Is social distancing for the birds?



“I social distanced before it was cool.”- Anon.

A  B I R D  H O U S E  O F  U S H E R S ?

This is a simple photo of my suspended bird feeder. By itself it is no different in style or structure than any of the others thousands of such feeders sold in stores today.

What makes this one different is that it is hanging over my balcony and the birds who visit this feeding station ( finches and sparrows) have over time developed a social “pecking” order that is somewhat similar in nature to the recommended social distancing guidelines issued today.

The larger birds favor and frequent feeding directly from the platform itself. They are aggressive and at times quibble among themselves for dominance based on no “first come first served” basis. They are after all birds. Wild and free. A privileged class perhaps?

The smaller birds form informal cleanup crews and wait patiently in line on a wooden railing that crosses the patio. The four or five birds sit patiently watching the activity happening over their heads.

Eventually the more aggressive birds tussle and twist for the suspended seeds and the smaller birds scramble onto the deck packing like crazy at the seeds that have fallen from above.

Even the smaller birds have their moments of impatience and at times peck aggressively at those late comers who try to horde their stash of seeds. It is similar to those shoppers who fuss and fume over Black Friday bargains.

After suffering the past year with social distancing issues I wonder if Mother Nature has covertly directed her feather charges to keep their distance so that the more observant bipeds among us will realize that this spacing situation as already had a place in the natural order of things?

If only Charles Darwin could only see us now.



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