The Whidbey Island Chicken meets young fan, Aria Smith, and her dad, Josiah, on Saturday morning in Oak Harbor. Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

The Whidbey Island Chicken meets young fan, Aria Smith, and her dad, Josiah, on Saturday morning in Oak Harbor. Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

Winging it

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get you to crack a smile.

An interview with the Whidbey Island Chicken was full of a dozen poultry puns, after the initial clucking subsided.

The chicken man — or Chucky Chicken as he named himself — has captured the attention of joggers, drivers and most everyone else on North Whidbey. There is even a Facebook group that has almost 400 members who share sightings of the big bird.

An intrepid reporter found that getting in touch with the mysterious poultry meant working through some back channels, for the chicken wants to keep up the mystery. Seth Moody, a member of the aforementioned Facebook group, said he cracked the chicken’s identity after following him around one day.

“I wouldn’t say (we are) friends, but he is a friend if you know what I mean,” said Moody.

He offered to put the Whidbey News-Times in contact with the enigmatic bird from Oak Harbor.

“Now I’ve become somewhat of a chicken-man whisperer,” Moody said.

One does not contact the Whidbey Island Chicken for an interview directly; the chicken finds you. He said he did not intend to become famous when he bought the 8-foot-tall inflatable costume before Halloween.

“I happened to find a chicken costume that looked exactly like the chickens in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ game,” the chicken said.

While he was testing it out by walking around his neighborhood, some people took pictures of him. One person posted a video of him struggling to walk uphill, and a star was hatched.

“I want to lie and say I didn’t see this coming, but we’ve been kind of hung up on our social media,” he said of his new-found fame.

The 34-year-old said he came to the island for his job two years ago, and he is originally from Iowa. He said he thinks he will be here for about six months longer before he must fly the coop.

So far he’s enjoyed his alter-eggo.

“The best part of it all is the mystery,” he said. “Apparently someone had said that I’m the Sasquatch of Whidbey Island — you know he’s out there, but you just can’t get a picture of him.”

There are a few things he wanted to clear up for his fans: It’s warm enough to stew in his own juices inside the costume and the wind is the chicken’s biggest weakness.

“A lot of people do not realize just how hot that costume gets,” he said. “It’s made of the same material as camping tents. Basically, you’re walking around in your own sauna.”

Because of the costume’s massive size, being out in the weather isn’t always a breeze.

“The wind managed to pick me up about three feet in the air and I landed on my side,” he said.

Daniel Johnson, self-described “chicken handler” and a friend of the man inside the suit, said he appreciates his feathered friend’s effect on the community.

“I see a lot of happiness. It’s been pretty exciting to track on Facebook,” he said.

This year has been hard for everyone, but the chicken had some parting, cheerful words for those who find themselves brooding over their problems:

“We know this year has been a little foul, but we need to look at the sunny side up.”

The Whidbey Island Chicken has become somewhat of a local celebrity in recent months, with many fans like Fernando Duran asking for a picture whenever they catch a glimpse. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

The Whidbey Island Chicken has become somewhat of a local celebrity in recent months, with many fans like Fernando Duran asking for a picture whenever they catch a glimpse. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey Island Chicken spotted in Oak Harbor crossing the road to get to the other side. Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

Whidbey Island Chicken spotted in Oak Harbor crossing the road to get to the other side. Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times

More in Life

Annual Whidbey Gardening Workshop grows online this year

The island-wide gardening event is back this year after it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Whidbey writer’s hospice book released in paperback

Oak Harbor author Karen J. Clayton’s book, “Demystifying Hospice: Inside the Stories… Continue reading

Reading to dog
Therapy dogs go online

Reading with Rover pairs pooches with young readers

Untreated
Lead actress Shannyn Sossamon talks with filmmakers Andy Morehouse, left, and Nate Bell while filming "The House After Westerly". Photo by Wes Anthony/Firehouse Creative
Film featuring Whidbey free to view temporarily

“The Hour After Westerly” is free to view online until Jan. 17.

Currently identified as Sandy Point, this name has been given to many places on the shores of Washington State. The most historic one is on Whidbey Island, at the southwestern entrance to Saratoga Passage. It was the site of a centuries old permanent Snohomish Tribal Village and a major Potlatch Center. Its clam beds drew indigenous visitors as far away as the central coast and Snohomish River valley. Captain George Vancouver noted in his journals that Master Joseph Whidbey saw over 200 people at this site when his ship circumnavigated the Island in 1791. Photo provided.
Research project dives into South Whidbey history

A woman is asking for folks to help her with a research project exploring the years 1870-1940.

Mead maker Jeremy Kyncl pours a tasting glass of Hawthorn Tulsi Mead, a blend of hawthorn berry and holy basil, in the new Whidbey tasting room of Hierophant Meadery. Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
From bluff to bluff: Meadery off to sweet start

Hierophant Meadery in Freeland features local honey in its sweet brews.

Susie Van
WI Drive helping to get the elderly, disabled where they need to go

A Langley woman gives rides to people in need in her new van named “Cookie.”

I Love You
Wendy’s manager shares the love one drive-thru customer at a time

April DiDonna tells Oak Harbor Wendy’s customers she cares.

Goodall arranges some food in the to-go window, where customers pick up their food from outside.
New cafe in town adapted to COVID world

Langley Kitchen has adapted to the times.

Artist Wayne Kangas, left, and Langley Arts Fund member Don Wodjenski install the Village by the Sea’s newest public art feature, a weather vane. Photo provided
Flying fish tells the weather

The Langley Arts Fund raised money for a new piece of public art in Clyde Alley.

Langley High School grad ordained as priest in New Zealand

Pixie Paris Rowe, a 1974 graduate of Langley High School and 1978… Continue reading

King 5
Spa wins $45,000 PSE makeover, spot on Evening Magazine

A Coupeville spa won a contest for a small-business energy efficiency and cosmetic makeover.