Birds, birds, birds!
This page is going to be dedicated to collecting and talking about birds that I find interesting! I plan to update it semi-regularly (weekly-ish).
As usual, LiterallyHifumi indirectly induces another birds post. This will now be LiterallyHifumi's THIRD cameo in the birbs blob. I should title this "Birds, birds, birds (ft. LiterallyHifumi)". You know, this reminds me, I was cleaning out a folder of very, very old txt files, like years old, and I noticed some of them have some incomprehensible messages to myself. Here are the (numbered) contents of "mmts1.txt" (WARNING: I was even edgier 5 years ago than I am now)
Errr... I won't address all of these. I do not remember the context of half of them. #4 is probably my favorite, because it shows that deep down inside, I haven't changed. I am not sure what is happening with #6. It looks like I was on track to figuring out the meaning of life, then suddenly got distracted? Why is "amateur college" in quotes? I don't know what "law 1" is either. As for #9: I wrote that one after reading Dasaku (yes, Dasaku is a guro game, and it appropriately had some dope eye socket intercourse). Oh, and #8? "hifumi being used sparingly"? I remember the context for this one. I had recently watched New Game! I think, and I was thinking about the character of Hifumi, who is arguably the most popular character, despite being a "side character." Well, okay, she's one of the "main 4" in so far as cover art and everything goes, but the main arcs in the anime don't really involve her. She's effectively a "side character."
The main reason I update this page so rarely is that I have a hard time grasping the "essence" of the birds I like. How do I describe a bird without falling into swing-and-miss anthropomorphizations? E.g. Chickadees are a bird I have had a difficult time grasping the "essence" of, despite being surrounded by them all the time. What is this orby orca of the sky all about? What's the world of a Chickadee like? Let's try and break this up. First:
It is well known for its ability to lower its body temperature during cold winter nights, its good spatial memory to relocate the caches where it stores food, and its boldness near humans (sometimes feeding from the hand).
Bold around humans, eh? Okay, how about around each other? Well, their most famous calls are the "chick-a-dee-dee" call and the adorable "fee bee" ("Hey sweetie") call. I actually hear these calls very often in my area. And as a result I tend to have this inevitable longing to know what they're saying. However, both of these calls are used for so many different fucking things that it's probably hopeless for a casual observer to figure out "what they're saying." So, it's likely hopeless to understand the world of a Chickadee. Well, at least, there's this:
A recent study of the call showed that the number of dees indicates the level of threat from nearby predators. In an analysis of over 5,000 alarm calls from chickadees, alarm calls triggered by small, dangerous raptors had a shorter interval between chick and dee and tended to have extra dees, typically four instead of two. In one case, a warning call about a pygmy owl – a prime threat to chickadees – contained 23 dees.
So they got each others' backs? They're very social, huh? That's how a lot of articles describe them--Social, bold, lively. "Social" of course comes with all the nuances of society. They have a strong hierarchy. Here's an article that recalls an injured, "low ranking" Chickadee getting pressured out of handfeeding from the author by higher ranking members. And the author feels bad about it:
It may seem outrageous to us humans that the plucky little bird whose actions were essential in providing a food source must wait while all the other chickadees forage without having done anything. We’re tempted to apply anthropomorphic words like bullies to them. Of course, my sympathy for the chickadee with the injured foot makes me think it’s “plucky” and deserving of the first meal, chickadee social systems and flock dynamics notwithstanding.
"We're tempted to apply anthropomorphic words like bullies to them." Laura is just self-aware enough to recognize her anthropomorphizing tendencies, but the interesting question is in her omission: Once you remove anthropomorphization from the situation, what's left? Forget "understanding" the world of Chickadee. Is there even any such thing?
BTW, Chickadees sleep alone:
You might think that with their handsome colors, their amorous songs and their social natures, the spiffiest male chickadees might attract a downy harem to warm the long winter nights. Instead, no matter how far the temperature plummets, even the cutest chickadees find their own little tree cavity and sleep alone (*).
Like Hifumi from New Game!, Chickadees may be deferential during the day, perhaps even bold at times (Hifumi: cosplaying. Chickadees: feeding off human hands--in fact, the lower ranking members are often the bolder ones, matching Laura's story above), but at the end of the day they sleep alone. "even the cutest chickadees find their own little tree cavity..." The self-aware anthropomorphizer finds this sentence bretti funni, cuz, u know, what if chickadees actually think of each other as fugly?
All the roosts Sharbaugh has found have been in birch trees, and she has never seen more than one chickadee enter a roost. Other birds, such as bluebirds, survive the cold by huddling together, but that appears not to be the case for black-capped chickadees in the north. Roosting alone seems to fit their character, Sharbaugh said.
“They’re fairly aggressive towards each other,” she said. “It would be difficult for them to share a space.” (*)
Chickadees (like probably most birds) are largely bastions of practicality--their actions are usually means to an end. They probably socialize for practical reasons, not for the sake of intimacy (else why'd they sleep alone?) And that's pretty humbling. It suggests that writing something into a txt file like
is a fucking waste of time.
