“What animal will you reincarnate as?”
This age-old question, often brought up at dinner parties or awkward first dates when the conversation starts to dwindle, is usually answered by discussing the noble characteristics of certain well-respected, majestic animals.
The lion is a go-to, being the king of the jungle, or the eagle – ruler of the sky. Dolphins are always thrown into the mix, too, as intelligent mammals who loves a tonne of aqua sex. So are dogs – cute and loyal to a fault.
But when people ask me what animal I’d reincarnate as, I always say the bin chicken.
Yep, the blessed bin chicken. Hands down. Some gasp at my response, others grimace. The one or two fellow bad bitches in the room nod their heads in solidarity. Never has a feathered friend been so polarising.
There a few reasons why I fuck with the blessed bin chicken, aside from the fact that I, too, am always hungry, eat a fuckload of trash and can be quite a nuisance at times. Here’s why I relate to the bin chicken on an existential level.
A true underdog
The bin chicken can be likened to Shannon Noll – loveable, albeit kind of controversial, a bit of a meme and always coming in second place (in 2017, the magpie beat our fellow bin chicken in a neck neck-and-neck race to win Australian Bird of the Year).
In this regard, the bin chicken is an underdog, of sorts. In fact, the bin chicken is always bearing the brunt of insult after insult about its looks, hygiene and peskiness. Despite this, the bin chicken, in all its resilience, simply doesn’t give a fuck. It continues to demand your food, and I respect that. Knocked down 9 times but get up 10, sort of vibes.
A relatable icon
The bin chicken has also been used to describe someone who, according to Urban Dictionary, “is a human garbage can and steals the food off your plate.” Although its presence is appropriated in a derogatory context, not many other birds – other than, say, a hawk – have had their names so effortlessly included into conversation to describe a human characteristic. That’s pretty iconic, to say the least.
A resilient queen
In all seriousness, though, my affinity to bin chickens at least partly stems from my overarching guilt at their presence in our urban spaces. The sad reality is that our downcurve-beaked pals aren’t hanging around our bins by choice, and have been forced to migrate to our cities because we fucked up their habitat.
And then we have the audacity to metaphorically shit on them? Shaking my damn head.
That’s why it’s so important to support organisations such as Australian Conservation Foundation, that seek to protect and restore swamps and wetlands where our sweet angel bin chicken can thrive away from the bins.
The bin chicken, a tough nut, and true spirit animal for the masses.