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Captivan reports third chicken sighting

By Staff | Jan 19, 2011

Art and Martha Kaemmer, Marc and Jean Cox and the Kilgore family of Captiva, all put their heads together to come up with this clever prank on their neighbor, Nancy Oden, whose grandson spotted a rogue chicken on her property last week.

Nancy Oden assumed that the rogue chicken her grandson spotted in her driveway last week would quickly become a tasty — albeit unexpected — snack for some roving bobcat or island reptile, but on Sunday, Oden said she saw the chicken in question again.

Of course, the only reason Oden saw the chicken again was thanks to a crafty little prank her neighbors pulled shortly after the first round of chicken sightings.

Art and Martha Kaemmer, Oden’s neighbors, along with the Kaemmers’ visiting friends, Marc and Joan Cox, and the Kilgore family, also Oden’s neighbors, got together after the mysterious chicken appeared to Oden’s grandson, Zack Oden, as he was pulling out of the driveway.

A long-standing tradition between the Odens and the Kaemmers involves sneaking a basic, pink flamingo lawn decoration into each others’ yards without the neighbor noticing. The plastic bird then becomes the responsibility of the victimized neighbor, who must somehow return the bird, again, without the other neighbor noticing.

The Kaemmer-Oden flamingo, formerly bright pink, has blanched to white over the years, but after Oden’s chicken caper, the Kaemmers, the Coxes and the Kilgores were inspired to repurpose the flamingo into something more timely.

The result was what Oden now refers to as “Chickalingo” — a portmanteau of “Chicken” and “Flamingo” — the flamingo, decorated by the Coxes and the Kaemmers to resemble a chicken, using different types of leaves and foliage. The Kilgores constructed a bright yellow “Chicken Crossing” sign, and the group of mischief-makers set everything up at the end of Oden’s driveway — and took pictures, of course.

“It was sort of a collaborative effort between the Kaemmers, Coxes and Kilgores,” Oden said, noting that she’s moved the display back towards her house so it won’t be stolen. “I almost ran into two bicyclists because I was laughing so hard when I first saw it.”

But, all jokes aside, it was during a “Chickalingo” rescue mission that Oden experienced the third official chicken sighting.

“It was Sunday, it started raining and I wanted to go down and rescue the Chickalingo. I opened up the trunk of my car and put the Chickalingo and the sign away, and as I was going around to the driver’s side, I heard some scratching sounds in the bushes to the south of my driveway,” Oden said. “I wondered what it was because it sounded weird, and as I got over to the bushes, as close as I could, I looked in — and it was the chicken!”

Oden said that behind the bushes at the end of her driveway, there is an empty area where she had non-native plants and trees removed.

“I don’t know if it was my imagination — I think we’re all losing our minds, actually — but I thought I saw three round circles where leaves had been pushed aside and arranged like a nest. It looked to me like something a chicken would do — pushing the leaves aside to get down on the earth, which would account for the scratching sounds,” Oden said, noting that she’s planning on taking a closer look at the area in question for more solid evidence of the chicken. “I’m just hoping to find a trace of the chicken somewhere — I still think it would be great to have fresh eggs all the time.”