[Tweeters] Time and birds

Martha Jordan mj.cygnus at gmail.com
Sun May 22 14:41:24 PDT 2022

So timely to think only about human time:
Humans constructed "clock time" as we now know it, likely early
Eygptians and later Europeans with clocks with hands. Early humans ran on
the same time as all other life....sun, moon, pull of earth, etc. Then, we
constructed this construct of time as communication: meet me at 4 pm (so a
clock was needed to make sure we all knew when 4 pm was), 24 hour time
being a day. The sundial may have been the first, but the 24 hour clock
with numbers and hands really solidified clock time as time (purely in our
human minds). Clock time also comes with stressors in human lives. Now we
can be early, or late, or miss a deadline, an event, a celebration.
Other animals and life forms have no use for this, Thus, what is
time. I observe all types of animals knowing what time it is: a dog who
starts to let you know it is feeding time at 5:30pm everyday (it did not
look at a clock and daylight savings time really screws them up like it
does us). I have experienced captive swans do this same type of thing.
The reality is, animals do tell time, as the length of the day goes by
and then they are aware that something should happen. For our dogs it may
be dinner, a walk, you need to get out of bed, etc. That is certainly time
awareness. Yet, they know not of a clock. Birds come to my bird feeder at
about the same time everyday when they know it will have been filled.
Migration is certainly about time awareness. Yet there is no clock to
tell them this. Birds know how to read the sun, daylight length,
temperature, and such, all combining to keep, for example, the snow geese
here an extra few weeks this year. How do they know this.....awareness of
all their surroundings which is how we humans lived before someone invented
the clock.
We, humans, used all our senses to tell "time" before clocks were
invented; to more closely regulate and make time a commonality point, less
pinpoint accurate but functionally more liveable. Clock time has created a
major stress in our lives. Suddenly we became early or late or on time.
Suddenly we had schedules and timeframes and deadlines or daylight savings
time.. Thankfully, animals do not have this pre knowledge of what it means
to miss the timeframe or miss a deadline. It is more about life or death to
wild animals when they miss the deadline. We take care of our domestic
critters on a clock time frame for some folks, and on the farm clock for
others, or fill in time frame you want. The wild animals continue to live
"off the clock time" yet they absolutely live with a time frame.
Just because a bird does not use a 24 hour clock of human construct,
does not mean they do not have a keen sense of time.
Indeed, animals have a great sense of time and timing.

Martha Jordan
Everett, WA
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