The Grackles and Cowbirds, Towhees, Finches, Phoebes, Starlings and Red throated blackbirds. I call their home mine. I live in their domain, the structure is mine, some of the land too, but they don’t care who thinks they own the air under their wings.
Great Tailed Grackles are large birds, loud birds, their call shrill, piercing and repeating.When a Grackle deigns to cast its gaze upon you, sharp glass yellow eyes stripping your hominid arrogance away for just a second, he is reading you.
Not only are you being read for threat assessment, but for the Grackle’s own bored amusement. “Ha, here is another bipedal joke”
If Grackles could talk, what would they say that you can’t already connote from their look of scorn? “Your species confuses me, we appreciate some of your development, we have adapted well to urbanized environments thank you very much, but hey perhaps you could tell me a couple of things…”
“Did that bird just talk to me ?”
“Yes I did, now can you explain to me, given mounting evidence that your species is laying waste to environmental capital, to use a disturbing hominid term, at a sickening rate, … why haven’t you slowed down a bit, you know, put the brakes on ?”
The Grackle bobs his head slightly and his eye softens a little.
“I need more sleep, this bird is not talking to me.”
“Uh, yeah I am.” The bird protests loudly, flapping his sharply preened wings. “Answer my damn question!”
“Well, see, not everyone sees it that way, nobody thinks we’ve reached a consensus on .. well, a lot of stuff, global warming for instance, we’re just very slow at this kind of stuff, we’re relatively new to it”
“I’ll say, you idiots haven’t been around that long, you think you have a good chance at adapting to what potentially might be on the way?”
“Oh well thanks, a lot of us do actually, but they’re not prepared to admit how miserable it could be.”
“I’ve heard legends about you lot” The Grackle begins, squinting and closing in. “There used to be a lot less of you, billions less, and it was like that for a long time, then some things changed. It took 123 years to go from 1bn to 2bn, and 13 years to go from 6 to 7, you’re getting pretty good…”
“Yeah that’s true, but we’re quick learners, we discovered how to properly take care of ourselves and exploit resources… we’re pretty smart, we can harness liquids and gases pulled from the environment to help us in many different ways, yeah this made it a bit easier for us to … uh.. expand.”
“Right… smart.” The Grackle sends his gaze to the ground briefly, then back up.
“About that, you know that stuff is going to become increasingly … how do you un-feathered flesh bags say it? .. uneconomical .. given you’re … “growth” .. I’ve been told you used to ride around on horses. I liked the sound of that, plenty of shit for the flies.”
“Well, we can’t all ride horses today can we ? … switching to feedstock production would perhaps take just as much of the good stuff, better just to fill ‘er up. We’ll adapt.”
“Yeah that’s what I’m afraid of. I hope you can adapt and the net result is less people” The grackle launches and lands on a low branch of a tree.
“Well, after this madness lands us all in a world of hurt in under 75 years, you wont really have a choice.”
“Yes us, typical anthropocentrist!”
“Oh, well … yeah, the biodiversity issue.”
“Yes, the holocene extinction has your fleshy boney mitt prints on it, I don’t think I like where its headed given the current macro events in motion”
“I think you’re being a bit dramatic, I concede that replacing every last living thing on earth with another person is not a great idea and it’s not one we consciously strive to achieve.”
“That’s half the problem” Snaps the irritated avian. “You’ve got no solutions, not that I can blame you for that, but it’s like vast, growing swathes of your species simply don’t even like the idea of planning for things.”
“Hey look pal, when your species wields the power ours does with billions, tell me what it’s like to get everyone on the same page of the big plan!”
“Exercising a little restraint and acknowledging natural limits doesn’t sound that hard to me. It seems though, that you might be failing some sort of scalability test, one that, on balance doesn’t dovetail well with your hubris…”
“I’m sorry, this isn’t happening, I’m not going to discuss a bird’s opinion, even a fairly articulate bird, of our species, like you said, it’s not like your species has suffered massive harm from our increased presence, how do seagulls and crows feel ?”
“Grateful, other species of bird obviously do not share that sentiment, they hold the same concerns as do I about your recklessness wrought on such grand dimensions. With every passing day I see flittering op-ed’s mentioning your species god like ambitions, and every now and again a glimpse of hope in someone calling to step back from the brink.”
“We’re a diverse bunch.”
“My wings grow restless” The Grackle slowly states. “We’ll talk again”.
The bird stoops, stretches out his wings and launches into the air.