[Tweeters] Bird Brain Apology

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue Dec 2 11:51:05 PST 2014

As is often the case, after sending one of my own posts, I read it again and was somewhat appalled by a line I wrote in my post "Bird Brain Astronomy". In that post I stated, referring to the silence of birds during a full solar eclipse - " The solar powered switch in their little bird brains just turned off, apparently".
Sounded like kind of a put down. I felt bad about how I wrote that, and I slept on it, or tried to- I was getting all sorts of feedback. My grandmother, when asked how she knew something would always reply, " a little bird told me". Well, the little birds were giving me a talking to - all night, it seemed.
The next morning I walked up the hill here in Port Townsend, and was immediately accosted by a group of crows perched in a parking lot sycamore tree.Usually I get along fine with crows, and they with me, but these crows were really upset. I looked around for an owl or something, but no, it was clearly me they were after.
There was a obvious ringleader of this group - a crow with a singularly coarse call. "Hey, look'ee here everybody - it's Mister Big Brain!". All the other crows yukked (cawed) it up:
"Whoa, look at that big mammal head - guess he's got us little 'bird brains' pegged!"" Hey buddy, thanks for defining bird reality!"" Yes, as a bird I just love getting mentally 'pigeon -holed'!"
"OK, OK, I'm sorry, I misspoke!" ,I whined.
"Oh, just stop now before you sound any more like a politician" the lead crow said. "You must know that Mother Nature sent us here this morning. ' Apparently ' we are 'supposed' to be pretty 'smart' for a 'bird' - hey humans are even writing books about it- so Ma thought we might help broaden your stuck-up mammal mind."
"OK" I said.
"Well", the lead crow asked," do you consider yourself nothing more than a composter on legs with a big ol' brain slapped on top?"
" Of course not!", I miffed.
" And why do you folks keep staring at us birds all the time? We wonder if it might be some sort of mental health issue with you all.", the crow wanted to know..
" Oh no! Birds are interesting and beautiful ! I know that watching birds makes me feel better!"
"Oh, so would you say that 'birding' is nothing more than some endorphin producing brain chemical phenomenon, Mister 'solar powered brain switch'?"
All the other crows started cawing in:
" Yeah, what about that El Dorpho!"" Whoowee - he's really just getting his inner dorph on!"" This guy is just a low down dorph addict!"
"Now come on everybody" I cried, "of course there's ,more to it all than that!" I ran into the nearby grocery store, and when I came out, all the crows were gone.
Truth is, I don't really know how a bird would experience an eclipse. Oh sure, we all have bodies, with their biological systems. But there's more - as least as far as I know. How would a bird experience a solar eclipse - quiet because of nothing more than a light response? Scared of the unknown? What if they 'knew' more about it than we did, and the silence was a form of respect? I don't know.
Jeff GibsoninPort Townsend Wa

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