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Everything Broad Ripple HomearrowRandom Ripplings Homearrow2020 05 21arrowColumn

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Right in my Own Backyard by Brandt Carter - guest columnist Jim Misner
posted: May 21, 2020

Right in my Own Backyard header

submitted by Jim Misner
Indiana is opening up. Golfers are beginning to make their rounds and eager gardeners are frequenting garden centers. Walkers and bikers are streaming along the paved path throughout our neighborhood. . . mostly observing "social distancing."
By and large, most people are still friendly and cooperative after seven weeks of careful coexistence. Bird lovers, as I am, know that birds can be cooperative, too. Green parrots are smart, playful birds who pull together to reach a common goal. One study showed that four parrots will simultaneously pull on separate strings to release bird seed.
Like humans, not all birds are collegial and cooperative. Blue jays are loud, aggressive, territorial birds known to raid the nests of smaller birds. One family encountered an angry blue jay on our neighborhood path recently. The young son discovered a bird's egg lying in the nearby grass. Ignoring his mother's warning, he reached over to pick it up, and a bluebird swooped down and pecked him on the head knocking him to the ground. With blood flowing from the back of his head and tears in his eyes, the boy ran back to his mom.
blue jays
photo courtesy of Jeffrey Stone

A robin built a nest in the neck of one of our downspouts and has been tending to her chicks. We enjoy watching them as we tend our own "nests," cleaning, organizing and reorganizing. Her chicks are flapping their wings preparing to venture forth into a new world. . . just as we are.
Last week, our governor began the process of relaxing "shelter-in-place" guidelines. Like the fledgling chicks, we sit on the precipice seeking the courage to leave the security of our "nests." When the chicks leave their nest for the first time, their flailing, flapping wings barely catch the air, and they crash land onto the grass below. If they survive the fall, they eventually gather their strength and fly off into a new and challenging world.
In many ways we face the same "fear of flying" as we emerge from sequestration. It has been said that we are "once an adult and twice a child." Corona has forced us into being like fledglings leaving our nests anew. Our "fear of flying" is real because recent cost/benefit analyses have reported that Corona has killed its victims an average of ten years before their time.
Most of us feel that the restraints placed upon us by Corona have been "for the birds." But, these analyses reinforce the argument that "social distancing" will be an important feature in preventing the resurgence of Corona. Although we may be Corona fledglings, we have a wealth of lifetime experiences to draw upon as we decamp. After all, we are alive today, in part, because of our risk aversion.
As we emerge from Corona, we hope that the squawking, disruptive "blue jays" will be driven away from us by the "green parrots" who have been quietly pulling together for the common good. We have seen many unselfish "green parrots" in recent weeks. Let us not forget that they, and not the boisterous "blue jays," are the back bone of our country.
Be wise, be careful, and thanks for reading the "Corona Chronicles."

blue jays
photo courtesy of Jeffrey Stone

blue jays
photo courtesy of Jeffrey Stone

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to

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