Their social rules are quite fascinating. For example, everyone is welcome, but not at the same time.
The chickadees will come as a bunch, and for five minutes or so, they flit and flicker back and forth between the two feeders. Sometimes a nuthatch will join them until the downy woodpecker drops in to scatter the bunch with a flurry of wings. And all he wanted was a place at the table.
The chickadees chitter amongst themselves, hanging out in the kitchen until the interloper vacates the dining room.
The solitary woodpeckers are more focused. “I’m here to take care of business,” they seem to sigh. A quick check of their surroundings is all it takes before they fly off and make room for the warblers (at least I think they are warblers), who sit on the feeder and stay awhile.
They don’t seem to chat a whole lot. Sometimes, they don’t even seem to eat. They simply sit in companionship with each other.
I’ve had the occasional blue jay, but in spite of the peanuts–which they are supposed to adore–and the red feeder–so they can sit and balance–they remain on the periphery. It makes me sad, frankly. Blue jays have a lot to say. They can be surprisingly quiet in a group, and I think their little murmurings are filled with wisdom. I love how bold they are when they need to get their message across. My favourite commentary is their squeaky-gate pronouncements.
It amuses me greatly, but it also makes me wonder if they needed to use that sound just so they can feel heard. It’s a slightly sarcastic banter they only seem to use when they’re leaving.
The constantly changing scene reminds me of social media and how we interact and intersect with each other on line.
There are many times when I think how wonderful social media is. I have an acquaintance in the hospital right now, and I asked how he was faring–he has somewhat of a melancholy personality like I do, and I know for me, those days were very long and very lonely. He’s doing okay, actually–in part because he is able to Skype from his bed, so his isolation is not complete.
What a difference a few years makes. In a case like that, it’s such a good difference. People who are shut in because of their illness or their kid’s illness or because everything just seems so hard and it’s minus-gazillion degrees outside feel isolated.
Part of that is self-inflicted because it just takes so much energy to engage some days. Part of that is society-inflicted, for the same reason.
Some connections are fantastic. A grade-school friend posted a picture of me clowning around with a bunch of kids in my hometown. How fantastic! I’ve engaged with writer friends, a community for which I give thanks every single day. I have praying friends, family friends–relationships which have been improved because of social media.
Still, I find myself wondering what kind of bird I am when it comes to staying connected.
Maybe you do too. What’s your plumage, friends?