Monday, March 15, 2010

Establishing Territory: Birds, Humans and Warfare

On the road today near the rising flood waters of Tonawanda Creek in Western N.Y, my old stomping grounds from high school days.  A quick walkabout in the chilly rain to strech my legs before I wandered back to my hotel room -which I located by the number on the door  -reminded me that it's territory establishing  times for wild creatures, birds most notable.  Just as the mailbox number tells the world that the property is yours, and border protection officers and passport requests establish you are crossing from one country to another, and the number on my motel room tells others this is my space (for now), the behavior and song of birds establishes territory: mine mine mine!  A cardinal smashing his reflection in the window is trying to drive off an invading intruder--wondering why his song of land ownership is ignored.  The sweet tweets and chirps of endless species may be love ballads to the human ear, but for birds, it's all buisness. My territory, my land! Move on or face warfare. Woodpecker pounding on your downspout? Why not. That hollow metal tube echos his message of your house is in his territory. My favorite feathered territory proclaimer is the wild turkey.  Gobbles are only part of the territory establishment;  dramatic tail fanning - as one does on my backwoods trail at home in Ortonville-  tells the ladies, 'Come see me' and the Toms, "Be on your way!"


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