I’m sitting here in my studio listening to something that is really irritating. There is a cardinal that lives in the bushes that border our upstairs deck. Every couple of minutes he takes off from his perch in the bushes or on the ledge and comes flying into the sliding glass door of my bedroom with a mighty peck. The impact always results in him ricocheting to the floor of the decking and hopping away to prepare for another assault. Periodically he leaves that sliding glass door and attacks the one for my studio. For the life of me I don’t know why he hasn’t ended up with a concussion. I’m sure he at least has a mighty headache, but this has gone on for months now.
For a while I thought that maybe he was trying to mate with the bird he saw in the reflection, but then I remembered that he sees a male with the brightly colored plumage of his gender. So maybe the pathetically ditzy thing is trying to drive away the competition.
I had resigned myself to the idea that I was providing a home for the dumbest, although most determined, and definitely the most hard-headed (double entendre intended) bird in the entire world when my daughter’s family came for brunch this last Sunday. After investigating the persistent racket, my son-in-law commented that it reminded him of a cardinal that had done the same thing in their backyard. Oh! That was a revelation! Apparently this crazy behavior is common to the whole species.
As I awakened this morning to the now familiar sound of a fresh attack on my sliding glass door, I was wondering if we, as a species, could learn a lesson from the over-eager little cardinal. How often might we go charging off to do battle against some perceived threat that is only a reflection of our own image? I am reminded of a caution that my mother use to give me when she warned that the qualities that I find irritating in others are probably the qualities that I dislike in myself. Do you suppose that might explain some of the never-ending charges and allegations of rival political candidates? Hmmmm.