Birds, a Modest Parable


This morning, I saw a robin enjoying a bath as it seems to me robins especially do, splashing as though bathing were the greatest joy on earth. The robin’s enthusiasm attracted another’s eye, also. A starling seemed compelled to interfere. Under our kwanzan cherry tree, however, we have two birdbaths, one set on the ground, the other on a pedestal. The starling could have had the elevated bath to itself but chose instead to chase the robin from the lower one. Undeterred, the robin simply flew to the higher one and continued bathing.

Was the starling satisfied to have gained its preferred birdbath? No, it just stood motionless in the water a moment, then flew up to chase the robin again. Apparently still interested in bathing, not fighting, the robin returned calmly to its first choice and carried on.

The starling kept up its attempted bullying, but each time the robin merely changed baths until it had finished, then flew off. Left with both birdbaths to itself, the starling flapped its wings in the water a couple times, then flew away also. Apparently, it had no true desire to bathe.

“Very much like us,” I thought. Some might even say the starling won.

One Comment on “Birds, a Modest Parable

  1. Christina Wible

    I had a mare that was quite old. But she was a herd leader mare of the best kind. An arbitrator of disputes who never caused one herself, the mare others would run to when they had a problem but who would have preferred to eat alone, far away from the herd. Her name was Amber.
    I got a new, bold young mare and they were turned out together. Leezer would chase Amber from one hay pile to the other. There was more than enough, of course, but Lee had determined that the hay was always greener…
    Finally one day she chased Amber from the newly filled water trough and the, arthritic senior citizen had enough. She backed up slowly to Lee (who thought Ambs of no threat) and slammed her as hard as she could in the butt with both (shod) back hooves. Let me tell you, Lee was sore for weeks and scared silly of Amber for as long as they had to be anywhere near each other.
    It may be that she didn’t learn a portable lesson but she, in her somewhat dimly lit brain, was smart enough to know that bullying Amber was no longer a fun occupation.
    I agree that the starling won in the moment but sometime he will meet a bluejay.

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