Monday, May 5, 2008

Natural Selection.

Cloudy and cool out there to start your work week, folks, and a slight chance of storms later in the day. Little shift in the pattern. Our baby grackle (Quiscalus quiscala) survived a third night on the ground. Tear your front yards up, friends and fans; if you plant ivy thick enough to shelter fledging grackles, you'll get fledging grackles. Ours spent the overnight hours last night on a pair of rusted shears I've been storing for safekeeping by the left-hand Chinese fir since late last summer. This morning the parents are again coming down out of the trees to feed him, and we're back to flying lessons. Last evening he was trying these ten-foot semi-circles, landing in Phil's driveway on his chest, landing in the ivy, landing half-disastrously in a shrub. Once he hit the Chinese fir. Sound of him hitting the tree, sound of him hitting the ground.

Because what we need around here is for me to get emotionally involved in the survival of a hectoring trash bird.

Yesterday, riding the truck in to school, leaving as large a carbon footprint as possible, AMR and I were talking evolution. How many seeds a maple tree produces in a given year. How many pairs of robins we've been seeing in every yard on every street. How large animals — giraffes, elephants, peoples — only have the one baby a a time, as a rule. Maybe that's not true about giraffes. But it felt true at the time. How improbable a thing like live birth is. How perhaps even more improbable a thing like an egg is. Or a seed. How the sheer number of such things as maple seeds or baby birds suggests a rather extraordinary amount of failure, and of death, out there. How staggeringly often this succeeds, and how staggeringly often this must fail.

Stood in the street last night with AMR. We had this plan about picking the baby up out of the street if he should semi-circle his way out there. We were helping.

1 comment:

Kathryn Frances Walker said...

I get the emotional involvement with the hectoring trash bird -- at least it's not as trashy as a starling. Either we, we have only ourselves to blame for their even being trash birds.

Keep thinking about your robins and how hard it is for them to make it, and then there's us. More and more us, everywhere. And then our species locks its own in a cellar for 24 years -- deer don't do that, neither do trash birds.