Sunday, January 25, 2009

White Faced Black Spanish

Does Dorchester have an official bird? It has a Latin motto, "Pietate, Literis, Industria," which is emblazoned on the former town's seal. While piety, learning and industry are still some of Dorchester's defining features, this part of Boston doesn't have a symbol that defines it against the backdrop of the wider metropolis. One could argue the seal fulfills that role but, really, when was the last time anyone has seen it?

I propose that the White Faced Black Spanish be the official bird of Dorchester for obvious reasons. This chicken carries itself with grace and style. Like all roosters and hens of the Minorca breed these birds have long, strong bodies well set and balanced on firm, muscular legs. Sounds a lot like Dorchester, doesn't it? Though prolific egg-layers, they don't do well sitting on the eggs. Nonetheless they hatch into sturdy succeeding generations.

According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, there are fewer than 500 White Faced Black Spanish chickens in the United States. There are considerably more Dorchesterites and ample space behind all the three deckers to allow for a couple of coops. Of course, Boston statutes forbid keeping chickens within city limits. If the White Faced Black Spanish were made the official bird of Dorchester, I'm sure an exception could be made. The breed, like dyed-in-the-wool Dorchesterites, is in danger of global extinction. Mayor Mennino would back such an environmental initiative in this most green and sensitive of cities.

It may be time to start a petition drive.

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