Monday, February 8, 2010

Small and Scrappy . . .

I have to start out by saying that I don't have birds as pets, or really believe in keeping them that way. In my opinion, birds should be free to fly; there is nothing that represents freedom to me more clearly than a bird in flight. But just because I won't keep them as pets doesn't mean I don't like them; quite the contrary.

I'm no bird watcher and I don't know much about them, but I do have a few favorites: the swallow and the sparrow. These are small, scrappy little birds that actually have some pretty cool characteristics: swallows mate for life and are homing birds; they return each year to the place they come from, which make them popular symbols for tatoos (although a lot of people get them tatooed on their body without knowing why the birds first gained popularity with sailors and convicts!). Song sparrows have a unique song and can distinguish other sparrows as friend or stranger by listening to them sing. Females also use the males' song to choose a mate (I do this too, but I get called picky for doing it;).

I like these little birds. They're not showy or flashy; they don't have colorful feathers or fly rings around their neighbors. But, I like the idea of something small that fights and perseveres, a little bird that gets by in a very large world.

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