I wrote this one for the Daily Mail a while ago after reading about a butterfly that had been modified with a jellyfish gene to make its eyes glow.
The bird was the strangest thing I’d seen.
Its beak glowed a bright fluorescent green.
‘That beak,’ I said, ‘seems fishy to me,
Like something you’d find deep under the sea.’
My scientist friend was beaming with joy.
‘You’re right,’ he declared. ‘That’s our new toy.
We slaved until we were almost deranged
To see how a woodpecker might be changed.
We nearly failed, but I’m glad to say
A gene from a jellyfish saved the day.
Now we’ve created a genuine freak -
A bird equipped with a green glowing beak.
Why? Well, er ... because we could,
And if we didn’t, there’s others who would.
It’s quite a feather to have in our cap,
Doing this first, without a mishap.’
I asked, ‘Are you sure you’ve thought this through?
Suppose it escapes and breeds, as they do?’
He said, ‘Not a chance, but hey, what a lark -
All those beaks glowing in the dark!’
‘But jellyfish sting,’ I said, ‘and kill;
Can you be sure this bird never will?
Fools rush in and when they do
They often land in an awful stew.
Take those horses you thought one day
Would end congestion on the motorway.
A gene from an eagle gave them flight
And it seemed at first that you’d got things right,
But now of course we’re never sure
If it’s going to rain water or horse manure.’
‘Ah yes.’ He nodded. ‘I beg your pardon.
But look on the bright side - it’s good for the garden.
As for the woodpecker, take it from me
Our lab’s got the finest security.
Our record with birds is second to none.
That creature will never ... cripes, where’s it gone?’