have a list of survival tips you get from movies and why they’re totally wrong.

It’s likely that you will suddenly end up in a classic survival scenario. (Most people who end up in a classic survival scenario usually do so through a series of bad decisions that, if you don’t take immediate action, you might die. Real survival isn’t about being the toughest and most experienced, but keeping out of those situations through basic common sense. Not to mention, being flexible as well as swallowing stubbornness and pride. For instance, a lot of your classic survival heroes probably wouldn’t be in such situations if they {or someone else} didn’t make the decision to travel to the location in the first place. Still, if you’re fishing in a lake when you see lightning, get off the lake. It’s that simple).

You can live off the land with no problem. (From How to Survive It: “When the settlers landed on Plymouth Rock, they had plenty of experience living off the land (hunting, foraging, farming, etc.) and were well-versed in primitive skills like fire-starting and making the most of natural resources, yet they still nearly starved to death. Today there are fewer wild animals and edible plants and far more people than then, and few people possess even a fraction of the skills that our settlers had. If living off the land is your only plan to sustain yourself and your family, you’re in for some rough, potentially deadly times.”)

A gun is the most important thing you’ll need. (Guns may be great to have when surviving the wilderness or a post-apocalyptic scenario, but they will not help you if you’re thirsty or have a medical emergency. While a gun may protect you from criminals {though not always reliably}, you’re more likely to die of disease or accidents. So unless you’re in a situation similar to Oregon Trail, you’re better off stocking on food and medical supplies before buying a gun).

You don’t need to prepare for survival in a short hike. (Even short hikes can become dire survival situations. The weather may get bad. You might get lost or injured. Always have a few key items with you before you venture into the outdoors like extra clothes, a map, a compass, a flashlight, first aid kit, as well as extra snacks and water. Also, always let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to come back so they could notify a search party to rescue you if you don’t).

If you get into trouble, you can always be lifted to a hospital by helicopter. (Not if the area doesn’t have cell phone reception. Or if there’s severe weather conditions. Or in places where helicopters can’t reach you. If you’re hiking in South America, you will not have a helicopter to rescue you and emergencies must be handled by guides, porters, and other hikers. Some may not be able to speak English. And even if a helicopter rescue is possible, there’s still the matter of getting in touch with someone who can send it).

Space blankets are useless. (From Outdoor Life: “Those Mylar-coated emergency blankets certainly don’t look very warm. How on earth can something no thicker than a trash bag save your life? Well, though the aluminum coating on these blankets is very thin, it is thermal-reflective. In other words, it can redirect infrared energy, which means that it reflects heat. When you are getting cold due to shock or exposure, it’s because the heat you were radiating is lost to the air and not replaced. With a space blanket wrapped around you, however, the moisture in your clothes won’t evaporate {which causes cooling} and you won’t lose as much heat to the air moving around you {limiting convective heat loss}. So you will stay warm when you’re wrapped up in this sheet that looks like tin foil. And since these lifesaving blankets pack down so small and are so cheap, there’s no reason to run around in the bush without carrying a few of them.”)

You can depend on your cell phone to save you. (If you’re miles away from civilization, this might not be the case. Besides, batteries die, reception is spotty, and your phone isn’t invincible. You’re better off being appropriately prepared and letting people know where you’re going and when you’ll return. So if you don’t come back within a certain amount of time, that person can trigger a search and rescue operation for you).

Being able to survive in the wilderness takes a lot of skills and physical fitness. (This isn’t necessarily true because ordinary and unassuming men, women, and children can also survive and have as long as they have the will, the positive-realistic attitude, and the emotional resilience to endure. Also, it helps that you’re smart and use common sense as well as don’t get yourself in a deadly scenario).

Wearing wet clothes is better than no clothes at all. (From Survive All: “Water has a nasty habit of holding on to its temperature for long periods of time, so if you have just fallen through ice and you get out and keep your clothes on, all you are doing is keeping yourself cold. You are better off naked than in wet clothes.” Yeah, probably don’t want to risk getting hypothermia).

Wait a day or more to see if help arrives before starting anything. (Always plan if help isn’t coming though hope it does).

Dead or dormant poison ivy can’t hurt you. (From Backpacker: “Urushiol, the oil in poison ivy that prompts allergic reactions when in contact with skin, remains active for several years after the plant dies. Furthermore, the urushiol is not just in the leaves of the plant, but is also present in the roots and stems. So how do you pinpoint poison ivy when there are no leaves? Luckily, this toxic plant produces aerial roots, making the vines appear “hairy”—a handy sign for shoulder-season hikers.”)

Shelter:

Shelter means coverage. (Adequate shelter has very little to do with coverage and everything to do with protection from the elements. In a hot sunny climate, this means shade. In cold or temperate climate, this means warmth. Poorly built shacks with roofs and walls are a poor way to protect yourself from the cold. Making a small nest that insulates the ground and provides some wind protection vastly recommended before building a roof).

Lean-tos make great shelters. (Yes, they look cool and are easy, but it’s better to go with something that has 4 walls, a doorway, and a roof. And if it’s cold, try to insulate the ground before building a roof.)

During a thunderstorm, it’s best to seek shelter from lightning under a tree. (Since I was a kid, I knew hiding under a tree during a thunderstorm is just absolutely insane. Lightning is attracted to height, pointy objects, and isolation, which are often associated with trees. Also, unlike skyscrapers, towers, and other tall buildings, trees don’t have lightning rods. Best to seek shelter in a home or car. And if these aren’t options, crouch down on the balls of your feet. If you’re in a group do so at least 100 yards from the other members of your party to reduce the risk of being hit together, allowing the others to administer CPR if necessary. Lying flat on the ground might lower your profile even more but it increases your chance of picking up the ground current and it’s not advised).

Shelters should be built from dead materials. (From The Good Survivalist: “This one came from our friends in the ‘green’ survival movement. They are far more concerned that a few trees might get killed than they are about your life. All advice from them should be considered highly suspect. Imagine building your shelter as a big pile of dead leaves and wood. Now imagine having a campfire anywhere near that. Do you really want to climb in there and go to sleep? Nuff’ said.” Chopping down a few trees for a shelter the forest isn’t going to contribute to deforestation much).

Navigation:

You’ll never get lost with a GPS. (From Outdoor Life: “If you can afford one, you should always take a GPS unit with you into the backcountry. These high-tech navigational tools are easy to use, and more important, they always let you know where you are. But they aren’t a fail-safe against getting lost. If you misplace or break the unit, or your batteries die, you’d better have a map and compass (and the knowledge to use them) as a backup. Navigation isn’t just about knowing where you are; it’s about knowing which way to go as well.”)

Always walk your way to safety. (In some situations, conserving energy and hydrating might be your best bet like in the desert. It’s also best that you take 30 minute breaks to let the adrenaline flush out of your system so you can make decisions with a clear frame of mind as well as assess your injuries, which is often overlooked in survival manuals).

It’s always a good idea to climb a tree to look for the trail ahead. (From Getting Out Alive: “Although gaining a high vantage point can give you a better view of things ahead, climbing a tree is both exhausting and dangerous and is not worth the energy expenditure, nor the risk of injury.”)

As long as you can find North, you can navigate to safety. (From Getting Out Alive: “North is meaningless unless you know which direction you must travel to reach safety. Knowing where you are in relation to a safe destination is the only important issue.”)

Always hike through the night to avoid the heat during the day. (From Getting Out Alive: “In hot regions, use the morning hours for hiking, from just after daybreak until the heat comes up. Hunker down during the heat of the day, but do not travel through the night or you risk injury or becoming lost.”)

Always travel swiftly to get out of a survival situation as quickly as possible. (Travel cautiously and avoid injury at all cost. Because suffering an injury might be the very thing that kills you.)

Wildlife:

Holding a baby animal in front of its parents will not bring you any harm. Heck, the adult animals may even let you hold their cubs. (This was in Disney’s Pocahontas. Holding a baby animal in front of its parents will result in an emergency room visit or some time in the ICU if you’re lucky {assuming the animal is large enough like a deer or a bear}. Because doing so will lead its parents to perceive you as a threat and they will attack you. If you value your life, do not go anywhere near baby animals. If you see a helpless baby animal that’s alone for more than 24 hours, malnourished, or sick call animal control if you can. Else, just beat it and leave the animal alone. Sure it might fall prey to predators or the elements, but at least you’ll be alive. Note that what you see happen to Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant was not something most people survived without medical treatment. In fact, quite the contrary {though Leo’s case in that movie can be excused since the real Hugh Glass was attacked by a bear in the 1820s and did survive but it was through sheer dumb luck [because we do know he was killed by Native Americans in 1833]. And it’s unlikely that the bear attacked him that way since it would’ve paralyzed him. Still, while Fitzgerald and Bridger left Glass for dead, they did so because they were so convinced he wouldn’t survive}).

You can always count on the woodland creatures to help you when you’re stranded in the woods. (Sorry, but this isn’t Snow White for crying out loud. Seriously, the best way the woodland creatures could help you is by being your dinner).

Always punch an attacking shark in the nose. (Most people lack the upper body strength to strike a blow powerful enough to stun a shark, especially when punching in the water. Shark attack experts generally recommend clawing the shark in the gills and eyes instead. Because sharks will naturally try to protect their vision and respiration capabilities. A sharp blow or a scratch to either may be enough to scare a shark away. Sharks look for easy prey and most won’t risk safety for a quick meal.)

If a bear approaches you, just play dead. (Maybe if it’s a mother grizzly defending her cubs. But if it’s any other kind of bear {namely a black bear which you’re more likely to encounter in North America}, it might attack you anyway. Your best bet is making yourself look intimidating which can be accomplished by opening your jacket, spreading out your arms, and shouting. Hopefully the bear would be spooked and run away. Also avoid making eye contact with a grizzly or it might consider it a challenge).

When in contact with a bear, the best way to avoid an attack is to out run it. (If you run into a bear, don’t ever try to outrun it. Because you can’t. Bears run at 30mph which is faster than Usain Bolt. Yes, even he can’t outrun a bear, let alone you. Instead, stay where you are. If it’s a black bear, make yourself look big such as opening your coat, holding out your arms over your head, as well as shout and scream until it’s spooked and takes off. If it’s a grizzly, avoid eye contact and back away slowly. If it charges, stand your ground. If it makes physical contact, cover your vitals and play dead. Either way, bring bear or pepper spray).

If you come across a sick or injured animal, try to help it. (Stay the hell away from it or run like hell. Because sick and wounded animals can be very dangerous, especially if they have rabies. Besides, wounded animals can still attack you. Best to call animal control if you can).

Water is a good escape from a bee attack. (I’ve seen this a lot in movies, TV, and cartoons. Nevertheless, despite multiple accounts of people avoiding swarms doing so, they proved to be fruitless since the bees were there waiting when the people came up for air. Instead of running into the water, seek refuge in a car or building. If these options aren’t available, just keep running, especially through a brush or thicket. Bees have been known to pursue people for half a mile and the run will be worth a reprieve).

Wildlife is always your biggest problem. (As long as you don’t do anything to disturb or try to feed them, the animals will not bother you. You’re more likely to encounter a wild animal in more urbanized areas than in the woods. Then again, this might be relevant in Africa, but if your stranded in North America, wildlife is the least of your worries).

Immediately put up protection against animals like wolves. (The best you can protect yourself against an animal is to stay away from It and don’t do anything to piss them off. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. Besides, predators like wolves are more interested in easy prey. A big fire is normally enough).

Garlic repels mosquitoes. (What repels mosquitoes is mosquito repellant like DEET, not garlic.)

Venomous snakes have triangular heads. (A snake’s head shape is irrelevant on whether it’s poisonous or not).

Bears are only active at dawn or dusk. (Bears can be active at any time of the day but are mostly out at dusk).

First Aid:

If you or your friend is bitten by a poisonous snake, cutting an “X” and orally sucking is advised. (Yes, this method was used by 19th century American pioneers which you see in westerns, where it would be appropriate. But like a lot of 19th century medical advice, this is idiotic and disgusting as well as medically worthless. What’s best advised is washing the wound, putting a bandage on it, and seeking medical attention immediately such as calling 911. Because sucking the venom poses a risk for both the victim and the person sucking the poison out {even if one’s careful not the swallow the envenomed blood}. And if there are sores on the mouth, the venom may likely end up in the sucker’s bloodstream. In addition, consider the pathogens present in a person’s mouth. Still, it’s better to prevent poisonous snake bites by simply not putting your hands or feet where you can’t see. Also a dead rattlesnake can still bite you long after it’s been squished on the highway since its bite reflex is still intact for several hours.  In addition, out of the 5600 who get bitten by rattlesnakes in North America, only 5 or 6 died while 30% only experienced a dry bite, meaning there may not be poison in the bite at all).

If CPR doesn’t work, then it’s perfectly fine to strike random hammer fists to the center of a victim’s heart to restart the heart. (This is called a precordial thump, and it’s not a free beating, but a precisely aimed blow delivered by an expert in an attempt to interrupt a life-threatening rhythm if there’s no defibrillator available and can only be attempted once).

To treat frostbite, rub the frozen tissue with snow or immerse it in cold water. (Immerse the tissue in warm water but only when it’s certain the tissue won’t refreeze. Otherwise, doing so will only increase risk of permanent damage just like rubbing it with snow or immersing it in cold water would. You could also use painkillers if available).

If someone is suffering from hypothermia, it’s best that you throw them in hot water. (This would actually cause their core temperature to shoot right up, inviting the colder fluid from the extremities in. Such treatment would make the person even colder or worse mess up their heart. While alcohol can create a quick rush of warmth by dilating blood vessels, the same effect can cause a faster and very dangerous drop in temperature. Also keep in mind about causing excruciating pain or a heart attack. Better to put hot water bottles in both armpits or skin to skin rewarming).

Giving alcohol to someone suffering from hypothermia always keeps them warm. (Alcohol only gives you the illusion of warmth when you’re freezing but actually drops your core temperature. Might make you feel better for a few minutes even though it’s actually killing you faster).

If someone isn’t breathing or if there’s no pulse, slapping your unconscious buddy a couple of times after getting all angry and yelling at them will make them come around. (Best to move them to a place with cell phone reception and call 911).

Treat burns with butter or oil. (Butter or oil will worsen any burn from sunburn to 3rd degree and possibly get it infected. Skin that’s recently burned/still burning is 1st or 2nd degree (like sunburns, contact with a hot object, dropped cigarette on leg, etc.), immerse it in spray or spray it with cool water to stop ongoing damage. If it’s 3rd degree, then try to keep it cool and clean, but call 911 and wait for professionals to arrive rather than using cold running water).

Always remove impaling foreign objects from wounds. (Dr. McCoy does this to Spock in the new Star Trek movie even though he should’ve known better. From TV Tropes: “Generally they’ve smashed all the bits they’re going to smash, and are now acting as a plug on the wound – and an infection can be fought off with antibiotics at the hospital. Pull the plug, and you may be dead in minutes. Barbed weapons might tear more flesh and if they don’t, you’re unlikely to be able to pull it out at the exact angle it went in.” So if you’re in a wilderness area with cell phone reception, just call 911. If not, then get to one).

Bullets should always be removed from gunshot wounds. (Hunting seasons aside, getting shot in the wilderness isn’t very likely to happen in real life. But in movies and TV, you might see this a lot, especially in war or post-apocalypse movies. A bullet can remain undetected inside someone for years and not cause any problems. The only times when a bullet should be removed is if it’s still traveling in the body, its becoming dislodged can cause fatal injury {in which case the doctors want to remove it in a controlled environment rather than it becoming dislodged on its own at random}, or if it’s serving as a source of infection or immune reaction. This despite the fact that firing a bullet heats it to the point that most possibilities of infection would be gone. In fact, getting the bullet out is usually the last thing surgeons bother to do. Also consider the fact that Andrew Jackson was shot close to his heart and lived with that bullet in his chest for decades and he was around during the 19th century).

