Thursday, May 27, 2021

Angry Tweeting

 There's a quarrel of sparrows that have settled into the ivy and boxwood in front of our house. Like all sparrows, they're a fractious tribe, and are pretty much always arguing about something, high pitched shouting matches that occasionally break into tumbling brawls in the grass. Fighting amongst themselves seems to be their main pastime. It's how they fill their days. Well, that and engaging in the process of making more sparrows, which is often indistinguishable from their fighting.

Yesterday, as I sat and studied in the kitchen, an uptick in their continual ruckus drew my distracted attention. I glanced out. On one of the half barrels in which I grow potatoes, a big bluejay perched, staring intently at where the sparrows nest. Jays are beautiful, sure. But they're also brutish birds, dull minded bullies and cold eyed killers, and more than happy to feast on eggs and young chicks of smaller birds if given half a chance. As the jay peered into the ivy, the sparrows yelled and flitted, their endless arguments seemingly made only a little louder in the presence of an existential threat.

"Who's gonna do something about that jay!" "That's not my problem!" "You kidding? You and your stupid nestbuilding, it's your fault that jay is here!" "You talking to me? You Talkin' to ME!" On and on, the chattering complaints and incriminations.

None of the sparrow's seemingly endless font of umbrage was directed at the threat. None of them dived at or challenged the jay. It remained still, leaning forward, focusing, silent.

The jay exploded upward and forward, a blue bolt fired towards a target. There was a moment or two of violent rustling in the ivy. Then it flew away, making a beeline for what was likely its own nest. I couldn't see clearly if it was carrying anything, but it seemed that it was.

The sparrows just kept on arguing. It's what they do.