For the Birds

Putting out food for Possums and Raccoons each evening, has become part of my daily routine and the knowledge that I am making a meal available to some poor misfortunes is part of my running feel-good factor.

The same five dishes have gone out for the last few years and touch wood, I haven’t missed a single serving regardless of weather or other commitments.

So, by this time, they are used to my routine and if I am late, I begin to get some gentle reminders from them that they are waiting for me. Of course, along with the main course for those guys is four slices of bread neatly cut into squares and tossed near the bushes and trees for the birds. And somehow the word has passed from generation to generation and my arrival with the tray of delectables is greeted by a chorus of chirps and tweets.

I get some slight variation as each season goes by but mostly I am greeted by the same happy little faces and the moment the bread hits the ground, they swoop in and collect some nourishment.

They brave the cats and I try to shoo my kitties away. But in truth, these birds have to have their wits about them and only land for a second or two.

So, getting a few pics yesterday and today was a fun part of the process and I have added a selection at the end of the blog. Yesterday’s shots were only of a few wrens as I was too slow to catch the others. But today’s images caught the earlier arrivals (Cardinals, Blue Jays, and some I still need to look up to identify.

Anyway, hope you enjoy!

It was really this evening as I spoke to the cats and told them that the bread was for the birds, that the thought of this blog really took shape.

You see, if you look up the phrase “for the birds” you will see it is an American phrase that describes something as being meaningless, drivel, irrelevant.

We have over the years belittled many creatures with simple association of demeaning phrases and it reflects on our disregard for all who aren’t human. We will call someone a dirty rat, a snake in the grass, a filthy pig, or a blood-sucking leech.

Such metaphors conjure up imagery that most listeners attach negativity to and the target of the slur is appropriately vilified.

Broader terms such as calling someone a fucking animal is also a “good hit” that seeks to degrade the target in the mind of the listener.

While it is obvious that the speaker of such slurs is demeaning the intended target, what of the poor animals that are being used to fashion the slur?

Why do we think it is ok to take two of the most intelligent animals on the planet (rats and pigs) and define them simply as an item of derision?

And on the topic of the general-term metaphor, why do we allow the word animal to be used as an attack phrase? Why do we accept it as a demeaning slur?

If we think we are on solid ground implying that an animal is somehow “sub-human”, I would argue that most of our race is sub-animal. We exhibit traits that frankly most animals wouldn’t be caught dead doing.

For example look at the Seven Deadly Sins and ask yourself what animal you could paint with Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth?

Frankly the only animal that I can think of that could be described in such a fashion is human.

Like it or not, humans are animals. We may have evolved in a different way from others but that doesn’t mean superiority.

I am not even sure we would know what superiority actually is, if it hit us in the face. We can isolate certain characteristics such as communication superiority or military superiority or such but if you don’t see our inferiority in over-colonization, destruction, and climate impact, then you are missing the bigger picture.

Humans are in many ways parasitic on the planet that we have colonized. We live off the planet’s resources but use them at a far greater rate than we replenish.

I am not sure what good we do for this planet, but I sure as hell could talk for an hour on the bad we do to it.

Look at the greater ecosystem of which birds and bees are a part of, for example. Now imagine what would happen to the planet if both were to disappear overnight.

Simply put, the planet would collapse and the world would simply die.

Now imagine what would happen to the planet if humans were to disappear overnight.

Simply put, the planet would flourish.

What does that tell you? I know what it says to me and frankly boasting of human superiority rings very hollow in the halls of truth.

I am not sure what animals actually fall into the category of sub-human … perhaps it is time to examine a list of other parasites like fleas, lice, and tapeworms.

The Oxford Dictionary explains the word “parasite” as “an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense.”

Doesn’t that sound awfully familiar?

Can’t you just imagine an argument that takes place between two higher-order creatures, where one delivers the ultimate put down to the other. “Quit behaving like a fucking human.”

… just a thought.