After four trips to Honduras—enough time to meet the rigorous standards of scientific data gathering—I can finally conclude that roosters do not crow to greet the dawn, except by coincidence. It turns out they also crow the minute before dawn, and the minute after, and subsequently every minute for the rest of the day.
I observed this phenomenon mainly during the early morning hours, when most humans would expect a few hours of invigorating sleep. My bedroom window was above the local meeting place for area roosters who, unlike their American kindred, do not start their day on a rooftop, silhouetted by the rising sun, before providing the stern but compassionate guidance their broods depend on. Nope. They mainly just hang out and crow. Repeatedly.
Sadly, I saw many young chickens wandering around who clearly could have benefited from adult leadership. But their long-suffering mothers were too harried to provide it, so the young chicks lacked the role models so critical to today’s youth. So, after much study, I must reluctantly conclude that Honduran roosters have no observable domestic skills or duties.
This is not one of those “theories” like gravity or evolution, which scientists on the Kansas school board have responsibly debunked. No, this is objective fact. I know this because, like Jane Goodall and her mountain gorillas, I “lived among them” for a whole week. They emitted a constant annoying background noise—similar to the music of Enya—that provided the soundtrack to each evening’s sleeplessness.
They could have done something more productive, such as pecking sense into the local tarantula population, although I realize this is a long shot, since tarantulas have no natural enemies except military-grade munitions.