OK: Wanna see one of my favorite Youtube vidz? It also has one of the best titles in all of Youtube: PushedOutOfNest
A baby bird gets pushed out of its nest, and the Bluetit mom completely fucking ignores it. It seems to have no interest in whether or not it lives. There's 2 possibilities here:
QUESTION: Would the anthropomorphizer (self-aware or not) prefer (1) or (2)? Would you prefer that the bluetit be a bastion of practicality via cruelty or retardation? The answer is ez. All you have to do is look at the comments of the video:
etc. etc. Of course we all want the mom to be cruel here. Because if the mom is not cruel, it means that she is empty. This video is a hardcore "glitch in the anthropomorphization Matrix." This video gives an uncomfortable amount of credence to the idea that birds are just something akin to algorithms (philosophical zombirbs). The baby being pushed out of its nest is like an unhandled case. For another glitch in the anthroMatrix, see also: Pigeon vs. Escalator
Listen: Why do you want to squeeze cute things? Why do you want to cum in Toboso's eye socket? U Mad bro? Frustrated? Trying to extract something out of them that isn't there?
What makes these pictures so effective? They're funny, but also depressing. One of the haunting things, of course, is the implication that there isn't actually anything behind the noose. Even if you an hero, you ain't going to Japari Park. Squeeze, suicide, etc, you're longing for something that isn't there. Of course, that very gap often makes people long for it even more. sorry, grape-kun
Hifumi is the most popular character in New Game! partly cause she isn't embedded in the main narrative, and isn't tied down to an arc. She does her own thing, and appears to have a life of her own. When you see her alone in her apartment, there's a temptation to "fill that in"--you want to be a part of her world. When you hear of an injured, "bullied" Chickadee or think of them hunkering down alone in a tree cavity, there's a longing to "fill that in." But these are illusions. The Chickadee doesn't need your companionship, and neither does your waifu.
Hi. Life's bare round this new birdsparse space I'm in, and in particular I miss the swallows FLYING RIGHT AT MY FUCKING FACE AND STARTLING THE LIVING FUCK OUT OF ME.
Got a dog? This bird will bait it better than bubbly trans rights threads yield soiquoting. Yeah, your stupid dog will start chasing it like a son of a bitch. Does your stupid dog seriously think it can catch that shit? Does it think it's a cat catching an American Robin? Fuck that. This motherfucker is too fast and tricky.
These aerial insectivores perform acrobatic stunts over lakes and streams high in the sky in search of flying insects.
HAHAHAHAHA. Sooooo... All those artistic zips, zigs, zags, and swoops of misdirection are performed in the service of catching insects. Wow. Why even make movies when you can go fishing? Listen, young screenwriter: Your product better be means of ascent or sustenance. Otherwise you'll end up making Being John Malkovich or Adaptation. Jesus, Charlie. Take a walk.
In the past, I've also marveled at the fancy flycatching stunts of Black Phoebes. Remember Appphobia? No? Too bad, that's a broken link. I took it down. AND THUS, AFTER AN EXTENDED ABSENCE, THE REST OF THIS SITE IS GOING DOWN IN 3 DAYS LOL JK.
One of the birds I see most commonly around here. It's very smol and I usually find it foraging on the ground, doing little hops from place to place and munching on stuff. It's very cute to watch.
Also, for some reason, the ones around my neighborhood aren't as scared of humans as some other birds. You can get pretty close to them and they don't mind. Though I think that might just be my location. I went to a nearby nature preserve once, and I was sitting on a bench and while I was sitting still a bunch of juncos came into the area and started foraging, like 20 of them or something, it was like a junco party. So I was sitting still on the bench and I watched them forage for like several minutes, and then I ever so slightly moved my leg and they all freaked out and flew away LOL. They didn't notice that I was sitting on the bench the whole time. I guess this is just the trend of how birds that live in urban/residential areas are generally less wary of humans than those that live in nature (even if it's the same species).
Over time, I've noticed that if you listen closely, you'll notice that these birds have subtly rich repertoire of vocalizations. Here is an example:
My favorite is their "laser gun" sound (you can hear it at 0:19, 0:29, etc.)
"Why the fuck did you put that in this pos--" Pew pew pew pew
"Bro, what if, like, *blows smoke*, you had, like, a bee, but it was actually, like, a bird..." Well, here we fucking are friend..
Well, let's just start with how it stands. Go find one, perched on a branch or something, and just watch it stand. Yeah... It can barely stand still. What you'll see is it shaking like a motherfucker, breathing 10 times the amount of oxygen you do, like a ticking time bomb that's about to explode into iridescence.
No, I mean it. They do not fuck around. They may look cute, well, they are, but they're vicious
And aerial hummingbird duels? They're some real fast-paced, high IQ shit. If you ever hear hyperactive buzzing in your surroundings, look around and you might catch an epic fight scene.
