Isn’t it funny how nature reflects God, life reflects art, and animals reflect people? I tend to pay a lot of attention to animals. My mother does too, especially now that she’s retired. She tells me regularly about the ducks, iguanas, waterfowl, birds and squirrels that come to her back patio to be fed on a daily basis.
It seems in all the communities of this earth, there are hierarchies, and oddly enough, if you pay attention, you can see that even in the animal kingdom, some of these hierarchies and the relative behaviors that accompany them is very much like how people act, usually when they aren’t being thoughtful and considerate of others.
Lately, I’ve been noticing birds. I was near a traffic light, and I noticed these birds to my left flying from tree to tree in a certain area. It looked at first, like one bird was the lead bird…a large black bird; and that a group of 8 to a dozen smaller brown birds were following his lead from tree to tree. But as I watched, it became increasingly obvious that this black bird was being bum-rushed by the brown birds.
It was very similar to what it might look like if a bunch of puny nerds at any given middle school, finally recognized their strength in numbers and brain power, and got together and attacked the larger school bully.
This black bird was trying to fly quickly to a different tree – away from these brown birds; and the brown birds would swoop down after him in something resembling a Blue Angels, diamond like formation on either side of this bird and swoop where he swooped. They weren’t attacking the bird, but it looked a lot like harassment. This poor black bird couldn’t seem to break free of them. He was just caught up in what seemed a stressful situation.
The light changed and I had to move on…but this reminded me of another bird-related situation I saw at work. I had put some old muffins, in the grassy area in front of my office window across the drive in our parking lot. Right at the base of the curbs on both sides of this grassy area, the curb drops down in the center and ends in front of a small drain. I usually put nuts for the squirrels there, but the blue jays have gotten wind of the nuts, as well as a few black birds, and they have started to pick them off before my little squirrel friend can get there.
I also put some dry cat food and some of those chips you get at the Chinese restaurants, there for the birds…and the squirrel if he showed up. It seems that these birds recognize me…particularly the blue jays, as I often put food out for them. I no sooner got back into my office, when the 2 black birds and 2 blue jays were down in the grassy area picking at the muffins. Soon a fleet of brown birds showed up, and everyone was picking at the muffins, snatching the chips or the dry cat food, and flying off for a minute to enjoy their personal snack. This had been going on for several hours…taking up most of the morning.
However, a short time later, I noticed another black bird who had just arrived. By this time, most of the muffins were gone, and everyone was concentrating on the chips and cat food. This particular black bird got down in that little “V” where the food was; and had the nerve, after just arriving for the first time; to act all possessive as if he had made the great discovery of the food, and it was all his. He proceeded to chase off any of the brown birds who continued to return to get more of the cat food, so they began to hustle him. As he jumped after one, another jumped into the “V” and grabbed some food. He couldn’t turn and get after the food thief fast enough, then another would jump in and snatch some food.
I found this rather amusing, because this black bird so reminded me of people…how selfish they are…greedy, and stupid. The more he attempted to hoard the food, the more food he lost as the brown birds tag-teamed him. And I didn’t actually see him have time to eat any of it, because he was too busy being selfish and trying to keep the other birds away from it. So this crow had to eat crow, because he was unwilling to share as all the other birds had previously been doing.
Now, I tend to think that crows are among the smartest of the birds. I’ve seen these black birds find creative ways to get food; like the crow I saw at my college, that alighted onto a partly open trash container to grab a sealed ketchup packet. He then got down on the sidewalk, put his foot on the packet to hold it in place; and proceeded to peck at the packaging until he popped a hole into it. He then stuck his beak repeatedly into the hole to suck out the ketchup.
So they are smart, but it seems to me that they’re smartness and innovation has caused them to become blinded by pride and self-importance; and I could easily compare their interactions with other birds to this country’s interactions with other countries.
It seems like the black birds have a somewhat arrogant air about them (“We’re Amuricans!” GW); and perhaps lack effective communication skills in the world of the birds. I mean, if you do any research on crows, you will see that most of the information states that crows basically have a bad rep. I mean, they are like the lower level bad boys in the world of feathers; with vultures being above them in rank.
And then, just look at the stress dynamic of the situations. In two of the scenarios, the black birds were being pressured. In the first situation, I have no idea what that black bird did to get all those brown birds chasing him down like that; but apparently, the brown birds were completely in control and enjoying the game they played with the black bird. The second situation was more about the black bird frustrating himself out by being unrealistic, greedy, and selfish. I mean, there was no way he could have guarded that food from the rest of them, especially those who were regulars there in the first place. I see people act this foolishly on the regular; and they have no idea what they are doing to their spirits, minds and body through thoughtless, self-flagellating actions like that.
I don’t think my imagination is on overdrive when I say this, but just like Revenge of the Nerds, it seems that the smaller brown birds have gotten more confident, and are rising from obscurity and asserting themselves to claim what’s theirs. The funniest thing was that one of the blue jays came back, and hopped about the grassy area looking for more. After checking the “V,” he actually hopped across the drive, and came right up to my window and looked at me, as if he was asking me, “Is that it? You got any more?” When I didn’t get up to bring out more, he flew away.
Animals are so much more intelligent than people give them credit for, and it always amazes me how much of God’s nature is found in nature, as well as how much animals seem to mimic people. There’s so much to learn observing animals and plants.