While killing some time last week in the Bangor, Maine airport I noticed a wall covered in stickers representing different military units. There's a large military presence at the Bangor airport: it's often the first or last stop in the US for troops going to or coming from overseas. I was fascinated with the different unit's insignias. Here's a wide shot of the wall:
Others, as you may have guessed by now, included birds. Bald Eagles were most frequently represented:
Some plumage eccentricities in the top and bottom, but I'll forgive them for national heroes. In others, birds were more comically represented:
I was struck by the repeated use of pelicans to represent troop airlift units. I love the imagery of the pelican with the troops in his bill in the top photo here:
I was intrigued by one sticker showing a parrot. It obviously wasn't a North American species, but there was no other identifying information on the insignia other than some non-English words.
Finally, in a field of either screaming eagles or machine-gunning ducks, this insignia stood out:
An Indigo Bunting?? What's that about? The 103rd Civil Support Team, based out of Alaska, has the thankless job of being the first team on the ground after a suspected WMD attack to facilitate the response. I can't figure out why they're using the bunting, though I do find a reference to the unit's "fleet of blue vehicles."
As far as I'm concerned, military units can use whatever birds they want - ornithologically-correct or not - as long as they keep doing what they're doing. Thanks, military!