Is someone is bleeding, always use a tourniquet to stop it, such as from clothing. (This is a very bad idea. As TV Tropes put it, “In real life the clothing will probably stick to the drying blood, causing other problems later when real help arrives. If the tourniquet is left on the limb in question for too long, this will result in the limb becoming necrotic and falling off or getting Compartment Syndrome. This one is subject to a bit of Science Marches On as the US Army, who have been using makeshift tourniquets out of cravats and windlasses {basically bandannas and sticks} for decades, have shown that advances in combat medicine allow a limb to have a tourniquet applied and blood flow completely cut off for up to 2 hours without permanent damage and up to 4 hours while still keeping the limb. This has gained modern tourniquets such as the CAT {Combat Application Tourniquet} a place in the gear of most modern combat soldiers, and indeed, is the US Military’s preferred method of treatment for significant extremity hemorrhage and/or total limb amputation. The current consensus is that when used properly tourniquets work, but should only be used under specific circumstances by professionals unless the situation is that dire. ‘Dire’ in this case meaning that the person is almost certain to die from blood loss before any professional medical aid arrives on site, typically meaning a limb being fully severed.” You’re better off using plain old bandages.)

If someone has consumed something poisonous or infectious, induce vomiting. (If they aren’t already vomiting, just call 911 or get them to a hospital. And if they are, do the same. Supportive treatment begun early often does far more good than trying to purge the substance from the body. Also, in some cases a drug, alcohol, or other overdose can cause unconsciousness and someone vomiting can breathe in their own vomit, complicating potential survival with a nasty case of pneumonia or asphyxiation. You can also call the poison control hotline which can offer expert advice and specific instructions for the particular poison ingested {if known}. However, if these guys say to induce vomiting, this is a situational precaution and shouldn’t be attempted unless it’s known for certain that it’s the right thing to do).

Always give someone a laxative to someone experiencing unknown stomach or intestinal pain. (Laxatives are meant to treat constipation and should only be administered if there’s no lower abdominal pain worse than mild discomfort that has persisted no longer than a week and when the obstruction is only known to be poop. Otherwise, just call 911 and get them to a hospital if that option is available. If not, then just use a signal to get a rescue party, pronto. If they have appendicitis, giving a laxative can lead to a ruptured appendix, horrific peritonitis infection, and possibly death. If they have an immobile object, their entire large intestine, leading to almost to certain death).

Always take dressing off of bleeding wounds and apply new ones. (This is a bad idea since it doesn’t give the blood enough time to clot and possibly removes clots already formed. The correct course is to add new bandaging over that’s already soaked through as needed, and even if you wind up with a huge wad of bandaging that’s unruly, it’s still better than disrupting the clotting process).

Open wounds should immediately be closed in all cases. (Dr. McCoy does this to Spock in the new Star Trek movie, even though he knows this isn’t the best treatment for him {though neither was removing a metal object from him either}. Then you see Leo cauterize a neck wound in The Revenant which is pretty drastic as well as certainly not a safe and sanitary option {yet, since this movie takes place in the 1820s, it can be forgiven. But you shouldn’t try it}. Though to be fair, he didn’t have many options since the wound was close to Spock’s heart and he would’ve bled to death if he hadn’t. However, according to TV Tropes: “While most wounds get cleaned and immediately shut, deep wounds, especially infected ones, often stay open. Treatment of big abscesses or infected wounds often involves opening it, cleaning it and then leaving it open for a few days {with a bandage IN the wound to keep it open and a plaster over it to keep it clean and avoid fluids sipping out}. This allows the tissue to heal from bottom up and the doctors to check on the infection and keep it clean. Instantly sewing it shut would close the hole, inviting bacteria to create a new or even worse infection which could lead to a lethal sepsis {blood poisoning}.” So if you have deep wounds, best call 911 if you can).

Wounds should never get in contact with water unless it’s a burn. (Those who’ve had surgery usually find that saunas and swimming pools are forbidden but showering is okay as long as the wound itself isn’t covered in soap {run water is fine}. In many cases, washing the wound is often encouraged such as when there’s a risk for infection. Certain abscess cases even might involve the patient holding the shower head straight at the wound and using the water pressure to thoroughly clean it).

When someone goes into shock, assume the victim is fine if there’s no blood flowing or anything stuck in them. (From TV Tropes: “Anyone trained in first aid can tell you that shock {the body failing to circulate blood properly} is actually one of the more dangerous threats posed to almost any accident victim. Many cases of shock can stem from what amounts to the body creating errors while responding to stressful stimuli, which means that even a comparatively minor wound {such as a cut on the thumb} can throw a person into shock. Symptoms can be anything from anxiety and confusion to irregular pulse and blackouts, and it’s not unheard of for a patient who at first glance does not appear to have any life-threatening injuries to die from shock simply because the body unintentionally shut itself down. One of the best ways to prevent shock is to simply interact with the patient in a reassuring and calm tone, as well as keeping them warm and ensuring proper blood flow to the head and vital organs {usually achieved by propping up the legs}.”)

If someone is not breathing or there’s no process, provide mouth on mouth and compression CPR. (The purpose of CPR is to buy time until advanced help is available by circulating blood and preventing brain damage from lack of oxygen. And you’re not supposed to give up after a minute or 2 just because they haven’t started breathing on their own, but rather continue until advanced help gets there. It’s also expected for the victim’s ribs to get broken during CPR, something that almost never happens on TV. Still, CPR rarely results in a full recovery and if the person’s heart and breathing have actually stopped to the point of needing it, chances of recovery at all is usually less than 10%. Even if the proper medical care can be brought in time to keep them from outright dying, such patients generally die within 1-2 years. Also, there’s a large chance of permanent brain damage. Not only that, but remember that CPR alone does not revive someone. And do not attempt to do CPR if someone collapses from cyanide poisoning because doing so will end up killing you).

Booze always makes a great wound disinfectant and anesthetic. (Well, rubbing alcohol is great as a disinfectant. But other than that, this advice belongs in the 19th century).

Booze is always great to have when it comes to surviving in the desert. (Sorry but booze can cause dehydration).

Hypothermia only happens in cold climates. (It can happen in wet environments as well as at higher elevations. So stay dry and warm in order to prevent your temperature from dropping to dangerous levels).

Don’t feed a victim of hypothermia. (From Outdoor Life: “Normal shock treatment and hypothermia treatment are different—you don’t, for example, want to feed someone who may be going into shock because he can vomit and choke while unconscious. However, in mild to moderate hypothermia cases, high-calorie foods can be given in small, repeated doses to create metabolic heat in the victim and help him restore his own heat-generating ability.” Unfortunately, shock treatment and hypothermia treatment are practically indistinguishable in Hollywood).

Let a hypothermia victim get some sleep. (From Outdoor Life: “After the shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and clumsiness of hypothermia have manifested, an exposure victim also gets drowsy. This is a serious warning sign because sleep can lead to death. Keep the victim awake as you warm him up.”)

Always use fire to remove an embedded tick. (Since ticks cause frustrating and debilitating illnesses like Lyme disease, there’s a lot of confusion to approach this. The medical community currently advocates taking fine tipped tweezers and gently pulling the tick out by the mouth, which helps avoid releasing as much infected fluid as possible. Grabbing the tick by the body only leads to a higher risk while smothering or applying fire should be avoided as well because these tactics cause infection. After the tick’s removed, wash hands and wound thoroughly after the tick has been removed).

If you suffered a sprained ankle, best to apply warmth immediately. (From Trails.com: “How to treat a badly sprained ankle, which for a hiker or backpacker can be a serious situation when out in the wilderness, has always been subject to myth, with a large portion of the population thinking that warmth should immediately be applied. However, the opposite is true since heat will make the swelling and pain increase and slow down the healing process. If you spend time on trails and out camping, remember the acronym RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The ankle should be quickly rested and iced if possible or soaked in cold water from a stream. Even snow can be used as a substitute for ice. Ice the ankle for 20 minutes to half an hour and then put a compression bandage such as an elastic wrap on it to give it support. Elevate the affected foot. Repeat this procedure up to four or five times a day until the swelling goes down.”

Water:

If you run out of water, drinking your own pee will keep you hydrated. (From The Clymb: “Your pee probably won’t kill you, but depending on your location, it might do more harm than good. If you are dehydrated in an extremely hot environment, drinking your urine will put unnecessary stress on your kid­neys, which in turn puts unnecessary stress on your body and leads to more overheating. Drink­ing urine is an acceptable short-term solution to dehydration in cooler climates, but is not the best idea in a heatstroke situation. In cases of dehydration com­bined with heat stroke, using the urine to soak a small bandana for evaporative cooling may be more effective.”)

Boiled water is always 100% safe to drink. (While boiling water can kill organisms and germs, it will not clean harmful particulates from it. For instance, no matter how long you boil chemically contaminated water, it won’t be safe to drink. Same goes with stagnant dirty water, too. And there’s a good chance the water you get will have dirt in it so it’s best to filter it out through a clean fabric or leave it to stand until the sediments sink to the water first. And then boil it preferably at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for a minute so the little microbes could die).

You can follow flying birds to find water. (From Outdoor Life: “While some aquatic birds rarely leave the water’s edge, others roam far and wide for food. It’s been said that geese fly toward water at dusk, but this isn’t always the case. They could simply be flying toward a known clearing to spend the night. Since we have no way of knowing a bird’s plans for the evening, we can’t rely on it to lead us anywhere.”)

Drink raw blood to survive and keep hydrated. (From Outdoor Life: “Sure, there’s water in blood. And some of the traditional cattle cultures of Africa still consume cattle blood with milk, but this is done for protein and minerals rather than hydration. While the consumption of animal blood has helped to keep survivors alive, the risk may not justify the gain. Drinking raw blood could mean you’re consuming pathogens.”)

You can keep hydrated by sucking from a stone. (From Outdoor Life: “This old survival trick has been practiced across the globe. The idea is that sucking on a stone causes saliva to flow. Obviously, you’re not sucking water from the stone, so there is no real gain. Most calamitously, you could even suck on the stone too hard and inhale it, which could cause you to choke.”)

Running water is safe to drink. (From Survival Cache: “Don’t count on it.  Remember it came from somewhere and the source or what it came in contact survival water with between the source and reaching your location could be suspect.  Typically if you have to choose between running water and stagnate water always default to the former but make sure you also treat and purify the water before you consume it.”)

Drinking saltwater in small amounts is safe. (Drinking saltwater in any amount will lead to further dehydration and death more quickly than if you went without water at all. However, you can use saltwater to cool your body. But drink it, never).

Water found in natural depressions is safe to drink. (It has all the risks associated with stagnate groundwater and run off. So it should be treated before drinking).

Never drink the water. (Because water is an important resource if you want to survive, it’s best you drink it. But please filter and purify it before you do so. Yet, if you don’t treat it, it’s likely you’ll be rescued before it becomes anything serious. So it’s better to offset dehydration with germ filled water than to take no water at all. Doctors can fix illnesses but they can’t fix death).

Only standing water is dangerous. (With running water, it’s best you know what the source is before you drink it. Because even that can be dangerous. But filter and purify it first).

Food:

You can survive in the wilderness by eating raw meat or fish. (Leo DiCaprio eats raw fish and buffalo does this in The Revenant. To be fair, the real Hugh Glass lived during the 1820s when most people didn’t know anything about germs so his actions could be forgiven. However, most of the time eating raw meat and fish, is generally not advised due to high risk of pathogens that could cause foodborne illness. Now there are some raw fish that are safe for consumption but they mostly come from saltwater environments and contain pathogens not compatible with the human body. Not only that, Glass eats from a buffalo that’s already been cut open so how long the animal is dead is a big concern here. Still, when it comes to meat consumption, always kill and cook it before eating it).

Always look for food first. (While starvation can certainly kill, it’s said humans can live up for 6 weeks before starving to death. That’s plenty of time for someone to figure out to missing and find you so you’ll probably be rescued before you starve. Injury, illness, poisoning, or exposure are much more likely to result in death than starvation. Besides, hunting and trapping prey are hit and miss activities, often producing nothing and simply end up expending energy and risking injury or illness. Instead, water, warmth, and protection should be top priorities as well as conserving energy and avoiding injury. Then again, people in movies and TV usually tend to be in significantly more dire circumstances than most modern day folks in their lives. So them finding food is more understandable because it’s part of a long term survival strategy. Fiction survival stories rarely ever pertain to short-term situations).

Plants are a good source of food in a survival situation. (Unless you have an edible wild plant guide with you, are a botanist, or know the Universal Edibility Test, only eat the ones you’re already familiar with. Else, you could end up like Foxface in The Hunger Games. If you need to find food, it’s safer to stick with eating mammals, freshwater fish, birds, or insects. Besides, there are a lot of deadly plants out there and those considered safe to eat don’t provide a lot of calories or nutrients anyway. As for wild mushrooms, for the love of God, don’t even think about it. So for all you vegetarians and vegans out there, if you find yourself stranded, your best solution is to eat meat or die).

You can quickly hunt and fish for food where game is plentiful. (As someone who’s been raised watching nature shows, I know for a fact that this isn’t true for a lot of predatory animals. And they go for days without getting a meal, even the babies. Even with the best fishing gear and hunting equipment, hunting and fishing still takes patience, practice, and experience. Under survival conditions when you’re not at your best, these meals may never arrive. Also, hunting might make you more prone to serious injury or get you killed. Your best bet is to set many simple deadfall traps, snares, and shallow fish containment pens to hopefully catch yourself a meal while you tend to other immediate matters like securing safe drinking water).

You could eat anything animals eat. (Despite our shared biology thanks to evolution, there’s still a massive difference between humans and other animals. Some animals might eat plants that are safe for human consumption, yet these same critters could eat plants that are dangerous to us. Birds eat a variety of berries, many of which could either nourish or kill us. Even mammals like squirrels who normally eat nuts perfectly safe for human cuisine, can munch on mushrooms and nuts that are toxic to humans. So just because an animal can eat it, doesn’t mean you can. This is especially if it’s poison ivy, which many animals do eat).

Black and blue berries are never poisonous. (Most black and blue berries aren’t poisonous but if you can’t positively identify a berry, don’t eat it. For instance, pokeberries and Virginia Creeper berries are lethal. Foxface learned the hard way when she ingested the Nightlock. And Peeta almost made the same mistake until Katniss told him that they were poisonous).

Fire:

Always stock up on matches. (Lighters are smaller, cheaper, and save more space than matches, taking long term costs to account. Besides, if you’re worried about your lighter getting wet, just get a magnesium fire starter. Seriously, you don’t want to end up with the two match situation like Rambo).

Anyone could start a fire by rubbing 2 sticks or striking 2 stones together. (Relying solely on friction to start a fire will not help you in areas with high humidity. Even under the best conditions, friction fire making is a challenge that take patience, practice, as well as luck, and is not reliable for most people. One guy who had 50 years experience in this technique, said it took him a day and a half to do this by sticks. As for stones, well, this only works with flint or quartz as well as need to create a groove in the one you’re holding still. Most experts recommend carrying at least 3 firestarters like storm-proof matches, spark rod, and lighter at all times).

Making a fire should be a top priority. (Yes, fire is important but there are few situations it would take precedence over shelter).

Build a fire in a cave for warmth. (Heat causes rock expansion. Rock expansion leads to breakage. When rocks break overhead in a cave, it’s cave-in. So lighting a cave fire is not a good idea. Rather make a fire outside the cave).

