True stories with a twist!

“That’s for the birds:” an old expression meaning, “That’s nonsense,” “Balderdash,” or “Don’t be absurd.”

Birds mirror some unflattering human characteristics. Before this idea gets tossed into the “ridiculous” bin, listen to what I learned from watching my bird feeder.

It sits near our kitchen window for easy sightings of birds who come to munch and mingle. When they fly in to eat and socialize I wonder: could this be the inspiration of humans offering snacks or drinks to visitors?

“Always have something on hand to serve in case anyone comes over” I hear my mother say.

Birds arrive looking forward to the snack they’ll find at our house. Their behaviors caught my attention recently and reminded me of their human counterparts.

Four stations exist around the feeder, allowing four birds to nibble at one time. Some wait patiently on tree branches for a free spot. Quite democratic, reminiscent of people on line awaiting their turns at diner counters.

Small birds like images-10 goldfinches land on the stand, eat seeds with their bird-like appetites, (“She eats like a bird!) and fly away. They are the “Eat and Run” type of guests. The red headed woodpecker, suspicious and hyperaware, is another who never stays to chat.images-9

The patiently meek birds such as the juncos  hop around on the ground below waiting for seeds that images-8inevitably fall down from above. They are not looking for trouble!

Unknown-4The sparrows travel in Coffee Klatches, chattering as they alight in social groups who travel together.

Here comes the cardinal. Everyone notices; so beautiful and showy are his bright red feathers. His portrait appears on Christmas cards every year. Large: larger than three birds put together. More notable than his size is his personality.               Unknown-5

Mr. Cardinal is a bully. He chases other birds away from feeding spots: not only the ones next to him, but even the ones directly across from him that he cannot even see.

“Get away! Get off,” you can imagine him demanding, as he jumps all the way around the feeder to force those birds to leave. “This is mine. Go away.”

“But you couldn’t possibly eat all these seeds yourself,” chirp the nuthatches and flickers.

“If you know what’s good for you, scram. I’m not sharing with you little twirps. This in MY feeder. All mine!”

They fly away.

No matter how beautiful he is, you can’t like a guy like him. Why can’t he allow others to have their tiny portion of food? It doesn’t threaten him or limit the amount he can eat.

He’s just like the aggressive person who controls his environment by insisting he wins even if he doesn’t need what he is fighting for. Who do you know who reminds you of Mr. Cardinal?


  1. I love your photos! Really beautiful. Does it take a lot of patience?

  2. I admire Your wonderful bird photos!

  3. I love the way you are adding images to your blogs.

  4. I can tolerate the cardinals of the world, but the blue jays are downright nasty. The cardinal frightens away the other birds and is greedy, but the blue jay chases after those birds when they flee. Such a beautifully colored bird to have such a bad attitude.

  5. Oh that’s an easy one…my boss…he thinks he rules the whole roost. Loved the post, you have a fascinating take on life.

  6. I love birds. There are few nests outside our dining room. They chirp happily whenever they hear our sound in the dining room. Makes us so happy. Enjoyed your post. Thanks. Jo

  7. Your birds are great–we’re seeing more squirrels at the moment, alas.

  8. You’re right. Birds do exhibit some human characteristics that makes one pause and ponder. As much as I love to see them feed, I find some of them are a pain in the rear for others. Humans who are bullies do so for the pleasure.

    What a thoughtful post. It was also fun to read.

  9. Studying the birds’ behavior is like studying people in all their different guises. We can learn from each other about how to co-mingle and survive. Great post and great observations. 🙂

  10. Enjoyed that writing and the pictures, you have woven it all into a great story with their comparisons to humans.

  11. Delightful post, perfect for a cold, snowed-in Colorado day! I love your phrasing, especially gems like “sparrows travel in coffee klatches.” Wonderful.

  12. Great post. I no longer have any cardinals in my life either, having learned some hard lessons that they can be hazardous to my health. I try to stay away from those unhealthy relationships.

  13. I love this post… I have spent hours, early morning, sitting at a watering hole in one of our many game parks… with camera obviously… but more to sit and watch the interaction of the specie that visit the water hole… it always amazes me the bullying that goes on by certain bird specie… yet nature has a way of “what goes around comes around” attitude… I once watch a fairly cheeky “Indian Myna” chasing all and sundry away from a fair sized hole as though he could drink the 3000 gallons himself… a small finch came along and chased him.. I could not believe it… it was not long after, that most of the birds came back including the culprit, and this time all drank together… I am still of the opinion that some birds do this tyo get the others on edge, so that they will be more observant of possible enemies that could be lurking in the area….
    Many specie i.e. the Wildebeest and the Zebra graze together.. they say the reason being that the Zebra spot the Lion quicker and their stripes confuse the Lion allowing a better chance to get away, obviously it also gives the Wildebeest a better chance to escape…
    I have observed birds of differing specie.. some are always looking up others around and some even down… maybe the assist each other in being watchful for the enemy bent on catching them….
    Sorry about the length but having just got back from the outback where I had plenty of time to observe nature at its best I wanted to share…. maybe the cardinal is just keeping everyone on their toes, whilst he eats…

  14. No different to the human race. Driven by greed and power.

  15. I don’t know anyone like the cardinal at present. I try to stay away from toxic people. The cardinal I used to watch in Boston wasn’t so mean–at least I don’t remember him that way.

  16. I enjoy watching the birds in CIncinnati and have also noticed that the cardinals are the bullys in the schoolyard. I always thought they were like blue jays, but blue jays have a much better disposition 🙂

    • Really? I always thought the blue jays were very aggressive too, but they don’t come here so I couldn’t watch their behavior.

      • You are right. I checked it out. In Israel I see beautiful parrots. I thought they were migrating through but someone told me they are “pets” that got loose. They come right up to the window and it is fun to watch them. Are you in Morristown NJ? I used to live in Elizabeth and saw lots of blue jays there.

  17. Hey Ronnie, great, entertaining post. It does take all types to make up the diversity that keeps life interesting!
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  18. There is a lot of human nature about birds and animals. I’ve seen some of this behavior between the squirrels, chipmunks and birds.
    Love the photos of your cute, little birds. I see far more of the birds that are 4′ tall and higher – Great Blue Heron, Sandhill Crane, Wood Stork and Egrets.

  19. Blue Jays and crows can teach this guy a lesson.

  20. DAVID LERMAN said:

    Hi, loved the pictures,  our neighborhood discouraged  feeding the birds due to bear sightings.  I miss the birds, thank you.  Love, Miriam

  21. I’ve been observing the birds recently; seems like a coincidence!
    I love your concept!
    You still remain unique and creative.

  22. Very perceptive of you Ronnie in seeing the simularities between us all. Nature often reflects back to us 🙂 you have some colourful birds that come a calling. I guess we’ve all known a colouful bully at some point in our lives. As well as those shy individuals who let other walk all over them.
    Long may you feed the Birds. They certinly brighten up my own garden.
    Love to you 🙂

  23. I love watching the birds at the feeders (we have 2 set up) and have never compared them to humans– well done– love this post! Thanks!

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