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Webb Weekly

280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Master the Pecking Order

A raise of hands out there who have kindly built or put a bird feeder in their yard for our fine feathered friends. Take the time to observe close enough, at the right times, and you’ll realize bird feeders aren’t just bird feeders; they mimic what some of us go through in life. For just

A raise of hands out there who have kindly built or put a bird feeder in their yard for our fine feathered friends.

Take the time to observe close enough, at the right times, and you’ll realize bird feeders aren’t just bird feeders; they mimic what some of us go through in life.

For just the other day I saw some small birds on the perches of a feeder, minding their own business and pecking away at the seeds when lo and behold a big (almost as big as the feeder itself) blackbird came to “crash the party.”

Of course, the small, intimidated birds scattered like picnic goers during an impending thunderstorm!
Except one, that is.

He was a feisty little thing, with a yellow breast and wings flapping. A mere Piper Cub now sharing hanger space with a Boeing 747. I was reading his mind, “No bird five times my size is going to kick me out of the cafe when I was here first and enjoying my meal.”

This mini yellow zinger did a mid-flight U-turn and flew back to retake his place on the wooden rung. The big bird tried swatting him away with his massive and strong wing. When that didn’t work, he took his pointy beak and started to poke the rookie. This was better entertainment than anything you could find online!

That’s about when my mind took a detour and thought about the “big bird” who used to pick on certain kids during junior high (now middle school). He usually sought out small, vulnerable ones also. Lord forbid he actually taunt someone his own age and size — he might get a taste of his own medicine!

He also chose food as a means to “get his way” through bullying and intimidation. He would grab dessert or snack chips from the unsuspecting, and threaten them if they told a teacher or cafeteria monitor.

Just like the tiny bird doing his own thing, simply eating and then — bam — getting your feathers roused by an insecure intruder. Insecure in which, the bigger (not brighter), bully pumps himself up by putting someone else down.

Anyway, there was always one of the smaller kids who was brave enough to stand up to the raven or crow who was a thorn in his side. They quickly gained my respect even though they never let a teacher or school official know they were being picked on or having their food stolen. Instead of crying “victim” they took matters into their own hands and stood up for themselves. Bravo.

Confrontation broke out on occasion. Let it be said that most bullies hate when a “scene” occurs. They enjoy working incognito, flying under the radar. It’s one reason they utilize social media outlets these days to haunt their prey. Nobody is hovering over the keyboard as they type slander.

For if they get caught doing their nasty acts in person, their act will be having the curtains come down with a trip to the principal’s office, parents on the hotline, and impending suspension/detention. As it should be.

Back to the bird feeder fiasco. The 747 tries sucking up the Piper Cub and spitting him out. Little bird begins a counterattack by giving the big bird some head-butting. It’s an unlikely show of force. David versus Goliath in the bird world.

After several minutes of this tussle, the 747 decides to take off and land somewhere else. Seeing this from the bleachers (tree limbs) the other “little” bird contingent fly back to join their friend at the feeder.

Binoculars hone into the school cafeteria. Small fry battling big mouth. He grabs back his beloved corn chips and his mother’s cupcakes from the gruff bully. Tells him to “get a life.” Just like that big bird, he moves on, looking for new game, and new food.

I refocus on the multi-hole bird feeder. Unbelievably, things just took a turn for the worse. Rocky J. Squirrel, complete with beady eyes and puffy gray tail, decides to scurry up the feeder pole and sample some birdseed. Obviously, the acorns buried deep in the garden aren’t cutting it.

The feeder begins to shake back and forth uncontrollably like a hula dancer at the Tiki Lounge. Birds scatter. Look, bird versus bird was one thing. Bird versus squirrel is quite another. This foe has teeth and a weird attitude. Something about territorial rights. Eminent domain. No one told Rocky feeders are off limits.

Something tells me this newfound confrontation is going to get interesting.

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