Big fires always beat shelter. (From Outdoor Life: “Large-log fires have kept people alive in the cold, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to skip building a shelter. What if it rains or becomes really windy? You never want to sleep out in the open if you can help it. Take the time to build a shelter. It will pay you back every time.”)

Use a thumbnail to test wood. (From Outdoor Life: “You may have heard that if you can dent a piece of wood with your thumbnail, the wood is suitable for starting a friction fire. This myth just won’t seem to go away, but it doesn’t hold up. Some denser woods are fine for friction fires, and are some softer woods don’t work at all. When the thumbnail test works, it isn’t an affirmation­—it’s a coincidence.”)

Nose grease is the perfect fire starter. (From Outdoor Life: “Is there enough oil on the side of your nose to lubricate the top of a bow-drill spindle? I don’t know about you, but I was never that greasy, even as a teenager. Furthermore, when you’re trying to build a friction fire, you’ll produce more sweat than grease on your face, and sweat doesn’t help.”)

Hardwood is best for friction fires. (From Outdoor Life: “Just because oak is a great firewood doesn’t mean it works for friction fire. Oak’s ignition temperature and density are not useful in friction-fire drills or boards. Instead, use soft woods that are non-resinous. Cedar, basswood, willow, and cottonwood will serve you much better than oak or other typical firewoods.”)

Wet matches work when dried. (From Outdoor Life: “Nope. The chemicals in match heads are very vulnerable to moisture. On typical safety matches, the package will have a striking surface that is made from a gritty material such as powdered glass mixed with phosphorus. The head of the match is similarly made with grit, but it also contains sulfur and an oxidizer. When you strike a match, the friction of the glass powder grinding together creates a small amount of heat. This warmth converts the phosphorus into white phosphorus, which begins to catch fire. If match heads are exposed to enough moisture, the careful chemical balance is changed and they simply won’t light. Invest in some waterproof matches if you’re heading someplace wet. Or keep your matches in a waterproof container.”)

Use an 8-sided bow drill to start a fire. (From Outdoor Life: “At some point, using an octagonal drill became popular. The conceit is that the edges help the drill grip the bow string in more places, resulting in more friction. But these sharp edges end up shredding the cord and causing it to vibrate horribly, while failing to grip the string any better than a round drill would.”)

Breaking a flashlight bulb and using the coil is a great way to start a fire. (From The Good Survivalist: “This is a method I’ve seen by which you can break the bulb of your flashlight, and then use the coil inside to light a fire. Simply put… give it a shot in your backyard and you’ll find that it’s great at destroying flashlights but terrible at actually starting fires! Recommendation… bring a lighter, and use your flashlight for… LIGHT!”)

Sitting by the fire is the best way to dry your clothes. (From Getting Out Alive: “Wet clothing literally sucks the warmth out of your body, so get out of the wet things and cover up with something dry while you dry your clothing by the fire.”)

Lakes, Rivers, and Other Bodies of Water:

Always swim parallel to the shore in a rip current. (From The Clymb: “Swimming parallel to the shore is a good way to escape a rip current that pulls straight out. Unfortunately, not all rip currents flow directly out to sea. In a longshore rip current, or a diagonal rip current, swimming parallel to the shore could tire a distressed swimmer to the point of drowning. Instead, if caught in a rip, swim perpendicular to the flow of the rip in the same direc­tion as the prevailing wind or prevailing ocean current. If at any point you feel like you are swimming upstream, you’re doing it wrong. Like all survival situations, avoiding fatigue and making calm, rational decisions increases your chance of survival.”)

If you’re lost the best thing to is to follow a river or stream to find civilization. (The best thing to do if you’re lost is to stay where you are unless necessary. From Survive All: “While a river can lead to human life, it can sometimes take weeks or more to get there, while meanwhile you are completely invading a search squad trying to find you. Survival on the go is also much harder then stationary survival; you tend to spend too much time traveling than working to survive. Stay in one spot, survive, wait for help to arrive.” Getting Out Alive adds: “Some waterways run their course for hundreds of miles without bumping into civilization, especially in the wilder parts of the world. And following a stream can sometimes be exceedingly difficult and dangerous.”)

Take off your boots before crossing a river, stream or lake so they won’t weigh you down. (From Getting Out Alive: “The greater risk is that of suffering injury to your feet while crossing a body of water. Keep boots on to protect feet, ‘cause you’ll need them to continue your trek.”)

Forest Areas:

If you’re lost in the woods, look for moss on trees as it only grows on the north side. (If you’re lost in the woods, your best bet is following signs of previous human activity {assuming that you don’t have a cell phone, GPS, or a compass on you first. Or if there’s no park or forest ranger around. Or if you don’t have any electronic equipment on you at any time}. If there are no footprints, then staying where you are and sending a signal is a sensible option as well like building a fire, using a whistle, signal fire, or beacon. You could even go to the closest place where there’s light like near a body of water. Using the sunshine as a way to find the direction is a good idea as well. As for the moss part, though it does grow better on the north side, it can grow on any side if the tree’s shaded or near water. So it’s not true. Following the myth could send you in the wrong direction or make you more lost. Field and Stream says that Aspens that exude a powdery natural sunscreen that will whiten your palms are a better indicator as well).

Desert:

If you’re dying of thirst in the desert, ingesting cactus is always the best solution. (From The Clymb: “So your car broke down in the desert. It’s miles to the nearest gas station. Your cell phone doesn’t have reception. You don’t have any water in your car. There’s no one around, and you are very, very thirsty. Now you chance upon a cactus. I’m saved, you think. I’ll just lop the top off this here prickly pear and go to town. Not so fast, partner. The liquid inside a cactus isn’t pure water and is actually a highly alkaline, noxious fluid. Chances are, if you drink from a cactus you will get very sick, and vomiting is one way to ensure you dehydrate faster. You can drink from a barrel cactus, but only one specific type, and unless you’re extremely into cacti botany, you’re better off conserving your energy or seeking out a purer water source.” It’s more recommended that walking downhill until you find wash and following it downstream until you find some areas where the water might’ve gathered. Still, don’t forget to purify it).

The first thing to do in the desert is to find water, even in the afternoon. (You’ve probably seen the guy on his knees crawling through the desert in the hot sun struggling to find water or die of thirst. However, that guy is an idiot and is likely to die within a few hours in real life. Trying to find water in the desert will just tax your body to the limits, especially during the afternoon heat. Your best strategy to survive in the desert is holing up in the shade. If you do run out of water, find a north facing boulder or canyon, sit in its shade, keep covered to prevent evaporative sweat loss, stay off hot ground by sitting on your pack or a pile of debris, and only move around during the cooler hours of the morning or evening. It also helps if there are wildlife and vegetation nearby like trees. And sometimes dry river beds may have water below the surface, so you might to check for moisture there, too. So if you need water, better search for it when the temperature drops. Besides, you’ll be rescued if you told someone where you’re going to be anyway).

Always ration your water in the desert. (From The Clymb: “Rationing your water or food is great and all, but if you are on the verge of death today, having water three days from now isn’t going to provide much help. People can survive for over two days without water in one hundred degree heat. The most important survival technique in this instance is to remember to avoid unnecessary exertion. Finding shade, drinking until you are reasonably hydrated (clearish urine), and reserving physical exer­tion for night hours are the most effective ways of staving off dehydration and heat stroke. Rationing water while running around in the heat is often more dangerous than laying low and hydrating as much as possible.” So while you certainly should ration water in the desert, you should try to conserve water you already have inside your body by laying low in the shade instead of venturing out in the hot sun during the afternoon. But if you’re on the verge of heat exhaustion or dying of thirst, drink up now in the shade because your body doesn’t care if you get thirsty later. Rationing water and pushing on in the hot sun will only help to cause heat stroke, which as killed people before running out of water has).

Use a solar still to get drinking water in the desert. (Building a solar still consists of digging a hole in the ground, placing a container in the middle, covering the hole with clear plastic, and weighing the plastic down in the middle so the so the condensation drips into the container. Yes, this is a good idea, assuming that the location in question has a higher humidity content as well as groundwater. You will not find either in the desert. You’ll sweat more than you get if you build one of these things there).

Cold Times and Climates:

It’s easy to survive from hypothermia after being carried down a freezing river, sometimes after being submerged. (Sorry, but while Hugh Glass did survive a bear mauling {which happened in May 1823, not in the winter}, he would most surely die from hypothermia after being carried off in that freezing stream).

If it’s very cold, move to higher ground. (Yes, warm air rises while cold air sets is consistent with thermodynamics. Creek bottoms and hollows are cold air sinks. However, unless you’re in either, moving to higher ground when it’s cold goes against what anyone would learn in basic geology. Higher elevation areas generally tend to be colder if you account for the wind chill factor. Hell, you don’t even need to know about the wind chill factor to figure this out. A picture depicting a snow capped mountain in spring should make it obvious to anybody. Besides, heat from fire will be carried away faster the higher you are. So if it’s cold, best to stay low unless there’s a flood).

If it’s available, consume snow and ice for hydration. (Yes, snow and ice is made from water. But doing so will lower your body temperature which can lead to hypothermia and waste energy. Best you melt it and let it cool to a moderate temperature before drinking it).

All base layers work equally well in cold weather. (From Outdoor Life: “Not true. Cotton kills—or, at least, could lead to hypothermia if you rely on it as your primary base layer in cold weather. It’s a great fabric to wear around the house, and it has great applications in hot, dry climates. But once cotton gets wet, it loses its insulating properties. Before you even break a sweat, normal skin moisture will soak into the cotton fibers and start to cool your body through conduction. These fibers can hold up to 27 times their weight in water and then store that moisture up to eight times longer than synthetics or wool. This doesn’t just leave you feeling clammy—it steals vital heat from your core. If it’s cold enough for long johns, then it’s too cold for cotton.”)

Always try to dig yourself out of an avalanche. (Unless you’re only partially buried from the waist down, you will not be able to do so. Because being overtaken by a tumbling slab of snow is like being entombed in concrete, you can’t freaking move. Struggling to get free will only expedite the threat of asphyxiation. But if the snow is still moving, swim out of it facing downhill and try to create an air pocket by placing your hands and arms in front of your face while you work to get out. Still, you should always travel into avalanche country with a partner as well as have search beacons, probes, and shovels handy. The group involved should never be on the same avalanche prone slope at the same time because if everyone gets caught, there will be no one left to attempt a rescue. Also, take an avalanche safety course before going there so you can learn how to avoid triggering slides as well as what to do if you or your friends are caught in one).

Urban Disaster Scenarios:

In the event of a major disaster or war, flee the city and live off the land. (This might not be the best answer or even possible {for instance, had Adrien Brody’s character tried to do this in The Pianist instead of going into hiding, he would’ve been shot, blown up, or carted off to a Nazi death camp}. Sure surviving in the wilderness may be possible but most people have no idea how difficult it would be. This would mean having to hunt from sunup to sundown, sometimes into the night to find enough food so you’d have the energy to do it the next day. Only a good size group of experienced farmers and hunters would make it while most humans would slowly starve to death. If you have to leave, do it during an evacuation).

Urban survival is the same as wilderness survival. (Urban survival focuses more on safety and surveillance than hunting and camping. Special items in the former pack include pry bars and destruction tools, serpentine belt and fix-a-flat, bolt cutters, city maps, knee pads and gloves, dust or gas masks, crank or solar radio, monoculars, lock-picking kit, and assortment of weapons and self-defense tools).

If people remain in the city when the shit hits the fan, they will die either through starvation or killing each other. (Yes, people in the city are in more danger from war and terrorism. But it’s better if people band together to defend their area until order is restored. Whereas people in the country would be more in danger from criminals, looking for easy, isolated targets. They’ll also be the last to get supplies when trucks start moving again. Besides, many cities in Europe, China, Russia, and Japan had the living shit bombed out of them during WWII while their inhabitants still stayed despite the hell they’ve been through).

After the shit hits the fan in a city, it’s every man for himself. (While the media does tend to focus on looters and rioters after a disaster like Hurricane Katrina, it has more to do with ratings than anything. Hollywood also tends to portray survivalists as lone nuts who live in the country and shoot anyone who approaches their homestead. In reality, criminals only represent a very small portion of the population. Besides, most people tend to rely one another as well as work together to survive. WWII is a good example of this, particularly if you’re talking about the 1940 British Blitz).

It doesn’t hurt to brag about your preparations. (From Survival Expertise: “Sometimes this is hard to resist. You spend a lot of time thinking about prepping, saving up, looking for good deals, gathering supplies, etc., and it’s hard not to be proud of your efforts. And what do we do when we’re proud of something? We tell people about it. But in this case, you must only tell people you trust completely. Otherwise, someone somewhere is liable to say, ‘Hey, remember such-and-such from work who has food and supplies stockpiled? Let’s find out where he/she lives.’ Hunger can turn people into animals. If they are desperate enough, they will do anything to get your food.”)

Tap water is always safe after a natural disaster or war. (Tap water can become unsafe after natural disasters or in a combat zone when pipes are damaged and contaminants leak into them. So it’s better to purify it).

Always shoot looters on sight. (You see this a lot in movies. From Survival Expertise: “We’ve all seen thoselooters will be shot signs, but there are three reasons why this is a bad idea: 1) It advertises the fact that you have guns. If they see this, they may try to sneak in and ambush you. 2) If you shoot at them, they might shoot back. A few supplies aren’t worth your life. 3) After law and order is restored, you could be charged with murder. In fact, lawyers could use your sign to claim premeditation. Now to be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t defend yourself with guns. I’m saying you should wait until someone is actually attacking you. Shooting looters on sight is not self defense.”)

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State Birds That Should Be

John Oliver has once said that there are two things that American states are bad at: civil rights and state birds. Of course, anyone who’s studied African American history would understand the former, especially since the states’ lousiness to utter lack of interest in protecting civil rights was the driving reason in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement. Of course, I’ve written a few posts explaining why that is (such as one on the Charleston shooting and the Confederate Flag). However, I haven’t brushed on the other subject like state birds. Now I know it’s not nearly important but we have to understand that while the Founding Fathers were absolutely right to name the Bald Eagle as our national symbol, our states have been absolutely horrible in selecting a bird that best represents them. I mean there are several states with the same one like the Northern Mockingbird, the Northern Cardinal, the Eastern Bluebird, the Eastern Goldfinch, the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Western Meadowlark, the Mountain Bluebird, and the American Robin as well as others with birds that don’t seem to really represent them. Some aren’t even very unique. For instance, as a native and lifelong resident in Pennsylvania, I have never seen a Ruffed Grouse. I have seen a Great Blue Heron, a seagull, a Norther Harrier, a Bufflehead, and even a Pilated Woodpecker in my area. But I have never seen a freaking Ruffed Grouse in Pennsylvania in all of my freaking life. Not a single one. Maybe the wild turkey might not be a great national symbol but it would’ve been a way better state bird for Pennsylvania than the Ruffed Grouse. At least I’ve seen wild turkeys from my neck of the woods. Nevertheless, we have 50 states in the US as well as hundreds of native birds in our country to choose from. It’s not like several states have to pick the same one. Here I list my opinion for what I think should be the state bird for each of the 50 states of the United States of America.

  1. Alabama
While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama's association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

While the Northern Mockingbird can be found anywhere, Alabama’s association with Harper Lee and the Civil Rights Movement kind of makes it an appropriate state bird there. As Lee put it, To Kill a Mockingbird is to kill what is innocent and harmless like Tom Robinson.

Official State Bird: Northern Flicker (Yellowhammer)

Why It Sucks: For one, this bird was chosen with its association to Confederate soldiers, which may be something Alabama may take pride in. However, I’m sure this bird’s association with Confederacy won’t sit well with the state’s minority populations. Also, there’s not a lot of flickers in Alabama anyway.

