A Voice in the
THE WORDWATCHER'S FIELD GUIDE
Dr. Noah Ackstugrynd
JUNE ISSUE: SPOTTING NEW EVANGELICALS
As a leading expert on orthodoxology, I am often asked: "How can one tell the difference between the New Evangelical and the Old?" This is a question which has vexed orthodoxologists for many years, as these two species are virtually identical in size and plumage to the inexperienced eye. To the casual hobbyist, it is as difficult to tell them apart as it is to distinguish between a Yellowhammer and a Cirl Bunting. For many years even the experts were convinced that there was only one species: the Evangelical. But after some basic distinguishing guidelines have been implemented the difference between the two species will be as plain as that between a Cuckoo and its host Meadow Pipit. So what are the key differences?
First we need to look at the preferred habitat of each species. Whereas the Old Evangelical will stick to the tried and tested territory that has been used by his species for as far back as anyone can remember - the New Evangelical will almost wilfully choose to inhabit strange places where many predators lurk. He will even mate with birds of other species.
The next thing to consider is the walk. Whereas the Old Evangelical walks in a very cautious manner - looking about him in an eagle-like fashion, extremely careful where he places his feet, and frequently stooping to his knees - the New Evangelical struts confidently ahead ignoring the dangers about him. There are good physical reasons for this, as you will see if you manage to get close enough. For this purpose, I would heartily recommend the binoculars promoted in the manual issued by the Royal Society for the Protection of the Word (R.S.P.W.). Focus in on the New Evangelical's face and you will notice that the eyes are set much nearer the front of the head than those of the Old Evangelical, so that his field of vision is very limited indeed. This renders him extremely susceptible to the increasing number of predators which can creep in unawares from all sides.
Similarly, in his mating habits the New Evangelical can be differentiated from the older species. Whereas with the Old Evangelical one finds that the male is very much the dominant partner, in the newer species the female tends to have the pre-eminence (varying in degree from one pairing to another). However, in some cases, the New Evangelical female will even assume the leadership of an entire flock.
Another way you can tell these two species apart is by their feeding habits. Whereas the Old Evangelical relied on a carefully chosen diet of wholesome foods, the New Evangelical will forage and scavenge for anything remotely edible. This is why it has received the nickname "seedpicker", which is derived from his genus name spermologos.
Another way you can tell these two species apart is by their song. Whereas the Old Evangelical's song is very dignified and plaintive, the New Evangelicals' song consists of a series of extremely repetitive notes which are often accompanied by twitches and flapping their wings in the air. During the breeding season, many of these birds will assume a kind of death-feigning posture.
Another way of telling these two species apart is by their temperament. Although very tolerant of all other species - even predatory ones - being on their territory, New Evangelicals become extremely hostile if there are any Old Evangelicals within their sights. They also become highly agitated by the sound of the Old Evangelical's song; and if they stray onto the territory of the Old Evangelical which he is singing, they will very quickly withdraw.
So you see that once you have looked into this matter it is really very easy to tell these two species apart. My advice to any budding orthodoxologists is to join the Royal Society for the Protection of the Word. When you enrol you are provided with a Handbook which comes in two parts and is jam packed with information which will soon make you an expert in the field and help you to know which birds to follow (Psalm 84:3) and the birds of prey which must be avoided like the plague (Lev.11:13-19).