Is He or Isn’t He?


A debate is raging in the birding community about whether Cedar Waxwings have a secret identity. The debate was sparked by the observation that Cedar Waxwings might not have any feathers at all but, rather, are encased in a super suit.

“Just look at them,” said one birder. “They are completely smooth all over, like they’re wearing Lycra. But Cedar Waxwings have been around long before Lycra was invented. The only possible explanation of their sleekness has to be that they’re wearing super suits. And,” he added, “everybody knows the only characters who wear super suits are superheroes.”

“That explains so much,” said another birder, nodding thoughtfully. “One time, I was looking at a Cedar Waxwing, and I turned away for half a second. When I looked again, the Cedar Waxwing was gone! In its place was a House Finch!!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” said a third birder, scornfully. “Why would a Cedar Waxwing’s secret identity be another bird? I was on a master birder field trip recently, and someone in the group spotted a Cedar Waxwing foraging near a blackberry bush. But when everyone turned to look, all we saw was our leader, Dennis Paulson! And, he was eating a berry!!!”

When contacted about this startling assertion, mild-mannered ornithologist Paulson would say only, “I am not a Cedar Waxwing in disguise.”

“Of course he’s not a Cedar Waxwing,” said a fellow scientist, who refused to be named. “If Dennis were to assume a secret identity at all—and I’m not saying he has—he would be a Swallow-tailed Kite.”

When confronted by a horde of reporters outside her home, Paulson’s wife Netta Smith refused to answer any questions at all. Before hustling into her car, though, she put her finger to the side of her nose and tapped it significantly. And so the debate rages on. The public is asked to report any future sightings of Cedar Waxwings—or Dennis—in telephone booths.