I’ve always thought birds were more enlightened than humans – as in, they got along with each other. But coming upon a crow pecking a small bird in the middle of the street, I was upset to see such viciousness. What was even more upsetting was seeing a robin, furiously squawking at the crow, expressing anger. I slapped together the pink running shoes in my hands while yelling “eeeyah!” The crow didn’t flinch.
Just as I was about to lunge for the crow and shake its scrawny neck, my daughter (who was walking with me) asked me why the crow was pecking the small bird. I didn’t have an answer. I hadn’t realized until later (when I checked Wikipedia) that crows ate other birds. I knew birds ate worms and mussels, but I thought that was the extent of their meat-eating menu.
Turning Point of Anger
I had never seen an angry robin. In my mind, a robin was the first sign of spring and possessed a calm, peaceful energy.
Can every creature be pushed to a point of aggression? What is the breaking point?
Is it obnoxious people talking and partying on a balcony at 2am? Is it the guy who wears a grey hoodie (partially covering his face) and rides slowly past me looking shifty? Or is it being almost sideswiped by a cyclist? What pushes anyone to anger? Rage?
Bullying. I empathized with the robin. It defended itself against predators as I defended myself against unaware, inconsiderate people. I, like the robin – yelled (or squawked) to get noticed. It would be nice to be able to fly away.
Back on the street, we continued to yell and wave when the crow flew to a tree branch as if to say “I’ll take a break, but I’m not leaving.”
The black figure sat in the tree staring at us like a scene in “The Birds” (the Hitchcock movie), where birds sat on telephone wires and stared at people as if they were prey. There was a moment where I thought the crow was about to dive for my head.
The injured bird hopped/flew across the street towards a bush. The crow came back for another attack. This time I was able to scare it away. The injured bird hobbled into a shrub where it stayed. We left with the crow on a tree branch and the robin sitting across from it, watching. It was a standoff.
Peck or Be Pecked?
Survival of the fittest (or more like the biggest and the loudest) – did it always have to be that way? The robin defended the weaker bird at its peril. Maybe the crow was just hungry and we interfered with its survival. Who should survive? I wanted to believe that we made a difference. Did it matter if the small bird lived?
We walked away with the small bird in the bush. Later that afternoon, we checked for the bird, but it was gone.
Hopefully it is surviving and thriving in the wild. Like the rest of us.