Best Candidate: Northern Mockingbird

Why: Sure I know it’s a common and boring bird. But Alabama was a major center of the American Civil Rights Movement as well as home to Harper Lee who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, a book closely identified with it. Besides, the Civil Rights Movement was a major event that put Alabama on the map and what most people identify this state with. Still, if the Northern Mockingbird has to be a state bird, then it should be in Alabama.

Other Options: Blue Jay, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Dove, Brown Pelican, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Red-Cockated Woodpecker

  1. Alaska
Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it's even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Now this is the kind of bird I think about when it comes to Alaska. This is a magnificent bird of prey that the state could be proud of. Hell, it’s even one of the few birds that can even get non-birders to come out for a look.

Official State Bird: Willow Ptarmigan

Why It Sucks: It’s a very common bird in Alaska, which is home to 69 species of birds that only breed there. It’s also not a bird most people imagine when they think about Alaska. Also, the name is dumb.

Best Candidate: Snowy Owl

Why: Well, I might be biased since Harry Potter owned one named Hedwig. However, this is possibly one of the birds someone imagines when they think about Alaska. This is a majestic, arctic bird of prey, which has all the makings of a truly great state bird that Alaska can be proud of.

Other Options: Horned Puffin, Gyrfalcon, Arctic Tern, Arctic Loon, Pacific Loon, Aleutian Tern, Little Auk, Great Gray Owl, Glaucous Gull, America Tree Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Emperor Goose, Wood Duck, American Widgeon, Bufflehead, Harlequin Duck, Smew, Steller’s Eider, King Eider, Horned Grebe, Red-Necked Grebe, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Boreal Owl, Rough-Legged Hawk, Merlin, Greater Scaup, Sandhill Crane, Semipalmated Plover, American Golden Plover, Solitary Sandpiper

  1. Arizona
While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

While the Gila Woodpecker might be small, they are an important protector of the saguaro cactus. Not only does it eat insects that might harm the cactus, it also cuts away unhealthy flesh from the plant as well. They are also more common in Arizona than the Cactus Wren and prettier, too.

Official State Bird: Cactus Wren

Why It Sucks: Not bad, Arizona. After all this is a desert state and the Cactus Wren is a desert bird. However, I’m not sure if it’s unique enough since Arizona isn’t the only desert state.

Best Candidate: Gila Woodpecker

Why: Well, they’re very adaptable birds in the Sonoran Desert and are associated with Saguaro cactus and Mesquite. Besides, while the Cactus Wren looks boring, the Gila Woodpecker has neat zebra wings. Not to mention, it has a bigger range than the Cactus Wren.

Other Options: Anna’s Hummingbird, California Condor, Yellow Junco, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Magnificent Hummingbird, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Steller’s Jay, Gilded Flicker, Phainopepla, Painted Whitestart, Bullock’s Oriole, Ferruginous Hawk, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Elegant Trogon, Mexican Jay, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Gray Hawk, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Red-Faced Warbler, Gambel’s Quail

  1. Arkansas
The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

The Pileated Woodpecker may not be a rare bird, but its sheer size makes its presence unmistakable. Not to mention, its association with the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker makes it a good fit as the state bird of Arkansas.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: Because it’s the state bird of 5 states and Arkansas has one of the worst reasons to claim it.

Best Candidate: Pileated Woodpecker

Why: Now this is possibly the largest woodpecker in North America (if the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is extinct by this point). Not to mention, its large size gives it a strong unmistakable presence. It’s also very adaptable in forest and other environments unlike the Ivory-Billed. Still, this is a very awesome and unique American bird.

Other Options: Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Chipping Sparrow, Easter Towhee, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, American Crow, Eastern Whippoorwill, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Painted Bunting

  1. California
Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it's been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It's also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Though the California Condor is a scavenging buzzard, it’s been seen as an important symbol for Native American mythology in California. It’s also the largest land bird in North America and one of the longest living.

Official State Bird: California Quail

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique bird for California. But it’s been misplaced in a lot of movies that some people think it lives almost anywhere (thanks to Disney, no doubt). Also, it’s a game bird and not one that embodies the spirit of the state.

Best Candidate: California Condor

Why: Because this scavenging vulture is the largest land birds of North America as well as one of the longest living. Not to mention, the state managed to have a successful breeding program and helped reintroduce them in the wild. It’s also a significant bird to California Native American tribes as well as plays an important role in several of their myths. It’s not an attractive bird but it’s a remarkable bird nevertheless.

Other Options: Western Gull, California Gull, Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Scrub Jay, Pacific Loon, Laysan Albatross, Red-Billed Tropicbird, California Thrasher, Yellow-Billed Magpie, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Violet-Green Swallow, Cassin’s Kingbird, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Phainopepla, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lazuli Bunting, Tufted Duck, Clark’s Grebe, Black Storm Petrel, Brandt’s Cormorant, California Towhee, White-Tailed Kite, Flammulated Owl, Spotted Owl, Black Phoebe, American Dipper, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Acorn Woodpecker, California Least Tern, Mountain Quail

  1. Colorado
The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek

The Gunnison Sage Grouse is known for its elaborate courtship ritual with males congregating in a lek “strutting display” as groups of females observe and select the most attractive to mate with. And only a few males do most of the breeding.

Official State Bird: Lark Bunting

Why It Sucks: Yes, it’s a unique bird and the male is quite nice looking but it’s quite rare even in its own state.

Best Candidate: Gunnison Sage Grouse

Why: It is one of the rarest birds in North America and its population is only in a small area of Colorado. It’s also a truly unique bird in its own right with a great feather display and are notable in their unique courtship rituals. Also, most experts recommend this.

Other Options: Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Calliope Hummingbird, Brown Capped Rosy Finch, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Greater Sage Grouse, American Three-Toed Woodpecker, Clark’s Nutcracker, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Brown-Capped Rosy Finch, Boreal Owl

  1. Connecticut
Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they're also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they're known to chase hawks and owls.

Yes, I know the Blue Jay has a reputation for being an obnoxious and aggressive bird. But they’re also quite beautiful, intelligent, and tough. I mean they’re known to chase hawks and owls.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird in 3 states which means that Connecticut should find a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Blue Jay

Why: For one, it’s a common North American bird and a rather iconic one. It’s also a rather feisty bird known to chase predatory birds like hawks and owls as well as make a variety of sounds. Besides, it’s been cited in a couple of works by Mark Twain, one of Connecticut’s most famous residents (and let’s just say the state is home to a lot of celebrities). Why the Blue Jay isn’t already a state bird in this country, I have no idea. But it’s a better choice than the American Robin.

Other Options: Killdeer, Great Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, American Crow, Connecticut Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Delaware
Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a

Like many plovers, the Piping Plover is known to feign a “broken wing display” in order to direct a predator’s attention away from its chicks. Of course, human activity at beaches has led to a population decline that conservationists have reserved beaches for them during breeding season.

Official State Bird: Delaware Blue Hen

Why It Sucks: Face it, it’s a domesticated chicken that makes for a very lame mascot at one of its universities. Not to mention, it’s not even recognized as a chicken breed for God’s sake. It’s just a state bird due its significance in a Revolutionary War regiment in the state. And its main use was in cockfighting. Real nice. Yeah, it’s a stupid state bird in a state that’s only known for Joe Biden, corporate friendly tax rates, Dr. Oz, and not much else.

Best Candidate: Piping Plover

Why: For one, the Delaware Audubon Society has a whole article on it as an Endangered Species. Second, it’s a shorebird and is quite small and Delaware is home to a lot of coastal birds. Third, Delaware even has a program to restore this bird’s population, which has led to the state closing a beach section during its breeding season. And like Delaware, it doesn’t look anything special.

Other Options: Red Knot, Seaside Sparrow, Purple Martin, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Swallow, Great Blue Heron, Tufted Titmouse, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Florida
Now the American Flamingo isn't as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it's only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it's still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn't Florida's state bird already is beyond me.

Now the American Flamingo isn’t as common in Florida as some of its other birds. And it’s only recently that they have returned to the Everglades. However, it’s still the bird that comes to mind when you think of Florida. So why this isn’t Florida’s state bird already is beyond me.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states with one of them being Texas. Florida has one of the worst excuses since it has a rather diverse bird population, particularly in the Everglades which was designated as a National Park to preserve some of them. And all the birds they could’ve had to represent their state, they had to pick a small one that’s found everywhere. Really? That’s stupid.

Best Candidate: American Flamingo

Why: Basically, it’s such an iconic bird in Florida that it’s their unofficial state bird already. Of course, they’re not as common as they used to be in the state but as 2015, it’s been said that they’ve returned to the Everglades since about 147 have been seen there during the latest breeding season. Still, when you think of Florida, the American Flamingo is the first bird you think about. This is mostly because its likeness has been used in many tacky lawn decorations by Florida residents and others.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron, Wood Stork, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Anhinga, American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, Little Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, American White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Sora, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Calliope Hummingbird, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Florida Scrub-Jay, Purple Martin, Painted Bunting, Hooded Merganser, Tricolored Heron, Sandhill Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Smooth-Billed Ani, Reddish Egret

  1. Georgia
The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It's said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you'd expect for their size.

The Eastern Towhee is a large and striking sparrow as well as the bird of the undergrowth. It’s said its rummaging makes far more noise than what you’d expect for their size.

Official State Bird: Brown Thrasher

Why It Sucks: Well, for one, it’s not a compelling bird. Also, it had a hockey team named the Atlanta Thrashers which relocated to Canada and became the Calgary Flames. It’s also a rather common bird in the Southeastern US. Other than that, it’s not a terrible choice, just not one I think is good for Georgia.

Best Candidate: Eastern Towhee

Why: It is a large and striking species of sparrow that stands out better than the Brown Thrasher. Sure it’s a common eastern bird but it’s a permanent resident of Georgia as well as carries a nice sound, too. It’s also more common than a Brown Thrasher.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Audubon’s Shearwater, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, American White Ibis, Black Vulture, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike

  1. Hawaii
The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

The Pueo is a actually subspecies of the Short-Eared Owl that is endemic in Hawaii. But it has been attributed by Hawaiian mythology as one of the physical forms assumed by ʻaumakua who were the ancestor spirits of Hawaiian mythology.

Official State Bird: Nene (Hawaiian Goose)

Why It Sucks: Now the Nene might seem like a great tropical state bird for Hawaii since it’s rather unique to the islands. However, the fact that it’s a goose is kind of disappointing to say the least. Besides, Hawaii must have other more interesting species than this one. Not the kind of bird I’d want to see on a postcard from there.

Best Candidate: Pueo (Hawaiian Short-Eared Owl)

Why: Well, because this owl is a rather significant bird in Hawaiian folklore as one of the physical forms of the ancestor spirits. It is deemed as a sacred family protector and bringer of good luck, despite being endangered. Besides, an owl is a better state bird than a goose any day of the week.

Other Options: Brant Goose, Laysan Albatross, Black-Footed Albatross, Hawaiian Petrel, Bonin Petrel, Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaiian Hawk, Hawaiian Coot, Hawaiian Black Noddy, Kauaʻi ʻelepaio, Oʻahu ʻelepaio, Hawaiʻi ʻelepaio, ʻŌmaʻo, Nihoa Finch, Hawaiʻi ʻamakihi, Liwi, ʻAnianiau, ʻApapane, Red Crested Cardinal, Hawaiian Gallinule, Hawaiian Stilt

  1. Idaho
Now the Pinyon Jay isn't a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Now the Pinyon Jay isn’t a common bird in Idaho, people in this state seem to hold some kind of affection for it. Nevertheless, their highly social behavior makes them a rather dependable presence in the state.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Because it shares its state bird with Nevada. Not to mention, there aren’t many in that state.

Best Candidate: Pinyon Jay

Why: Well, for one, Idaho State University has a press venture named after it. Second, despite it appearing in a few southern Idaho counties, it seems to have a rather special place in that state. However, unlike the Mountain Bluebird, the Pinyon Jay is said to be seen in Idaho every month of the year, especially during the summer.

Other Options: Franklin’s Gull, Western Gull, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Band-Tailed Pidgeon, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Great Gray Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Gray Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Bullock’s Oriole, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Rufous Hummingbird, Peregrine Falcon, Lazuli Bunting, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, White-Throated Swift, Boreal Owl

  1. Illinois
The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It's the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It's said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

The male Greater Prairie Chicken is a highly territorial bird that often defends his booming grounds. It’s the place where he performs his display to attract females by inflating the air sacs on their neck. It’s said that one or two of the most dominant males do 90% of the mating.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: Because the Northern Cardinal is the state bird for 7 states. That’s more than how many states have been home to Abraham Lincoln who spent most of his life there.

Best Candidate: Greater Prairie Chicken

Why: While it’s not as common in Illinois as the Northern Cardinal and only found in Southern Illinois, it’s nevertheless a rather unique bird to the state. They also kind of have a great combination of Springfield folksiness you’d associate with Lincoln as well as the badassery and rowdiness you’d associate with Chicago.

Other Options: Common Loon, White Breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Cedar Waxwing, Dark-Eyed Junco, Eastern Goldfinch, Great Horned Owl, American Kestrel, Dickcissel, Eastern Kingbird, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Indiana
The Bobolink is said to be one of the world's most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it's said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

The Bobolink is said to be one of the world’s most impressive songbird migrants traveling some 12,500 miles from South America per year. In their lifetime it’s said they may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. Also, while a male may mate with several females, each clutch of eggs laid by a single female may have multiple fathers.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: As with Illinois, it’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than states claiming to be the home of Abraham Lincoln, who spent his later childhood and teenage years there.

Best Candidate: Bobolink

Why: Besides its awesome name and unique appearance, this is a much more unique bird to Indiana than the Northern Cardinal which is everywhere. Bobolinks are only prevalent in the Northeast and Midwest. Besides, it has an awesome color scheme.

Other Options: White-Breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Downy Woodpecker, Dark-Eyed Junco, Mourning Dove, Song Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Purple Martin, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Iowa
The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

The Dickcissel is a grassland bird that prefers the fields of the Midwest. The males are also said to have up to six mates but most usually have one or two.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Well, despite having a good reason for the Eastern Goldfinch, it’s also the state bird of New Jersey and Washington.

Best Candidate: Dickcissel

Why: Let’s face it, this is a unique bird in the Midwest and Iowa is a state best known for its agriculture. It also has a great unique name as well as polygynous mating habits, which is rare for a songbird. But it kind of fits well how Iowa was one of the first states to legalize gay marriage, a measure nobody expected.

Other Options: Red-Winged Blackbird, Greater Prairie Chicken, American Kestrel, Rough-Legged Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Barn Owl, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Mississippi Kite, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Kansas
The American Crow is a true survivor since it's highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They're also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

The American Crow is a true survivor since it’s highly adaptable, social, and intelligent that no matter how much humans want to kill them, they will keep coming. They’re also known for traveling in family groups of up to 15 and contain young from 5 different years. They can sometimes make and use tools.

Official State Bird:  Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states, including a couple of its neighbors.

Best Candidate: American Crow

Why: Because the American Crow is among one of the smartest and most underrated North American Birds. Not to mention, Kansas has dealt with a lot of crap during its history such as tornadoes, violent disputes over slavery, the Dust Bowl, terrible school boards, and Sam Brownback. The American Crow has been seen as a pest and there have been efforts to eliminate it. But still, it’s a very resilient and adaptable bird that also fulfills a key purpose like Kansas. So I think it’s one that represents Kansas the best. Besides, it’s about time the American Crow should be a state bird.

