Birds Do It
Updated: Mar 23, 2020
On my quest to understand how we get along, I was reminded by William Wordsworth to “come into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.” I believe that Homeland principles are significant in answering some questions about the rules of engagement. I turned to Sociobiology and Ethology for some hints.
Natural as a bird doing it. It? Living and surviving.
Like mankind, all creatures of nature must find a place of safety and refuge, replenish their society, nurture themselves with food and water, and defend territory from all perceived threats. Let’s look at birds. Read this with an eye for social structure, the common sense reasons for protecting territory and how harmonious relationships can be established.
Nature has evolved multiple systems and methods of defending territory but only if it is necessary. Some birds fiercely protect territory one year but not the next. Some are aggressive and fight off same species while others allow harmless species to inhabit their territory.
Breeding and mating season is essential for survival and birds seek a secure territory for nesting. They employ strategic defenses to protect that territory. Once selected, territories are defended to contain resources, particularly those in short supply that creates greater competition for them. But, defense can be expensive, costing energy and possibly life. The greater the population size the more resources are needed and the more aggressive the methods to defend them. When the cost is determined to be too high, the territory is relinquished.
Bird defense must be visual and vocal to mark territories with warning systems. They must expose themselves to aggression from other birds and predators while acting in a like manner against them. They defend against exploitation of resources, diseases and determine the frequency of predation.
Swifts rarely defend an area larger than the nest because insects, their food source are plentiful. Conversely, the ground-nesting blacksmith lapwing may be very territorial; especially during breeding season when they are threatened and attacked by many kinds of intruders. They must exhibit aggressive behavior displays to deter the disruption of their nesting places.
The owl limpet requires large spaces on rock cliffs and are known to shove any intruder off their cliff. Seabirds nest in dense communities and maintain small nesting spots. Their defense from attack on chicks is heightened by numbers, being part of a large communal environment.
The Skylark is cunning and can playback the songs of neighboring birds and is seen as a "good neighbor" most of the year. However, during breeding season those same friends are less receptive and treat them as enemies.
Blackbird nests are preyed upon more frequently when the nests are closer together therefore, they have developed a system of spreading themselves apart.
An American robin, will chase away other robins from its territory, but it won't mind a white-breasted nuthatch sharing the same space because the two species do not compete for food sources and are not bothering one another.
Migratory birds may begin to claim territory in late winter or early spring as mature males arrive from their wintering grounds to find places for mating. They are sometimes met by non-migratory birds in that space preparing for mating. These homeland birds drive off the arriving migrants, letting them know that the territory is already spoken for.
My Final observations
Robins don’t mate with pigeons. Species maintain distinct identity, cultures and behaviors with sufficient resources to survive while all are categorized birds. The joy and beauty in variety to me, denotes the richness of diversity. The peacock is not jealous of what the owl owns and how it lives. Nature is variety, species, territory, respect and survival. It's intellectual man who attempts to play God by redirecting our assigned blessed habitats as though dispersed by divine error. There is value in placement contentment.