• From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 22:49:56 -0500


Birder Roy Knispel is shown on Sluder Road in Shady Valley Saturday while being 
chased by an exotic
bird, identified by Dr. John Moyle as an African Penguin -- an endangered 
species from South Africa !

The species, formerly known as the Jackass Penguin, was discovered by Charlie 
(Chuck) Parker.  He was
birding just a few yards from TN Rt 91 when Parker observed the rare fowl 
dashing towards him.  

Chris O'Bryan looked up and saw Parker fleeing for his life down the icy road.  
What looked to be hilarious
turned into terror when Parker leaped into a nearby car and the "penguin" 
turned to chase O'Bryan.  Chris
leaped across the hood of Wallace Coffey's car and tried to get the door open.

Coffey walked around his car to see what was happening and observed O'Bryan 
fighting to get the door closed
as the bird flashed its wings and headed for Coffey.  At first Coffey was quite 
amused until it began to attack
his leg.  He then rushed to the driver side door and managed to get in with the 
bird in pursuit.

Knispel, just discovering the fray, was caught off guard in the roadway and was 
immediately rushed.  He first
was very calm until Roy began to get on the losing end of the struggle.  He ran 
towards the middle of the road
as Coffey began to take photos for insurance purposes.  The Jackass had 
intercepted Roy and was between
the birder and the safety of the car.

Dr. Moyle, who was in the edge of the woods attempting to find the source of 
Blue Jays mobbing something,
innocently walked into the road and the Jackass Penguin turned his attention to 
Moyle.  Being an experienced
international bird observer, Moyle calmed the bird by giving low muttering 
mating call sounds to sooth the 
bird's aggression.  He gained the upper wing by talking to it in baby penguin 

O'Bryan, quietly amused, got up his courage 
and made a macho approach to the pair, 
only to have the penguin attack his boots, 
pecking constantly at the bottom of the soles.  
Chris was so happy not to be suffering any 
injury, he froze in his tracks.

Chuck Parker then rushed back into the 
disturbance, imitating a  Bobcat, screaming 
and caterwauling.  He snarled his teeth, flashed 
fingernails with widespread arms and menacing 
growls.  We were horrified at his demeanor and 
lack of fear.  Even his lack of concern for his 
own safety !  What a guy !  Go Chuck! Go!

Everyone made it safely to the car and we quickly 
left the scene.

C.E. Parker became a legend, a subject of folklore 
and our ever endeared living hero.  The BBC will 
honor him with our lifetime award for valor.  It
is given  for "courage in defense of a noble cause." 

This is not as dramatic as Tom McNeil having three
trees fall behind his car while parked at the gate of 
Little Oak Campground just off Flatwoods Rd. deep
in the Cherokee National Forest while on the Bristol 
CBC last week.  McNeil was fortunate to have a cell 
phone and called 911.  The Sullivan County Highway Department soon arrived with 
a rescue team and 
chain saws and a truck with snowplow.  Fortunately, 
they cut the trees away and cleared the road with 
their plow and Tom was safely back in action.

Our only recourse during the "Shady Valley Penguin" attack was Chuck Parker's 
of a mad Bobcat which turned the momentum and gained field position while we 
drove away to 
safety in overtime.  

Never give up.  

When your back is to the wall, become a wildcat.
Chuck is terrific!

Good things happen to good people ! 

      C.E. (Chuck) Parker

Let's go birding,,,,,,

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN

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