Other Options: Ruffed Grouse, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Northern Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Mississippi Kite, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Barn Owl, Prairie Falcon, Dickcissel, Whooping Crane, Great Crested Flycatcher, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Kentucky
The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a

The Blue Grosbeak is a member of the same family as the Northern Cardinal even if you might not have heard of it. And since Kentucky is the Bluegrass State, perhaps this would make a more appropriate state bird. Just call it a “blue cardinal” because that’s what it pretty much is.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states which is more than those who claim to be the Land of Lincoln. Of course, this was where Lincoln was born.

Best Candidate: Blue Grosbeak

Why: For one, it’s in the same family as the Northern Cardinal. Second, since Kentucky is known as “the Bluegrass State” it’s only fair that it should be represented by a bird with blue feathers. I think it’s a good compromise.

Other Options: Field Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, American Kestrel, Kentucky Warbler, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Evening Grosbeak, Red-Winged Blackbird. American Crow, Purple Martin, Blue Grosbeak, American Kestrel, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Louisiana
Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn't spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana's state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Though the Brown Pelican is the Louisiana state bird, it doesn’t spend a lot of time in the state nor does it appear on the state flag. However, the American While Pelican does as a winter visitor and the pelican on Louisiana’s state flag is certainly white. So perhaps the Pelican State should try this pelican as their state bird instead.

Official State Bird: Brown Pelican

Why It Sucks: Well, this isn’t a bad state bird since Louisiana is known as “the Pelican State.” But it’s not an attractive bird. Also, it’s not even the pelican that appears on its state flag. Besides, it’s not a common bird in Louisiana.

Best Candidate: American White Pelican

Why: Because the pelican on the Louisiana State Flag is always white, not brown. To have the American White Pelican as its state bird would make much better sense. And unlike the Brown Pelican, it does spend time in Louisiana (though it doesn’t necessarily breed there).

Other Options: Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Anhinga, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Wood Duck, Wood Stork, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, Little Blue Heron, White Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Purple Gallinule, Belted Kingfisher, Crested Caracara, Louisiana Waterthrush, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Maine
The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine's most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

The Atlantic Puffin looks like the clown of the sea and its US breeding spot is off the coast of Maine. Its bright colors make it one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Massachusetts. It’s also a rather common American bird as well. It’s cute but Maine can do better.

Best Candidate: Atlantic Puffin

Why: It’s not a common bird in Maine (residing on 5 islands off the coast) but it has at least 2 things going for it, especially since attempts to restore it to its historical range have been successful in the state. For one, it’s one of Maine’s most popular birds that their nesting colonies have become significant tourist destinations for birdwatchers. There are even boating tours to see these birds during the summer. Second, it’s basically the only state in the US where these adorable Subarctic birds reside. Thus, while it’s adorable, it’s also one of the most unique birds in Maine.

Other Options: Snow Goose, Wood Duck, Spruce Grouse, Blue Jay, American Kestrel, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Belted Kingfisher, Philadelphia Vireo, Common Raven, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Cedar Waxwing, Seaside Sparrow, Red Wing Blackbird, Indigo Bunting, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Maryland
Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he's most famous for

Edgar Allan Poe might not have spent a lot of time in Baltimore but since he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849, he will always be associated with the state of Maryland. And since he’s most famous for “The Raven” so would the Common Raven. Not to mention, Maryland is home to the Baltimore Ravens but we’ll discuss Ray Lewis’s murder allegations nevermore.

Official State Bird: Baltimore Oriole

Why It Sucks: While it does make sense for Maryland to have this as their state bird as well as a name of Baltimore’s Major League Baseball team, there aren’t many in the state.

Best Candidate: Common Raven

Why: Aside from the Baltimore Oriole, this is the other bird identified with Maryland. Edgar Allan Poe is associated with the city of Baltimore despite the fact he only lived there for 2 years and dying there in 1849 under interesting circumstances. Nevertheless, he’s buried there though. He’s best known for his poem, “The Raven” from where the Baltimore Ravens get their name (though they were previously the Cleveland Browns before moving there). Sure it might not be a common bird in the state, but it’s a rather significant one due to its connection to Poe and American Literature. Besides, more people are familiar with Poe’s “The Raven” than Lord Baltimore.

Other Options: Osprey, Barnacle Goose, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Great Egret, Wood Stork, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Killdeer, Royal Tern, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Blue Jay, American Crow, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, American Oystercatcher, Orchard Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, Northern Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Massachusetts
Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they're actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can't fly higher than a quarter mile.

Since Massachusetts was the site of the First Thanksgiving, I thought it would only be appropriate that its state bird be the Wild Turkey. Of course, unlike their domesticated counterparts, they’re actually quite smart as well as agile flyers. However, they usually can’t fly higher than a quarter mile.

Official State Bird: Black-Capped Chickadee

Why It Sucks: Has the same state bird as Maine. Cute but Massachusetts can do better.

Best Candidate: Wild Turkey

Why: For one, it’s the Massachusetts state game bird so it probably has reasonable appeal as a state symbol. Second, like Massachusetts, it’s associated with Thanksgiving, an American national holiday. Third, it was even recommended as a national symbol by Benjamin Franklin who was a native of Boston. Let’s just say between this bird and the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Wild Turkey is a more appropriate choice for Massachusetts’ state bird.

Other Options: Kirtland’s Warbler, Piping Plover, Blue Jay, Chimney Swift, Orchard Oriole, Cedar Waxwing, Brown-Headed Cowbird, Dark-Eyed Junco, Great Blue Heron, Common Loon, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, American Kestrel, Cooper’s Hawk, Norther Goshawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Common Tern, Red Wing Blackbird, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. Michigan
Kirtland's Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan's jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear's guts.

Kirtland’s Warbler is a rare bird of Michigan’s jack pine forests. It depends on fire to provide small trees and open areas meeting its nesting requirements. Yes, this bird really hates Smoky the Bear’s guts.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird in 3 states in the country. Time for Michigan to find a new state bird. Besides, it’s a very common bird anyway when the state can do better.

Best Candidate: Kirtland’s Warbler

Why: For one it’s a bird that pretty much resides in this state which was almost extinct nearly 50 years ago, but they’ve made a recovery. It’s now classified as Near Threatened. Also, it has a community college named after it. Still, it would be a better bird than the American Robin.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Common Loon, American Kestrel, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Tree Sparrow, Cape May Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Great Blue Heron, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cave Swallow, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Shrike, Eastern Kingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Barn Owl, Killdeer, Red-Tailed Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Dark-Eyed Junco, Cooper’s Hawk, Herring Gull, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black Tern, Sandhill Crane, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Minnesota
Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it's home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Minnesota has the highest remaining density of the Golden-Winged Warbler. In fact, it’s home to about half its global population. However, these birds have also experienced one of the steepest declines of any songbird species in the last 45 years.

Official State Bird: Common Loon

Why It Sucks: Well, the Common Loon is a nice bird. But it usually resides more often in Michigan than Minnesota (even if the latter has a lot of lakes) as well as winters on the American Coast. Minnesota may be in the Great Lakes region but it’s more of an inland state.

Best Candidate: Golden-Winged Warbler

Why: For one, it’s more common in Minnesota than the Common Loon. Second, it’s known to breed in this state as well as in Wisconsin. Still, it may not be a Common Loon but it’s a rather magnificent and more appropriate bird for the state.

Other Options: Sedge Wren, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Parasitic Jaeger, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Black-Backed Woodpecker, Northern Goshawk, Piping Plover, Common Tern, Common Redpoll, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Capped Chickadee, Wood Duck, Scarlet Tanager, Great Blue Heron, Blackburnian Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Osprey, Great Crested Flycatcher, Ruffed Grouse, Trumpeter Swan, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black Tern, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Mississippi
The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

The Great Blue Heron is a majestic sight whether poised on a river or cruising a coastline with slow, deep, wingbeats. Though it may seem motionless and slow moving at times, it can strike like lightning to grab a fish or snap a gopher. Can also hunt at night or day.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states in the country. I’m sure Mississippi has a more diverse bird population that it could do better.

Best Candidate: Great Blue Heron

Why: Let’s just say it’s a prevalent bird in the Mississippi and the Great Egret is already a symbol for The Audubon Society. Mississippi is also known to have wetlands and waterways which the Great Blue Heron is well suited for. Besides, it’s a better state bird choice than the Northern Mockingbird.

Other Options: Wood Duck, Great Egret, Yellow-Breasted Chat, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Herring Gull, American Crow, American Coot, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Belted Kingfisher, Mississippi Kite, Killdeer, Anhinga, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Missouri
The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator's intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon of North America. Yet, it packs a predator’s intensity into its small body. It can also see ultraviolet light and hide surplus kills to save food in lean times and conceal it from thieves.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird as New York. And it’s not as common as you might think due to having to compete with invasive species like sparrows and starlings.

Best Candidate: American Kestrel

Why: Missouri has often been in the middle of a lot of stuff during its history. It was a border state during the antebellum years as well as the starting point in the Oregon Trail. It had residents fight on both sides during the American Civil War and was the home of Quantrill’s Raiders (that included the James brothers). Besides, it has a reputation as a bellwether state and is home to a lot of wildlife diversity. And since the American Kestrel is a common bird of prey that lives in a variety of habitats as well as resides in the state year round, I can’t think of better bird to represent the state. Not to mention, it’s known to be quite feisty like Missouri native Harry Truman.

Other Options: Northern Cardinal, Wood Duck, Blue Jay, Easter Whippoorwill, Henslow’s Sparrow, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, American Coot, Tufted Titmouse, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Tailed Hawk, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Red Wing Blackbird, Barn Owl, Purple Martin, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Montana
McCown's Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

McCown’s Longspur is the songbird of the barren ground in the Great Plains such as short grass prairies and overgrazed pastures. The male is known to maintain its territory through aerial displays.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s a state bird of 6 states. Besides, Montana is the home to a lot of birds as well, which doesn’t give it much of an excuse.

Best Candidate: McCown’s Longspur

Why: Because it mostly breeds in this state during the summer (along with Wyoming). They also are known for characteristic aerial and song displays. It’s a more unique bird to the state than the Western Meadowlark.

Other Options: Vesper Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Dusky Grouse, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Great Gray Owl, Calliope Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Black-Billed Magpie, American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie Falcon, American Crow, Bullock’s Oriole, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pinyon Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Sprauge’s Pipit, Cassin’s Kingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Trumpeter Swan, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Mountain Plover, Upland Sandpiper, Boreal Owl

  1. Nebraska
The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska's Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there's even a Crane festival in March.

The Sandhill Crane may only be a migratory visitor to Nebraska. But from February to April each year, 500,000 of them return to feed at Nebraska’s Platte River as one of the largest congregation of birds of North America. Such event attracts 12,000 to 15,000 tourists and there’s even a Crane festival in March.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s a state bird of 6 states. Time for Nebraska to find something else to represent their state.

Best Candidate: Sandhill Crane

Why: Because 500,000 of these birds return to Nebraska’s Platte River every year around February to April. However, it’s one of the largest bird congregation spectacle in North America which brings between 12,000 and 15,000 people to the area each year. There’s even a crane festival in March.

Other Options: Greater Prairie Chicken, Red-Tailed Hawk, Whooping Crane, Killdeer, Blue Jay, Piping Plover, Bobolink, Least Tern, Harris’s Sparrow, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-Fronted Goose, Mallard Duck, Northern Pintail, Lesser Snow Goose, Black-Billed Magpie, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Nevada
The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I'm sure the male of this species looks like he's straight from Las Vegas.

The Greater Sage-Grouse may only inhabit northern Nevada. But I’m sure the male of this species looks like he’s straight from Las Vegas.

Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird with Idaho. Besides, Nevada could at least have more showy bird than that. I mean Nevada is famous for tackiness, sin, vice, gambling, quickie divorces, marrying under the influence, materialism, prostitution, atomic testing, and other crazy things. The state bird should reflect that. And the Mountain Bluebird doesn’t really hold a candle to that since it’s too nice.

Best Candidate: Greater Sage Grouse

Why: Despite being more abundant in Wyoming, this is the perfect state bird for Nevada. For one, it inhabits the northern part of state year round. Secondly, the male of the species looks as if you’d expect it to come out of Las Vegas. Not to mention, it has a rather elaborate mating ritual.

Other Options: White-Faced Ibis, Dusky Grouse, Sooty Grouse, Turkey Vulture, Common Black-Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Mountain Plover, Greater Roadrunner, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, Great Gray Owl, Gila Woodpecker, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Western Tanager, Red Wing Blackbird, Great-Tailed Grackle, Bullock’s Oriole, Brewer’s Blackbird, Evening Grosbeak, Juniper Titmouse, Calliope Hummingbird, Lazuli Bunting, Eared Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, American Dipper

  1. New Hampshire
The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

The Red-Tailed Hawk is the most common hawk of North America. It is a large sharp-taloned bird that can be aggressive when defending their nests and territories. When courting, these birds fly with their legs beneath them, sometimes locking talons. Mated pairs typically stay together until one of them dies.

Official State Bird: Purple Finch

Why It Sucks: For one, it’s not really purple. Second, the male’s plumage of Neapolitan ice cream getting all mixed up. Third, it’s kind of ugly to say the least.

Best Candidate: Red-Tailed Hawk

Why: Face it, there was a group of 4th graders who wanted it to be their state raptor. Their proposal was turned down in the New Hampshire State Legislature in front of their faces. I think it would be best if the legislature reconvened and named this their state bird instead of the Purple Finch. Besides, its feathers were seen as sacred by many Native American tribes Not only that, but they’re really cool to say the least. Has all kinds of subspecies and morphs, too. Yeah, the Red-Tailed Hawk is awesome and it should be a state bird.

Other Options: Black-Capped Chickadee, American Redstart, Purple Martin, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Goldfinch, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Osprey, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Jersey
The Black Skimmer's remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

The Black Skimmer’s remarkable bill sets it apart from all other American birds. Its large red and black bill is knife thin and the lower manible is longer than the upper. The bird drags the lower bill through the water as it flies through the water it flies along, hoping to catch a small fish.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Shares the same state bird with Iowa and Washington. Also, doesn’t really live up to New Jersey’s reputation if you know what I mean. Besides, it has a better birding acclaim and can do better.

Best Candidate: Black Skimmer

Why: For one, despite New Jersey’s reputation, at least the state is doing something to conserve this bird’s population in its breeding range on the Jersey Shore. Second, you can joke by how this bird’s name describes a lot of New Jersey’s politicians since it has a horrible reputation for corruption.

Other Options: Seaside Sparrow, Wood Duck, Greater Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Pie-Billed Grebe, Northern Gannet, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Glossy Ibis, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Common Gallinule, Killdeer, Piping Plover, American Oystercatcher, Laughing Gull, Roseate Tern, Black Tern, Royal Tern, Long-Eared Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Great Crested Flycatcher, Fish Crow, Herring Gull, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. New Mexico
The Steller's Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

The Steller’s Jay moves around with bold hops of their long legs, both on the ground and on the spokelike main branches of conifers. It also has incredible spatial memories as well as rob caches and nests of other birds. They are very social and can sometimes join mixed species flocks. Not to mention, it can keep up a running commentary on events as well as instigate mobbing of predators and other dangerous intruders.

Official State Bird: Roadrunner

Why It Sucks: Now this is an appropriate state bird. However, I’m sure there are people in this state who aren’t pleased because they’re fans of Wiley Coyote. Perhaps New Mexico should be represented by a less controversial bird.

Best Candidate: Steller’s Jay

Why: First, it appears in most of New Mexico all year round. Second, its colorful feathers help reflect the state’s vibrant art culture that’s replete with Mexican and Southwest Native American influences. Nevertheless, it’s a very beautiful bird for a state like New Mexico.

