Angry birds

Not the game—real angry birds. You may not always notice angry birds, but they are all around you. Birds mob other (usually larger, threatening) birds, flying at them and even hitting them. Imagine if mice got together to run headfirst into cats…

(Actually, I know some cats that might be scared of those mice. You might call them scaredy-cats… Don’t hurt yourself laughing at my witticisms.)

Birds also fight others of their own species. Physical fights are pretty rare: birds usually try to work their fights out using “words not fists”—or rather, song not violence. Birds will usually start with songs and calls, then escalate to threatening postures and movement, and only if none of that resolves the issue will they fight. Recently, I watched a Snowy Egret face what I think must have been an intruder on his territory. First he called. When the intruder didn’t leave, he raised the crest on his head high and flew at the intruder, chasing him away. Continue reading