The Two Birds
My friends, there are a species of bird in NZ which nest in the eaves of houses, cardboard cartons, plastic liners, letter boxes, and an assortment of natural and artificial holes in trees and poles.
The birds are called Myna’s and were introduced from Asia in the 1800’s to rid the land of invertebrate pests. Myna’s are an ornery bird and are about the size of the Blue jay that we have in Ohio.
They flock but you will usually find them in pairs. They have a horrible shrill, raucous call and are very territorial.
They eat bugs, other creepy crawlies, vegetable matter and fruit. In New Zealand, you will commonly see them deftly avoiding traffic while foraging for road-killed insects.
Standing guard on the roadside on the lookout for interlopers, the pair challenge any bird to dare come anywhere near that part of the busy highway they’ve claimed as their own. Sometimes they’re so determined to lay claim to a bug or a food scrap dropped by a motorist – that drivers who are not familiar with their behavior are taken completely by surprise at the bird’s audacity and have been known to almost veer completely off the road trying to avoid running over it.
Their numbers have steadily increased since their introduction, so now, because of the Myna’s belligerent relationship with native birdlife and the damage they also inflict upon fruit crops, the poor, hapless birds are now themselves, considered to be, “excess to requirements.”
Imagine for a moment my friends, what it would be like, to be taken from your native habitat to a strange faraway land to help that stranger rid itself of its unwanted aboriginal “pests.” After you’ve brought the situation under control, you unashamedly begin reaping the rewards of your labor from the astonishing smorgasbord the new land provides.
Suddenly, you find that your host who welcomed you here with open arms, no longer requires your services. In time he posts a label around your own neck, the same label that all those original unwanted natives wore that you labored so earnestly to remove – PEST!
But there is a shining light to this saga, for there are people who love this unlovable, feathered frenzy, and I am glad to say, that I am one of them.
Those that, “know the Myna’s song” know that these pair of despotic rulers MATE FOR LIFE and that when one of them gets killed by a vehicle, while busily providing for its family, the other will more often than not, stay there, in that exact location on the roadside by itself, for the rest of its days.
My friends – I think to myself, thank goodness for our own human experience and growth. Thank heavens for all that is so innocent and brave and thank our lucky stars that there are also human beings like the two Myna birds.
These two fierce warriors may take umbrage at my descriptor words of ornery, pests, despots, shrill and so forth when describing a simple, sacred, little, living being wrapped in feathers, but I do so, only because I sincerely respect their Song and the beautiful words that go to capture the essence of their brave hearts.
Brothers and Sisters, if we really look deeply at these two little, fragile creatures eking out an existence in a really dangerous world and transpose their incredible story against any loving human relationship, my absolute belief would be, that both images would reflect a picture perfect mirror image!
In fact, 99.9% of the time, it will probably bring about a wry smile to each one of us, as we have the candle of recognition lit for us, to that part of us, when we think of those two ornery little birds and their instinctual behaviors for survival and our own, more “refined” human, thrust and parry relationships, that part we often mistake for love and realize the pure irony of it all.
How thin that edge really is, between calamity and calm.
We make judgments and name call in haste when we don’t know the story of that ornery little bird or the orphaned one – or anyone for that matter, that’s left alone to stand alone, and fend for itself in a hostile world.
Maybe the songbird in our own heart has been quietly urging us to listen to our own song so we might take the time to really learn the words to the songs of those that are the closest to our hearts.
For I know we might then ask ourselves, because we and the Myna are one and the same, “Why is it that the harshest and quickest criticisms to fall from our lips are nearly always directed firstly, at that ornery one and then secondly, to the orphaned one?”
Raymond TeKorako Ruka. 11/6/2016