Other Options: Chihuahuan Raven, Scaled Quail, Turkey Vulture, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Hen Harrier, Swainson’s Hawk, Long-Eared Owl, Great Horned Owl, White-Eared Hummingbird, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Evening Grosbeak, Bullock’s Oriole, Red Wing Blackbird, Green-Tailed Towhee, American Dipper, Indigo Bunting, Mountain Plover, White-Throated Swift, Acorn Woodpecker, Aplomado Falcon

  1. New York
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It's also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world flying over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop. It’s also among the most widespread, seen in almost every place on earth except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, most tropical rain forests, and New Zealand.

Official State Bird: Eastern Bluebird

Why It Sucks: It shares the same state bird as Missouri. Not to mention, it’s not an appropriate bird to represent the state.

Best Candidate: Peregrine Falcon

Why: For one, New York was a leading state that helped restore its population after it was nearly depleted by DDT and other pesticide. Second, it’s practically the fastest animal on earth with a speed of over 200 mph. Third, it’s a very adaptable bird that has resided almost everywhere. Besides, as a city bird, they are highly beneficial to the ecosystem, especially when it comes to controlling the feral pigeon population, which are outright pests.

Other Options: Cerulean Warbler, Ring-Billed Gull, Wood Duck, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Loon, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Glossy Ibis, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, American Kestrel, Blue Jay, Red-Tailed Hawk, Golden Eagle, Laughing Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-Backed Gull, Roseate Tern, Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, American Crow, Common Raven, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Cedar Waxwing, Prothonotary Warbler, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Cape May Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-Throated Blue Warbler

  1. North Carolina
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it's said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America. But in terms of area, it occupies the largest breeding range in the continent. Still, it’s said that people in North Carolina love this little hummingbird that many put hummingbird feeders to watch them.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Yes, it’s common and it’s pretty. But still, it’s used to represent 7 states, which means it’s time for a more appropriate state bird.

Best Candidate: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Why: Because it’s one of the most loved birds of the state that many people put up hummingbird feeders to watch them. Besides, it’s a beautiful bird in its own right that fits well on a postcard and it’s about time that it should be a state bird. Not to mention, it’s a way better choice than the Northern Cardinal.

Other Options: Carolina Wren, Prothonotary Warbler, Royal Tern, Carolina Chickadee, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Audubon’s Shearwater, Leach’s Storm Petrel, Brown Pelican, American White Pelican, Double-Breasted Cormorant, Anhinga, Great Cormorant, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, Snowy Egret, American White Ibis, Black Skimmer, Herring Gull, Eastern Whippoorwill, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay, American Crow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Red Wing Blackbird, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Cerulean Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. North Dakota
The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America's duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

The Blue-Winged Teal is among the latest ducks to migrate northward in the spring, and one of the first to migrate southward in the fall. They can also migrate long distances with some going all the way from Canada to South America. And since North Dakota is known as America’s duck nursery, it would make an appropriate state bird.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. North Dakota needs something more original since it’s said to be quite famous for its birds, particularly its ducks.

Best Candidate: Blue-Winged Teal

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common ducks in North Dakota and not in the nation (which is obviously the Mallard). Second, the state is famous among birders and hunters as America’s duck nursery. So it only makes sense that North Dakota should have a duck as its state bird.

Other Options: Nelson’s Sparrow, Chestnut-Collared Longspur, Wood Duck, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Greater Scaup, Common Loon, Ruffed Grouse, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Clark’s Nutcracker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bobolink, American Avocet, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Baird’s Sparrow, Ruddy Duck, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Eared Grebe, Double-Crested Cormorant, Upland Sandpiper

  1. Ohio
Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it's only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it'll be known as the

Since the Cleveland Browns decided to high tail it to Baltimore and change their name to the Ravens, I think it’s only fair that Ohio gets to use the Baltimore Oriole as its state bird. From now on, it’ll be known as the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states so yeah, which is as many as Ohio has presidents born there. Ohio needs a new and more original state bird.

Best Candidate: Baltimore Oriole

Why: For one, it has a similar color scheme as the Cincinnati Bengals to some extent. Second, it’s more common in Ohio than Maryland as well as well-loved there. And third, since Baltimore already took Cleveland’s football team and won 2 Super Bowls, I kind of thought it was only fair for Ohio to take Maryland’s current state bird as fair compensation. So in Ohio, this bird will now be called the “Cleveland Oriole.”

Other Options: Willow Flycatcher, Cerulean Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Ruffed Grouse, Indigo Bunting, Red-Tailed Hawk, Northern Bobwhite, American Kestrel, Killdeer, Mourning Dove, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, Whippoorwill, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Easter Kingbird, Blue-Headed Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Parula, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Dickissel, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Great Crested Flycatcher

  1. Oklahoma
The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

The male Painted Bunting is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop it from being captured as a caged bird during its wintering in Central America. Now the species is Near Threatened.

Official State Bird: Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s a unique and interesting bird. But I’m not sure about its feathers which are kind of drab. Besides, Oklahoma can do better.

Best Candidate: Painted Bunting

Why: It is said to be the most beautiful bird in North America and it breeds in this state. Though difficult to find due to a declining population because of people in Central America, Mexico, and Cuba selling them as pets during their migration, Oklahoma is one of 4 states to have a significant population. Still, it’s a truly beautiful bird that should be on a postage stamp.

Other Options: Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, Mississippi Kite, Common Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Lesser Prairie Chicken, Scaled Quail, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Common Gallinule, Barn Owl, Black-Billed Cuckoo, Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, Long-Eared Owl, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Golden-Fronted Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Red Wing Blackbird

  1. Oregon
Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America's only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It's also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Now the American Dipper might not look any more than a stocky gray bird. But as North America’s only songbird, it has an extra eyelid to see underwater. It’s also known for its domed, ball-like nest near waterways.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. This means that Oregon needs a new state bird. Surely the state has more original avian wildlife than that.

Best Candidate: American Dipper

Why: It’s a mountain bird known to inhabit streams as well as the only aquatic songbird of North America. Its presence indicates good water quality as well as possesses a sweet song. Not to mention, their nests are some of the most extraordinary pieces of bird architecture ever. And like Oregon, it may not look very noteworthy but there are some things about it that make it quite interesting.

Other Options: Red-Breasted Nuthatch, Spotted Owl, Trumpeter Swan, Tufted Duck, Greater Sage Grouse, Columbian Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Mountain Quail, Western Grebe, Western Scrub-Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Northern Fulmar, Green Heron, Green-Tailed Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Black-Headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, White-Tailed Kite, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Gray-Crowned Rosy Finch, Swainson’s Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Heerman’s Gull, Mew Gull, Ring-Billed Gull, Western Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Sabine’s Gull, Tufted Puffin, Flammulated Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Anna’s Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-Breasted Sapsucker, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Allen’s Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Steller’s Jay, Pinyon Jay, Black-Billed Magpie, Violet-Green Swallow

  1. Pennsylvania
The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It's also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

The Indigo Bunting is said to migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. It’s also said to possess an internal clock, enabling it to adjust their angle orientation to a star, even as that star moves through the night sky.

Official State Bird: Ruffed Grouse

Why It Sucks: As a native and lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, I have never seen this bird in my life. And I’m a rural resident as well as lived in this state for 25 years. Nor do I know anyone who has seen them in this state. Besides, it’s said that only 86% of these birds live in Canada. Guess they were all killed by hunters.

Best Candidate: Indigo Bunting

Why: For one, it’s one of the more common nester in Pennsylvania and has been seen in recent years almost everywhere in the state. Second, it has a distinctive sound as well as a bright blue feather display for the males (well, their feathers reflect as blue like the sky in good lighting. In poor lighting, they look black). Third, it’s a bird that’s more or less confined to the Eastern United States during its breeding season. Besides, it’s a more beautiful bird than the Ruffed Grouse.

Other Options: Scarlet Tanager, Black-Throated Blue Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Red Wing Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Harrier, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Gray Catbird, Red-Headed Woodpecker, American Kestrel, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Killdeer, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Screech-Owl, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Eastern Kingbird, Bobolink, Great Crested Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Blue-Headed Vireo, Barred Owl, Eastern Towhee, Purple Martin, Snow Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Dickcissel, Cerulean Warbler, Hooded Warbler

  1. Rhode Island
Rhode Island may be a small state, but it's part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Rhode Island may be a small state, but it’s part of the summer breeding range of the Great Black-Backed Gull, which is the largest gull in the world. As one earl observer noted, “It surely seemed to be a king among the gulls, a merciless tyrant over its fellows, the largest and strongest of its tribe. No weaker gull dared to intrude upon its feudal domain.”

Official State Bird: Rhode Island Red

Why It Sucks: To put a short story short, it’s a freaking breed of chicken for God’s sake. Seriously, it’s unconscionable like Delaware’s.

Best Candidate: Great Black-Backed Gull

Why: It’s the largest gull in Rhode Island as well as a year-long resident in the state. And since Rhode Island is known for its beaches, it should only be fitting it be represented by a sea gull. Besides, it’s better than having a chicken as state bird.

Other Options: Herring Gull, Snow Bunting, Cedar Waxwing, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Common Redpoll, White-Throated Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Purple Sandpiper, Ivory Gull, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Laughing Gull, Gull-Billed Tern, Brown Noddy, Band-Rumped Storm Petrel, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, American Black Duck

  1. South Carolina
A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

A rare bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker lives in the mature pine forests of the American South. While it pecks on wood like most woodpeckers, it specifically seeks living pines with red heart fungal disease. Such specificity of its habitat makes it extremely vulnerable to habitat loss.

Official State Bird: Carolina Wren

Why It Sucks: Well, it’s better than having a Northern Mockingbird which they used to have. Besides, it has “Carolina” in it. However, it’s kind of drab and found almost everywhere in the east.

Best Candidate: Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Why: South Carolina is the best place to look for this rare species since it lives in cavities in mature pine forests. It’s listed as vulnerable. Besides, it’s prettier than the Carolina Wren.

Other Options: Audubon’s Shearwater, Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, American Black Vulture, Swallow-Tailed Kite, Mississippi Kite, Purple Gallinule, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Black-Necked Stilt, Carolina Chickadee, Brown Noddy, Royal Tern, Eastern Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Great Crested Flycatcher, Pine Warbler, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Painted Bunting, Boat-Tailed Grackle

  1. South Dakota
The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

The Upland Sandpiper is a shorebird of grasslands, preferring the open grassy areas of the Great Plains. Hunting and loss of habitat have caused its population to decline since the 19th century.

Official State Bird: Ring-Necked Pheasant

Why It Sucks: In short, it’s an introduced Eurasian Plains bird. It was brought over to the US by English settlers who wanted to bring some old country bird to shoot at.

Best Candidate: Upland Sandpiper

Why: While most sandpipers usually favor the coast and mudflats, this bird prefers open country with tall grasses. South Dakota is in the Great Plains which is known for its grassland and prairies. Clearly these two are meant for each other. May not be as flashy as the Ring-Necked Pheasant but at least it’s a native.

Other Options: Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Blue-Winged Teal, Common Loon, Red-Tailed Hawk, Pied-Bill Grebe, Eared Grebe, Western Grebe, Lazuli Bunting, Greater Prairie Chicken, Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker

  1. Tennessee
The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

The Wood Duck is one of the most colorful and stunningly beautiful waterfowl of North America. It is a perching duck that nests in trees or nesting boxes if available. And these nesting boxes have helped increased its breeding population, especially in Tennessee.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states including Florida and Texas. Seriously, Tennessee needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Wood Duck

Why: Well, I think it provides a perfect combination for what Tennessee represents. It’s rustic enough for the Appalachian and down home country music. But the male is rather strikingly flashy enough for the music culture of Nashville and Memphis. Besides, Tennessee has a conservation program for these with people building boxes for them.

Other Options: Yellow-Throated Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Double-Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Tennessee Warbler, Killdeer, Great Horned Owl, Pileated Woodpecker, Barred Owl, Great Crested Flycatcher, American Kestrel, American Crow, Blue Jay, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Bufflehead, Common Loon, Purple Martin, Nashville Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Bobolink, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Bobwhite Quail

  1. Texas
Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Now the Aplomado Falcon might have a small sustaining population in Southern Texas. But this is the predator most small birds fear which says a lot. Besides, this is the kind of raptor that would make a state bird Texans would be proud of.

Official State Bird: Northern Mockingbird

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 5 states which includes Florida. Seriously, Texas, you’re the state with an obnoxious ego bigger than your love for oil, firearms, and capital punishment. Your people take special pride in their cowboy culture, state flag, and history that kids all over the country have to learn it in their history class (which is important for the US to be fair but still). Not to mention, you have plenty of species of birds from which to choose from. Own it.

Best Candidate: Aplomado Falcon

Why: Let’s face it, I can go with a lot unique birds here. But I know that Northern Crested Caracara is too much identified with Mexico while the Roseate Spoonbill is a bird the people of Texas would never really be comfortable with. Now I know that this bird doesn’t have much of a range in Texas. But it’s a bird with a Spanish name and it’s said that small birds fear it more than most predators. So I think this is a bird Texans can really take pride in.

Other Options: Black-Crested Titmouse, Olive Sparrow, Cave Swallow, Roseate Spoonbill, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Swainson’s Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Plain Chachalaca, Lesser Goldfinch, Audubon’s Shearwater, Painted Bunting, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Magnificent Frigatebird, Reddish Egret, Tricolored Heron, White-Tailed Hawk, Zone-Tailed Hawk, Gray Hawk, Northern Crested Caracara, Purple Gallinule, Inca Dove, Grooved-Billed Ani, Elf Owl, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Green Jay, Mexican Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Black-Crested Titmouse, Golden-Cheeked Warbler, Black-Chinned Sparrow, Varied Bunting

  1. Utah
The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it's kind of neglectful, but it's sometimes how nature works, man.

The Snowy Plover raises 2 broods a year, sometimes 3 in places where the breeding season is long. When the chicks hatch, the female deserts her mate and her brood as well as initiates a new breeding attempt with a different mate. Yeah, I know it’s kind of neglectful, but it’s sometimes how nature works, man.

Official State Bird: California Gull

Why It Sucks: Yes, I get it helped save Mormons from a locust swarm or so I’m told. Utahns even have a gold statue of it commemorating the occasion. But it’s a bird with “California” in its name for God’s sake. The state is not near a coastline. Besides, the bird only uses Utah as a migration stop anyway. Not to mention, I’m sure there were plenty of other birds that helped save Mormons from a locust swarm as well.

Best Candidate: Snowy Plover

Why: Well, unlike the California Gull, it actually lives in Utah to breed even if it’s just the Great Salt Lake area.  Still, this is seen as a threatened bird but the state does have a substantial population of them. Besides, it’s quite adorable as well as eats insects.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Gambel’s Quail, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, Swainson’s Hawk, Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-Necked Phalarope, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Marbled Godwit, Western Sandpiper, Long-Billed Dowitcher, American White Pelican, White-Faced Ibis, Eared Grebe, Northern Goshawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Calliope Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Loggerhead Shrike, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, Violet-Green Swallow, Juniper Titmouse, American Dipper, Lazuli Bunting

  1. Vermont
The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it's said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

The Black-Throated Blue Warbler is a deep forest bird of the American northeast. Of course, it’s said the sexes of this bird look so different that they were originally described as 2 different species.

Official State Bird: Hermit Thrush

Why It Sucks: It’s nice but it doesn’t incite the kind of enthusiasm I’d have for Ben & Jerry, cheese, or Bernie Sanders.

Best Candidate: Black-Throated Blue Warbler

Why: Well, it’s adorable and colorful like some people from Vermont. Besides, it prefers upland forests with tons of old growth. And I’m sure the Green Mountain State has plenty of them. Not to mention, it’s bird that only breeds in the US northeast.

