“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 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.
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.
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?