Kaye’s Corner: Playing Well Together

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MEEKER | This spring, the birds in our yard have gathered, shared the food, taken turns, and demonstrated an obvious acceptance of each other. It is always a cheerful event to observe them flying in with their beautiful colors, chowing down, and providing us many moments of joy.

While not an expert, I think many birds are migrating through Meeker right now. So, this is a short-lived moment to observe our fine feathered friends.

Even though they are various species, they all get along well enough to dine together. We see warblers, hummingbirds, piñon Jays, pigeons, Western tanagers, grosbeaks, goldfinches, Lazuli buntings, Harry woodpeckers, American robins, and more.

The birds even put up with the squirrels and deer to a certain degree. They patiently wait their turn and fly in when it is safe. Although there is some snit picking between birds and inter-mingled species, they are generally peaceful and just grateful for the food.

Yes, it is costing us a fortune to keep refilling the feeders every day, but the joy is worth every penny.

When we humans use that term “play well together” we are often admitting that a social disaster was avoided when folks were at least civil to each other in group settings. If shouting and tears and anger didn’t erupt, we feel minimally grateful.

My 96-year-old mom is proud of her great-grandchildren who are wee things, ages 2-6, when they gather outside her retirement residence and get along. (The only way they can visit is across a beach seawall with Mom masked on one side and visitors on the beach.) That age is often not easy as kids haven’t entirely learned how to share or take turns.

So, it’s always a compliment if birds, animals, or humans play well together.

To me, the birds are an interesting lesson in diversity. They don’t seem to care if you are a native or newcomer. No political divisions in this crowd. Different colorings are accepted too, not throwing out birds who look different.

As well, they take turns. You chow down, then I will. There is opportunity for all to eat among the birds. They seem to accept that everyone needs to survive and food is precious. “Your turn.”

I admit that sometimes they peck each other or compete for those tasty sunflower seeds. Still, they seem to keep their differences under control and remain vigilant when the larger four-footed animals invade. The birds don’t leave; they just watch and wait their turn to get back to the feeders.

I even saw a squirrel “ground feeding” under a deer one time. It seems the message is, “who wants to fight?” Be grateful and we can all survive.

Animal behavior can lend us humans some remindful lessons of playing well together, making space for everyone, sharing the bounty, and avoiding unnecessary disagreements.

P.S. Thanks to my husband, Jay Sullivan, and his bird app for properly identifying our bird visitors.


By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times

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