Other Options: Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Black-Capped Chickadee, Snow Bunting, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Red-Tailed Hawk, Barred Owl, Eastern Screech-Owl, Northern Saw-Whet Owl, Horned Lark, Common Redpoll, Eastern Kingbird, Black-Billed Cuckoo, American Woodcock, Veery, Blue-Headed Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, White-Throated Sparrow, Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, Osprey, Killdeer

  1. Virginia
The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It's also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you've seen in most bird species, this isn't the case.

The Belted Kingfisher always seems to have an air of self-importance while patrolling up and down rivers and shorelines. It’s also one of the few species where the female is more colorful than the male. As you’ve seen in most bird species, this isn’t the case.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states in the country. Surely a state like Virginia should have a more original state bird than that.

Best Candidate: Belted Kingfisher

Why: Since Virginia is a state with a lot of wetlands and waterways, then this would be a perfect state to be represented by a fishing bird. Not to mention, it’s a permanent resident in Virginia as well as a much better bird for the state than the Cardinal. And unlike the Cardinal, it has no red coat.

Other Options: Saltmarsh Sparrow, Barred Owl, Virginia Rail, Double-Crested Cormorant, Green Heron, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Great Blue Heron, Black Vulture, Wood Duck, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, American Kestrel, Killdeer, American Woodcock, Laughing Gull, Great Horned Owl, Whippoorwill, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Eastern Kingbird, Red-Eyed Vireo, Purple Martin, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Gray Thrasher, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Red Wing Blackbird, Common Grackle, Green Heron, Tree Swallow, Northern Parula, Black-and-White Warbler, Cooper’s Hawk

  1. Washington
The Spotted Owl's status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it's one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

The Spotted Owl’s status as the indicator species of old-growth forests, it’s one of the most studied species in the world. Unfortunately, preservation efforts for this bird have been controversial in the Pacific Northwest, for obvious reasons. This is especially the case since those most vocal against its conservation are from the logging industry.

Official State Bird: Eastern Goldfinch

Why It Sucks: Though known as the “Willow” Goldfinch, it’s basically the same state bird as Iowa and New Jersey but by a different name. Nice try, Washington.

Best Candidate: Spotted Owl

Why: Let’s just say since it’s experienced a significant decline in Washington that it’s near threatened. However, conserving this bird has brought a lot of contention between conservationists, loggers, cattle grazers, and developers. A decision to reinforce a critical habitat for the owl was challenged by The Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association. Thus, because of the controversy the term, Spotted Owl has come to mean, “trivial environmental issues that do nothing but waste land for economic development as well as taxpayer money.” Still, I think saving the Spotted Owl’s habitat is worth it since “old growth” forests are almost impossible to replace. Besides, preserving these “old growth” forests doesn’t just save the owls either.

Other Options: Glaucous-Winged Gull, Evening Grosbeak, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, Northern Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Common Loon, Violet-Green Swallow, Yellow-Headed Blackbird, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Black-Billed Magpie, Rufous Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Dark-Eyed Junco, Ferruginous Hawk, Black Oystercatcher, American Avocet, Black-Necked Stilt, Great Gray Owl, Boreal Owl

  1. West Virginia
The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

The Cerulean Warbler is the fastest declining neotropical migrant songbird. Yet, despite its problems, there seems to be declining in West Virginia a lot slower than other places. No one knows why.

Official State Bird: Northern Cardinal

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 7 states. Now I’m sure West Virginia might have some good excuse on this since the state is an environmental disaster area. But still, I don’t imagine a Northern Cardinal when I think about West Virginia. Besides, it’s the state bird of Virginia as well which West Virginia split from during the American Civil War because it wanted nothing to do with the Confederacy.

Best Candidate: Cerulean Warbler

Why: It’s a common breeding bird in West Virginia despite the fact it’s the fastest declining songbird in North America as well as prefers mature forests with closed canopies as its habitat. But despite West Virginia’s environmental problems, these birds seem to love it there that they return there to breed every year.

Other Options: Swainson’s Warbler, Rusty Blackbird, Northern Bobwhite, Black Scoter, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, Chimney Swift, Olive-Sided Flycatcher, Golden-Winged Warbler, Bachman’s Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Long-Tailed Duck, Bicknell’s Thrush

  1. Wisconsin
The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they've been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest North American waterfowl. However, while the commercial trade in swan skins and excessive hunting have led to significant decline, populations have been increasing where they’ve been introduced. Wisconsin being one of those states that has.

Official State Bird: American Robin

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 3 states. This means that Wisconsin needs a new state bird.

Best Candidate: Trumpeter Swan

Why: Well, it’s one of the most notable native birds of North America. Besides, Wisconsin had a successful recovery for them since the 1980s which has been quite successful. Besides, it doesn’t look half bad on postcards.

Other Options: Golden-Winged Warbler, Sandhill Crane, Cooper’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Killdeer, Purple Martin, Common Loon, Common Merganser, Bobolink, Greater Prairie Chicken, Cerulean Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Indigo Bunting, Whippoorwill, Dickcissel, Blue-Winged Teal, Eastern Kingbird, Tree Swallow, Blue Jay, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Whooping Crane

  1. Wyoming
The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It's also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

The Ferruginous Hawk is the raptor of the open country and the largest hawk in North America. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions, and behavior. It’s also the most adaptable nester of the raptors as well.

Official State Bird: Western Meadowlark

Why It Sucks: It’s the state bird of 6 states. Obviously, Wyoming probably has a bird diversity that gives it no excuse.

Best Candidate: Ferruginous Hawk

Why: Well, Wyoming is home to all kinds of cool wildlife that I can’t think of a better bird to represent it than the largest hawk in North America. Besides, hawks are cool.

Other Options: Greater Sage-Grouse, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Common Loon, Swainson’s Hawk, Pinyon Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Steller’s Jay, Great Horned Owl, Boreal Owl, Spotted Owl, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Violet-Green Swallow, Snow Bunting, Lazuli Bunting, Prairie Falcon, Great Gray Owl, Black-Billed Magpie, Western Tanager

Rules for Dealing with Wild Animals

1. Wild animals are not your friends. Do not treat them like pets or your buddies. The guy from Grizzly Man learned that lesson the hard way.

I'm sure any other situation involving a grizzly at the dinner table is bound to end horribly. Yes, old Bearikins may soon have the best Thanksgiving of his life. Everyone else will probably have their last.

I’m sure any other situation involving a grizzly at the dinner table is bound to end horribly. Yes, old Bearikins may soon have the best Thanksgiving of his life. Everyone else will probably have their last.

2. Unless handling wild animals is part of your job, keep a reasonable distance from them and interfere with their lives as little as possible. If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.

3. Avoid close contact with wild animals whenever possible. Never approach them under any circumstances. Do not touch or try to hold them. But if you must and it’s safe enough, always wear gloves, particularly a pair you’d find at the hardware store (garden gloves come to mind). Get too close to a wild animal and it will attack you.

4. Do not make a wild animal feel threatened or stressed. A threatened or stressed animal is a dangerous animal and will attack you.

5. Do not disturb, chase, startle, anger, tease, or harass a wild animal. All you’ll do is provoke the wild animal into feeling threatened and it will attack you. If you do this, you are a moron and deserve no sympathy for what happened to you. Such actions are especially stupid if the wild animal isn’t alone, particularly if accompanied by offspring. Whatever you do, do not be a dick to wild animals under any circumstances. Unlike humans in society where assholes are tolerated, wild animal will absolutely not tolerate your dickishness toward them and won’t give a shit about sending you to the emergency room.

6. Though baby wild animals may be cute and cuddly, do not go anywhere near them, touch them, or try to hold them. Trying to pick up a baby wild animal is an easy way to get its parents to attack you and they’re usually not far behind. If you do this, you are an idiot. If there’s a chance that a baby wild animal is an orphan, observe it for 24 hours to make sure the animal is truly alone. If their parents don’t show up within that time period, call animal control. Don’t ever try to raise it yourself unless you really know what you’re doing (by that I mean if dealing with animals is part of your job). For particular animals follow these steps:

Awww, look at the cute cougar babies. Don't their faces just make you want to take one of them home with you? But remember that trying to pet or hold one of these adorable cubs is a quick way for its mother to send you to the ER and/or ICU. Yeah, you'd be an idiot to try to get one of these adorable kitties.

Awww, look at the cute cougar babies. Don’t their faces just make you want to take one of them home with you? But remember that trying to pet or hold one of these adorable cubs is a quick way for its mother to send you to the ER and/or ICU. Yeah, you’d be an idiot to try to get one of these adorable kitties.

a. Birds: Pick up the bird with gloved hands and try to return it back in its nest. If you can’t, make one by putting leaves, grass, or soft cloth into a small box and place it where you found the bird. Observed for 24 hours to see if it’s cared for. If not, then call animal control. However, if a baby bird has all its feathers and resembles a miniature adult, leave it alone. It’s a fledgling who has permanently left the nest. The parents are watching them from trees and bringing it food.

b. Ducklings/Goslings: With gloved hands, place the bird as close to the flock as you can. If the flock accepts the duckling/gosling, everything should be fine. If not, call animal control.

c. Deer Fawns: Fawns are often left alone while their parents forage. But if the fawn looks cold, hungry, diseased, confused, or threatened, call animal control.

d. Rabbits: If the baby rabbit is at least 4-5 inches long, has fur, open eyes, and hopping around, leave it alone. It’s old enough to be out of the nest. If not, then take it to the nest but hold it with gloved hands. If the nest has been dug up and there are surviving rabbits, place it back into the hole with gloved hands, cover them with the nesting materials (which should consist of grass and fur). Observe for 24-48 hours. If a parent doesn’t return and you’re sure it’s abandoned, call animal control.

7. Do not feed wild animals or leave any food out for them (except bird feeders). All this does is encourage close contact that gets them too used to people as well as increases the potential for predators, accidents, and attacks. A wild animal that’s lost its natural fear for humans is more aggressive and dangerous, especially when hungry. Also makes them fat and sometimes dependent on such food that some may never learn to find native food on their own. Use proper garbage disposal and food storage as well as treat garbage as you’d treat food. Keep a clean camp and wash all cooking and eating equipment after use (as well as change clothes after dinner if you’re the one cooking it). Nevertheless, despite what pop culture tells you, it’s generally seen a bad idea to feed bread crumbs to birds, especially geese and ducks.

There's a reason why feeding wild animals is illegal. Essentially it gets them too used to people which can lead to attracting other animals as well as attacks. A wild animal that's lost its fear of humans is dangerous and more aggressive, especially when hungry. While camping, always use proper food storage and garbage disposal as well as keep a clean camp.

There’s a reason why feeding wild animals is illegal. Essentially it gets them too used to people which can lead to attracting other animals as well as attacks. A wild animal that’s lost its fear of humans is dangerous and more aggressive, especially when hungry. While camping, always use proper food storage and garbage disposal as well as keep a clean camp.

8. Be familiar with wild animals and how they normally act. This table gives you plenty of the reliable information you need on normal wild animal behavior.

Wild-Animals-Table

9. If you see an injured animal, call animal control and observe it until help arrives. Do not try to help it unless it’s safe to do so. Potential dangers include being scratched, bitten, and/or exposed to disease. But be warned that injured wild animals are often scared and may be aggressive when approached. You may also lead the wounded animal to injure itself.

a. If the wild animal is ensnared, trapped, tangled, do not try to fee the animal yourself. It is probably stressed and could be aggressive. Just call animal control to report its location and take pictures of the scene if possible.

b. If it’s safe to touch it, pick up the wild animal to contain it using gloved hands under these steps, if it needs transported to a wildlife rehab center:

i. Line a box with holes or a pet carrier with clean, soft cloth, grasses, and other suitable bedding materials (like shredded newspaper).

ii. With gloved hands, place the animal in the container.

iii. Place the container on a heating pad set to its lowest setting, or wrap a bottle of hot water in a towel and place it in a container for warmth.

iv. Secure the container so the animal can’t jump out, which might cause further injury.

v. Keep the container in a quiet, dark place. Do not feed or water the animal.

10. If you run into close contact with a wild animal, please accord to the following:

Yes, I'm sure Smokey the Bear is more intense in person. Nevertheless, when you encounter a bear, remain calm, give it a way to escape, and slowly and quietly back away. Don't make eye contact, don't run, and try to look intimidating. If all else fails, use bear pepper spray.

Yes, I’m sure Smokey the Bear is more intense in person. Nevertheless, when you encounter a bear, remain calm, give it a way to escape, and slowly and quietly back away. Don’t make eye contact, don’t run, and try to look intimidating. If all else fails, use bear pepper spray.

a. Don’t Panic: Panicking can often lead a wild animal to misinterpret your conduct as an offensive action and take a defensive stance in self-defense (like attack you). Most wild animals won’t attack you unless they feel threatened, have young, or injured/sick. Remain calm, even if you have to take a deep breath.

b. Give the Animal a Way to Escape: If a wild animal has a way to leave or escape the area, it will do so. This is one of the sanest and safest actions you can do, especially if the animal is a large mother with babies. Cornering the animal and having to fight it is not just dangerous, but also highly stupid. This is especially the case if the animal is bear, mountain lion, or an adult moose in which a fight could mean a very long trip to the ER or the ICU, if you’re lucky. If not, then death and a very stupid one at that. These animals are bigger, stronger, as well as have claws, strong teeth, hooves or horns to defend themselves. So avoiding a fight with a wild animal is just common sense.

c. Slowly and Quietly Back Away: Do this while keeping an eye on the wild animal until you are safely away. The more distance between you and the animal, the better. Try to avoid eye contact if possible. Any sudden moves might startle the animal into defensive action. Running may provoke some animals to chase you and you can never outrun them. Also, only climb a tree only if you’re sure the animal can’t and only when it’s far away. Only use active defense as a last resort like mace or bear spray.

d. For specific wild animals, please follow these guidelines:

i. Coyote/Wolf: Use a loud and authoritative voice to frighten the animal. Throw rocks near the animal (but not at them) and become as threatening as possible. This will show dominance and intimidate them. As for wolves, you might want to keep your eyes cast downward and your mouth closed. If it bites, don’t yank it away but try to make it gag or do something to break its clamped jaw. However, a healthy wolf won’t usually attack people. And most usually attack either due to extreme hunger or disease.

ii. Snake: Remain calm and still until it’s gone. Keep any pets and children close to your side. Step backwards slowly, and only turn your back when you are more than 6 feet away from the snake. Fortunately, they’d rather avoid lashing out and will let you know when they feel threatened. However, whatever you do, do not throw anything in an attempt to kill it or else it will move quickly and strike fiercely.

iii. Bear: Control your pets/kids. Quiet any noise making or aggressive movements. Do not run. Avoid looking like prey. Make yourself look intimidating by waving arms and making noises. The bear should quickly leave the area. If it’s a Grizzly, try to cover your head and the back of your neck with your hands either in a fetal position or lying flat and don’t make eye contact. If that doesn’t work, you might want to climb a tree, make noise, and grab the bear spray. If it’s a Black Bear, don’t climb a tree.

iv. Opossum: An opossum is usually docile and won’t attack unless provoked or cornered. Keep pets on short leashes and get out of the area as quickly as possible.

v. Deer: Deer don’t generally pose a threat unless they feel threatened themselves. Keep pets close to you as you walk past them. They should move along. If they make any aggressive movements or sounds, turn away and leave the area.

vi. Mountain Lion: Don’t run, turn your back, and crouch down. Stand tall and authoritatively, make eye contact, use a calm and firm voice, and slowly back away to make sure you aren’t a threat to their safety. If that doesn’t convince the animal to leave, try to scare it off. If it attacks, fight it with everything you got.

vii. Moose: If it looks upset, try to hide behind something big and not too bushy. But leave room to run if the moose continues the chase. Fortunately, most moose attacks are “bluff attacks” that tend to be over before they begin.

viii. Crocodile/Alligator: Avoid croc/gator infested waters as much as possible. If one approaches you, run away as much as possible. If it attacks you, fight back but be sure to hit the eyes, nostrils, or ears. If it bites and you have escaped, seek medical help immediately.

