Monday, April 28, 2008

The Cowbird Dance

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
and never stops at all.
~ Emily Dickenson
We have a resident cowbird who perches on the birdfeeder just outside my mom's bay window. He sits here and stares at himself in the glass, sometimes for just a few minutes and at other times he stays for a half an hour. Occasionally, a female approaches, but he pays no attention! Is this narcissistic cowbird simply enamored with his reflection? Is he confused? Or does he see a rival?

He does this dance over and over. He looks this way and that and then begins to fluff up his feathers, thickening his neck and puffing out his chest... trying to make himself look as large and menacing as possible! Then he unfurls his wings, opens his beak and starts flapping his wings as he tilts forward and bows. A high pitched chirp pierces the air.... then the process begins again.

I think he is confused and thinks his rival is wanting to fight.... but they puff and bow and show off and no one ever makes a move on the other.... Isn't he gorgeous?

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