Errr... come on, guys, calm down. Is that nectar really that important? Oh... you're telling me, if you go just a few hours without nectar, you can die? Well, no wonder you're so obsessed with that sugar. Live like there's no tomorrow? Heh. These motherfuckers have to live like there's no next hour. No wonder they're always on edge, even when they're just standing. I now understand why the creator of that video had to add the scherzo from Beethoven's 3rd to play in the background at the same time as the looping epic stock music despite not fitting well together at all (actually, I don't understand what that was for)
Yes, it's nectar or die for a hummybird. Nectar, nectar, nectar. I mean it when I say they're obsessed about it. So obsessed that they maintain the biggest hippocampus to brain size ratio in birbdom. What's all that spatial memory for? What are they thingken about? Well, they can memorize the locations of flowers in your neighborhood, including which ones they've visited and which ones they haven't. Nectar, baby. Life juice.
Hummingbirds, I commend your dedication to survival. My sweet tooth is turned on for the night.
NUTHATCHE. My intro to this bird was when I was out on a hike and I saw a little black and white chickadee-lookin' thing hopping along the trunk of the tree. Yes, fucking vertically. I laughed at it. Yes. It looked silly. I couldn't help it. A bird treating the side of a tree like it was the ground. But guess who had the last laugh?. Yes. that's actually how it fucking sounds. Cheeky motherfucker.
And yes, the BIRB BLOB HAS RETURNED, thanks to LiterallyHifumi repping this as their favorite bird. Good taste, Hifumi.
Once I had started to pay attention to birds, I noticed a recurring phenomenon while going out on walks. Along the street, there'd be a row of trees, and on just one of those trees there would be a huge crowd of birds. I mean, like, they filled the tree so densely, they almost looked like leaves themselves. It was a slightly grotesque image to me. A row of clean, unoccupied trees, just one of them blemished with a flickering dark spots all over. Get closer to the tree, open your ears past the noise of traffic and other miscellaneous sounds, and you'd hear a slightly squeaky, somewhat soothing murmur. A huge amount of birds situated in a single tree in conversation, producing an audible effect similar to being in a crowded food court. Then, you might witness, suddenly, all the birds taking off from the tree at once, and together in the air they'd weave and curl and form all these odd, curvy patterns before situating on another tree nearby.
The birds were always too high up and too dark for me to get a close look and ID them for sure, but from the sound and that flying together phenomenon, I narrowed it down to starlings. That swarming flight is called a "murmuration", which I think is an appropriate name. It has a smooth, ghostly, somewhat creepy quality to it (especially taking into account how suddenly it starts. I'm not exaggerating when I say they all take off from the tree "at once").
Here in America, Starlings are considered to be an invasive species and a pest, and you're legally allowed to kill them in many states. They were brought in at Central Park by fans of Shakespeare who wanted to "import" the bird to America (they played a role in Henry IV, Part 1). They have good mimicry skills (like a parrot or what have you). There's also a bit of controversy in linguistics regarding to what extent they can distinguish "recursive" patterns like humans can. Mozart had one as a pet. He bought it after hearing it at a bird store singing the opening bars to the last movement of his not yet premiered 17th piano concerto (creating a little mystery as to how the bird learned it. Presumably Mozart taught it upon repeated visits to the store).
So, there are many impressions of the bird. For American bird lovers, an annoying pest encroaching on other bird species. For me, a grotesque crowding and a haunting murmur. For Shakespeare enthusiasts, a symbol of the bard himself. For Mozart, a lively racket that could recite his own unpremiered themes--little secrets between man and bird, including the one at the bird shop where they met: a joyful theme in a variations movement that ends with a hype ass coda.
The "Relationship to humans" section in the Wikipedia page explains it pretty well. Basically: They're freaking crazy! They're noted for their unprecedented sense for experimentation and curiosity, and their cry is very cute. Unfortunately you can only find them at New Zealand.
If you're ever feeling lethargic, just drink some coffee and Kea it up.
This bird is very close to my heart. It's the bird I see almost always in the park when I go for a walk. I like how it looks like it's wearing a Tuxedo, it's chirp is short but sweet, and it can perform some very fancy aerial tricks while catching flies. I even dedicated a whole post to it here!
For a bird called "Spotted", it's very hard to spot! I used to visit this nearby hiking trail quite often, and I'd always hear some animal making a very distinct screeching noise and it drove me insane trying to figure out what it was because the damn thing was always hiding in the bushes. A few times, when I was being more vigilant, I was able to get glimpses of it and the most distinguishing feature was of course those freaking red eyes. And so, again, for weeks, I was driven insane trying to ID the "red eyed, shrill sounding bird" until I finally nailed it down to the Spotted Towhee. Seriously, that screeching sound will probably be stuck in my head for the rest of my life.
This and the Northern Mockingbird are the two most talented singers that I've encountered in my neighborhood. I've so far only been able to hear this one in the spring, and hearing it sing is an experience. Watch this video (skip to 0:30 and 1:31) to see what I mean. It's so complicated (and no I can't make out any of the imitations listed in the video, lmfao).
 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service