11. If you see a wild animal acting outside its normal behavior stay the hell away from them and find shelter as quickly as possible before calling animal control (especially if the animal is acting disoriented, confused, or shows unprovoked aggressiveness). Make sure your kids and pets are inside as well. Don’t try to help it in any way because a sick animal may not be in its right mind and can be very dangerous. This might be especially obvious if its frothing at the mouth, but sometimes even just bizarre or unprovoked aggressive behavior can be enough. If you, your kids, or your pets aren’t so lucky, follow these steps:

Of course, I'm sure this raccoon doesn't since it looks relatively normal. However, yeah, raccoons do tend to be carriers of all kinds of diseases. If you see one showing unprovoked aggression, call animal control and seek shelter immediately.

Of course, I’m sure this raccoon doesn’t since it looks relatively normal. However, yeah, raccoons do tend to be carriers of all kinds of diseases. If you see one showing unprovoked aggression, call animal control and seek shelter immediately.

a. You, Children, and Other Humans: Either get to a hospital or call 9/11 for an ambulance if the wound is bleeding seriously or if you suspect that the animal might have rabies. If you aren’t sure it’s serious, call your doctor or animal control. Call animal control to remove the animal if it’s still at the premises and have it tested for rabies and other diseases. Wash minor wounds (like scratches) under running water and apply antibiotic ointment and dressing. Also, you might want to be up to date on vaccinations, just to be safe. If it’s a snakebite, call 9/11 for an ambulance, gently wash the injury, splint bitten extremities, and keep the area at approximately the level of the heart. Keep the person calm (if it’s not you). Don’t cut, suck, apply a constricting band, or apply cold to a bit from a pit viper (like a rattlesnake, copperhead, or cottonmouth). For a bite from an elapid snake (like a coral snake), apply an elastic roller bandage after washing the wound.

b. Pets: Using gloved hands, wash the wounds with a hose. Don’t touch the wounds with your bare hands. Immediately call the vet, even if the wound doesn’t seem serious. If the wild animal is still present, call animal control to remove it. Have your pet re-vaccinated immediately, even if its vaccinations are up to date. If expired, your pet may be held for observation. Also, remember that your pets can’t be treated after they’ve been infected with rabies so its important to keep their vaccinations up to date.

12.Try to keep pets from chasing or harassing wild animals as much as possible. Also, keep children close and within your immediate sight at all times outdoors (especially when the nearest shelter is a long distance away. If you’re at home, just keep the small children accompanied. But keep at least one door unlocked in the house {particularly the backdoor} and teach your school age children about common sense). Never leave small children alone with a wild animal regardless of its demeanor.

13. Avoid carcasses in wilderness areas as much as possible (and by that I mean hiking trails, forests, parks, campgrounds, and nature reserves). Report dead animals to the nearest ranger station or animal control. After all, any animal carcass you find in the wilderness could easily be a carnivore’s leftover lunch. Some animals are known to defend their food sources violently and won’t be happy to see you disturb them.

14. Don’t hike alone or at night. Wild animals are less likely to attack groups than solo hikers, since groups are less noisy. Also, while many animals can be active at any time a lot of them are active at dawn, dusk, or night.

Many wild animals tend to be active at night like this opossum. Of course, this might explain why I have often found so many of their carcasses on roadsides. Also explains why I find deer tracks on the roads during some of my morning walks.

Many wild animals tend to be active at night like this opossum. Of course, this might explain why I have often found so many of their carcasses on roadsides. Also explains why I find deer tracks on the roads during some of my morning walks.

15. While hiking, stay on the trails at all times and travel quietly if need be. As long as you stay away from a wild animal’s habitat, it will not bother you. However, make noise if it’s in bear country, especially when traveling upwind, near streams and waterfalls, or when you can’t see the path ahead. Remember that you are on their turf and you need to respect that, especially since there are a lot animals that can be rather territorial. Yeah, you’d want to keep off their lawn, indeed.

16. Be alert for any possible sign of wild animals nearby such as droppings, diggings, footprints, scratch marks, rocks rolled over, or tree logs torn apart. Also be careful not to step directly on rocks or logs for you don’t want to anger a poisonous snake.

17. When traveling by foot, let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return. Also, travel with a cell phone and first aid kit at all times as well as keep your pet on a leash.

18. Whenever in a recreational area, always follow local regulations. Always listen to park rangers and game wardens as well as follow their advice.

19. Be familiar with the types of wild animals in your geographical location and know how to avoid getting attacked by them.

20. Be familiar with wild animals’ sex and reproduction cycles and behaviors, particularly mating and birthing seasons. Also pay attention on their familial patterns. Some species may be monogamous while others may not. But it’s not unusual for some animals to be more aggressive and less fearless during their mating seasons (often in the fall), particularly if they’re males trying to mate with as many females as possible (though females during this time aren’t exactly docile either). And it’s not uncommon for female animals to be quite aggressive while raising their young, especially if she’s rearing them alone. Let’s just say the rutting season is basically Pon Farr for deer, which makes them especially dangerous around this time, particularly antlered males.

During the mating seasons, wild animals can be more aggressive than usual, particularly if they're stag males or males trying to mate with as many females as possible. For some, to say that comparing their mating seasons to Pon Farr isn't much of a stretch. This is especially the case with the deer rut in which the male antlered deer compete with each other for mates through sparing.

During the mating seasons, wild animals can be more aggressive than usual, particularly if they’re stag males or males trying to mate with as many females as possible. For some, to say that comparing their mating seasons to Pon Farr isn’t much of a stretch. This is especially the case with the deer rut in which the male antlered deer compete with each other for mates through sparing. And yes, the fights can get particularly nasty.

21. Just because an animal won’t or can’t eat you, don’t assume it won’t hurt you. There’s a reason why predators tend to prey on the most vulnerable of any given herd. They know that trying to take down the strongest animals for meat is a quick way to get severely injured or killed. Not to mention, anyone who’s had regular contact with domesticated livestock will know of at least one incident of a temperamental cow or horse sending someone to the emergency room. So just because the wild animal in question is a vegetarian, don’t assume that it’s cute, cuddly, and friendly. Because there are plenty of large herbivores that are extremely territorial and will kill you deader than dead. Hippos are among the most dangerous animals in Africa along with elephants, cape buffalo, rhinos, and giraffes (which can kill lions with their kicks). In North America, moose and bison are said to attack and kill more people than bears and wolves. Also, take into account that the vast majority of unprovoked bird attacks on people are from herbivorous birds. Thus, remember that an animal doesn’t need to be hungry to want to kill you.

If you think that the most dangerous wild animals are predators, think again. Herbivores can be just as nasty. For instance, while deer are seen as the gentle giants of the forest, they're actually extremely dangerous, especially during rutting season. I call this picture Bambi's Revenge. Yes, he will pay dearly.

If you think that the most dangerous wild animals are predators, think again. Herbivores can be just as nasty. For instance, while deer are seen as the gentle giants of the forest, they’re actually extremely dangerous, especially during rutting season. I call this picture Bambi’s Revenge. Yes, he will pay dearly.

22. Just because an wild animal seems friendly as well as fluffy and adorable, don’t assume it won’t hurt you. It may not look dangerous, but even the friendliest wild animals can turn pretty unfriendly pretty damn fast. And many of the most adorable and harmless looking creatures can be anything but, especially if you do something to piss them off. You may laugh during the killer rabbit scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but remember that real wild rabbits can be anything but sweet, innocent, and docile.

Real rabbits may not be as lethal as you might see in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But they are hardly docile creatures and their teeth can inflict quite a bit of damage. It's said that male rabbits will rape and castrate rival males to secure breeding rights. They also headbutt and their kicks pack quite a bit of power for their size. Unfortunately, for this cat, I'm afraid the Holy Hand Grenade at Antioch wasn't at its disposal.

Real rabbits may not be as lethal as you might see in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But they are hardly docile creatures and their teeth can inflict quite a bit of damage. It’s said that male rabbits will rape and castrate rival males to secure breeding rights. They also headbutt and their kicks pack quite a bit of power for their size. Unfortunately, for this cat, I’m afraid the Holy Hand Grenade at Antioch wasn’t at its disposal.

23. If you see a large wild animal on the road while driving, make sure you give them the right of way by slowing down and stopping at a reasonable distance. They’ll usually be quick about crossing the street. Nevertheless, please drive carefully and not hit something. Not only will you avoid a crash and save your life but you won’t risk the animal’s life either. And the bigger the animal, the worse the consequences will be if you hit it.

Large wild animals can pose serious traffic problems. Thus, if you see any large wild animal on the road, remember to slow down and give it the right of way. Let's just say it'll save your life. Here's some more tips about sharing the road with wild animals.

Large wild animals can pose serious traffic problems. Thus, if you see any large wild animal on the road, remember to slow down and give it the right of way. Let’s just say it’ll save your life. Here’s some more tips about sharing the road with wild animals.

24. Any wild animal with utterly zero fear of humans isn’t one you’d want to run into, especially if it has a really nasty temper. Wild animals that aren’t afraid of humans are less likely to run away at close range, which is very bad and most of the time aren’t friendly at all.

25. Don’t ever try to domesticate a wild animal no matter how cute or seemingly docile it may be. Yes, you might hear all the stories about how people raised wild animals in their homes. But there’s a reason why wild animals don’t make great pets despite how and cuddly some of them may be. Think about it.

Yes, raccoons are adorable, I get it. But if we could successfully domesticate, we certainly would keep them as pets. Unfortunately, while raccoons have no fear of humans, they have very nasty tempers and their teeth and claws can kill pets as well as send people to the emergency room. They're also the biggest carrier of rabies in North America. So no, they don't make very good pets whatsoever. Too bad the Japanese didn't learn from the Americans on this which gave rise to raccoon infestation in their country.

Yes, raccoons are adorable, I get it. But if we could successfully domesticate, we certainly would keep them as pets. Unfortunately, while raccoons have no fear of humans, they have really, really nasty tempers and their teeth and claws can kill pets as well as send people to the emergency room. They’re also the biggest carrier of rabies in North America. So no, they don’t make very good pets whatsoever. Too bad the Japanese didn’t learn from the Americans on this which gave rise to raccoon infestation in their country. This was because of an anime raccoon gave rise to a fad of keeping these animals as pets. Seriously, Japan, stop being suckers for cuteness!

26. Remember that animal control is your friend. If you see wild animal acting weird and aren’t sure what to do, call them. They will know what’s going on and will go in if there’s a nuisance.

27. Despite what you might see in popular media pertaining to wild animals, don’t assume that they behave that way in real life. This is especially the case with seemingly sweet and innocent animals presented as cute, fluffy, and adorable. Nor should you assume that all animals exist in harmony and wholesomeness (which for those who’ve seen the PBS show Nature, it’s certainly not the case since it’s guaranteed to feature animals mating and killing things in most episodes. This is especially the case when a predator is the featured animal on the episode).

28. If a small wild animal is found in your house, open your doors to let it out. The sooner you give it a way to escape the better. However, if it bites you, keep it inside and call animal control because it might need to be tested for disease.

29. If you want to take a picture of a wild animal at close range, remember that cameras are equipped with zoom lenses. So take advantage of that.

When you want to take pictures of animals, remember to keep a reasonable distance and use the zoom lens. Of course, I'm not sure about this guy's situation. I mean birds can fly pretty fast.

When you want to take pictures of animals, remember to keep a reasonable distance and use the zoom lens. Of course, I’m not sure about this guy’s situation. I mean birds can fly pretty fast.

30. Never take your pets camping or hiking with you, especially if it’s in an area with wolves or other predators. Thus, your pet might become a liability since they’re more vulnerable to animal attacks than humans. There’s a reason why pets aren’t allowed in National Parks and other recreation areas.

31. Remember that just because an animal looks like it’s suffering and needs to be rescued, doesn’t necessarily mean you should interfere. Sometimes it’s best to let nature do its thing and leave it alone, especially if it can be some predator’s tasty meal or your pet’s. So you might not want to bother with Fido killing that baby bunny.

32. Remember that even if you do everything right, this doesn’t guarantee that you won’t attract a wild animal’s attention. Any action you make can make an animal feel threatened or startled, even if you don’t intend to do so. Even wildlife experts have experienced this.

33. Be aware that just because a normally nocturnal animal is active during the day, doesn’t mean it’s “sick” especially if it’s just minding its own business. They may be out during the day for several reasons such as looking for food, during spring and early summer when they’re out looking for food for their young, being habituated in their environment and the people around them, or simply going from one place to another. So if you see a raccoon out during the day and acting like any typical raccoon would otherwise, then leave it alone. It probably doesn’t have rabies.

Though raccoons are better known for being active at night, it's not uncommon for some to be out in the daytime. So if a raccoon is out and about during the day and doesn't seem to show any other abnormal behavior, it's probably not rabies.

Though raccoons are better known for being active at night, it’s not uncommon for some to be out in the daytime. So if a raccoon is out and about during the day and doesn’t seem to show any other abnormal behavior, it’s probably not rabies.

34. If you see a wild animal with young, stay the hell away from them. Even the friendliest wild animals can be especially ferocious when it comes to protecting their kids. Mess with any wild animal parent and their kids and you’ll be in for a world of pain.

For the love of God, if you get between a mama bear and her cubs, you will be in for a world of pain. And no, I'm not exaggerating. Do not go anywhere near a bear and her cubs. Seriously, you will live to regret it in the emergency room, if you're lucky.

For the love of God, if you get between a mama bear and her cubs, you will be in for a world of pain. And no, I’m not exaggerating. Do not go anywhere near a bear and her cubs. Seriously, you will live to regret it in the emergency room, if you’re lucky.

35. Just because an wild animal is cute, doesn’t mean it’s nice and wants you to touch it, especially if it’s a baby or juvenile.

36. When hiking, walking, or traveling in a recreational area or anywhere else, stay out of wildlife areas you know are dangerous.

37. Just because you don’t see wild animals, don’t assume that they aren’t close by. Sometimes wild animals will pop up around times when you’re least likely to see them (like during the night).

38. Small wild animals may not be as dangerous as their larger counterparts, but don’t  assume that they won’t hurt you. Because even they can be quite vicious if they feel they need to. And there are plenty of animals willing to take on anybody several times their size like rabbits.

39. Unless you’re hunting, then avoid carrying a firearm outdoors, despite what your NRA gun nut neighbor may say. If firing a gun doesn’t instantly kill the wild animal, then it will get even more enraged and attack you. When in close contact with a wild animal, the last thing you want is to make it madder, especially if it’s a predator. For instance, 50 percent of those who use a firearm against a grizzly end up being severely mauled.” Use bear pepper spray instead, which will greatly inhibit its ability to fight.

Unless you intend to hunt at the wilderness recreation area, then leave your guns at home. Of course, you won't see a bear with a handgun. However, unless you kill it at the first shot, shooting at a wild animal will just make it madder and willing to attack. It's a reason why firearms are banned in many parks and for good reason. Use bear pepper spray or mace instead.

Unless you intend to hunt at the wilderness recreation area, then leave your guns at home. Of course, you won’t see a bear with a handgun. However, unless you kill it at the first shot, shooting at a wild animal will just make it madder and willing to attack. It’s a reason why firearms are banned in many parks and for good reason. Use bear pepper spray or mace instead.

40. If you’re in a wilderness in an outdoor recreation area you’re not familiar with, consider hiring a guide if you can afford it. At least a guide will know what to do. If you can’t, then consider getting a map and/or guidebook. Better yet, buy the map and guidebook first before hiring the guide.