May 18th, 2008

Bird brain

While wandering around the Fremont Lowe's tonight (while my companions examined, compared, and discussed the merits of various grills they had no serious intention of buying), I noticed a few random birds flying around the store. Being the sort who finds certain out-of-context wildlife (particularly birds) strangely amusing, I had to follow along and see what they were up to.

When I caught up with the three out-of-place featherballs, well, let's just say I shouldn't have been nearly as surprised as I was:

(Click on thumbnails for full-size images.)

The birds had found their way to the aisle where the bird feeders are kept! In fact, the above-pictured little darling was hopping around on top of them...

One could chalk it up to either an incredible coincidence, or an amazing example of the power of human activity to inadvertently train wild populations. It seems to me these birds, somehow noticing they were out of their element, found and clung to the only bit of familiarity they could find: bird feeders, surely imprinted in a bird's simplistic little consciousness by the countless examples deployed in suburban and residential back yards.

Too bad these particular bird feeders contained no seeds. It must have added to the poor creatures' confusion. But despite their -- dare I say it, "stupidity" -- in getting stuck inside large buildings by accidentally flying in the door, and then obeying instincts that unilaterally bind them to the idea that flying upwards brings freedom, these birds demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness and adaptability in seeking out familiar enviromental cues.

P.S.: I do hope the birds eventually found their way out of the store. I didn't get a chance to see. When I got a little too close to them, they did what birds tend to do: make funny noises and fly away.