Everyone has heard the disparaging comment about someone who is foolish that they have a ‘bird brain’; this label must stem from the fact that birds are small and have brains proportionate to their bodies.
But the other day we saw a television segment showing a small bird weaving its nest and it was fascinating and took a lot of skill, and as we watched, several thoughts occurred to us.
First of all, birds meet some of the definitions we use to define humanity. Birds can use their claws and beaks to build nests and some nests we have seen in photographs are rather awesome architectural accomplishments. Birds use materials such as grasses and twigs to build and they are selective in choosing what will work and what will not. Birds communicate; it is thought that bird song is more than the lovely music it sounds to us humans. And some species of parrots not only learn to mimic human speech, they also recognize the beat in human music and can respond accordingly, something no other animals than man can do (but not every human – personally, I ain’t got no rhythm!).
Also, migratory birds find their way over thousands of miles from one place to another. The truly fascinating thing about that is that some birds returning from migration have never been that way before. They were born during migration and are following some sort of inherited internal guide.
Many species of birds mate for life, not an easy task considering the vulnerabilities in their lives.
Considering all these abilities, maybe we should all wish we had bird-brain capabilities, or perhaps even just use the ones we have.